What to do with old keys
If you are like most, you have several (if not dozens) of old keys lying around the house, garage, junk drawer, or even in your car. Should you just throw them out with the trash or is that lingering thought in your mind that maybe you’ll need them at a later date? Here at Surprise Secure Locksmith we call them mystery keys as they are sure to lock or unlock “who knows what?” Over time, they accumulate to the point where you know you have to do something useful with them, so maybe our post here will help you dispose of them in an acceptable way.
Where did all these keys come from?
Mystery keys are much like the lost sock drawer; their origins are varied and long forgotten. Your lost keys can come from practically anywhere; old house keys, bike keys, toy keys, car keys, trunk keys, file cabinet keys, padlock keys, storage room keys, desk keys, even old diary keys! If you have a commercial location like a school, hotel or apartment complex, it can get really out of hand! Your time is way too valuable to run around and try each and every key to each and every lock you have. After a while you start to feel like Cinderella’s Prince and the glass slipper! No wonder over 400 million keys get thrown into local landfills every year just in this country alone!
Keys be gone!
The simplest thing to do is to throw all of these old keys out. Out of sight; out of mind; right? Yes and no. If you are like most, you might feel like you could have been a little more creative or helpful to the environment than just tossing those no longer loved or needed keys into the trash. So what can you do?
If you are interested in recycling your old keys, put them in the mixed metal bin, and send them off that way. Some communities furnish large recycle bins on wheels where you don’t separate the items into metal, plastic or paper. Others furnish smaller bins and have you put them in the proper bin. You can call the local Surprise, AZ recycling center to hear about their current policy on metal recycling or if you are reading this and are from another community then do the same in your area. Some recycling centers want you to remove any rubber edging or stickers on the key so that they can be melted down more purely.
Put your keys to work!
It’s true; you can actually make your old, lost keys do something productive. You can donate your keys to Key For Hope. They collect used keys from anyone that wants to be rid of them. They also sponsor key drives in communities and in schools to help raise funds to feed the less fortunate and to help the environment. On average 50 keys make up a pound of metal and this organization sells the metal for scrap and donates 100% of the money to the food pantry of your choice! Talk about WIN-WIN! You get rid of your unwanted keys, the school kids learn about helping the environment, and the hungry get fed!
Crafts and Keys
Are you creative with crafts? You can make items for sale using your old, spare keys. To get ideas, go to Etsy and/or E-Bay online and do a search for key crafts. See what others are doing with keys and how much they are selling them for. Be sure to read the comments and reviews if something sells well or even if it doesn’t, so that you can learn from their success or lack of it. You can sell your crafts to friends, family members or coworkers. You can also sell your crafts at fairs, flea markets, farmer’s markets and local fund raisers. If you are feeling charitable, try donating a portion of the proceeds to a local animal shelter, food pantry or other needy cause. Be sure to let your potential customers know that you are doing this as they may want your key creation to buy, but also to help a worthy cause.
Speaking of E-Bay and Etsy, you can also supply keys to key crafters that sell their goods there. You can either donate your keys to them or offer to sell them your old keys at a price that is agreeable to you both. Try the same thing on Craigslist. Do a search on the Surprise, AZ Craigslist site (or your local community Craigslist). Use the key words “Crafts” “Keys” “Key Crafts” etc. Offer to sell them your old keys and see what comes of it.
Other uses for old keys
When you think about it; there are hundreds of things that you can do with an old key. The question is; do you want to or not? Since you are reading this post, you have some interest in the subject or you wouldn’t have read this far!
Old keys are perfect weights for tablecloths or curtains to keep them hanging properly and not flying around with every breeze or movement. Just sew a key into the hem or lining of the material and watch it stay in place better!
If you have suit cases or backpacks that are lacking zipper pulls, attach a small key to the zipper end and you now have one that will work just as good as it did when new.
Ceiling fans or lighting that uses pull chains are perfect for attaching an old key to the cord. Feel free to attach plainly or to decorate to match the fixture.
If you have neighbors that recycle, you can also use the Key For Hope organization mentioned above, and do a community key drive. Simply collect the old keys from your participating neighbors every so often, and choose a food pantry to be the recipient and help your neighbor friends de-clutter, too. Doing this is also a good way to get to know your neighbors and establish a nice bond with them; that’s always KEY!