Your keyring is possibly the most cluttered item you own. The simple solution requires just three steps: audit what you carry, assess its usefulness and necessity, and adjust your keyring and routines.
When we consider embracing minimalism in our lives we tend to think of what’s visible: decluttering our home, simplifying our wardrobe, or maybe tidying up our digital desktop.
And while the one thing most likely to suffer from unnecessary clutter is right under your noses, I suspect that, like me, you barely think about it – your keyring.
It will come as no surprise that at Orbitkey we have a particular interest in key minimalism. And whether it's because your home has multiple locks, you have a bunch of membership tags or you haven't thrown out old keys, odds are your keyring has more on it than you really need.
If you’re totally fed up with carrying around a cluttered keyring, you can fix it in three simple steps.
Audit.What are you actually carrying? The first step is to remove everything from your overloaded keyring and figure out what it was for. For example, you might carry:
- home or apartment key/s,
- a mailbox key,
- a window key,
- a gym key,
- keys for your parents’ house or another property,
- a bottle opener,
- keys for old homes.
You might also have a number of membership tags, credit card-sized swipe passes for work and USB drives attached on your keys. While a bulky keyring is easy to find in a crowded bag, it can also scrape against your phone and wallet, and drag any loose items around with it. That definitely doesn't work for me.
Take a moment to think about which keys you actually need with you at all times. The Minimalists use a 90 day rule (have you used it in the last 90 days? Will you use it in the next 90?) which you can apply to assess if you truly need to keep any possession (keys included!)
Think about what you absolutely must carry when you leave home – probably your house or apartment key, car key, and maybe a mailbox key or similar. All of your other keys will likely have some sort of context dependence and can therefore be kept elsewhere. For example, you drive to the gym, so your gym key can live in the glove compartment. Or you always go home to pack before going to your holiday home, so those keys can be kept in a safe place at home.
If you have a few membership or loyalty cards, Lifehacker suggests using a handy phone app, or you could combine them into a wallet-sized card as outlined in this post.
Once you've sorted everything, you need to figure out how you’ll manage it all moving forward.
In some cases learning to get by with less stuff means making changes to your behaviour or routines. Getting used to carrying fewer keys is no different but it doesn’t have to be difficult or inconvenient.
You can explore keyless entry systems for your home, or have a locksmith visit so that one key will open all of your locks.
You can adapt your routine, so that you pop home to grab the keys to your holiday home rather than carrying them with you at all times.
Similarly, you can adapt how you store your keys – instead of keeping everything in one bunch, have different keyrings for different purposes (such as house keys and work keys).
Having a sleek keyring to slip neatly into your pocket each morning will soon leave you wondering why you didn't consider slimming down your cluttered keyring sooner.
What’s on your keyring that probably shouldn't be?