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Locked Out - Get Back in Your House or Car

Updated on March 30, 2009
It can happen to the best of us!
It can happen to the best of us!

Desperate Housewives - Locked Out!

We had just moved into our new home. My husband left for work, and I was home with our two boys, ages 4 and 1 1/2 at the time. After changing a smelly diaper, I took it out to the garage to dump it in the garbage. The door swung closed behind me with a resounding *click*. Next thing I knew, I was locked outside.

It was 3:00 in the afternoon - hours before my husband would be home. I didn't have a cell phone with me either. Nor did I know our new neighbors. I was completely stuck. I could hear the baby start to cry inside.... now what??

My 4-year old was upstairs watching a show on T.V. I rang the doorbell and banged on the front door to no avail. He was completely oblivious. In the meantime, my toddler was looking at me through the window in the room adjacent to the entryway, crying. The dog stood there, as well. I wanted to dispatch him in a Lassie-like manner: Go - get your boy! - but he did nothing.

After 15 minutes of yelling like a banshee fool, I started to get desperate. Our home was situated on a giant hill, constructed into the side of it. Although we didn't have a basement, there was a huge crawl space under the front deck, which was at the main floor level. The yard below was at least 30 feet underneath, and there was a second story above.

I had to get inventive in order to gain entry back into the house. I walked out to our garage and grabbed a medium-sized ladder. Struggling with the contraption, I went to the deck and put it up against the house. Slowly, I climbed up the rails, but I couldn't reach the second story windows. So, back down I went. Feet back on the deck, I felt better. I'm so afraid of heights, but I still needed to get into the house. The dog started barking, adding to the noise.

There was another, much larger ladder lying on its side in the garage. I picked it up and tried to maneuver it outside. I must have been at least 20 feet long, folded up, and I found myself swaying from side to side just trying to walk it outside to the deck. Anyone watching with a video camera would have had the tape rolling. I would definitely be a star on America's Funniest Home Videos.

Make sure to give a set of spare keys to a trusted neighbor
Make sure to give a set of spare keys to a trusted neighbor

After finally getting the giant ladder out to the deck, I next had to prop it up without taking out any windows. Yes, I am a woman, so this feat was definitely challenging. Finally, I had the ladder leaned against the side of our home. Now, I had to contemplate climbing up about 15 feet to the second story windows. Recall that the ground underneath our deck was about 30 feet below. If I fell, I would be hitting the ground about 45 feet later. On rocks. Whew!

Even more slowly than before, I started climbing up the rungs. I wasn't sure about how steady the ladder was placed on the deck, so, in addition to being afraid of heights, I was worried about the stability of my climb. As I neared the second story window, I was trembling with fear. I couldn't go any higher. I reached my arm up towards the window of the playroom and knocked. Nothing. I tried again, knocking a bit harder. One last time.... wait. Finally, I saw a little head pop up just above the windowsill. Through clenched teeth, I said to my son: "Go downstairs and unlock the front door NOW!!!"

I finally got in the house, about 1/2 hour after getting locked out. And, I didn't need to try to call my husband to rescue me, either. I learned some great lessons to avoid getting stuck outside in the future

First, make sure you always have a spare key stashed somewhere outside. There are many contraptions that you can buy that are not very obvious for hiding extra keys. Some even have combination locks to help prevent break-ins. Second, get to know your neighbors as soon as possible. If you can trust them, you may want to give them an extra set of keys to your home, and even your vehicles. Otherwise, you can at least go to them to use a phone or seek help in the event of an emergency. Finally, be aware of what is going on around you. As tough as it may be to raise kids and/or be at home with little ones, try to make sure that you always have your keys in your hand before leaving the house or your car. It may be easier said than done, but just by being aware, you may prevent getting locked out in the future.

Another great fix is to install a keypad outside your garage door (of course, this means that you have to leave the door to the inside of the house unlocked). You may enter a code to allow entry into the garage without a key or garage door opener.

Yikes!  Don't let this happen to you!
Yikes! Don't let this happen to you!
Stuck outside your car?
Stuck outside your car?

Getting into your Car

I'm not kidding. I locked myself out of my car this weekend. I was parking my car, talking on my cell phone and trying to parallel park all at the same time. I also had the kids in my car. Not surprisingly, I locked everything up and shut the door - then turned around to see my keys sitting on the front seat. I got lucky this time. My husband was in town and came down to bail me out. But if you don't have someone with a spare key, what can you do?

If you have a AAA membership, you can get a lift home, or your car can get towed for free. Otherwise, you may want to try to call a car dealership to see about getting an extra key. There are simple steps: (1) look for the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the inside of the front dash; (2) call a local dealership in your area that sells cars like yours. Give them the make, model and VIN number for your car; (3) recall where proof of ownership of the car may be located (i.e. insurance information); (4) get a friend to pick you up and take you to the dealership with the VIN and proof of ownership information. Most times, you can get a replacement key for $10 or less. Whatever you do, don't go for the wire hanger routine!

