How-to hide a key

Hide a Key – Best and Worst Place – How-to

How many of you keep a spare house key? Do you hide a key in one of the following obvious places?

The WORST place to hide a key is ANYWHERE NEAR THE FRONT DOOR!

DO NOT hide the key under the mat.
DO NOT hide the key under a flower-pot near the front door.

I hope you realize that every burglar knows the common places to hide a key…

  • on the top door-sill
  • anywhere in the porch light
  • in the mailbox
  • under the doormat
  • in the potted plant
  • inside the plastic fake rock near the front door
  • in a magnetic key holder that may be attached to something near the door

You get the idea… anywhere near the front door will be obvious places for a potential burglar to quickly look. Just don’t do it.

(UPDATE: I am currently reassessing my spare key storage. I recalled this article and all of your great comments. One additional consideration for me is being careful not to hide a key anywhere that can get covered with snow and ice during the winter! As in, potentially unmovable or recoverable).

 Here are a few alternative ideas to the aforementioned worst places to hide a key.

How-to Hide a Key

Keep a spare house key with your BBQ grill sitting in the back yard. Find an inconspicuous spot (inside the lower compartment?) and stash your spare key there. You might use a magnetic key holder for this idea.

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How-to hide a key

A fake rock would work, but be sure to put it in an area with other rocks, in the side-yard or backyard, so it doesn’t stand out.

Looks and Feels Like Real Stone
(view on amzn)

Hide a key in a fake rock

An outdoor rated spare key lock box. I would still hide it out of direct view, though it’s safe for several spare keys.

Waterproof Storage

combination lock hide-a-key outdoors

If you have vinyl siding, you might find a lip where you can tuck a spare key. Just find a spot that’s not near the front of the house.

Place a spare key in a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag (to protect from the elements and corrosion) and hide it under a larger rock or pavers stone, step stone, etc. somewhere in the back yard.

If you have an out-building or shed, there will be a multitude of hide-a-key places inside. Maybe under a gas can, or under a stack of scrap wood, etc.

If you implicitly trust your neighbor, you might consider leaving a spare with them (be wary though, especially if there are other family members there who might be a risk).

How about somewhere in the chicken coop? Sounds like a good idea to me…

The point is, there are lots of possibilities of where to hide a spare key. Just don’t hide it anywhere obvious. And do not hide it anywhere near the doors themselves (front or back).

The key is (pun intended), pick a clever place and just be aware that no-one is watching you when you initially hide your key.

What are your ideas?

[ Read: Door Security Bar – Extra Layer of Protection ]


  1. If you can get in your garage using the key pad for your garage door opener… put the house key into a binder and stand it on a shelf in plain view. Label the binder with words like RainBird Sprinkler System or Honda Generator Manual, then go to their website and print some corresponding product info to put into the binder to make it look authentic. In the middle of the paperwork, attach the key to one of the binders rings.

    It will look so authentic to even a thief that they won’t waste time searching it, plus you have an easily describable location to give to someone trustworthy who may need access to your house when you’re not there. A simple, “Grab the Sprinkler Manual off the shelf to get the spare key” will be easily done.

  2. How about somewhere in the garage? Lots of good hiding places there, especially if you’ve got as much gardening stuff in there as I do.

    1. Yup! That has worked for years. 50 or more clear view parts draws in a container mislabeled. Most important, only 3 people are aware!!!

  3. Have one door without a key, but a simplex lock, which is activated by a code number input. The lock is not powered, so electricity is not a concern. Door code can be changed at any time, if you keep the tool to do so.

    Good enough for government work…

    Go to and seek all the various locks and options. The bad guy cannot find a key, if there is no key.

  4. Maybe a great place would be under a rock at the base of a tree in the woods if you have or live near woods? Nowhere near the house though. I usually do such a good job with this that I can’t find it when needed.

    1. My parents have multiple rock gardens scattered around the house. Putting a fake rock with a key blends right in and no one will ever notice. Unless we tell exactly where the fake rock is, a theif /burglar could spend weeks going through piles of rocks in the flower gardens and then most likely still miss the key.
      The problem is not the burglar but wintertime. It was a pain trying to get the key when everything is buried in a foot of snow and frozen in place amongst other rocks. You practically need the garage key so you can get a rock pick so you can get the house key. Multiple layers of safety. I wonder, does 2 is 1 and 1 is none count here?

      1. Yeah, the fake rock hey box doesn’t really work if it is the only ‘rock’ to be seen. It’s like having a neon sign overhead with an arrow pointing to the ‘rock’ and the sign says “spare key”.

        1. Although it might be entertaining to have the key rock hold just a scrap of paper that says “Sucker!”

  5. A Key Lock Box is the way to go, realtors have used them for years.

  6. Years ago, my next door neighbor and I each had “No Trespassing” signs on the gates to our fences that led to our back yards. We each hid our spare key taped behind the other’s ‘No Trespassing” sign.

