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Top Tips for Hiding a House Key Outside Safely (That Aren't So Obvious)

Have you ever been faced with the sinking feeling of standing in front of your own locked door, keys nowhere to be found? We’ve all been there. Fortunately, there’s a solution: hiding a spare key outside your home. But before you rush to shove it under the doormat (we’ll get to why that’s not a great idea!), this guide will explore the best and most secure ways to hide a key outside.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

Ditch the Obvious: Forget the doormat or flowerpot! Burglars know these classic hiding spots.

Creative Camouflage: Blend in with your surroundings. Think fake rocks, strategically placed objects, or even cleverly disguised diversion tactics.

Magnetic Might: For smaller keys, utilize magnets! Hide a magnetic box under your porch or utilize a magnetic strip on a dryer vent hood (with caution!).

Weatherproof Your Key: Protect your key from rain, sweat, or splashes with a small, sealed waterproof case.

Consider Alternatives: Explore options beyond hiding a key. Smart locks with code access offer increased security and convenience.

Trusted Neighbor Key: The simplest solution? Give a spare key to a reliable neighbor for emergencies. Just be mindful of potential security risks.

This guide will help you find the perfect “hide a key” solution, taking you through:

  • The dangers of obvious hiding spots that anyone could find (think flowerpots and doormats).
  • Creative and secure options for hiding your key outdoors, ensuring it stays safe from prying eyes and the elements.

Creative Hiding Spots for Spare Key

This list explores some clever ways to hide things, both outdoors and using magnets. Let’s break it down:

A. Discreet Outdoor Locations:

  • Here, the idea is to blend in with the surroundings or use everyday objects to disguise your stash.
  • 1. Fake Rock with a Hollow Interior: This classic option provides a natural-looking hiding spot. You can buy one pre-made or craft your own with concrete or resin.


  • 2. Underneath a Strategically Placed Object: Think about things that rest on the ground outdoors, like patio furniture or a grill. By strategically choosing the location (maybe a corner hidden from view), you can create a small hidden space underneath.


  • 3. Diversionary Tactics: This is where you get creative! Imagine a broken sprinkler head that nobody bothers to fix, but secretly has a compartment beneath it. Or a birdhouse with a hinged roof that reveals a hidden space inside. The key is to choose something that might not raise suspicion but offers a sneaky hiding spot.

B. Using Magnets for Hidden Storage:

Magnets offer a unique way to secure hidden compartments, especially for smaller items like keys.

  • 1. Attaching the Key to a Magnetic Box Under the Porch: This is a great solution for spare keys. A magnetic box stuck discreetly underneath a porch or deck provides easy access for those who know where to look but remains hidden from plain sight.

  • 2. Utilizing Dryer Vent Hood for Hidden Magnetic Storage (if accessible): This option requires some caution. If you can safely access the backside of your dryer vent hood (outside the house), a magnetic strip stuck there can hold small metal objects like screws or spare keys. Be sure this doesn’t interfere with the ventilation system’s functionality and remember safety first!

Important Note: Remember, these hiding spots work best when they are unexpected. Avoid super common places like under the doormat. Also, consider the weather conditions when choosing an outdoor hiding spot. If it’s something sensitive to moisture or extreme temperatures, you might need an extra layer of protection.

Additional Considerations

This section explores various options to address your key management needs beyond simply carrying a physical key. We’ll delve into two main approaches:

A. Weatherproofing the Key (Waterproof Case)

This option focuses on protecting your physical key from the elements, especially water. Here’s what it entails:

  • Waterproof Case: You’d purchase a small, sealed case specifically designed to keep your key dry. These cases come in various sizes and materials, with some being rigid and others more pouch-like. They typically have a secure closure mechanism to ensure a tight seal.
  • Benefits: This is a great solution if you’re someone who spends a lot of time outdoors or near water. It protects your key from getting damaged by rain, sweat, splashes, or even accidental submersion.
  • Things to Consider: Not all keys are created equal. Bulky car keys with fobs might not fit in all cases. Additionally, make sure the case allows for easy key access while maintaining the waterproof seal.

