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Never Get Locked Out Again: Use a Combination Lockbox

Updated on July 2, 2018

Do You Get Locked Out?

Lost your keys? Left your keys inside and accidentally shut the self-locking door? Me too, and I finally found the perfect solution!

A combination lock-box is the perfect place to keep a spare set of keys. It is:

  • Accessible to you and any person you choose to give access to the house (for example in case of emergency).
  • Cannot be broken into by any unauthorized person. A good brand of lock-box is as secure as a safe.

If You Can't Change Your Mind... Change Your Environment

If you have a certain character trait, like being forgetful or disorganized, it can be very difficult to change. Now if you want to give it a try, I certainly won't discourage you. But in the meantime make the easier change--change your environment. It may be that you tend to misplace objects, but have no trouble remembering a code of password--like your ATM pin number. In which case you never need to be shut out in the cold again! Simply:

1) Make a set of duplicate keys

2) Acquire a high quality combination lock box

3) Secure the lock box to a permanent, fixed feature outside your house.

4) Now you can always get access to a set of keys!

The Masterlock Lock Box

I have been using this model of lock-box for two years now. I have needed to use it several times over that period. The only trouble I have had was when it was nighttime and I had trouble reading the numbers. But most people have something on them like a cellphone that can be used as a flashlight, or you can pay a little extra to get a lock box with lit keys.

I have noticed this model is frequently used by real estate agents and Air B and B hosts to store keys that need to be accessed by multiple people. This reinforces my experience that this model is extremely robust and reliable.

I have noticed that a small amount of moisture will get into the box if it is directly exposed to rain and snow. So it would be wise to not use keys, keyrings or labels that can rust or otherwise degrade when wet. This will be less of a problem if you remember to keep the cover over the combination tumbler closed and/or place your lock-box under cover.

A Few Extra Tips

  • When you need to take key out of the box, always re-close the box and spin the numbers so they do not show your pin code. Otherwise someone could come by and lean your code and use it later.
  • Always return your spare keys to the lock-box promptly so they will be there when you need it again.
  • If you ever need to give another person the code, for example to give emergency access to your house, change your pin number afterwards. If you have not kept a copy of the instructions to change your combination, you can find them online here.
  • If there is any chance that you might forget your pin, store it in a secure but accessible place such as in a draft email stored in your email account.


Many people will hide keys outside their house, but most hiding places are well known to thieves and not secure. A key on the windowsill, under the plant pot, or inside a fake rock is easy to find and may effect your ability to claim on your insurance if a theft occurs.

Eventually more sophisticated options such as fingerprint locks and Wifi smart locks may become a good alternative. But currently they suffer from problems with security and reliability, making a simple mechanical solution the only 100% effective option.


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