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How Do You Handle Your Keys? 763

arisvega writes "I lost my backpack some time ago, but was lucky enough to have left my laptop at home that night, and my cell and keys in my pocket. The inevitable habit-change that followed was to start strapping my keys on my pants, so at least I would still be able to get home (as long as I kept my pants on). But I realized I had a lot of keys: one for the outer door, two for the inner, three more for my girlfriend's place, one for the office, one for the postbox, one for my bicycle, the car, the motorbike and the roof. ... Plus, I keep a tiny Swiss Army knife on my keychain that I really wouldn't want to part with. Needless to say, this makes a jingly bunch that eats through my pocket. I ask you, Slashdot people, how do you carry/safeguard a hefty, pronouncedly jingly bunch of keys? What are the alternatives? Any suggestions on clothing or technology? Would having 'The One Key' make things better, or worse?"
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How Do You Handle Your Keys?

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  • News for nerds. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FF8Jake ( 929704 )
    Stuff that matters.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sturm ( 914 )

      The only thing worse than wankers who make useless, inane comments like this are the wankers who moderate this sort of tripe as "Insightful".

    • Re:News for nerds. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) <> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:57PM (#32119746) Journal

      I'd rather read about other people's processes than anything else. If you find key management as trite then perhaps you don't understand what being a nerd entails.

      • by turing_m ( 1030530 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:37PM (#32120222)

        I'd rather read about other people's processes than anything else.

        I do agree. My only problem with this thread is that so far no one has come up with a magical way to deal with this problem - the only real answer I've seen so far (and it's unstated) is "man up and deal with it". If you are the sort of person who needs to put an end statement right after every begin statement just so you won't forget to put it in after you've nutted out what should go in between, having tidy little application specific keyrings just won't cut it, no matter how much mangling they do to your pockets. If simply remembering "wallet, keys, phone" is almost too taxing for your organizational skills, guaranteed the only time you will remember to bring your post office box key with you when you leave the house is the moment when you pull up at the post office. And by the time you get home you will have forgotten what it was exactly that you forgot before.

        The other solution is to leave your house or mother's basement so few times per year that most of the time your keys live on your desk. This way, your clothes will wear out faster than your pockets. If you intend to maintain the practice of living in mom's basement, another poster had an excellent suggestion to keep your keys ensconced in a snot-rag. This will be at least as effective a ward against future girlfriends/wives as garlic is to vampires. For extra efficacy, make sure the handkerchief emblazoned with either the D&D or Star Trek logo, your choice. You can't be too careful.

        • Re:News for nerds. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by snowraver1 ( 1052510 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:07PM (#32120550)
          The solution here is to simply carry less keys.

          one for the outer door, two for the inner, three for girlfriends place, one for the office, one for the postbox, one for my bicycle, the car, the motorbike and the roof

          Motorbike key stays at home keeping the roof key company. Unless you use your bicycle every day, take that off too. Assuming you live in an apartment and the outer door is a communal one, keep that one and one of you inner door ones. Leave the other lock unlocked. Locks are for honest people anyways. Ditch either the girlfriend or her keys. They are weighing you down too much. Get her to buzz you in. Why carry they keys? With that you are down to 5 keys. Buy a $2 keyring (don't get any extra crap, just a ring) and ta-da key problem solved.

          Tune in tomorrow to learn how to clean your room.

          • this thread has mentioned the obvious. In most of the world (IE the 3rd world) everyone with stuff they really need to secure, hires a guard to watch it. So you never carry a single key, you just wave to the nice man with the gun, and walk on through, leaving your car or motorbike keys in the ignition for the valet to park. Seriously people, step up, if you want to ditch keys, spend some money amd hire yourself a bouncer, doorman, groundsman, valet, elevator guy, housekeeper, driver and bodyguard (to carry your phone).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by EvilIdler ( 21087 )

        Yeah, there are some useful replies from all those nerds.

        I personally just have one key (house key). The rest is covered by keycards, which stack nicely in a pocket or wallet. In fact, I'm considering a deck protector (like for card games) at this point :P

  • by fred fleenblat ( 463628 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:23PM (#32118356) Homepage

    move in with your girlfriend, that will save you 3 keys right there

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:27PM (#32118404)

      move in with your girlfriend, that will save you 3 keys right there

      And replace them with so many chains.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        move in with your girlfriend, that will save you 3 keys right there

        And replace them with so many chains.

        And if he does that, then he has plenty of balls to go with them.

