What to Do When You Lose Your Keys

It happens to everybody. You need to start your car or get into your house, but when you reach for your keys, they’re not where they should be.


Unfortunately, you seldom realize your keys are lost when it’s convenient. Whether you’re rushing out the door or on your way home from work, it’s easy to get frustrated in this situation. Before panic sets in, take a deep breath. Follow this step-by-step list to go from lost keys to peace of mind.

1. Make sure you don’t have them. Always double check to be sure you’re not overlooking your keys. Purses, messenger bags and backpacks are usually big enough for keys to be covered by other contents. Dig through your bag and empty it if necessary to make sure your keys aren’t hiding in a secret pouch. If you don’t normally keep your keys in a bag, check all your pockets to be certain your keys aren’t somewhere on you.

2. Think of where they could be. Since your keys aren’t where you expected them to be, mentally retrace your steps to determine likely places they could be. Questions like, “When was the last time I used my keys?” or, “What did I do with my keys after I last used them?” are helpful. If you share keys with someone, check if that person used them recently or left them in a different place. Also, consider any changes from your normal routine that might have caused you to leave your keys in an out-of-the-ordinary place.

3. Conduct a thorough search. Once you have a mental list of places where your keys might be, search them to see if your keys are hiding out somewhere nearby. Whenever possible, return to all these places and examine them yourself. Make your search more effective by following these suggestions:

  • Be systematic, not frenzied. When you look thoroughly once, you don’t have to check the same place multiple times.
  • Always check the proper place. Keys are usually lurking around their assigned space, even if they aren’t in exactly the right location.
  • If time permits, tidy up the suspected places. Often keys are hidden in plain sight—under couch cushions, in a stack of mail, etc.
  • Ask an employee. When looking for lost keys in public places like restaurants or libraries, check with management to see if keys have been turned in recently.

If you can’t check all these places yourself, call friends or family members to check for you.

4. Call the police to report missing keys. This step is optional, but you can call or visit the local police to check if they’ve had any keys turned in. Sometimes keys found on streets or in public parks are given to police and kept in a central location.

5. Use a spare key. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare, now’s the time to reach for it. Sometimes these are hidden in easy-to-access places; sometimes family members or roommates have them. If you can’t get to your spare from your location, call someone who can, explain the situation, and ask him or her to help you out of your predicament.

6. Call a locksmith. At this point, it’s tempting to try entering your house or car by more drastic or stealthy means. Unless there’s an emergency, save yourself money and clean up by calling a locksmith. A locksmith is also your best option if you found your keys but can’t reach them, like when they’re locked in your car and you don’t have a spare key. Expert locksmiths can help you unlock your home or vehicle quickly without damaging your personal property.

7. Decide whether to cut a new key or change your locks. Locksmiths don’t just unlock property in emergencies; they can also provide helpful advice about what to do now that your keys are lost. In many cases, simply cutting a new key for the existing lock is a good choice, and it’s usually the less expensive option. If you’re concerned about someone using your lost keys, changing locks is recommended. Locksmiths deal with this situation daily, so they’re a good resource when making this decision.

8. Take steps for prevention. After misplacing their keys, people tend to be more careful keeping track of them. Even so, taking preventative steps now while the problem is fresh in your mind saves you time and stress in the future. If you don’t have a set of spare keys, have the locksmith cut you some. Keep these fresh keys somewhere safe but easily accessible, such as your office or garage. Avoid more obvious places such as a mailbox or flower planter because many thieves look there first.

Losing your keys is never fun, but it happens now and then. When it happens to you, remember your local locksmith is only a phone call away.

Affordable Lock is a locksmith in Markham serving the Greater Toronto Area, including Scarborough, Aurora, North York, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Stouffville. With over 30 years of experience, we pride ourselves on looking after your commercial or residential locksmith needs. Affordable Lock’s showroom in Markham showcases a wide selection of keys, locks and an assortment of other security products for your home or business. Whether you are looking to upgrade your home or business’s security, or solve security issues, Affordable Lock Services Inc. in Markham is here for you! Give us a call today.
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