Organizing Keys

marylizJuly 8, 2009

I was about to append this to the discussion called, "What good habits do you have?" but I decided that there might be enough interest in this topic that it might merit its own thread. The topic is keys.

What habits do you have with your keys?

Where do you put them when you're not using them?

How do you remember what each key opens?

I used to lose my keys, and waste time looking for them. Then I realized that all I had to do was put them in the same place every time. These days, that place is right inside my purse, on a clip made to hold my keychain. It works great unless I put my purse somewhere it doesn't belong, then I'm searching for my purse.

If I can just manage to keep my side of the hutch cleaned out, then my purse is always in there when I'm at home. That is the place our household stows all the incoming mail, library books that need to go back, etc.

We also have a bag of keys that are used only rarely, such as keys to vacation homes or the homes of friends and relatives. We also have extras of keys on our keychains.

In the bag, they are at least in one place, but some were not marked. During a decluttering of our hutch, I pulled out the bag and we took a good hard look at all the keys. There were keys we did not remember. Some were even on pretty keychains, but were not properly identified. What is it for? How did it get there? We were able to identify a few keys that we no longer needed because we no longer owned what they went to.

We threw away an odd\-shaped key because we hadn't used it in years \-\- couldn't remember what it was for \-\- then only a few weeks later, we realized it was for the trailer hitch! Hubby ended up cutting the pin that held the trailer hitch onto the car. It took a lot of time and effort.

That was when I was finally able to convince hubby that I wasn't just being overly idealistic when I insisted that we mark each new key that came into our lives. No more confusion. No more throwing away a key, only to find out I wish I hadn't.

I went out and bought some key tags. I labeled all the keys, even the one remaining mystery key. We wrote just a huge question mark on the key tag. At least it's just one. Maybe someday we'll figure out why we have it.
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had key issues for many years. This past year or so has been the worst though! (mostly because I've been overwhelmed by my toddler)At one point I had to call my DH and ask him to leave work to give me the spare key to my car from his keyring. So embarrassing!

I put a spring clip on my keys and clip it to my purse on the outside. Not the most fashionable look, but I know they're there. My purse goes on a hook by the door - which oddly enough was meant to hold my keys. But I always just tossed my keys somewhere instead. Now I hook my keys to my purse before I get my DD out of the car.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My main keys stay in the door on the inside; I lock the door this way.

All the other keys are divided into 3 categories:
1) Related house keys (patio doors, fence lock, spare house keys), which are each on those plastic keyrings that let you write what they're for.
2) Friends' and neighbors' house or mailbox keys (they each came with a keyring, and by now I know which neighbor's key it is--one who goes on a lot of cruises, say, put her key on a travel-oriented key ring).
3) A lanyard that has one house key, which I'll sometimes throw on if I'm walking the dog (otherwise I'll take my regular house keys, but that also has the car keys, so it can be bulky).

I use 2 carabiner clips (cheap, from Home Depot) to hold each category of keys, and I've hung the carabiners and the lanyard on 3M Command hooks inside a closet, out of sight of visitors or handymen.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really enjoy this forum! I've been lurking here for awhile gaining inspiration from all you wonderful organizers. As for keys, I suggest either a wall-mounted key box or simpler plastic version which has a holder for a row of colored key tags. The key box is usually sold through places like Staples or Office Max and the plastic version which I have came from the Container Store. I have two rows of these holders mounted just beside our back door. I use this system for rarely used keys or for extras. It comes in so handy when I don't have to search for something that's not often used. Took awhile to identify all of those keys and label them, but now that it's done, it's a great timesaver.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 9:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I keep my car keys (four cars) and house keys (three doors plus deadbolts) on separate keyrings. I store them on a hook in my kitchen. When I leave the house, they go in my purse. When I return, back on the hook. I've lost my housekeys twice. Once I was in a fender-bender accident and got so rattled I dropped my keys on the road. Another time I lost them at a friend's house sitting on their couch. Lucky for me, I got them back both times!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 4:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We own rental property which means we have additional keys thrown into the otherwise confusing key mess. Many years ago, I began taking the mystery keys putting them in an envelope or ziploc bag, marking the current date on the outside and labeling them as "MYSTERY KEYS". I put them in one specific out of the way place (that I can remember). When I finally do run across them again, enough time has generally passed (years)that I feel confident in tossing/recycling them. At least with this method I don't have to keep looking through keys and feeling frustrated about not knowing if I should or shouldn't keep them. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The secret to keeping track of anything--keys included is to put them away in the same place. Mine are kept in my purse. I always buy purses with a small zippered compartment on the front, because that's where I like to keep my keys. I have my house keys on one ring and two separate ones for DH's car and mine. I also have a rings with duplicate car keys in an inside pocket--handy if you happen to lock the keys in the car.

My son and wife keep theirs in a basket on the entryway table.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 5:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't have a great collection of keys as some are describing, but I'll chime in anyway.

I used to be the worst with keys...the type to set them down anywhere and walk away without even noticing I set them down. I could always stumble across them at home. My trouble happened when I'd set them down at work (the office), or...even construction job sites where I'm going in 4 different directions at once.

One day I decided I'd had enough.

My everyday keys (car, house, office, and temporary work-issued) are on the same lanyard all the time. If they are not around my neck, they are in my purse. No exceptions.

I had to work hard at forcing myself to put them on my neck at first, but after a couple months it became a habit, and now it's like signature jewelery with me...just like the pen stuck behind my ear all the time. Haven't misplaced my keys in over a decade now. Even have a couple co-workers who picked up the lanyard habit on a seasonal work-purpose basis. We laugh at ourselves, but we all agree we can't imagine life before the lanyard.

All my spare keys are kept together on 1 ring in an undisclosed location. They are not labeled because I only have 4 keys & they are quite obvious to me and the burglar who finds them. Nothing I can do or care to do about that.

IF I had extra non-everyday keys, I absolutely would label every single one. I personally would keep them all in 1 key place...all that same undisclosed location.

My dad keeps his incidental keys in the rooms/functional spaces where the keys are used. Such as: boat & misc garage keys are kept in the garage. He keeps household keys (lockboxes, file cabs, spare house, etc) in the house in obvious rooms to him. I could not do that. It's easier for my brain to go to the 1 key spot, get what I need, and go from there. I refuse to go through a flowchart in my head as to what key I need = what purpose does it serve = what room do I go to.

Keep it simple.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 7:21PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Getting rid of part of an item- WWYD
Okay, here's the question: I have a larger, aluminum...
Designing a home office! What would you include?
We are gutting our home office .... creating a his...
Becky Berend
Can I get rid of my wedding gown?
Hi everyone. We went to spend the weekend with my parents...
Missing the Garden Web Already
I feel betrayed by the sale of the Garden Web to Houzz....
Cleaning Service--what do you have them do?
I enjoy reading this forum and now understand the difference...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™