    • by Mycroft-X ( 11435 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:28PM (#32118420)
      move in with your girlfriend, that will save you 3 keys right there

      Or dump two of them.

      oops, this is slashdot
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Exactly; our home uses the same key for all the doors. Also separate key rings based on activity. eg. I don't need my bicycle key when I use my vehicle.

    • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:37PM (#32118586)

      Alternatively, stop carrying around pointless keys. Don't carry around the key to the roof of your house for example, leave it in your house. Taking your car? Leave your bike keys at home and vice-versa...

      I would have thought this was pretty obvious.

      Talk about intelligent people and lack of common sense >.

    • move in with your girlfriend, that will save you 3 keys right there

      If he's asking a question like this on slashdot, I don't think he's ready for that. I don't know about you, but I was made responsible for a set of keys to the house sometime around the age of 7 or 8. I'm surprised he's not asking slashdot about toilet habits "What happens when you want to go poopies?"

  • by RollingThunder ( 88952 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:24PM (#32118366)

    And then carry around a crowbar, just like Gordon Freeman. It's the universal key!

  • RFID (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Slutticus ( 1237534 )
    Haven't owned a traditional key since 2005
    • by spazdor ( 902907 )

      Really? How many different places do you routinely need access to?

  • 2 car keys, 1 house key.

    why do you need 3 keys for your girlfriend's place? You have 3 girlfriends?

    • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:32PM (#32118496)

      why do you need 3 keys for your girlfriend's place? You have 3 girlfriends?

      * The lock on the front door
      * The lock on her bedroom door
      * The lock on her chastity belt

    • Why does he have keys to his girlfriend's place? In case he wants to be there when she isn't? Creeeeeepy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Red Flayer ( 890720 )

        Why does he have keys to his girlfriend's place? In case he wants to be there when she isn't? Creeeeeepy.

        Use your imagination.

        It's so she can lay in wait for him, (mostly) naked, with dimmed lights and romantic music playing, posed provocatively on her bed. All while trusting that only he (holder of the Sacred Keys of I-Gave-You-Unfettered-Access-Where's-My-Ring) can enter her abode and ravish her.

        Having the girlfriend's housekeys can lead to all kinds of laying-in-wait-for-him goodness, very few of whic

  • Solution: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:25PM (#32118378) Homepage Journal
    Everybody I know keeps their keys and trinkets around their neck on a lanyard [] along with their badges.

    I prefer to use two keyrings: one with the bare essentials(1 key for car, 2 keys for house) and a big one for the more obscure keys that I could go pick up from home if I had to do something special. I also make backup duplicates of all my keys.

    Hollow rocks and magnetic key holders are also good places to store backup keys in case you lock yourself out of the car or house.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

      Never really got into lanyards. My work id clips on a retractable hook, which also helps me do my wind-up-doll routine.

      Lanyards are either a safety hazard, or are the breakaway type which means you'll lose them.

      Keep an extra set of keys with friends and family, rather than hiding them around the house or car. But it's probably better just to simply not have any valuables.

    • Re:Solution: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Mighty Buzzard ( 878441 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:13PM (#32119172)
      Mine hang outside my pocket, held there by the 16MB (fuck off, MiB fascists) stick of ram attached to the key chain and shoved in my front pocket. The ram grabs surprisingly well onto the inside of the pocket against anything but a straight upwards pull, then it slides out quite easily.
  • Easy! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Megor1 ( 621918 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:25PM (#32118384) Homepage
    All those keys can be replaced by a few lock picks or if you are lazy a small amount of bump keys will go far.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Exactly what I was going to say. Make 'em yourself from a coat hanger and an allen key, learn to use them, and you'll really go places. Of course, you might have trouble explaining yourself to the neighbours until you learn to do it fast.
  • One for my house, one for car
    Other work related keys are in a briefcase (with travels in the car or back at home/office)
    Other keys stay in the house (for the garage, etc...)

  • Girlfriend? (Score:5, Funny)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:26PM (#32118396) Journal

    three more for my girlfriends place

    Why must you turn the internet into a house of lies, Ralph?

  • by Dragoniz3r ( 992309 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:27PM (#32118408)
    Put your "disposable" keys like the key to your bike, mailbox, the roof, and your gf's place on one key ring and keep it in your backpack, while keeping just your "essential" keys like car and front door strapped to your pants.
    • by HBoar ( 1642149 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:00PM (#32118970)
      Bu don't EVER let the GF know that her keys (and hence, in her mind, herself) have been deemed to be disposable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by apoc.famine ( 621563 )
      I've sort-of done this. I have two keys to get into work - exterior door and office door. In my desk I have all the rest of the keys I need to open the rest of the stuff around here. Sure, I might, once, need to just go in, go somewhere, and go out. But 99% of the time, I need to get into my office.