B. Sharing Access with Trusted Individuals

This option focuses on granting access to your home or belongings without physically handing over your key. Here are some ways to achieve this:

  • Smart Locks: These electronic locks can be controlled through your smartphone or a dedicated key fob. You can program temporary access codes for trusted individuals, allowing them to unlock the door for a specific timeframe.
  • Key Sharing Services: Some services offer secure key storage boxes with digital access codes. You can leave your spare key in the box and provide the code to someone you trust, allowing them to retrieve it when needed.
  • Digital Keys (if applicable): Certain car manufacturers and apartment buildings are now offering digital key options. These can be integrated with your smartphone or wearable device, eliminating the need for a physical key altogether.
  • Benefits: Sharing access electronically provides more control and convenience. You can easily grant or revoke access as needed, and there’s no risk of losing a physical key.
  • Things to Consider: Smart lock installation might require some technical expertise. Additionally, not all homes or buildings are equipped for digital key access.

The best option for you depends on your specific needs and priorities. If you prioritize protecting your physical key from the elements, a waterproof case is a good choice. If you want to share access more conveniently, exploring smart lock options or digital key solutions might be better.

Safer Alternatives to Hiding a Key Outside:

Hiding a key outside is risky because anyone familiar with common hiding spots (under the mat, fake rock, etc.) could easily access it. Here’s a breakdown of the two alternatives you mentioned:

A. Smart Locks with Code Access:

  • What it is: A smart lock replaces your traditional deadbolt with one that can be unlocked using a code, smartphone app, or even voice commands (through a compatible system).
  • Pros:
    • Increased Security: No physical key to lose or hide.
    • Convenience: Grant access to friends, family, or service people with temporary codes.
    • Monitoring: Some models track who enters and exits your home.
  • Cons:
    • Cost: Requires buying and installing a new lock system.
    • Tech Reliance: Relies on a functioning phone or internet connection (for some models).

Potential Security Flaws: Like any connected device, there’s a slight risk of hacking (choose reputable brands with good security practices).

B. Giving a Spare Key to a Trusted Neighbor:

  • What it is: The simplest solution – entrust a spare key to a reliable neighbor you trust in case of emergencies.
  • Pros:
    • Low Cost: No additional equipment needed.
    • Simple to Use: No need to learn new technology.
  • Cons:
    • Security Risk: If the relationship sours or your neighbor loses the key, your home security is compromised.

Limited Access: Relies on neighbor’s availability, especially for planned entries.

Choosing the Right Option:

Consider your needs and priorities:

  • Security Focus: Smart locks offer a more secure solution.
  • Convenience Focus: Both options can be convenient, but smart locks offer more flexibility.
  • Budget: Smart locks require an upfront investment.

Additional Tips:

  • Whichever option you choose, keep the spare key separate from your main set.
  • Never label a key with your address.
  • Reclaim spare keys from unreliable people.
  • Consider a lockbox mounted securely outside your home for short-term access needs (trusted house sitters, deliveries).

By following these tips, you can ensure you have a safe and reliable way to access your home in case you get locked out.

Conclusion: Safe and Secure Access for Your Home

This guide has explored various strategies to ensure you always have a safe and reliable way to access your home, even if you get locked out. We emphasized the importance of discretion and security when hiding a spare key outdoors.

Remember, the best hiding spots are unexpected and well-disguised. Consider alternative solutions like weatherproofing your key or sharing access electronically with trusted individuals. These options can provide greater security and convenience compared to traditional hidden key methods.

Ultimately, the best approach depends on your specific needs and priorities. Weigh the factors of security, convenience, and cost to choose the solution that works best for you. With a little planning, you can ensure peace of mind knowing you’ll never be locked out of your own home.

Call a Locksmith for a Spare Key Made

For peace of mind and security, have a spare key made by a qualified locksmith. We at Jones and Sons Locksmith can quickly create a copy of your existing key, ensuring you always have access to your property. Don’t risk damaging your locks or compromising security with DIY methods – call a professional!

Frequently Asked Questions

Avoid super obvious spots. Instead, try a magnetic key holder under the porch, a fake rock with a hollow interior, or tucked inside your grill.

Absolutely! Invest in a waterproof key holder or case. This will keep your spare key safe from rain, snow, and rust.

Consider a smart lock! You can grant access to your home remotely using your phone. There are also key safes you can mount near your door for trusted individuals.

Think creatively! Disguise your key inside a fake sprinkler head, a hollowed-out birdhouse, or even under a loose brick in your walkway.

Not many great outdoor options in an apartment setting. However, you could check with building management to see if they have a designated key storage solution.

While tempting, it’s not recommended. A hidden lock itself can become a beacon to potential intruders, negating the purpose of hiding the key.

That’s a good point! If you choose a lockbox, make sure it uses a code you’ll remember easily, or store the code securely elsewhere.

Only share the hiding spot with those you trust completely. Let them know the key is there only in emergencies, and remind them to be discreet when retrieving it.

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