How to Hide a Key Outside an Apartment (Without Anyone Finding It)

How to Hide a Key Outside an Apartment (Without Anyone Finding It)

When you need to stash a spare key somewhere you don’t want to go with the old ‘under the welcome-mat’ standard, as that is only asking for trouble. You don’t often have a yard or a front porch either, so where can you keep a spare key?

The good news is that you still have a lot of options when it comes to making sure that you don’t get locked out of your apartment. With a little stealth or some good common sense you have definitely got some doable options.

Let’s discuss some of our favorites.

Bolt it in behind your license plate

One clever trick that makes sure you won’t lose your spare key is to simply unscrew your license plates and place the key behind the plate, over the screw-socket, so that when you put the plate back it is nestled securely behind it. 

This is a great way to hide your key and you won’t have to worry that you can’t find it or that someone is going to walk off with it. License plates don’t get stolen very often so your hiding place should be fairly secure.

Just hide a spare key under the floor mat inside your car

You don’t have to get fancy and hide your key behind the license plate. If that solution seems like a lot of work, why not simply slip a spare underneath the floor mat inside your car? This puts your key in a convenient place where you can get at it, provided that you didn’t lose your car keys along with the house keys.

Fake sprinkler heads work great for hiding keys

A fake sprinkler head is a great way to hide a key, with your brass key safely nestled in the hollow of the head. You’ll want to put it somewhere innocuous, however, that isn’t easily spotted by maintenance. You don’t want them or anyone else to notice when one of the ‘apartment sprinklers’ doesn’t appear to be working. 

Installation is easy for either choice, as you can simply push the sprinkler head into the ground in your chosen location. Apartments always have a number of sprinklers so this is an option that anyone can use, just don’t put it somewhere conspicuous and be careful to note exactly where you have put it.

Filing down the head of your key gives you a few different options

By filing the large back of your key, known as the head, you are left with a fairly thin piece of metal that can still open your door (as long as you don’t file it TOO much!).

This gives you a lot of options when it comes to stealthily hiding your keys. Some examples include the following:

  • Affix a small magnet to the key with some glue and you can hide it in places like corridor vents or underneath anything metal which is out of sight. 
  • Without a magnet needed, you can attach a small hook and a piece of string and cut a small slit in some vinyl siding to put it inside. As long as you give the vinyl a clean cut with the razor it shouldn’t be noticed but if you go with this stealthy option be prepared – if you are caught doing this you might well be fined for repairing the siding.
  • Instead of hiding a key under a welcome mat, why not hide one inside it? If you are a decent hand at sewing, you can easily hide a key with a thinned head under one of the large letters spelling out ‘welcome’ on your mat. Only do this if you don’t lose your key often, however, or you might have to get crafty with Velcro on your mat to affix those letters in a way that will hide you key and still resist the wear and tear of use.

Hide a key inside your desk at work

Your workplace is a great place to stow a spare just in case you lose the primary front door key to your apartment. Usually when someone finds a key that you have hidden it is somewhere near your house, like under the mat or in a potted plant, which lets the finder know exactly where to go to use the key which they have just found.

Hiding your key at work ensures that your key isn’t out in the open nor is hidden close. You can put it in a number of places, such as in a picture frame with a picture on your desk, inside a stuffed animal, or even in a faux ‘can safe’, designed to look like a common drink or snack,  that you keep inside a drawer or even on the desk.

Just pick something that won’t invite a curious coworker to snoop and the workplace can be a great place to hide that spare key.

Leave it with the front desk

If your apartment has a ‘front desk’ where there is an attendant working, you might be able to speak with them and ask if they can hold a key for you in case of an accidental lockout. If you have been staying there for a while and sometimes even if you are new, they will generally appreciate the forethought.

After all, this saves them from having to go into the back and to fetch your key or in some scenarios, from having to contact the on-call maintenance or a locksmith. This can save you from a hefty fee in the bargain, so be sure to ask someone who is working at the front desk of your apartments if this is a possibility. If you trust them, this is an ideal solution.

If you trust your neighbor, why not be ‘lockout buddies’

Speaking of trust, if you have been in one location for a long time then you might know one or more of your neighbors pretty well. This can be very good for both of you when it comes to the possibility of being locked out of your apartment. Discuss each of you keeping a spare key for the other in cases of emergency.

Oftentimes when we have to leave town or when our neighbors do, it is not uncommon to ask or be asked if you can water the plants, watch a pet, or keep an eye on the place. If you already have a trust relationship at this level then becoming ‘lockout buddies’ can protect you and your neighbor from being locked out.

As a bonus, when someone needs to watch the other’s apartment, you’ve already got a key!

The best place for a spare key might just be your purse or wallet

There is no reason why you can’t simply slide a spare key into your purse or wallet, independent of your main key ring. This puts the key somewhere safe that is always in your pocket in the case of the wallet or simply nearby, in the case of the purse.

Best of all, this option gives you the fastest retrieval of your spare key. It’s simple, effective, and extremely practical.

Some final advice on hiding your keys outside of the apartment

While hiding your key can be fun, anytime it is outside of your house in a place that you can’t easily check then that is a security risk all on its own. To that effect, we highly recommend going with the most practical options which we have listed.

Sure, it’s not as fun, but if you’ve ever hidden a key and found it missing from its hiding-place then you’ll understand. Just ‘hide’ your key sensibly and you’ll never have to worry. It just makes good sense!