      I tried doing that at home, but mail is at the bottom of the stairs, on the way to my apt. No sense really in leaving my mailbox key in my apt, because I'll have to cover a flight of stairs twice to get mail th
  • One suggestion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:27PM (#32118414)
    Get flat copies of your keys [], and keep them in your wallet.

    The only key I actually need to keep with me is my car key; I use the garage door remote to get into the house. But that is a non-issue anyway, since all your keys should be on the same keychain!
    • The only key I actually need to keep with me is my car key; I use the garage door remote to get into the house.

      This. Carry your car key; use your car as a giant key storage container, for all other keys.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Because then when your car is stolen, you can be super fucked. Why not up the ante, and use your car as a giant filing cabinet for all your important documents as well?
  • I always carry my keys, lighter, cellphone and a few other things in my pockets, but then I always wear baggy pants with lots of pockets.

    Back when I was in to street BMX riding I had everything in a backpack to minimize the risk of damaging anything (including myself) or losing stuff when I fell. The trick in those cases is to always keep track of your backpack. I can't really say I understand how some people manage to constantly misplace bags, I've had several girlfriends who would put their bag/purse down

  • When I was using a key "wallet" in my back pocket, and when I first started carrying them on a key ring in my front pocket. It got better over time though; once I realized how much damage they were doing, I started being more careful to arrange the keys on the key ring pointy side up before putting them in my pocket, so the part of the ring touching the bottom of the pocket was just the round loop and the soft tag. I haven't had a hole since then. Also makes for less of the whole "stabbing myself in the thi
  • Carry Them (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <thyamine.ofdragons@com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:34PM (#32118526) Homepage Journal
    I got tired of wearing holes in my pants from keys in general while moving PCs/servers while at client sites, so now I just carry everything except my wallet. Cell phone and keys in hand, so that I always know I have what I need. When you really need to, they go into the pockets of course, but getting in the habit of literally having them in hand means you always know where they are. It also forced me to reduce the keys I have by figuring out what I really needed to have _all_ the time, and what was just 'nice' to have.
  • Keys, plus a Swiss army knife and a couple of key cards. Invariably they eat a hole in a pants pocket. I tried wearing a photographers vest with rugged Velcro, lock down pockets but found it overly warm and bulky. I tried wearing the clutter around my neck, but again it was awkward, especially as a just so length to the necklace was never amenable to a Goldilocks' Solution. It even prompted me to look into the market for a type of light weight yoke with removable features like pockets and clips (ammo and o
  • CDO Key Habits (Score:5, Informative)

    by painandgreed ( 692585 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:34PM (#32118542)

    I keep my keys in my front right pocket. They don't go anywhere else. They're always there unless they are in my hand and I'm unlocking something. If I do set them down, I usually notice that they are missing (and also am in the habit of patting myself down to make sure they are there before leaving the house etc). The same goes for my cell phone in my other front pocket and my wallet in my back pocket. that's where they go and I simply don't put them anywhere else except for unusual situations. That usually solves my losing things issue and when people ask me how many times I've lost my phone, I can say 0.

    For too many keys, since I didn't want to change my system, I eventually had to split up my key rings. One for every day, always have keys. Another for the car. Another for my photostudio. Another one for work keys. The work keys go on my lanyard at work and the others I only pick up and put in my pocket when I actually use them. They actually do fit better on different key rings rather than all on one. Otherwise, they sit in the same coffee mug on my desk at home.

  • Because i hardly ever need my keys when I'm sitting in front of my TV...

    Also my house key is on a longer chain than my other keys so i can easily find it in the dark and while drunk....

    Also if I'm ever chased by an mad axe-man I won't have to fumble around to get the key for my front door...

  • Carabiner (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 )

    Hang it on my belt.

    Work key - big old thing
    GF's car key on a key ring with brass Iguana fob
    GF's car remove in key ring that has a Forza 3 fob
    House key on key ring
    Truck keys (2) on three key rings with a Chevrolet key fob

  • Easy... (Score:5, Funny)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:37PM (#32118602)
    get a manpurse.
  • 3 or less (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nos. ( 179609 )

    I rarely have more than three keys on me at any given time. One for the house (all locks keyed the same), one for the vehicle I'm driving (SUV, Car, or motorbike), and optionally the mail key. Work is all proximity card readers, and there are precious few other locks that I ever use.

