Key Tip of the Day

If you have any history of getting locked out of a house sitting charge's house, and you're about to housesit for her again, and you know she won't be reachable by mobile (let's say, she's in Africa):

  1. Double check to make sure the owner of the house has confirmed that their duplicate key works before giving it to you;
  2. Make sure you arrive at the house during daylight, or at least during hours when most people are awake in case you run into a problem;
  3. Carry a flashlight so you can search under every mat and rock for another spare and check every window (but scare the neighbors minimally) when the dupe key, in fact, does not work and there isn't a hidden spare.
  4. Don't wiggle the key and turn it too much, lest it break off in the lock;
  5. If there is key breakage, come back in the morning...there's no use in attempting to fix this in the dark. A paperclip works well to pry out the broken-off portion of the errant key. A paperclip lives right beside my superglue in the console of my Honda.
  6. Get the list of people with spare keys ahead of time (this list is not helpful when locked inside, on the kitchen table). This helps you avoid having to call your ex's mom at 7:00am to find out the name and address of the house sitting charge's nice neighbor in the bedroom slippers who has the spare key (it's funny who knows these little details--it never fails, it's always an embarrassing phone call to make).
  7. If all else fails, Pop-A-Lock's rates drop after 7am. Their number is 253-OPEN;
  8. Once you have a key that works, make sure all doors are left unlocked when you're coming in and out of the house for plant-watering, etc., (be careful with those tricky doors that lock themselves) or tuck the key in a pocket.
  9. And finally (drumroll), go make a duplicate of the key that works. Verify that the new dupe works before returning the working spare to the sweet housecoat/slipper lady down the street.


Jay said…
Wow. This sounds horrible...and I hope I never have to use ANY of these tips! Did ALL these things happen to you?
Stephanie said…
One through six. It was a learning experience!

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