I've never organized a home or office where I haven't found a box, cup or drawer full of unidentified keys - keys to padlocks, fences, apartments, cars, offices, file cabinets, garages, credenzas, desk drawers and even piggy banks.
Often the owners have long ago forgotten what the keys fit.The problem arises when old keys are mixed in with spares you might need in an emergency.
For instance, what would you do if your 3-year-old locked himself in the garage with your key? Do you know which of the 20-some keys in the drawer is the spare?
What if you were in a car accident and you had to be hospitalized? Is there an extra key to your dog's pen so that your landlord or neighbor could feed and water him?
Take a few hours and spend a little money to:
- Sort your keys, throw out old ones and have duplicates made. Buy key rings or a key box and label spare keys. (If you are concerned about crime, label keys with numbers and store the index in another location.)
- Identify locks that no longer have keys: your file cabinet, briefcase or bathroom door. You will probably uncover several missing keys. Hire a locksmith, disable the lock or remove it. Emergency-proof all locks.
- Retrieve keys from those who no longer have a need for them, or have the lock changed or rekeyed.
- If you live alone, you may wish to give important keys to a relative, neighbor or friend.