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What’s worse than having to go outside during the coldest months? Getting yourself locked out of your home, of course. If you are fully dressed, that’s not a huge problem, but if you just want to take a quick peek outside and the wind slams the door right behind you, rendering you helpless with your jammies in the cold, the situation gets a bit more problematic. If you talk to a locksmith, you will find out just how often that actually happens, and believe it or not, most times. It’s not kids who get stranded outside. So, to save you the embarrassment of knocking on your neighbour’s door asking for some warmth while waiting for the emergency locksmith to come, we gathered seven fail-safes to help you never get locked out of your home.

Hide a spare key in a safe location

That’s the obvious choice, isn’t it? However, having a spare key outside your home is more challenging than it sounds. You can’t just put one under your doormat and hope for the best. If you are going to hide a key, at least make sure to put it in a relatively safe location. Having a fake drain cap or simply putting it in a fake stone or brick might prove enough if you have an abundance of such in your yard. Many would suggest keeping a spare key in your car; generally, that’s not a bad idea. However, you will have access to the key only if you have the car keys with you. That’s an obvious flaw in this plan. So a better solution would be to go after a secret key hideout. Make sure you put it in a hard-to-reach place outside of public eyes, so it can’t be retrieved relatively easily. After all, you will need it only on separate occasions. You won’t use it all the time, right?

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Give a spare key to a neighbour or friend/family

That’s a far better option than hiding a spare key somewhere in your backyard. But, on the other hand, you will depend on your neighbours or relatives. If they are not home, you will be stuck once again outside, so naturally, that’s not the best solution to your problem. Moreover, that’s a viable option only if you entirely trust your neighbours or relatives. After all, you won’t leave a key to someone who will snoop around while you are on vacation. Still, a trustworthy neighbour with a key is even handier, as they can water your plants or take care of your home when you are away. Naturally, you’d need to return the favour. That’s how favours work, after all.

Use a key finder

If you don’t know what a key finder is, don’t worry, it’s not a special breed of dog that can sniff out your keys, although how handy would that be? Key finders work pretty much the same way, only they don’t need food and walks, and they don’t bark at 3 in the morning. Instead, they are simple keychains which react to a command, like whistling or clapping. If you feel fancier, you can spend a bit more and have one that sends a signal directly to your phone with its location. True, this won’t help you to avoid getting locked from the outside, but it will genuinely help you not to forget your keys when going out, which is the same thing. Still, if your mind is constantly elsewhere, this app can help you track and retrieve your keys quickly when you are in a hurry to go out.

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Upgrade to a keyless or smart lock

Now that should be your number one priority, according to experts. Following the trends, we are steadily making our homes smarter every day. This will allow us to get inside our homes with our phones or fingerprints. Moreover, a smart keyless lock will improve your home safety in general, as it always sends you a notification when someone opens the door. Yes, that might be annoying sometimes, but it can also be quite handy if you have kids and you need to assist them in getting in from a distance. You can also give access to relatives, friends and even housemaids whenever they are at the front door without having to provide them with a separate key.

All and all, going for a smart keyless lock has many benefits and little to no downsides. The biggest plus, however, is that you will never get stranded, as your key will be your finger.

Hang up a lockbox

Getting a metal lockbox is taking hiding a key outside to the next level. Why hide a key when you can hide an entire lockbox with spare house keys, car keys and even some cash? So, naturally, you must select where to put the box carefully. On the one hand, it will attract attention if it’s in plain sight. But, on the other hand, if it’s hidden and someone finds it, they can have all the time they need to open it. So, go with what’s best for you based on your neighbourhood.

Maintain or replace old locks

Getting yourself locked outside is not always related to your mind being on vacation. Often the reason is due to the poorly maintained lock, which rusts, clogs and breaks over time. To prevent this from happening, you must spray a bit of lubricant every now and then. Suppose you can do it every month – perfect. If you need help, just remember to do it when your key starts struggling when turning. That’s a clear sign of rust, and it may lead to breaking your key inside the lock.

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Make it a habit to check for your keys often

However, the best way to avoid getting locked outside is to make a habit of checking yourself for keys every time you go outside. All it takes is a soft padding to where you keep your key, and always keep it in the same place. This way, you can find it fast if you are in a hurry.

Despite all your efforts, getting locked outside is just a fact of life. It’s like losing some money on the street or getting sick. It’s unavoidable. So whenever that happens, and you have no other choice, make sure you have a professional locksmith service you trust and can call. This way, you won’t have to start your research when you’re most stressed.

Shabbir Ahmad

Shabbir Ahmad is a freelance enthusiastic blogger & SEO expert. He is the founder of Shifted Magazine & Shifted News. He contributes to many authority blogs including porch, hackernoon & techcrunch.