I cannot stress enough the importance of having duplicate keys.

I have misplaced and lost my keys one too many times, and each time when I am internally beating myself up about it, there is one thought that prevails: I should have made duplicates.

The first time I went without the keys to the duplex I lived in, I also lost my phone with the keys. This was back when I had a basic phone that I kept on a long key chain with a strap that I wore around my neck, and on that chain was my house key. One night, during a hotel suite party hosted by one of my friends, I left that key chain in the suite.

I had only my iPod, which I had left in the car, to contact my friend who had reserved the suite. Of course, I had to wait until I got to my workplace where I could use the free WiFi. Breaking into my own house was a bit of an adventure afterwards, thanks to the drizzle.

I finally got my phone and key back, but again failed to make duplicates because I thought “all was well”.

(c) sxc
(c) sxc.hu

My mantra before I leave any destination is “phone, keys, wallet”. Those are the three things I need. I don’t even need a purse. Sometimes, I don’t even need a wallet. I just take my ID and debit card, and go. It’s impossible to lock myself out of my apartment because I literally need a key to lock the place, but the car has been tricky.

If you read my previous post, you already know that I recently lost the keys to my apartment, car, and mailbox. I got a locksmith to make a new key to my car, and I took back the spare key to my apartment that Dru had. I am going to have to let the post office know that I will need copies of my mailbox key, and then report to my leasing office that I lost my gate clicker–both of which I will have to shell out some $$. I have learned my lesson this time.

When I get off work, I am going straight to a locksmith. If you haven’t yet, I advise you to take the following steps to ensure that you don’t get locked out of your home, car, or other keyed things again:

  1. Take your original keys to a locksmith and make at least two copies of each. Hardware stores like Lowe’s will make duplicate keys for cheap, but they won’t do car keys.
  2. Keep one copy for yourself. Give the second copy to a trusted family member or friend. This is in case you lost your original and your spare, or you lose access to both. One time, I locked my keys and my purse in my car. The kicker was that my spare car key was in my purse.
  3. Never keep your original and spares together. What’s the point? You lose one, you lose both.
  4. * Invest in a key finder/locator. My mom has a whistle key finder that is way too sensitive, so every little sound sets it off. I have had to silence it because it got annoying, and that negated its purpose. There is also this little thing called Tile–“Just attach, stick or drop your Tile into any item you might lose: laptops, wallets, keys, guitars, bikes—you name it. Then get on with the fun.” The catch is one small tile is $15 (or $50 for 4), expires after one year (planned obsolescence), and you will need a smartphone app to go with it. Until I find a cheap, reliable, and unobtrusive locator, I will have to skip this step for now.

Hopefully, none of you will ever get to experience the stress and hassle that I went through with the whole lost keys brouhaha. Not fun, I tell you. (Well, watching the AAA guy unlock my car with a pump and metal wire was kind of fun…)

Good luck, and keep those keys close!


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