Simple ideas to prevent the frustration and annoyance of locking yourself out
There’s nothing more frustrating and annoying than locking yourself out of your house, and you can bet it’ll happen when you’re already running late or ultra-busy – times when such an inconvenience is especially unwelcome.
The following may help you avoid that dreaded sinking feeling when you realise you’ve left your keys inside or mislaid them somewhere.
Locksmith telephone number
Firstly, prepare for the worst and have a backup in place in the form of the phone number stored on your mobile of a reputable and trusted local locksmith who can help if you do lock yourself out such as these emergency locksmiths in Colchester.
Change the lock to a key operated type
If your door – or doors – lock by pulling them to, then changing the lock to a key operated type will at least stop you leaving your keys inside when you lock up.
In any case it may even be time you assessed your exterior lock security and ensured you’ve got the most secure type appropriate for your door; ask your local locksmith to advise on what lock is best and fit one accordingly.
Use a key safe
If you’re particularly prone to locking yourself out then you could consider a key safe – a small, secure box attached to a secure surface such as brickwork containing a spare key accessed through entering a security code on a keypad.
These are commonly used for properties lived in by older people or those unable to easily answer the door so visitors such as relatives and carers can let themselves in (access is obviously controlled by only divulging the code to specific people).
You can have this sited where you like; by the front door, round the back or elsewhere. Here is some useful information for choosing and fitting a key safe properly.
Leave a key in your car
Any advice about hiding keys in this way does constitute an element of risk; if your car is stolen then the thief would also have access to your home. The important thing is to perhaps hide the key within your car such as in the spare wheel well rather than leaving it in the glove box or, even worse, in open view in a cubbyhole near the gear lever or similar.
Leave a spare key with someone
Again, there is a degree of risk in that this time you’re leaving a key with others.
That said, if it’s someone you totally trust such as a nearby family member then it’s a good ‘get out of jail’ card if the worst happens. Ensure the person concerned is home a lot; if they’re often away or get home late from work every evening then you may be waiting a while before you can get back into your home.
Keep your door key on your car keyring
Some say you shouldn’t keep all keys together in case you lose the whole lot, but at least you know your keys are all there – patting your pocket or knowing you have your car keys in your hand means your house keys are there, too. The ‘big key bunch’ approach means you can easily check and know your keys are present and will soon realise when they’re missing.
Beware of having an excessively heavy bunch of keys; some car ignition locks have a weight limit for keys since, if they’re too heavy, they can damage the lock.
‘Idiot check’ before you leave the house
In the same way you may have a routine for checking various items are switched off and so forth before you leave home, perhaps try to incorporate a ‘key check’ before stepping outside and pushing the door to.
For example, try to form a habit of saying ‘keys’ to yourself as you approach your door prior to leaving. Another idea is to put a post it note up on the inside of the door saying ‘remember door key’ or some similar prompt so you can’t miss it on the way out.
Some areas have key holding companies who can keep a set of your keys securely stored and get them to you (or you can go and fetch them) if you lock yourself out.
These services are geared largely to checking homes when alarms have gone off and offering a general monitoring service when people are away, but they may offer basic key storage facilities for lock outs. Check online to see if anyone offers this service in your locality.
Should you hide a spare key outside somewhere?
The short answer is no.
For a start it could invalidate your home insurance if it was found an intruder gained access using a key, and many thieves know all the hiding places and can check them easily and quickly when considering whether to try and gain access.