    I did see an instructable or the like that had a way to put a number of keys into a leatherman by removing the tools.

  • Do you really need all those keys on you? It seems to me that the *three* keys for your girlfriend's place are probably somewhat redundant. Maybe they're front/back/basement keys, in which case you probably need only one unless you're living there. Your roof key can probably be stashed at home.

    Cargo pants are really nice, if you can wear them. In general, keyfobs aren't worth the hassle. If you need what they have--the SAK, for instance--take them off the keychain and carry them either in your pack, which

  • then you don't need to carry all these different keys with you. you can have just one that works everywhere.
    although the bank was a little annoyed when I tried to open my safe deposit box.

  • I recently got my keys down to 1 house key, 1 USB memory stick, and 1 key/FOB thing for my car. I really wish my FOB opened my house door. The USB memory stick is optional.

  • Just don't lock anything. And leave your car key in your car's ignition.

    I mean, it's still illegal to steal stuff, so no one's going to.

    Seriously, though... when I had a mess of keys, I had the same problem. You've mentioned a couple issues that need to be addressed.

    1. Emergency backup. One option is to make friends with your neighbors and give them a key if you trust them. Another is to have a backup key near your pad with a combination lock on it's case. You can also buy these for your car, you ca
  • Only eleven keys? Get a keyring and buy a better brand of clothes that use sterner stuff for the pockets. (Or learn to sew and patch.)
    Seriously, eleven keys aren't all that much.

  • by xploraiswakco ( 703340 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:06PM (#32119070) Journal

    I place a handkerchief in my pocket before I put my keys in, the handkerchief then protects the pocket from the sharp keys and pocket knife, and also provides padding that will at least muffle the noise of jingling keys in your pocket.

  • by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:10PM (#32119128) Homepage

    I'm posting this as I stare at all the different keys and key chain items I carry around. They include my own house keys (3), my neighbor's keys (2), car keys (3), car alarm fob (2), RSA SecurID token, trigger lock keys (4), ThinkPad dock key (1), padlock keys (2). These are only the primary keys as the backups are stored elsewhere. Add to this the optional items such as a couple Leatherman Squirt S4s and Micra, Gerber Clutch and Shortcut, keychain flashlights, and assorted carabiners and I can understand your plight. After losing a set of keys after the disengagable clip came apart somewhere along Ft. Lauderdale beach, I looked for alternatives.

    First, separate all your keys based on need. I carry around my Leatherman Micra, main house key, ignition and car alarm fob on one ring. On your second ring, add the garage key, car trunk key, Shell Gas RFID fob. On the third ring, place your firearm trigger lock key, the docking station key, and padlock keys. On the fourth ring, place the remainder.

    Next, acquire a locking carabiner. Don't opt for the spring loaded ones you get for $5 for a 6 pack at WalMart. You need climbing gear biners. These can be had from Altrec or Eddie Bauer or even Home Depot. Attach the primary key ring set to this carabiner.

    You'll then need to purchase a pair of cargo pants, and -- this is important -- make sure that it has belt loops that can accomodate at least a 2" leather belt.

    Purchase a durable and reinforced leather belt. Along with this, pick up a belt-attachable key minder. Black leather ones are cool, but nothing says rugged like camo. You can attach the second and third rings to this belt. It will also have plenty of room for your cell phone holster, your Leatherman Wave, binoculars, primary flashlight, and optionally a spool of 550 paracord.

    Finally, you'll need to purchase a MOLLE vest. These can be had for $60 used at an army surplus store but new ones can run into the hundreds of dollars. An ALICE capable vest is an option, but I prefer the MOLLE attachments. With this vest you can add several key rings and similar attachment devices.

  • What you need... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaroKann ( 795685 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:17PM (#32119234)
    Either a Key Wallet []

    or a belt clip key chain, which keeps the keys outside of your pockets. []
  • by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:22PM (#32119298) Homepage Journal

    The fact that this story is not in idle, or the fact that it has so many "serious" replies?

    Next up: An in-depth analysis of what brand of adhesive tape is best to mend your glasses.