Getting locked out is a common occurrence in life. But getting back in does not have to be a huge hassle. Both homes and vehicles can be accessed rather easily with hidden keys or other creative means that do not require breaking and entering! Prevention, of course, is the best measure. Don't be in a hurry and think about what you are doing with your keys when you go in and out of houses, cars, or other secure locations. I guess you might say that this advice is "key!"

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    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      My brain must be in a different universe. I have done this more times than I care to admit. Great hub. :-)

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      I lived in a first floor flat once above a shop. I got locked out of there a few times. Then I'd have to ring my son to get him to bring the spares round. In the end I got totally paranoid. I would stand outside the front door jiggling the keys in my hand to make sure they really were keys and i wasn't about to lock myself out. The whole ritual would take 2-3 minutes before I eventually got the courage to pull the door too behind me. Great hub. Loved the image of you dangling precariously on a ladder 45 foot up.

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 8 years ago from Portugal

      It doesn´t happen to me for a while now but I still remember having to "steal" my own car to rescue the keys and also having to climb into my parents appartment in Lisbon to enter by the window. Even though this last occurrence it was not due to lost keys but because the front door lock was jammed. Great tips, thanks for reminding us ;)

    • MummyAnn profile image

      MummyAnn 8 years ago from UK

      Most of us have been there! Great advice.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Had to bribe my then-2-yr-old son, a budding entrepenaur, with the promise of a candy bar to get him to hand the house keys through the mail slot in the front door, which had a dead bolt that he couldn't reach. He *could've* opened the back door, but upon peeking through the window next to the front door when the doorbell rang, immediately grasped that Mommy's *outside* (and shivering!) and he *wasn't*...so how much do you REALLY want to be back inside where it's warm, Mom? #@%#

    • compu-smart profile image

      compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

      This article made me lol, because it reminded me of when it was snowing really bad here in the UK and everything was white! and i accidentally locked myself out my flat, which was on the top floor of a house. I was wearing nothing more than a bright red towel on! and i had to climb up precariously and it must have looked so funny and weird for people to see as it looked like a red flag was being raised outside my house!! looking back it was funny, but not at the time..

      I find neighbors (trusted) are very good......also hiding keys in a tin inside a plant pot that's not obvious and right by the door helps, and make sure that neighbors (untrusted) cannot see if you need to retrieve....Forget leaving keys under the matt, as this is well known and i have had doormat stolen before from out side my house!! unbelievable i know but this is London and it was a fancy matt!

      I have also used a coke (plastic) bottle which when cut correctly will open all locks, (not mortise ones) the other ones, but it wont work if the lock is double locked!

      As for cars, they sell a magnetic box which you can place spare keys in and hide under the car which is very handy, but be careful when you take it to be serviced and remove, just in case..

      ps..Im glad you and everyone can learn by these mistakes, as if in emergencies, like a fire, or baby in house, bath running, cooker on etc etc this can be very dangerous and these tips very needed..!

    • New Day profile image
      Author

      New Day 8 years ago from Western United States

      Compu-Smart! I am totally laughing at the idea of you raising the red flag, so to speak, at your flat!! Oh my goodness!! Thank you for sharing additional ideas to help when you get locked out.

      JamaGenee - your story is hilarious too!! You have one smart little kid. I would have given my kids anything to open the door then. But my son who had been oblivious while watching T.V. did have to turn the thing OFF! ;-)

      Mummy Ann and StephHicks - yes, many of us have been there!

      Funride - stealing your own car? Too funny! And yes, locks don't always work, either. So sometimes we have to get inventive (I'm now thinking about a Hub on when your car door lock freezes)

      CJ Stone - LOL!! Yes, paranoia can set in after a few incidents. I'm glad you found my story entertaining! ;-) New Day

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Man I had a whole page typed and lost it...oh well point was a great hub and loved the video and the story...we have all been there and I had written my funny experience but now I don't feel like typing it all again...no big lose...you are a dear...G-Ma :o) hugs

    • New Day profile image
      Author

      New Day 8 years ago from Western United States

      Hi G-Ma, thank you. Sorry you lost your post. My computer does funny things sometimes too. I figured that a lot of people would relate to the story of being locked out! :-) Thanks for the nice comment. New Day

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Funny stuff! I, too, am afraid of heights, so I was with you on that ladder: "Be careful, for God's sake!"

      CJ, my friend and I call that OCD. Overtly Clueless Disorder. She does does the EXACT same thing when she leaves the house. I chuckle each time I see it.

      I have a secret entrance-strategy which assures me of never being locked out. I have this in place (I call it "Code Dumass") because I've suffered this humiliation in the past.

    • dayzeebee profile image

      dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      somehow it's a relief to know that many of us have been there. thank you for the tips newday!

    • New Day profile image
      Author

      New Day 8 years ago from Western United States

      @Constant Walker - I absolutely hate heights! Glad to know I'm not the only sort of crazy one in this regard. Now, I love that acronym too - OCD!! And Code Dumass?! I am totally LOL!!

