After Replacing Locks, What Should You Do with Your Old Keys?
Do you move often? Do you use a lot of keys for work? What about any rental properties you may have? No matter what your circumstances, at some time or another, a situation will arise making it necessary to change your locks. Before you know it, extra keys will begin piling up.
Don’t simply add to the landfill. When you’re facing a bunch of unusable keys, should you just throw them out? Or is there a better way to be rid of them? The sad truth is, millions of keys are discarded every year. Instead of contributing to the local landfill, there are many creative and practical ways your keys can be reused.
Mystery keys. Typically we find keys in the pocket of an old coat we haven’t worn in awhile, in the storage shed, and even beneath the couch cushions. Don't let mystery keys clutter up your keychains and junk drawers! You may be skeptical about throwing out keys, because you probably cannot remember what they’re for. That key could go to that luggage you’re going to use on your next trip, or to that bike lock you misplaced in the garage, or to the filing cabinet you haven’t opened for who knows how long. But the fact is, if you haven’t used a key in at least a year, you’re not likely to need it again.
Lock changes. There are so many sorts of buildings - homes, apartment complexes, offices, hotels, restaurants, skyscrapers, retail stores, schools, dormitories, and so forth. Of course, they all have doors - and some have lots of doors. Obviously, those doors, outside and inside, require keys. Furthermore, several different people often need their own keys. Recall the giant key ring on a janitor’s belt? Periodically - either because of new doors, new residents, new ownership, theft, or vandalism - new keys have to be made for everybody.
Recycling. Are keys recyclable? Yes indeed, they are; most recycling centers will take your keys, since they can be melted down for scrap. Remove tags, holders, rubber, or stickers. Find out whether your local recycling facility has a mixed metals bin, so you can be sure that all the keys will be melted down and the metal used for new purposes.
Do a good deed. When you’re clearing out all your junk, dispose of old keys in an earth-friendly manner, while supporting your favorite charity simultaneously: Donate the old keys to a nonprofit organization, so it can recycle them to raise money for a cause you believe in.
Rekeying. Visit your local locksmith to see if your keys can be remade, or rekeyed, to be refashioned like new If you’re anywhere in Hialeah, Florida, consider consulting the expert mobile locksmiths on staff at Hialeah Locksmith.
Use old keys as weights. Glue old keys on drapes or sew them into patio tablecloths, so they’ll stay in place. With keys sewn into the inside hem, you won’t have to contend with flyaway table settings or flapping curtains.
Fasten down your shower curtain. In the same way, you can glue magnets on your old keys, and use them to keep the shower curtain in place.
Make your own screwdriver. You can file down the end of an old key to make a mini-screwdriver to carry with you.
Pull chains. Add a key to those hard-to-reach chains, so your ceiling fans and closet lights will be easier to turn off and on.
Fashion a paperweight. Fill a jelly jar with old keys, and it becomes a paperweight.
Fishing weights. Why not take your old keys on fishing trips?
For a box opener, use an old key - it’s safer than a Swiss Army knife.
Make a mobile. Build a mobile using various styles of old keys. You could paint them different colors to entertain any baby in a crib.
Make rattles and shakers. Put a few keys in a container, such as a large plastic Easter egg, and you’ll add the beat to some musical group fun. If there’s an infant at home, it could double as a rattle.
Wind chimes. If you’re artistic, construct a base, and hang the old keys from it using fishing line.
Make hammering easier when you use a key’s hole as your nail direct.
Make a shim. Use a key under an uneven table leg to keep it from wobbling.
Make wine charms. Unusual keys can make attractive wine glass necklaces, which your partygoers will enjoy. A little paint, dental floss, and name labels are all you need to make each one unique.
Make charms. Your kids can paint old keys with their school’s team colors, and put them on backpacks, gym bags, and pockets.
Personalize party gifts. Put a key on a ribbon or chain and attach it to party gifts, personalizing each one with a person’s name.
Make clothes and backpacks simpler for children to use. Attach your old keys to coats and backpacks to use as zipper pulls. No more fumbling to get them open.
Make a memento. You can create a keepsake by framing all your old keys - a souvenir of each place you’ve lived.
Make jewelry. Be inventive with paint and glue, and make belts, necklaces, or crowns - using rope, thread, string, fishing line, or leather. You may want to keep a key that holds sentimental value by turning it into jewelry.
Sell them as craft supplies. Etsy, Craigslist, and eBay are places in cyberspace where artists shop for old keys - particularly distinctively shaped skeleton keys - for creating jewelry and home décor items.
Decorate. Use old keys to decorate picture frames, mirrors, and boxes.
Use for game pieces. Replace a lost piece in Monopoly, Clue, or any other game with an old key.
Make holiday decorations. Link keys together with ribbon or twine to make a chain. Paint the keys, and use them on your Christmas tree instead of popcorn, lights, or tinsel. An old-fashioned skeleton key makes an appealing tree ornament.
Educational tools. You can paint letters or numbers on keys, and use them like building blocks to teach children how to read or count.
Launch a fundraiser. Your church or club can collect as many old keys as possible. The keys can then be taken to a recycling place, and the profits distributed to your organization.