Hiding a door key outdoors?

alisonSeptember 8, 2009

Last night during a heavy downpour, I thought I would check the gutters on my new house, to identify the problem areas before I call the gutter guy.

As I pulled the backdoor closed to keep the cats from getting out I realized I had just locked myself out of the house. Haven't done that in a long time!

Luckily (and atypically!) I had my cell phone in my pocket, so as I waited for a friend to come get me to run me over to work to pick up the spare, I thought about how to prevent this kind of jam in the future.

I don't know the neighbors all that well, so I'm reluctant at this point to leave a key with neighbors.

I don't always have my cell phone on my person (and, like most folks these days don't have my friends phone numbers memorized) so just having a key with the folks most likely to take care of the cats in my absence isn't the most reliable solution. (Plus, most of my friends live on the other sides of town.)

At my old apartment, I had a spare key in a magnetic box usually used to hide car keys behind the bumper, tucked in the underside of the fire escape stairs. It always made me a little nervous someone might find it by accident, but that would be less of a problem here at the new house, since I have a security system that is always on at night or when I'm at work.

Do you hide a spare key outdoors? If so, where? I figure under the mat, under flower pots and the like are too obvious -- I'm looking for good ideas!

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Ours is nailed to a tree quite a distance from the house. We have a 3 acre parcel. We don't get any foot traffic on our land, so the chances of someone ever seeing the spare key are virtually zero.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 12:18PM
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Wow -- 3 acres has a lot of hiding spaces!

Unfortunately, I'm on a 35'x71' plot in the inner city. There is a fence around the back "yard" but if someone wanted to get in they could simply open the gate.

I've been looking at under/around window and door sashes, taped to the backside of the mailbox -- I even thought about running something up a string to the second floor porch.

There's hidey-holes everywhere -- just have to find the one I feel comfortable with!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 12:41PM
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Do you have a garden shed?.

We swapped keys with our friends and neighbors. Our key is in their garage and theirs is in our garden shed.

Before we hit on this idea We had ours in the shed in a plant saucer with the flower pot secured to the pot--one of those saucers that snap on, We had smaller pots inside of this one and we set it inside a bigger one. Anyone trying to find it would have to go through the pile of pots. Of course we knew which pot held the key so it was no trouble for us.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 2:40PM
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Yes, mine is also in a magnetic box and hidden in my garden. It has saved me many times.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 5:52PM
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We have a small key-safe with combination lock installed on our porch. So, it's not actually hidden, but it's pretty hard to break into. Of course, you have to remember the combination, so pick something easy for when your brain is addled, or record it in some kind of code fashion. Also, we did put it in a somewhat out-of-the-way place, so lighting is not great at night, particularly if had a power outage and no porch lighting at all, and it's good to have a flashlight or similar. It has come in pretty handy. Perhaps there are horror stories of these devices not being secure, but it seems okay to me.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 6:25PM
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I love the key safe idea! I actually hide my key less than 3 feet from the back door - but you would never see it.

Our house was broken into 12 years ago. They broke out the window and broke in. It doesn't take a key to get into your house. If you don't hide a key, you're just keeping yourself out. There is no way to keep out the "bad guys" if they really want in. Any windows or doors can easily be broken into by wise crminals.

So hide a key and make your own life easier, and trust Fate that you will be OK.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 8:32PM
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I don't hide a key, but when electric garage door openers were installed in the garage, I paid extra for a number pad outside that will open the garage door. I'm going to be out of luck during a power outage though.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 11:11PM
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We have a key to the garage hidden outside and in the garage is the key to the house.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 9:39AM
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I have a key to my front door hidden in a planter box on my deck. I've used it a couple of times. Before I did that, I once locked myself out of my house and had to break a window to get in. I've always felt that locks don't keep burglars out. My SIL once came home and found her front door bashed in. The robbers simply smashed the door off its frame. If they want to get in, they'll find a way.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 1:57PM
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Why is it we don't think to do the hide-the-key thing until we are locked out? (Written by someone who squeezed through the dog door to get in.)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 9:23AM
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When we remodeled we put a keyless entry on our door (you use a number code to enter). I love it. We can program it for other numbers so if we go out of town our neighbors can get is as well.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 2:51PM
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I had actually looked at those keyless do-hickeys that morning!

Good ideas, everyone. It's a tiny yard, barely 12 feet from the house to the alley, so no shed or garage, but I'm sure there are a million good hiding spots.

