You’re scrambling to get to work or make it to the movies on time. You grab your phone, your wallet, and you make it out the door—but wait. Where are your keys?
Unfortunately, this happens more often than you think. While a normal mistake, it’s also a costly one.
Changing your locks could cost between $30 and $300 on average.
Instead of panicking, it helps to be prepared. Here’s exactly what to do when locked out of your house. With this guide, you’ll have a list of options, so you’re prepared for next time.
1. Call a Friend
Do you have a spare key lying around? Well, it’s not going to be much use stuffed in a drawer!
Instead of keeping your spare key at home, give it to a trusted friend or family member. The next time you’re wondering what to do when locked out of your house, you’ll know who to call.
Don’t feel the need to hand out a spare to just anyone.
Instead, make sure you’re choosing someone you can trust with a key to your home.
If you’re living in a condo or rented home, you can also call the landlord. Make sure you have the proper phone numbers listed within your phone. Otherwise, those numbers are probably locked inside (along with your keys).
2. Check Every Window and Door
If you’re not comfortable handing someone a spare key to your home, that’s okay.
Take a walk around the perimeter of your home. Examine any open doors or windows you can slip through.
Before you start climbing, make sure to assess your surroundings. See if you can find a stable surface (or better yet, a ladder) to climb on. Take extra care to make sure you don’t fall or hit your head.
If you’re using a ladder, see if a neighbor can hold it steady for you.
While you shouldn’t leave a backdoor unlocked or window wide open, both are still helpful options if you’re locked out.
Before you slip inside, make sure you assess what furniture or other items are below! Otherwise, you might end up knocking over a TV or crashing into an end table.
3. Try a Neighbor
If you can’t find an entry point, don’t worry. All hope isn’t lost!
When considering what to do when locked out of your house, head next door. See your neighbor has one of these household items handy:
- A rod and screwdriver
- A coat hanger
- A shoestring
While this might sound like a strange list, these common household items can all help you get back inside. If your phone is locked in your home too, ask your neighbor if you can watch a quick YouTube tutorial.
The two of you might even end up bonding over the experience as you use these strange items to unlock your front door.
4. Get Ahead
Americans spend 2.5 days a year looking for lost items. Those losses cost $2.7 billion a year to replace. Of various household items, 28% of lost possessions are car and house keys.
It’s inevitable. People lose their possessions, including their keys, all the time. If you’re considering what to do when locked out of your house, take the proactive approach.
Consider installing a smart lock. If you ever get locked out of your home again, you can use your phone to get back inside. Of course, that means you’ll need to have your phone on you.
If a smart lock doesn’t work, try a keyless lock with a keypad instead.
Don’t forget: you can always leave your key with a trusted friend. That way, you have a backup plan in place in the event you ever get locked out.
5. Use a Card
Gift cards, library cards, and I.D. cards can help if you’re locked out, too.
Make sure you use a card you don’t mind destroying. You might end up damaging a credit card during this process.
Try wedging the card between the door and door frame. Then, press and wiggle the door handle with force. Try using the card to hit the lock mechanism.
Hitting the mechanism will allow you to unlock the door and get back inside!
This is another opportunity to ask a friend, family member, or neighbor for a helping hand. If you know someone with experience using this method, give them a call.
While this process is tricky and time-consuming, consider it the chance to pick up a new skill.
6. Remove the Doorknob
You can also ask your friend or neighbor to supply you with a few simple tools. Ask for a:
Use these tools to remove the doorknob from your door. As long as your door doesn’t have a deadbolt in use, you should be able to use these tools to get back inside.
Most doorknobs have the mounting screws or connection concealed. Look for a tiny, pin-sized hole below or beside the doorknob. Slide the paper clip into this hole and apply pressure.
Push the paper clip as far as it will go while twisting the doorknob with your other hand. In time, this will allow you to remove the doorknob from the door. Then, pry the decorative plate off to reveal the lockset.
Use a screwdriver to remove the locking mechanism and the door should unlock.
7. Call a Professional
If these tips don’t work and you’re still wondering what to do when locked out of your house, it’s time to call a professional.
Don’t choose the first person you find online or in a phonebook. Instead, make sure you find a reputable locksmith in the area. For example, you can call this emergency locksmith if you’ve locked your keys inside.
It shouldn’t take the locksmith longer than an hour to get you back inside.
What to Do When Locked Out of Your House: 7 Essential Steps
If you’ve locked your keys inside, that’s okay! Now you know what to do when locked out of your house. With a plan in place, you can get back inside in no time.
Check the Health & Lifestyle section of our blog for more helpful life tips.