      @dayzeebee - yes, it happens to the best of us. :-) New Day

    • profile image

      Jeanette M 8 years ago

      Constant, that is pretty cute.

      New day, when I was a little girl, I remember being slipped through a cellar window because a neighbor lady had been locked out of the house by her own children. I won't even go there about THAT family dynamic. At least your little guy eventually helped you out! The ladder story is a great visual : )

      J

    • New Day profile image
      Author

      New Day 8 years ago from Western United States

      LOL - Jeanette! That is so funny. Who knows what went on behind closed doors? Yes, I am still very afraid of ladders (and heights). New Day

    • Karen N profile image

      Karen N 8 years ago from United States

      This certainly brings back memories :)My two year old locked me out once in the winter.All he would do was laugh when I told him to unlock the door.

    • New Day profile image
      Author

      New Day 8 years ago from Western United States

      Oh Karen! Locked out during winter?? Not a good situation. I am laughing with you. :) New Day

    • khadilkarprakash profile image

      khadilkarprakash 8 years ago from India

      The experience can teach me that if Sobriety is my home or car, there may come a moment in my life too, that I will forget who am I , and where am I, my mind will be closed and I will be desperate to come back in sobriety(emotional sobriety) and for that I need a neighbour like you.

    • shibashake profile image

      shibashake 8 years ago

      I had to laugh reading this; but I am sure it wasn't too funny at the time. I am pretty awful at remembering where I put things all the time - and not just with keys :) Even important documents sometimes I lose track of. When I was in college I put my Visa form in my pocket, forgot about it, and put my jeans in the washing machine. It got torn to shreds, and without it I couldn't enter the country! I had to jump through many hoops to fix that particular mind blip.

    • New Day profile image
      Author

      New Day 8 years ago from Western United States

      @ K - thank you. I would enjoy being your neighbor.

      @shibashake - yes, it is a funny story to relate, but not too great when it was happening. I forgot to relate how I was yelling at my 4-year old son to open the door and was so worried about what my new neighbors would think of me! Forgetfulness is my middle name. My husband laughs at how I can STILL never find my car keys. LOL

    • profile image

      Anonymous 7 years ago

      Stop talking on your cell phone when driving. Typically oblivious twit.

    • profile image

      Los Angeles Locksmith 7 years ago

      Very great advice, having a spare key is probably the best advice when it comes to locks. Someone getting locked out of their house/car is very common.

    • profile image

      Jonathan Wilson 6 years ago

      I got locked out of my apartment once because my keys fell out of my bag. Thankfully I had the forethought to leave a set of spare keys with a relative who was able to help me. (and I was able to recover the original set of keys from the bus company)

      Since then, I am more carefull with my keys and I have changed the key-ring to make the keys easier to find (and easier to describe in case they get handed in somewhere)

    • Maryanne Maguire profile image

      Maryanne Maguire 6 years ago from Santa Monica, CA

      Been there, done that - -X ????

      AAA can help :)

    • profile image

      Kim 5 years ago

      Umm. I used my spare key recently, then forgot to return it. Locked up again!!! >:X

    • profile image

      SOS 5 years ago

      I got locked out of the house because my sister and I forgot the garage control and front door key. Now I have to wait until 7:00 PM until my dad comes home.

    • profile image

      1984.v.reklitis@gmail.com 5 years ago

      i just got locked out this past week from my apt blding door, i live on the 4th floor, the lock that i always lock, worked though bc the door is prob really old and ragged, since long before i moved in a year ago, it costed me 320. just to get it opened and changed, meanwhile i kno when i moved in all my locks were re-installed.

    • profile image

      Johnsixfox 5 years ago

      I have done this twice now:

      I did it this year on 27 July 2011, I was having a spare key for my car kept by my cousin that time, so i called a friend and we goto cousin and pick up that key, that meant I'm late for an hour to work and that doesn't stop me from going to work, so i have to go and start work the next hour, which was 9:00AM. unfortunately, think didn't worked out accordingly, I had an accident 1KM away from home. the damage was un affordable and have to written off, so my full insurance get me another car and the best thing, 'thank God, I was not hurt at all'.

      Samething, happened again today, I locked the key inside the house including the car key, this is a new car and i have been lazy making a copy of both keys.

      So, I'm now outside waiting for LOCKSMITHS, I just don't know why i get my computer, internet and their chargers out and forget the keys?

    • profile image

      Kaden Poetschke 5 years ago

      I am 10 years old,and I know how to do this thing.

    • profile image

      kaden poetschke 5 years ago

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    • profile image

      Vinny 5 years ago

      Just smash the window that's what I would of done to get to my child

    • profile image

      Bitch 4 years ago

      Or you could call a locksmith

    • profile image

      sean 4 years ago

      what if you need to get in a window in the house that can't be opened i need help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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