How to Find Your Keys

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Sometimes it's the things you use every day that can be the hardest to
find. Creating consistent habits and permanent homes for keys, handbags,
briefcases and other important items saves time and stress
every time you leave the house.

  • Pick one location near the door to hold your key ring while you're at home. Practice putting keys in a basket, bowl or hook by the entry area as soon as you walk through the door so they're easy to find. If you are having a hard time getting into the habit of using your new holding spot, write a reminder on a sticky note and keep it on the outside entry door until the habit becomes routine.

  • Slim down massive key rings. Keep only frequently used keys for entry locks, security doors and vehicles on your everyday key ring to keep it light.

  • Sort through all other keys, testing to see that they actually open something. Toss those that you can't identify or that unlock things you no longer own.

  • Install a hook rack for keys in a handy location to hold the remaining keys, such as those for the mailbox, storage shed, bike lock, boat or neighbor's home. Identify each key with a colored key jacket or key tag. If security is an issue, use a wallmounted key safe. See 57 Live Better Through Labeling.

  • Give an extra house key to a trusted neighbor for unexpected lockouts. If you have both upper and lower locks, identify which key opens which lock--or better yet, have both locks rekeyed to the same key.

  • Avoid stashing your keys in a coat pocket, as they're easy to forget when temperatures warm up and the coat stays in the closet.

  • To avoid losing a safe deposit box key, tape it to the inside of a frequently used cabinet or drawer. Note the location within a contents file for the box, kept in your home filing system. See 185 Create a Flawless Filing System.

  • Keep an extra car key in your wallet as a backup in case of accidental lockouts.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the ignition or valet key to your car on a detachable clip in the glovebox for quick handoff to attendants at parking garages. If you frequently need to detach individual keys, invest in a valettype ring, such as ones at KeyChains4You.com.
  • Find a landing pad for purses, briefcases and backpacks somewhere near the entry so you can spot them quickly when you leave the house. A hanging accessory bag or shelving unit in the closet or a slim table in the hallway manages these items well. See 70 Organize Entryways and Mudrooms.

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