A set of keys for the new house, a set of keys for the apartment, a key for the car and a sundry sort of membership/discount cards conveniently designed for travel, these are the current contents of my keyring. I have even more keys. The parents’ houses, other people’s cars, safety deposit box, an office. It seems my circle of friends is a very secure lot. I wish I could scale down but every key I own is necessary in some way so I have developed a few rules for managing them all.
1. I do not need every key all the time. This means I only carry keys that are used daily. Ones that are called into service less often remain at home until I need them. On occasion I have been somewhere that I wished I had a key with me but these times have been few and don’t justify lugging around those extra ounces in my purse.
2. Keys that are not used every day must have a label. A few weeks ago I saw that the key cutting station at Lowe’s had some custom key designs available. (flowers, a college logo, or even the word “home”) This is a good idea IF you can remember what designs signify what locations. I try to be specific enough with my labels that anyone “in the know” can find the right key quickly but vague enough that they mean little to a stranger (eg -“Grandparents 9410 back door”, “Will’s Cutlas trunk”).
3. Purge excess, out-of-date, or unknown keys annually.
4. Each set of keys has its own ring and each of these mini rings is stored on a carabiner. Here’s a visual for clarification.
This has been soo helpful. Dropping my car off for maintenance, I can easily hand the mechanic what he needs while safely keeping the rest in my possesion. On a hot day, I can start the car cooling and still keep house keys in hand to lock up.
5. Finally, all of my membership cards are on their own ring and also get purged periodically. This keeps them from getting in the way of my keys and from multiplying out of control.
This is probably more than you ever wanted to know about keychain management but it works for me.