Tips to Organize Keys for Easy Access
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
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.
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.
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.
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!