Friday, March 11, 2011

Locked out (a few keys to spare)

Can you currently identify each key on the keyring in your pocket or purse? Do they unlock doors that exist in your present life, or are you deliberately carrying around some extras as part of a weight bearing exercise program? I finally have the keyring under control, but the ones I have removed from it over the years are still around, and I don't have any good excuses. When my old car didn't pass inspection last year, it was ultimately sold for parts. Since it's dismantled in a salvage yard someplace, it's safe to say that theft is no longer a concern, so what am I doing with the key? And what about the three copies of former front door keys to my current home, which had new locks installed two years ago? Hey, at least those are identifiable and an informed decision can be made, but what about the ones that remain a mystery? Might need them someday, but don't know for sure. Won't know until I need them, right? What if one of them belongs to my neighbor who might ask me again to feed the cat while she's away...can't exactly go over there now with all the miscellaneous keys and start trying them out on her front door. I'd at least better wait until she isn't home.

Have you got a similar collection? This week's downsize challenge is to sort through your keys, not just the ones on the keyring, but the ones hanging on nails by the door, or hiding in drawers, or on desks and dressers. Figure out what they open. Keep them only if you need them.

What can we do with our old keys?
The internet is full of ideas for craft projects to be made with keys, but this remains a downsize challenge, so I encourage you to fight the overwhelming urge to make wind chimes or necklaces from your old luggage set.

Don't throw them in the trash! Keys are metal and can be recycled, often right along with the rest of your metal recycling. Ask the folks at your recycling center or transfer station. Mine told me to put them in with the cans.

If you have a lot of keys, especially brass or other metals of value, you might want to scrap them for cash.

If you'd like to donate them to a group raising money for Multiple Sclerosis research? See the link below:

Whatever you do, label the ones you keep. It'll save you a lot of time later.  


  1. I could be reading a blog I wrote myself - I keep gasping and saying "I don't believe it, me too!" I'm 61 years old, an American living in France with French husband, daughter in Montreal and new apartment in Montreal where I now, since recent retirement, plan on spending lots of time. I wanted to get our apartment in France in good enough condition so my husband could keep things under control even if I'm gone for months at a time. I was inspired by a Christmas card my parents received from friends of theirs who were downsizing - they said that kept reminding each other that "we own our possessions, they don't own us" and also, very important, that they had gotten pleasure out of them but just didn't need them any more. I have also found a good rule for me is "only touch once" - decide immediately what to do - do not just put it down in another place. In any case, thanks - I plan on reading you regularly!!

  2. Truer words n'er spake! My mother passed on her stuff and I passed as much as they could take along to my kids but still, the house is too small.

    Edit! Somebody else can use it! And I am tired of being the curator of my collection.

  3. Alison, the "only touch once" rule is a great one when tackling the clutter, and as the friends of your parents remind us, it is certainly possible to keep a memory without a memento.

  4. I have always kept "dead" keys since the day I read that I could use them as curtain weights. Realization: I will NEVER have a house with that many windows, and who else in the world even knows what curtain weights are!!!

  5. Great post! I'm going to have to tackle this soon myself. Thanks for the suggestion on where to donate them.


  6. Man loves holding on to things that values him although it is already a part of the past. It is human nature to have a hard time moving on. But are you happy carrying all of these excess weight around? Do you really want to keep all of these keys?


    new home

  7. I think the reason why people keep the keys is because they still hold sentimental value like your first car or house but I think we need to give away these keys to a good cause which is keysforkindness.

  8. It is important to mark our keys because we might really get confused with all of them. However, proper disposal of these keys if we would not use them anymore is really important to avoid other people get them and might try opening your stuff. Donating them to different organizations could really be helpful. property management perth

  9. That is a nice chart. I hope you could figure out where all these rightfully belong. Melissa's right, marking your keys are very important especially when you have a lot. It's difficult when you lose a key, especially those that are used for the locks at home. Conveyancing in Noosa Heads