Unless your apartment or house lock requires locking with a key, chances are you’re going to be locked out of your house or apartment at some time. If you’re renting, you’re probably going to pay between $10 and $50 for someone in the property manager’s office to come let you in if you lock yourself out. A locksmith will cost twice that much. Small wonder you’re tempted to hide a key somewhere!
However, the answer is not to hide a key under a rock, in a fake rock, under the doormat, in the porch light, on the doorsill, in a plant, on a nail in the garage or any of a dozen places most people hide keys thinking no one is ever going to think of looking there for them. If you can think to hide it there, someone intent on breaking in is going to think of looking there for it.
I do know of one friend who does keep a spare key hanging on a nail — inside the door of his Pit Bull’s doghouse! If you don’t mind taking a chance that a burglar will find your hidden key and wipe you out, you can stop reading now.
If you want to know where you can stash a key safely, here are some suggestions:
- Give a key to a trusted friend or family member. The operative word here is “trusted.” If you don’t trust that they won’t use it unless it’s an emergency or you have given them permission to go in, then don’t leave them with a key.
- Leave a spare key at work, either taped in a file folder, in a small box or other container — somewhere that someone rifling through your desk one night looking for change for the soft drink machine won’t find it.
- Leave a spare house key in a magnetic lockbox in the trunk of your car, or duct-taped to the spare tire. The problem with that is that if you have your car keys, you’ll likely have your house or apartment key too — most people get locked out when going for a run, going down to the Laundromat, or going to get their mail and they don’t have any keys with them.
While the fake rock is one possible solution, there are others:
- A hitch safe holds keys, cash and even credit cards and has a combination lock with 10,000 possible combinations to it. A dust cover conceals the safe and protects the mechanism.
- If you have a patio or balcony, a candle with a safe inside works. You can use this to hide valuables and cash inside your apartment as well.
- A wallet key case. Consider a wallet key case if you’re the type to never leave home without your wallet. It’s credit card sized and holds up to two keys.
- The thermometer case key. The front comes off this holder and allows you to hide several keys behind the actual thermometer.
- And if you’re a homeowner, there’s always the fully functional water-sprinkler-head key case. Unless you actually have a sprinkler system, this one is bound to stick out, pun intended.
- If you have more valuables in your home than in your car, here’s a solution to getting to the spare key hidden in your trunk: consider leaving a key to your trunk instead of a key to your house in that fake rock. If you live in an apartment complex, the thief will have to figure out which car is yours and still might not find the house key in time to get inside.
You may not be able to make it impossible to keep a thief from finding your backup key, but you can slow them down.