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What to Do When You Lock Yourself Out of Your Own House

Young woman in short gray dress and shoes with heels pulling the handle of vintage door leaning into her leg

It’s happened to all of us…that sinking feeling you get when you realize, “I’ve been locked out of my house!” If you’ve been locked out or find yourself locked out more often than you’d like, it’s helpful to know your options in this situation.

In a pinch, there are a few things to try when you’re stuck outside without a key.

Are you sick of finding yourself unable to access your home? Read on to find out what you can do when this happens to you.

1. Do a Quick Check

Don’t forget the simple things in a state of panic. Before breaking into a house or taking other actions, do a thorough check around the perimeter of your entire house. 

Check to make sure there aren’t any open doors or windows that will give you quick entry. You might be surprised to find that you’ve left a window, back door, or side door unlocked.

2. Try a Credit Card

Many locks can be manipulated with a small, flexible card. Identification and credit cards are the ideal shape and size, but never use these as this process can damage the card.

Insert your card in between the doorjamb and door, just above where the bolt mechanism of the doorknob or handle fits into the strike plate hole of the doorjamb. The card should be inserted at a slight downward angle. 

While applying steady pressure downward and toward the jamb and turning the knob or handle in a direction that would usually open the door, wiggle the card back and forth. The card wedges itself between the bolt mechanism and the strike plate hole, allowing you to open the door.

3. Remove Your Knob

If you can borrow a simple screwdriver from a neighbor, removing your doorknob may be a good option. Many knobs and handles can be disengaged easily once the mounting screws have been unfastened. Some knobs may present the extra step of removing a second mounting plate before you can unlock them.

If there are no mounting screws to remove, look for a pinhole on the front or side of the knob. A straightened paperclip or stiff wire can be inserted into the hole to disengage the lock while turning the knob.

4. Call For Help

Though it may cost you a little, the best option is always to call a professional. Locksmiths make, repair, and unlock all kinds of locks with special tools and techniques.

Professional locksmiths can help you gain entry to your home without damaging your doors or windows. They are often available around the clock, helping you get back into your home at any hour.

“I’m Locked Out of My House!”

The “I’m locked out of my house” realization doesn’t have to feel so hopeless. Try the methods above if you have the items on hand to do so. If none of those work or if you’d rather have the help of a professional, call your local locksmith.

If you found these tips helpful, check out our other home and garden posts for more great ideas, advice, and household hacks.

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