How do you find your keys?
June 28, 2004 11:20 AM   Subscribe

I lost my car keys Saturday. I remember walking out of the van, patting my pockets, and thinking "huh. Must have tossed them in my bag." Checked later and no keys.

What's your key-finding methodology?
posted by mecran01 to Grab Bag (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is a finite number of places I might have been since I had last seen my keys, so I check those places, anything within arms' reach of those places, and all flat surfaces near the paths between those places.

If that fails, I offer a dollar to the first child that finds them.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:28 AM on June 28, 2004

How to Find Lost Objects.
posted by verstegan at 11:36 AM on June 28, 2004

my secret? I have a copy of my house key and car key in a hide-a-key in my car, that way if I ever lose my keys, I have what I need to live what I can slowly replace my keys.
posted by patrickje at 11:39 AM on June 28, 2004

I just think back to the last place I put my keys. They've always been there.
posted by kindall at 11:59 AM on June 28, 2004

My wedding ring fell off last Fall whilst raking leaves (oh the joy!). Anyway, I got a metal detector from a friend and proceeded to comb the area of my backyard I was working in. I found it before the metal detector did. I was methodically going back in forth across the yard on 3-4 ft. swaths and saw it. I recommend this method (minus the metal detector) if it is applicable.
posted by internal at 11:59 AM on June 28, 2004

Here's what I did as a kid to find lost keys...
posted by jpburns at 12:04 PM on June 28, 2004

Response by poster: jpburns: nice strip. I am a scoundrel as well. So far I have:

1. scoured the ground and front yard.
2. offered $5.00 to the neighbor kids
3. told everyone
4. looked in the usual places.
5. interrogated my kids
6. tried to go to sleep while thinking where they might be, hoping that I would wake up with the answer
7. unleashed my organized wife on the project.
8. appealed to the Mefiverse.

At least my car was in the shop, so I have that key.
posted by mecran01 at 12:11 PM on June 28, 2004

Response by poster: From the above link to "how to find lost objects":

Have you been applying the Principles? If so, you should have found your object by now.

But occasionally, Fate chooses to separate us from one of our possessions. When that seems to be the case, it’s time to call off the search.

Your missing object may eventually turn up. Until then, accept that you are being offered a lesson: in patience…or humility…or nonattachment to the things of this world.

And if not, so what? Lost keys, books, eyeglasses—even elephants!—can be replaced. Such losses are inconvenient and vexing. Yet surely they have their place in the inscrutable economy of the Universe.

You’ve done what you can. So relax, and—with a shrug of resignation—accept the fate of your object.

posted by mecran01 at 12:16 PM on June 28, 2004

Just store your unused keys in the same place all the time and you will never lose them. I don't understand how people lose keys, because mine are always in my right front pants pocket when I'm not using them.
posted by MegoSteve at 12:19 PM on June 28, 2004

I believe it was the Nickelodeon show Pinwheel that taught me to take a complete deck of cards and fling them all over the room.

Then you walk around and pick up each card until your deck is complete again.

Because you have to bend over and move furniture and look in crevices and stuff to get the cards, you supposedly end up looking in spots you'd otherwise overlook.

posted by bcwinters at 12:26 PM on June 28, 2004

I use Google.

Or I will, anyway. Swear.
posted by gleuschk at 12:31 PM on June 28, 2004

Pretend your not looking for them, then start cleaning / straightening up the area where they might be.
As long as you can convince them that your not looking for them, it works like a charm.
posted by signal at 12:45 PM on June 28, 2004

as an aside, I always keep a spare car and home key in my wallet. it's been a lifesaver many times!
posted by mcsweetie at 12:51 PM on June 28, 2004

I've always followed my dad's lemma of dropped objects: an object will always find the most inaccesible location. Look under the exact centre of the car, behind the immovble sofa, under the big bookcase, wherever, and that's where it'll be.
posted by bonehead at 12:59 PM on June 28, 2004

Did you find your keys? - sounds like they are still in van.

Finding lost keys. Look in the least likely spot - "thinking outside of the box." Since I’m on the physically shorter side – I look up high. On top of the fridge, book shelf’s top shelf, ect... Even though these are high places for the tall, I look there because the object is not where I would normally not place or view it - why it is “lost.” Bet if your keys are not in the van, they may be in another of your clothings' pocket.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:16 PM on June 28, 2004

where I would normally not place or view it
posted by thomcatspike at 1:19 PM on June 28, 2004

I thoroughly check and recheck *all* pockets in all coats, jackets, shirts, trousers, bags, briefcases, etc. And I mean all, including the ones that you think, "Oh they can't possibly be there." They often show up during this process.
posted by carter at 1:20 PM on June 28, 2004

I almost always find them in a place where I think I've already looked.

Oh, look! They are hiding under the edge of that newspaper over there to the left, on the coffee table. See?
posted by taz at 1:28 PM on June 28, 2004

This is why I have a wife.

"Honey, have you seen my keys?"
posted by Quartermass at 1:41 PM on June 28, 2004

Me too, taz; the number of times I could swear up and down that I had checked that particular trouser pocket, and that's where they are.
posted by carter at 2:31 PM on June 28, 2004

Have you looked in the freezer? I once helped someone find their slippers by asking that question.
posted by noether at 5:29 PM on June 28, 2004

"as an aside, I always keep a spare car and home key in my wallet."

Your wallet must be huge, to be able to keep a spare car in it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:08 PM on June 28, 2004

Stop looking. Works for me every time I lose something.
posted by dg at 6:40 PM on June 28, 2004

Hmm. I just recently lost a cell phone (and in the process, a client, due to not having the cell phone at the right time -- which wasn't pleasant); I had suspended the account and steeled myself for replacement when I heard a distant beep. I was outside, on the porch, on the other side of the house, and the phone had rolled under the closed, locked, van's cubbyhole section. If I hadn't heard the beep, though, I wouldn't have re-checked the van, this time with the certainty that it was there. I think, many times, it's all about checking with certainty whether or not that certainty is backed up by reason. The time before, I'd simply glanced beneath the seats, and I actually became convinced it had been knocked out the door at a 7-Eleven, all because the last time I knew where it was, was tapping it neatly into my left outside coat breast pocket.

Also, less recently, my nephew managed to drop-kick a set of keys into the air, which included keys to rental property we own. We could not let those keys disappear, and lock replacement was the only option should they remain unfound. (Random house keys may not be such an issue. For us, there was liability.) We searched shrubbery, ransacked roofs, trembled trees, and the like, to no avail, with and without a metal detector. Then, the next day, I lifted up a branch of a bush near where the whole incident supposedly began, and there they were -- despite prior searches. This is part of the concentric-circles strategy. Begin where they last must have been and search most thoroughly closest to that location.
posted by dhartung at 11:52 PM on June 28, 2004

Response by poster: Just store your unused keys in the same place all the time and you will never lose them. I don't understand how people lose keys, because mine are always in my right front pants pocket when I'm not using them.

This is what I usually do, but they just weren't in my pocket when I walked back to the van. I think I dropped them in my bag, and they might have rolled out on the way indoors. But sometimes the theory of where something got lost interferes with the reality, so I will keep checking. Thanks for all of the great advice. ask.mefi kicks the Oracle's butt.
posted by mecran01 at 7:23 AM on June 29, 2004

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