Category Archives: Hacking

I put more time into these keys than studying for some tests

Over the past few months the number of keys needed for my day-to-day functioning has increased. Fewer than others use, but an amount that becomes a hassle when it’s dark and I need to unlock a door. I wanted to devise a solution to make low-light—even no-light—use of my keys efficient and accurate.

Key Arrangement
There are five single keys, my car keys, and a bottle opener.

The two round-topped keys are for P.O. Boxes, which never have low-light problems and are easy to identify.

My car key fob busted when I stepped on it after a run, but a friend fixed it with cloth, epoxy, and Gorilla Glue. (I really appreciated that. Shout out to Sam.)

The keys at the bottom left of the picture, next to the bottle opener, are the real challenge.

Three keys. Two different locations.

If there’s good lighting, which key goes to what lock is simple to distinguish—the silver keys are for the same door, gold is for a door at a different location.

The middle silver key has a black plastic cover. I use it the most, and—because of that cover—it is the easiest to find; this holds true during the day, but the cover becomes particularly useful at night because its distinct texture and feel make it easy to pick out.

That black plastic covered key is the… “keystone” to figuring out the two keys on either side of it. The other silver one—that works on a second knob on the same door—faces the same direction as the covered key. The gold key faces the opposite way, establishing it as for the door at the second location!

Before sitting down and figuring this out I would take my phone out for lighting and squint at the keys, but this required two hands so it became a hassle when I was carrying things from my car. The feel and relative locations/directions of the keys was a solution with the least amount of work and the most convenience.

Life hacking. It doesn’t have to be about Getting Things Done or Doing All The Things. Sometimes you just have to find the right key.