Keys = Access = Power

TDC Note – Quiet possibly one the single most important items of preparedness that has not been discussed. BC has put together an in-depth piece to describe why the title of this article is spot on. No access, no power. I would suggest a hard copy for your file. by BC, Survival Blog

My last parent passed away, and I’m dealing with the estate/inheritance. I was the close child and trustee/executor (personal representative). It’s a miracle that all the siblings are still friendly (though there is still money to be paid out)! I will also warn you that it is a LOT of (thank-less) work.

One of the projects was to sort out all of their keys. It was no small task, as my father owned his own business. I also decided to do my keys at the same time. I’ve tried to hit all the points, but it is hard to organize this topic because of all the subject overlap.


The key sets that I have made include the following:

Master Key Set: These keys are on a big, loose-leaf-paper-binder ring so it is easy to open and get a set off as needed. I used colored (though color does not mean anything for my system) plastic key chain tags, labeled with key group for different areas/people. It is w-a-y too big to fit into a pants pocket. I did not label each key as that was too much work. Each key group has a quick-clip, so it can be attached to another ring or somethig else.

Master Key Set 2: A second set is kept at a remote location. It is on a big split key ring. This set has the keys grouped in areas/people, but it has no tags and is not labeled. It has a chain and belt-loop clip.

Guest Set: This set of keys can be loaned to a guest to get into our dwelling. It has a quick-clip to attach to the guest’s keys easily. It is also big enough to hopefully remind the guest to not take our keys when they leave.

My Set: This is a minimalist set. On this ring, I have a mini-flashlight that I use a lot. I put it on a 2-1/2 inch chain from the hardware store so when I put my keys into my front pocket, the flashlight hangs outside my pocket. When I want my keys, I grab the flashlight, and pull the keys out. This way I don’t have to fish in my pocket, and it keeps the keys from balling up into a wad in the bottom of my pocket. Included are a regular and Phillips screwdriver (I still have not found something that I really like) and other keys I use often.

Since I have an old pickup, I keep two pickup keys on the ring. One key is on the main-ring, and the other key is on a removable clip (like a carabineer) in the center of the keys. This does two things. When going somewhere, the pickup key hangs below the other keys, so I can get to it without hunting for it. The other is, well, because it’s an old pickup, it needs to go into the shop, so I just unclip the main key and leave it with the mechanic. The backup key stays on the ring, and if I need to get the truck after-hours I can have the mechanic lock “his” key inside the pickup.

I also “ordered” the keys on my ring. One side has Dad’s keys; the other side is the apartment keys. On one outside/end is the apartment door key with one of those plastic rings around it. The plastic ring allows me to feel which side/key is left and right. Inside of this key is the building door key. This is especially important, because like you, I always seem to be carrying way too much stuff, so this ring enables me to quickly feel my way to the key I need in the dark.

Hidden Set: We are not perfect, and mistakes happen like losing keys or locking keys inside. Maybe the power is out and the garage door opener will not work. It may be wise to keep some type of key(s) hidden so you can gain access to _______ when you have nothing. There are a lot of places to hide keys. Be inventive; don’t just buy the mass-produced rock from the hardware store. A two-step approach would be to hide the key to a shed somewhere outside, and hide the house key inside the locked shed.

Wife’s Set: Well, what can I say; she does her own thing. Might I say, she seems to need to carry everything in that purse of hers.

Bug-out Bag Set: These are yet to be completed.

Traveling Key Set: I have just started making a set for traveling, because I miss my flashlight and nail clipper/file. Everything needs to be able to go though airport security. I’ll need a house key and a vehicle key, but all others can be left behind.

Other Key Sets: These are for various people or places.

Extra Spare Keys: These were grouped and labeled with a tag (white cardstock with the metal ring around the edge). These were then put into rough groupings in a parts organizer with lid (from home supply store)


Grouping physical keys can be a challenge. I grouped mine as follows:

Dwelling: front/back door, dead-bolt, garage, shed, inside doors, safe, file cabinet, et cetera

Vehicle 1,2,3: door, ignition, glove compartment, gas cap, hitch lock, et cetera

Camper: door, cubbyholes, hitch lock, bike lock, et cetera.

Equipment: boat, neighbor’s lawn mower, snowmobile, tractor, golf cart, trailer, scooter, toolbox

Other: safety deposit box, gym/locker, storage unit, padlocks, pop machine, games, dog kennel, cash register, desk, cabinets, luggage, paper towel dispenser, outside hose bib, farm gate, mailbox, skis, audio visual, musical instruments, copier, bathroom, firearms, et cetera

Organizations: church, Boy Scouts, volleyball, PTA, et cetera

Parent 1,2: _____

Sibling 1,2: _____

Child 1,2: _____

Friend/Neighbor 1,2: _____

Work: _____


These “keys” are physical but not to traditional locks. They “unlock” something using data through something physical, such as a magnetic strip cards. These include credit/debit card, calling card, COSTCO membership card, employee/work badges, cash register key, USB Key, SIM card, et cetera.


These “keys” are physical, but again do not unlock traditional locks. They are usually electronic in natural and are unlocked through biometric identification. For example, my nephew uses his finger (print) to unlock his phone.


Here, I’m referring to auto FOB. While the Internet says fob is an old-time term for an ornament on a pocket-watch chain, I’m referring to the transponders that emit radio frequency to “unlock” or activate an automated door; these might be a garage door opener, work badge, and could include infrared controller for the TV remote, and more.


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