A Minimalist Keychain – How Many Keys are on your Keychain?


Francine Jay at Miss Minimalist runs a neat little weekly segment called “A year ago on miss minimalist.”  I love the idea of recapping some old but good posts.  It’s great for me too, because I wasn’t following her blog last year, and now I get a peek at all the gems that I may have missed.  This week’s recap included a post about keys on your keychain.

It is interesting, because I minimalized my keychain long ago.  It wasn’t until this post that I realized this as a little piece of practical minimalism.  About 5 or 6 years ago, I had a big honkin’ key ring.  On this key ring I had keys to my house, mailbox, the office, my truck, my Jeep, wife’s car, and the spare tire lock.  I also had a key fob for the truck, a key fob for my wife’s car, a decorative keychain, and a mini leatherman tool.  I can’t really remember now, but I may have even had some old random keys on there.  It was ridiculous.  This conglomeration of keys and fobs barely fit in my pocket and was very uncomfortable.

The first thing I did was to get rid of the decorative key chain; it was pointless.

Next I removed the key and key fob to my wife’s car and put in a drawer in the house.  There was no sense carrying these keys with me all the time since I rarely drove her car.  When I did drive her car, I’d simply grab her keys instead of my own.  For a short time I had one worry.  What happens if she gets locked out of her car? How could I help her if I didn’t have a set of keys on me?  The simple answer was I would have to go home and get the second set.  As rare as a lock out situation was, it made sense to simply swing by the house to pick up the extra keys.  Sure it would take a little more time, but it meant less junk to tote around and take up pocket space every single day.

I also removed the key and fob for my truck. (This keyring also has a key for the spare tire lock.)  When I drive my truck I still typically take both sets of keys with me, but since they aren’t joined to the same keychain they fit in my pocket better.  And when I ‘m not driving the truck, which is most of the time, I simply leave them at home.

The work key went away when I changed jobs, and I now have a swipe card instead of a key.

My primary keychain has been reduced to my Jeep key, house key, mailbox key, and my mini leatherman.  The mini leatherman isn’t necessary, but I like to keep it on there because it’s such a handy little tool.

It’s funny now that I think about it.  I really don’t need the mailbox key on my keychain.  I always walk to the mailbox, so I could simply keep that key in the house.  I also don’t need to keep the spare tire key on my truck keychain.  I could just keep in in the glove box or center console instead.  I already keep a set of keys for my hitch and trailer locks in there.  Looks like I have a little more minimalizing to do.

Your turn.  What does your keychain look like?  Are you carrying around old keys, extra keys, or bulky key chains?


  1. says

    Great post! I downsized my keychain when our family moved last year, but got stuck with a bulky remote control that opens the garage in our complex, I haven’t found a way to stop carrying it on the keychain yet.
    Your leatherman reminds me of one I had when I lived in the states, those are really handy to have around.
    How is your family doing with all of the snow recently? Hope everything is going well for you. (We nearly 70 degrees today in Taiwan, so we don’t have to worry about snow quite yet!)
    Adam´s last blog post ..Living the Green Dream

    • says

      Hi Adam,
      How bulky is that remote? I’ve seen some that are about the same size as your standard car door remotes. Amazon has a bunch of different kinds. That leatherman is really handy. I use the scissors on it quite often.

      I’m in the southern US where we never see snow. Thanks for asking though, I appreciate your concern. From what I’ve been seeing on the news it’s quite a bad storm.

  2. says

    Heh. I had to pull it out see. I need to do some minimizing! I’ve got a flashlight keychain (flashlight doesn’t work well), my car key, my mom’s car key???, our house key to our cabin inArkansas (we’ve been living in Florida for over a year), my mom’s house key and Patrick’s moms house key.

    Hmmm. I need a safe spot to put most of those…
    Tanja from Minimalist Packrat´s last blog post ..Out of the Ashes Something Magical is Born

    • says

      Hey Tanja,
      Those keychain flashlights always seem like a good idea, but I never see anyone using them. They never seem to put out enough light to be useful. I do keep a flashlight in each vehicle for night time emergencies and to use when camping.

  3. says

    I am custodian for several keys–friend’s house, neighbors’ extras–but they live in a special place at home. I dejunked my keys a few months ago so my husband’s car key is in a bowl by the back door. Currently, I have car key, car remote, two house keys (front and back), key for bike rack and five little plastic thingies from stores and library. I think I can get rid of at least two of the thingies.

    Great post to make us all notice the little clutter spots.
    Willow´s last blog post ..Flower Love

    • says

      Hi Willow,
      We have a special place for our extra keys also. You should check out Marc at Minimalist Freak’s key chain post, he has a good suggestion for those plastic bar code thingies.

    • says

      Hi Marc,
      Welcome and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. You have a great suggestion for those bar code library/gym/discount cards. I was just looking at those things earlier today. Combining all those onto a single card is a great way to go.

  4. says

    I have a little flashlight on my key chain and use it every night. I walk my dog at night and have to pick up after him. The flashlight lets me find his poo in the grass or snow. I have a building key, condo key, mailbox key, car key and key to my brothers house. I used to go let his dog out all the time with short notice so having his key on my ring made sense. The dog is older and can stay inside longer so I never go over. I can take it off and put it on my spare keyring in the dresser. One down. Thanks!
    Kat @ Kat Simplified´s last blog post ..A few updates

    • says

      Hi Kat,
      I think you are the only person I know that actually uses a keychain flashlight. 😉 Sounds like it makes sense for you to keep it on the keyring. Good work on reducing your key count by one. Every little key removed helps lighten the load and makes it faster to find the right key.

      • says

        My dad used to use the keychain flashlight often. His eyesight was poor, and the lighting over the door was inadequate. The tiny light from the keychain was just enough for him to find the keyhole.

        I have one, but I rarely use it. The last time, it was to amuse a baby. That worked for about 30 seconds.

    • says

      Hey Jeff,
      I knew a guy that just used his teeth… well, until he broke a tooth. That’s why I like the mini leatherman: scissors, knife, screwdriver, tweezers, AND bottle opener. :)

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