  • by SoundGuyNoise ( 864550 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:34PM (#32119472) Homepage
    In a more respectable time, men did more of a "Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet, and Watch." Now everyone I know does more like a One Handed Charleston, checking the pockets for wallet, keys, and cellphone.
  • multitool key mod (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hldn ( 1085833 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:51PM (#32120378) Homepage []

    i bought a $5 multitool at the hardware store and removed the tools from it. get some copies of your keys made, cut them down to fit, and stick them in place of the tools. the multitool i bought holds eight keys, four in either handle. that just happens to be the number of keys i have too~

  • Just three (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ixitar ( 153040 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:57PM (#32120458) Homepage
    House, car and office. They fit easily in my pocket.
  • Kwikset Smart Keys (Score:3, Informative)

    by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:04PM (#32120530)

    Every housing lock I control, I swap over to run off the same Kwikset smart key.

    With them, I can re-key to any other Kwikset key I like in a few seconds. If my wife or I lose a key, if we decide a friend who was trusted with a spare isn't so trustworthy now, we can rekey each lock in a few seconds and be good to go again rather than having to replace the whole damn lock. Plus, as I've re-keyed all the locks, the new key continues working in every door rather than being yet another variant.

    They're not perfect but then most household locks aren't - they're simply good enough to deter most people.

    one for the outer door, two for the inner, three more for my girlfriends place, one for the office ... and the roof

    At the very least, that's one key in place of your three plus the roof. Depending on how close your girlfriend and you are, it could be one for all seven. If you were very lazy and happy with security through obscurity with your co-workers, you could key all six of your home/girlfriend's locks off your work key. That'd be eight keys condensed in to one.

    That one plus the bike/car/motorcycle keys is only four and now pretty easy to carry. If your car is your daily ride and the bike/motorcycle are occasional toy rides, you can likely swap them off to a second keyring for just those occasions. At that point, a building and a car key on a keyring, even with your swiss army knife, isn't going to be that bulky at all.

  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:26PM (#32120752) Homepage Journal
    I have my keys on a Carabiner. The core set stay there all the time, other groups (like car keys) or tools (like a little USB Swiss army knife) get clipped on and off as needed. The set then gets clipped on the belt loop nearest my pocket and slipped into the top of the pocket. The weight never pulls on the pocket itself.
  • Key Wallet (Score:4, Informative)

    by UberOogie ( 464002 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @11:21PM (#32121694)

    There's a rather old-timey solution to this problem. I, too, was tried of wearing holes in my pockets from the numerous keys I had to carry around. Get yourself a leather key wallet. It is a wallet sized object with a set of key holders inside. You can store your keys in a relatively small area, and no more tearing up your pockets. Some of them even include change purses.

  • Two strategies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Desert Raven ( 52125 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @12:38AM (#32122340)

    First, get rid of some keys. Many houses have exterior doors with both a lock on the knob and a deadlock. I've replaced all of the knobs with keyless versions. #1, the knob lock is pointless if you use the deadbolt. #2, if the only lock is a deadbolt, you *cannot* lock yourself out.

    Second, split to multiple rings. There's no reason for me to carry my motorcycle keys when I'm driving my car. I have separate rings for each vehicle, with a house key on each. The rings are kept in a keybox, and I only take the one I need. I then have a separate ring with miscellaneous keys, but it mostly stays in the keybox.

    I mean, seriously, why are you carrying around your *roof* key?

  • by narcc ( 412956 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @12:45AM (#32122368) Journal

    First I'm going to tell you all about my keys, then I'm going to criticize you. This makes me feel important.

    I have my keys divided into two separate rings. The first ring has 1 house key and 3 car keys. The second ring has a redundant car key (for the car I drive primarily) and house key for convenience as well as 2 work keys, the key to my tool shed, 2 house keys which I can't identify, 1 mailbox key I forgot to return, and a key for a Kensington lock.

    All said, that's 13 keys. I keep both rings in my pocket. It hasn't been a problem.

    I recommend that you buy pants which are in your correct size. It seems obvious to me that having too many keys isn't the problem -- it's just that your pockets are too small.

    If you can't afford larger pants, might I recommend losing some weight? Anyhow, the point is that your keys shouldn't be eating holes in your pockets unless you're doing something wrong. (Are you sleeping in your work pants or something?)

    Given the problems you have with managing simple everyday objects, I'd also suggest moving in with your girlfriend. She'll easily be able to handle little life details like selecting appropriate clothing, keeping track of important things like keys, and will more than happily tell you when it's time to change your pants.

  • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:29AM (#32123920)
    Around here, they do those handy leather pouches with a keyring inside, and which close with a zipper or buttoned flap.

    While you still might need to trim down on the number of keys you carry, at least this will protect your pockets, and any mobile that may be sharing a pocket with your keys.

    And some of these pouches even have an additional smaller compartment that is handy for items such as USB keys.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27