Tips to Organize Keys for Easy Access

Updated on May 23, 2016
I believe the appropriate caption for this is "a hot mess".
I believe the appropriate caption for this is "a hot mess". | Source

Chances are if you've gone out in public to shop in the past decade you've gotten membership cards thrown at you left and right. Sure, they help you save money, but they also clutter your key chain which is probably already weighed down by various keys, key fobs, beer bottle openers and car remote controls. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you control the chaos.

Step 1: Separate all of your key chain items first, rings and all.

Splitting up all the items on your key chain will make it easier for you to see the harsh truth about how much stuff you have on there. If you don't separate everything first, it'll be easier to fall back on bad habits again. Also, separation allows you to sort through the items, put them in categories, and discard unnecessary items. You may discover in the end that you have extra rings on your key chain.

Step 2: Sort your key chain items by category.

Place the key rings in a pile with other rings, the ring connectors with other ring connectors, membership cards with other membership cards, and the car keys with other car-related items. Separate and sort other keys by:

  • Keys to your house, basement, shed, etc.
  • Keys to peoples' houses where you frequently visit
  • Keys to your office, office cabinets and other work-related keys
  • Miscellaneous keys that you don't use often

So many duplicates and unnecessary things.
So many duplicates and unnecessary things. | Source

Step 3: Discard unused keys and put away spare keys and bottle openers.

You don't need the spare key to the car you sold last month or the key to your old apartment. If your key chain has multiple keys to your car then stash the extra key in a safe location in your house in case you get locked out. It sounds like common sense but sometimes things slip our minds and we miss obvious things hiding in obvious places.

You also don't need a bottle opener on your key chain unless you throw down on the booze in the middle of the woods every single day. If you drink at the bar, they open beer bottles for you, and if you're drinking at home then keep your bottle opener in the kitchen. There's no need to have one weighing down your purse or your pants everyday.

I had a spare key and TWO bottle openers.
I had a spare key and TWO bottle openers. | Source

Examples of key chain-friendly membership cards:

  • Gym membership cards - These are usually used multiple times a week and no one likes bringing their wallet to the gym
  • Recreation center/Swimming pool membership cards - Sometimes, people don't feel secure leaving their wallets in their car or in a locker room

Examples of cards you can just keep in your wallet (because you need to pay each time):

  • Grocery store cards
  • Pet store cards
  • Supplement/Vitamin store cards
  • Car maintenance store cards
  • Liquor store discount cards

Step 4: Discard unnecessary membership cards.

If you haven't used a membership card in the past year, chances are you're not ever going to. If you have membership cards that you use once or twice a year, consider using the wallet cards instead because burdening yourself everyday isn't worth the ten seconds a year it takes to pull out an infrequently-used card from your wallet.

Another reason to toss most of your key chain membership cards is that if you're paying for a purchase, you're going to be reaching into your wallet anyway. If you use the wallet-sized membership cards, you'll only have to open your wallet instead of fussing with your keys and your wallet.

THIS is what we're left with.
THIS is what we're left with. | Source

Step 5: Devote a key ring to miscellaneous keys, a trinket, and keys to other peoples' houses.

I mentioned "a" trinket because it's okay to have a personalized charm on your keys for individuality and quick identification purposes. More than one, however, can be a bit too much. After you see the same "Hawaii" trinket everyday, it becomes just another thing weighing down your keys and you don't think it's special anymore. Whether you have the weight on your key chain or not doesn't take away your awesome memories.

Whether the first place you reach is the top of your key chain or the bottom, place all of your miscellaneous keys that you don't often use on one key ring and put it where you look the least. For me, I always reach for the bottom of my keys first so I put my weird, random keys on the key ring closest to the carabiner since I never look there. Good examples of miscellaneous keys include a key to a file cabinet that you never use but would hate to lose the key to, your strong box key that you use maybe twice a year, and a key to your PO box that you check once a month or so. I have two keys to other peoples' houses that I use every few weeks to every couple of months so I thought they fit nicely with the miscellaneous keys.

Step 6: Make a key ring for the membership cards and key fobs you use frequently.

If you followed the steps above then you shouldn't have too many key fobs or membership cards left. I like to place this key ring between the infrequently-used keys and the keys that I use everyday since they're more important than my mother-in-law's shed key but less important than my car key.

The finished product!
The finished product! | Source

Step 7: Devote a key ring to your frequently-used keys for easy access.

You have the option of condensing your car keys and your house key if you don't have any office keys, shed keys or basement keys. I'm fortunate enough to only have a single house key, a car controller and a car key so, since I use these everyday, I put all three of them on a single key ring. Since they're on the lowest ring I can let gravity take over and easily access my frequently-used keys!