    I used to keep a spare key on my enclosed front porch, but I got new security screen doors front and back, which I keep locked, so I can’t get onto my porch without a key to the front screen door. I have that front porch key hidden out back in a place no one would guess (pretty far from the back door, but that key doesn’t work in the back door — either the screen or the main door. If someone finds it, it only works for the front door.)

  7. I could tell y’all where we keep our spare key, but then I would have to kill ya , just say’n

  8. My neighbor has digital door locks. He also has a sign:

    Owner has firearms
    and a backhoe

  9. Of course you know that locking your house is to keep the honest people honest.
    If someone wants to get in, they’re going to get in.
    So many ways.

  10. I taught my dog to bark to sound activate the dog door so when I come home he brings the key ring he keeps under his well used Nancy Peloci chew doll.

    1. I am with you, old guy. I keep my spare key hanging on the collar of my very mean, big dog. He likes me….but no one else!

  11. I keep my spare set of keys (House, truck, jeep, garage, so on) after all I might not want to get into the house if I’m suspicious of intruders.
    I keep them…. ohhh wait a minute……
    Ahhh what the heck, I keep them in a Stainless steel water tight box about 2 feet inside the Compost bin.
    Figure if I’m stupid enough to lock myself out I deserve the need for a shower once I get them.

  12. I keep my spare key in a key box attached to the bottom of the bee hive.

  13. The picture on the top of the page.
    Hey Ken!
    Where did you find my missing house key?

  14. Old Homesteader,

    Don’t you have to hide a spare key to your locked road gate?

  15. When I was younger in the 70’s, we almost never locked the doors. When we left to make a run to town or some such, we would just close the inside door which would signify we weren’t home. Family friends were trusted for the most part and did really worry about whether anything would be missing when we got back home. Then again, we were pretty poor back then so we didn’t really have anything of value worth stealing.

    Fast forward a few decades——the front doors are locked even if we are at home in the back yard. Can’t really trust anyone today.

    1. Then again, back in the 70’s we did have a dog. He was a crossbreed mastiff pit bull with some other dog. He looked like a mastiff pit but was about four times bigger than a regular pit bull. Family and friends would all laugh when we would sit around in the back yard and watch him chew on car tires. That was probably another reason why no one went inside when we were gone

      1. @ inprepper, yup. Know what you mean. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, very seldom if ever locked our doors on the farm, now I lock the doors when I’m in the house or out in the yard working, my car and pu are locked when they are in the garage or left outside. My dad was the same way, until the state police showed up at his door one night asking about his pu, it had been used in an armed robbery. He never locked anything up either, until that happened.

        1. When I lived in Texas, my boss had a bunch of stuff stolen out of his garage-tools, lawnmower, small air compressor, and other stuff. The garage door was open. Him and his wife were both home working in the back yard just behind the garage at the time. This was in broad daylight as well.

  16. Under a rock in the fire ring, in the back yard. Trekker Out

  17. At the farm, we always used to leave the keys in the vehicles. Some fidnt even have keys. The ignition crapped out and afterward it would just be a push button to start.
    Again, fast forward a few decades—–the keys get removed after the ignitions getting stolen a couple times. Since the ignition was not high tech as they were just regular grain trucks, anyone could have taken them. After removing the keys, the ignitions never were stolen again.

    My, how times have changed!

    1. INPrepper,

      When I first moved from Colorado to Wyoming I was surprised at how many people didn’t lock their doors. I got a job at the local newspaper and the first week I worked, our editor came into the office and asked if he could borrow a car as his was in the shop. The lady at the desk next to me said he could borrow her truck and told him where it was parked (about a block away and around the corner.) He headed out the door. I asked her, “Don’t you have to give him the key? ”

      “Oh, it is in the truck,” she said.

      Since then I learned there was a saying: “You know you are in Wyoming if you leave your keys in the car and the car is still there next day.”

      15 years later, I am not sure that is still true, but every winter there are still many people who leave their engines running to keep the car warm while their owners are in the store shopping.

      1. I saw that quite a bit when I lived in Wyoming. I would be at the gas station fueling up and getting snacks at 5:30 in the morning. There would be about half a dozen other vehicles running with no one inside. They were all in the store getting ‘food’ for the day on the drilling rigs. Myself, when I lived in Rock Springs, I never left my car running unattended.

      2. My uncle gave my father a very used old car , we were poor, it had only one tire and didn’t run. He got up the next morning and low and behold someone stole it. This was in Staten Island New York.

  18. After we mounted a metal garden hose holder to the side of the house, it became the perfect cover for a key in a magnetic holder. I also like the idea of an outdoor socket cover (the kind with a hinged door) installed on exterior wall or shed wall.

