mysterious keysWe all have mysterious keys that we find in our homes that we don’t know what lock they belong to. This happens a lot while we are purging. Perhaps we decide to downsize for whatever reason, or we are clearing out the home of a loved one that passed away.

Finding mysterious keys tucked away in drawers all over the house derails us from our purging to contemplate which locks they belong to, it’s a distraction. We can’t get rid of them if we don’t know what they unlock, or we may never be able to unlock, or start something that we use.

Those mysterious keys may belong to a car, doors to a house, shed, riding lawn mower, portable safe, curio cabinet, desk, armoire, file cabinet, jewelry box, gun safe, boat, etc.  If any of those items are locked and we don’t have the key, how would we get into something that may contain important papers or valuable items?

Curiosity usually gets the better of us, so we stop our purging to try out the mysterious keys in every lock in our vicinity. Some locks may be identified, others may not. Those unidentified keys are kept in case we find it’s lock for at least a little while.

While this may be a dilemma, it’s not a huge storage concern.  My suggestion is to hold on to them for at least a little while, as mentioned above, to see if you can find its lock. If after a period of time, you can’t solve the mystery, let them go, preferably via recycling.

Going forward, I recommend a proactive approach.  The tips below can be a proactive approach to avoid the dilemma of running across all those mysterious keys.

  • Find a central location in your house to assign a home for all your keys. Options vary but a rack or 3M Command hooks on a wall works very well.
  • Label all your keys in a meaningful way so you know what key belongs to each lock. Some use color-coded sleeves. This is a good option as long as you know what color belongs to each key, and you’re not color blind. A permanent marker also works well.
  • Put them back in their homes after use. This is probably the most important tip that I can offer! So many don’t think about it and put the key down somewhere after use, and then they panic when they can’t find their car keys to get somewhere on time.
  • When you change the locks on the doors to your home, discard/recycle the old keys.  Be sure to notify others that have a copy of your key to discard/recycle the old key and provide a replacement.
  • Just like user’s manuals, when you get rid of an item, discard/recycle the keys.