If you have office or work keys that you use everyday, use two separate key rings for your work keys and your car keys + house keys. If you don't want to have a ton of rings on your key chain, you can also put your work keys on your key fobs + membership card ring since the shapes are so different. Putting different shapes together on one ring makes it easier to access your work keys instead of sifting through your house keys in order to find them.

The most important method to easily accessing your keys is either discarding or putting unnecessary things elsewhere besides your key chain. There is no other feeling quite like stripping your key chain of burdens and clutching a nice, efficient, organized set of keys!


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  • coffeegginmyrice profile image

    Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

    This is wonderful! The key to organizing keys. Gotta share this. :)

  • NornsMercy profile image

    Chace 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

    Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope this hub makes the world just a little less jangly. :)

  • Meggan Tropos profile image

    Meggan Tropos 4 years ago from United States

    I have managed to narrow myself down to my car key only. Since i have a garage door opener in the car, and I always enter through the garage, I don't even need my house key (I keep a hidden spare and have a copy at a friends house though!). Great idea to ditch most of the little cards - I put those on their own ring and toss it in the bottom of my purse. No need having them at my fingertips because, like you said, you have to get into your purse to pay anyway!

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    Good ideas! I live in the country, and I have no idea where my house key is. I never lock the door when I leave. 'Don't have to, which is nice. God forbid, that may change. Great Hub selection for HOTD!

  • Wonder wool profile image

    Priyanka Estambale 4 years ago from United States

    Super useful hub! I have so many keys, I am always searching for the right one! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image

    Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    Congrats on winning the HOTD award!

    I have reorganized my keys before, but I would never have thought of putting it into a hub! You did a great job of breaking it down!

    It feels good to have a lighter key chain, and it's easier to find what you need. I used to keep a lot of store cards on them, too, but came to the same conclusion you did.

  • anatomynotes profile image

    Edmund Custers 4 years ago

    My key holder is so full, I have some keys laying loose in my wallet. I will definitely put all my keys together and implement this idea. Very useful hub. Keep it up. Thanks!

  • Amanda108 profile image

    Amanda 4 years ago from Michigan, United States

    A very good organization hub! I particularly agree that if you haven't used a card in a year, it's time for that card to go.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Congrats on HOTD! Well thought-through and good advice.

    Since we are retired, and previously were self-employed working from home, the "office" keys were never an issue. Ditto membership cards--we didn't have any.

    Because of a re-keying issue, we have separate keys for the house and shop, and I always carry the key to my daughter's house, so I don't forget to grab it if I need to go feed her kitties if they're away for the evening. Outside of that, I have only 8 keys and the car remote on my key ring. That is all. Just keys. I don't carry a purse; my keys hang from the belt loop of my jeans.

    Keys to the sheds, lawn tractor, strong box, bike locks, etc. are kept in a key safe in the office. None of that belongs dragging down my key ring.

    I had to laugh at your "trinket." When my youngest was in high school, she collected key rings. She had them all connected together, and they made a very easy-to-find-and-grab (huge) wad in her purse...and held a total of a single key: her key to the house.

    Voted up, interesting and useful.

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

    This is good advice for eliminating useless "stuff" on the key ring you carry and for lightening the load--especially helpful if one has arthritis. This hub is certainly deserving of the Hub of the Day award.

    Voted Up++

  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

    Congratulation on the HOTD! This is indeed a very useful hub. I will do these tips for my keys as I usually wonder what keys I´m carrying inside my bag. Thanks for sharing;-)

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

    Yes, congrats on your Hub of the Day award for these tips!

  • NornsMercy profile image

    Chace 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

    Whoa, HotD is a nice way to wake up! Thanks y'all!

  • ComfortB profile image

    Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

    Great tips on organizing keys. Store cards are a great way to save on groceries, but they can sometimes weight you down.

    Congrats on HOTD award!

  • CarlySullens profile image

    CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Congratulations on HOTD.

  • Redberry Sky profile image

    Redberry Sky 4 years ago

    Congratulationon getting HotD nornsmercy :)

  • rfmoran profile image

    Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

    Excellent advice for anyone who has ever fumbled for a key or wondered what a key is for. I have four keys on my ring that are a mystery.

  • Redberry Sky profile image

    Redberry Sky 4 years ago

    I long for the days when I used to just carry a single key to my front door and that was all. Now, I have at least four keys on my keyring that I don't know what they open. This is definitely a timely Hub for me - I'm beginning to look like a gaoler when I take out my keychain!

  • MarieAlana1 profile image

    Marie Alana 4 years ago from Ohio

    Nice hub! I really like how it is step-by-step. I might have to try this.

  • CarlySullens profile image

    CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Great hub!!!! I carry around so many of those membership cards now, I have grown to hate them. Now I just leave them at home, except for the most important ones.

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