  19. I know the spare key to the house is in a lockbox in a locked file cabinet. The key to the lockbox is in a locked desk and the key to the file cabinet is under the file cabinet. The key to the locked desk is in the toolbox. All this is locked in the garage. There is a garage door opener in the locked car in the backyard. The battery for the garage door opener is locked in the trunk of the car. The keys to the car are locked in the shed. The key to the shed is under the front door mat.
    A burglar needs to break a window to get in, but not me! You only forget your key once…..

    1. WOW Sam
      Do you have a flow chart hidden somewhere in a locked place telling you the correct steps to unlocking everything?
      Me, I’d be lost after file cabinet and just go grab a brick. Hehe

  20. Growing up in the 40s & 50s, Conn. & Mass., rural areas, Nobody locked their doors !

    Unheard of today.

    What’s next ? Fortresses ?

  21. A friend of mine had a garden gnome in the flower bed by his back door, key was in a little compartment that looked like a barn door on his azz

  22. We had some neighbors in Alaska who were Police. They never locked their door because they said if someone wants to get in they will. This way they won’t have to replace their doors or windows.

    1. old lady, that’s sound advice in rural areas. all you can do is slow them down, ya can’t stop them.
      got windows? and they have chainsaws. who in rural areas notices the sound of a chainsaw.
      i worked in a large city for years and the strip malls in the getto’s would be broken nightly from people cutting holes in the roof’s and dropping in. ya can’t stop them.
      vigilance on our part is the only way. i have been retired for a while now and seldom go to town, been lucky so far.

  23. Very long time lurker here to say I leave a few decoy keys outside under bricks and rocks near the front and back doors.

  24. I have put a screw in my fence post that is not obvious until you reach behind the fence post and feel the key.

  25. My mom is good at hiding keys, but she forgets where she puts them. On the window a/c unit, under the propane tank, inside the cat food container, under a cinder block in the crawl space. She lives in a place that doesn’t need locked doors usually, but a certain person thinks it’s his right to drink all of her liquor, so everything is locked up tight.

    I just dig a hole.

    1. Kulafarmer,
      i gorilla tape a spare truck key to the back, bottom of the toolbox on my truck. black toolbox, black duct tape and a little dirt wiped over it to make it blend in with the rest of the dirt on it.

  26. Kulafarmer
    Have an extra created & place it in your wallet-vehicle key only.

  27. we put our key away from house but we also put a key under one of flower pots near front door, except the key does not open anything.

  28. I like the lockbox idea. I got sold on those a long time ago when I started taking the camper down to the beach. It’s just too easy to lose a keyring in the sand. Talk about a joykiller! I stopped by a hardware store and picked up a lockbox. I hung it in a secure, inconspicuous place on the trailer frame. The trailer key went in there. The vehicle keys were locked elsewhere inside the trailer. No more losing keys in the sand! I brought the idea home to the house. Again, the box is locked to a secure, inconspicuous anchor point, NOT near the door. The key is hidden, and is secure even if the box is discovered.

  29. A ‘short version’ of what it takes to get into our house if ‘you’ loose your keys and no one is home:
    1. Go to a certain tree about 1/2 mile north. Find and open the key box….4-digit code…..get key.
    2. Go back to house then about 1/2 mile south. Find ‘the tree’ and open the key box….get key.
    Note: Two different codes to open the boxes. No digits the same.
    3. Back to house. Behind a building. Open what looks like a bat house. Remember that house key is in a particular place in the bat house. Wrong placement of your hand will cause your hand to be ‘secured’ in the box. Until I get home. And a certain light to be illuminated on the front of the house to let me know I get to harass you for as long as I want.
    4. If you get the key ring, go to the front door, open the door and go immediately to the ‘lost key box’.
    5. Use second key to open box. Get re-key tool and new key ring. Re-key ALL exterior locks as you were instructed and trained. Sit your butt in the chair by the door and stay there until the mortgage payers get home.

    I have also changed the exterior door locks on this house….the ‘new’ house….to Kwikset (no money made here) so that all locks can be re-keyed quickly. The ‘key loosers’ have been chastised to the point they most likely won’t ever loose another. At least while they live here.

    The one mile apart thing for the keys was my idea. One of those things I learned in the military. Make the results of ones stupidity physically demanding to the point that the dumb-azz won’t forget.

    OBTW……the light that gets turned on when the ‘bat box’ is opened……only goes out when the lawn is mowed…..with a non-self propelled mower….ten times. (He-he-he) I really enjoy reminding the one that got the light lit that ‘It’s still on”. LMAO

    Audios Amigos

  30. Back in the 40s & early 50s, when I was a kid in Connecticut, nobody on our street ever locked their doors, except when going on vacation – and then leaving keys with neighbors.
    Different country, back then.

  31. I keep a bucket of salt/sand mix by the back door for ice in the winter. The key is buried about halfway down. The bucket is split 1/4 of the way down one side and the bucket handle has been removed so no one will want to steal the bucket (yes people in this area steal buckets from people).

  32. We have 3 big dogs…key hidden in fake dog poo. You want to pick up the correct one to find key???

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