Hide a Key... That Never Gets Lost!

Introduction: Hide a Key... That Never Gets Lost!

Never lock your emergency key in your house again. 
I don't know about you, but at our house we have the bad habit of leaving the "emergency hidden house key" INSIDE the house after use.  Or better yet, losing it entirely.  Either way, next time you are locked out, you are really locked out.

Combine that with the places people usually hide there keys (under the mat, under that lone rock beside the door, etc.) and you really have a worthless system.

A friend put his key on a chain that barely reached from the hiding place to the door. Good idea, but if it's going to be any distance from the door (which it should) you have the bulk of the chain to hide and potential for tangles.

I wanted something retractable like my elementary school janitor had for his massive wad of keys.  How about... a retractable clothesline?  How about using it as the hiding spot too?

This worked out great once I narrowed the key so it could fit through the hole the cord goes through.

Check it out!

Step 1: What You Need

You need:
1. Retractable clothesline with a large hole in the case where the line comes in and out. (I used a 40 foot line because it had the largest hole).

2. Key

3. Grinder, hacksaw or other way to reduce the width of the key.

4. Tools for mounting the clothesline.  I used a drill driver and two screws.

Step 2: The Key Is Too Wide!

No problem.
Use a bench grinder, hacksaw or even a file to reduce the width of the key.  Round out corners so the key is streamlined for going in and out of the hole.  Don't forget to remove any burs or sharp edges.

Step 3: Tie the Key Onto the Line

I put mine about three feet from the end of the line. (Studies show most would-be burglars stop looking after the first eighteen inches.)

Tie it on with a single overhand knot.  A fatter knot will get in the way when the key comes in and out of the case.

Make sure it goes in and out of the hole smoothly.  Pull it out and let it retract many, many times.  If it is getting hung up going in or out, first try playing with the knot.  Tighten it, re-tie it, etc.  If the problem is the key size, reduce it even more.

Step 4: Mount the Thing

Stick it somewhere a clothesline would naturally go.
Like I said, farther from the door is better than closer.

I used a drill-driver and the two screws that came with the clothesline.

Step 5: You Are Done!

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'd be tempted to modify your idea, but use a key that has some extra cuts so it doesn't work in the lock any more. I'd post a motion activated video camera covering the area. Then I'd post on instructables.com that I keep my key in a clothes line retractor. Finally, when I got the resultant funny video I'd post it to youtube.

    Other variations (all the following assume a hidden camera):
    (1) Tie the key to the location on the line that only reaches within 6" of the lock to give the perp a moments pause just for the fun of it.
    (2) Put the wrong key on the line, then the correct key a several feet further in the spool.
    (3) Tie a loop in the line and cut the loop, so it looks like it used to hold a key but was cut off. Then put the correct key further in the spool as in previous.
    (4) Put the cut loop, followed by the wrong key, followed by the correct key.
    (5) Put 100 wrong keys on the line with no hidden key anywhere.
    (6) Replace the clothes line with thin gage metal cable (like for bicycle brakes) and hook the spool end to an electric fence charger.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    yes it sure is a great idea---hope no one that knows you sees this !!!!!!!!!!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea.... however.. now we know where you keep your spare key :P

    Phil B
    Phil B

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I remember reading an article urging caution about hidden keys on an automobile. The criminals know all of the clever places to hide a key and more. We have a keyless number pad for opening our garage door. That functions as a key, too. We usually program it with my wife's cell phone number. Sometimes we change it to another cell phone number. If we forget the number, we can look it up in our cell phones. Yours is a good clever idea.