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!
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Step 1: What 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).
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!
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.