I've got my sspare key and my magnetic tin -- I'm off to scout locations.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 3:03PM
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I was getting bird feed once and they had decorative "birds" that were hollow. Thus you have art work in the yard and a spare key hiding inside the art work. We also have a keypad by the garage door.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 9:14PM
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I've also got mine outside in a little watertight container hidden in a place.

I'm also of the opinion that if someone wants to break into my house, they are not going to snoop around for a key. I have a lot of windows & that's how they're getting in. It's the easiest way.

I personally don't like the idea of trading keys with neighbors. If I need a key, I just want to go get it. I don't like the idea of the neighbor potentially being gone when I need that key.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 7:28AM
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Not only the neighbor being gone when you need the key, but I had an episode with a neighbor where we had a falling out because of a situation where she took advantage of me. (After that, it was all I could imagine.) It was very uncomfortable for me to ask for the key back, but I did. (It was that or get all my locks changed.) Anyway, I won't ever do that again! Really, it's better to be self-sufficient in this case.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 6:52PM
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Fori is not pleased

Toad house!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 8:13PM
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Fori--That's exactly where I keep my key!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 11:34PM
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My aunt used to hang the door key on her dog's collar. She was the only person the dog would come to.

So did my current housemate. Try taking the key from an Akita :)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 10:44AM
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Once I had an aluminum storm door. I stuck the spare key to the door closer thingy with duct tape, which matched the color of the door. So well, in fact, that when I needed the key I first thought someone had taken it! It took me a few minutes to remember where the duct tape was.

Another time, I lived in a three family house with a shared basement. My spare key was taped to the back of my dryer with duct tape. Of course, this method depended on someone else being home to let me into the basement.

Currently, there is a mail slot in the front door. So the key is taped to the inside of the front door where I can reach it through the mail slot.

I rely on duct tape a lot!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 11:08AM
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Hah! When I read about the Akita who guarded the key, I laughed out loud. My husband asked what had made me laugh. We know a couple of Akitas, and there is no way anyone would try to break into their house.

I told him about this thread, and he says he's been considering moving our key that is presently nailed to a tree. It's quite a distance from the house. Not very convenient if it's dark out, or if there's a lot of snow on the ground. He asked me if I think it's a good idea to attach it somehow to the bottom of a bird feeder.

Why not? I don't think a robber would look there for a house key.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 8:27PM
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My dog locked me out of the house when I went outside onto the deck and closed the sliding patio door. He pawed at the latch and it locked. I was able to get in through the garage keypad, but I have since hid a key around my deck.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 1:46PM
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At our old place, we had a bike sitting outside of the front door. We put the key in the workings of the bike, right behind one of the reflectors. It was easy to get if you knew where it was, but you would never see it b/c it blended right in with all of the metal workings on the bike.

Right now, we have a keypad on the garage. I REALLY like having it. It makes it so easy to open the garage from the outside if you, say, need to get the lawnmower but don't want to go through the inside.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 2:04PM
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this is a good reminder as i have been locked out by the dear husband with the head injury..and had to wait for someone to come ..hours..to get back in..my son next door has a key..but he wasn't home.

i think i'll have to remember to put a key outside somewhere..we have 5 acres..guess i can find a safe place.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 7:58PM
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I have used this. You just "plant" it in your garden area, but you do have to be aware of plant or weed overgrowth so you can reach it when you need to!

Here is a link that might be useful: sprinkler key hider

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 12:54AM
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I think the biggest "thief" you would need to worry about would be the people who know. The ones who want to be able to get into your house without alerting you. Your son's friend, who wants to pilfer the liquor cabinet, or the "petty cash" fund, for example.

Most identity theft, in fact, is perpetrated by someone the victim knows well. That's the sort of person who might use the hidden key against you.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 7:51PM
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I'm not worried about that.

There is a security system and so far, only 1 person has that come. (The system allows for up to three codes, so I could actually tell who is coming into the house.)

Actually, the alarm system is a deterrent to anyone who might find the key in the yard, since it's always on at night, while I'm at work, and sometimes even when I'm just hanging out at home.

I did find a good spot on the porch. Not visible but easily reached if you know it's there. Not part of anything people could pick up, shake, accidently jostle -- pretty safe, I think!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 1:27PM
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I lurk here often... and thought I share. Back when my girls were little, the key was in the box from my youngest daughters rabbit. Twas the best place I ever had.

Of course, I can't tell you where I have it now... cause then I would have to kill you. LOL


    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 9:17PM
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