Lighten Your Load in 2010

Make 2010 the Year You Lighten Your LoadBy Brian Rowland, Publisher

Lately, I have been observing people and the number of keys they carry around.

So I began taking an informal survey over the past couple of months to get a little more information. Basically, I wanted to know how many keys people carry with them each day — and what are they for? I ended up with some very interesting facts and responses.

Whenever I saw an individual with a one-pound ring of keys, I introduced myself and asked if they would participate in my informal survey, which nearly all did. So, here we were, in the parking lot of an office building, counting and analyzing the keys that people lug around.

So, let’s talk about the keys and what was revealed by those who carry the full pound.

Most people carry far more keys than they really need. The average number of keys carried by the folks I polled was 19. And most of those folks could not identify the locks that match at least 25 percent of the keys they carry daily in their pocket or their purse. That means, on average, about four of those keys unlocked things unknown or not remembered.

For the 15 keys that had a known purpose, only about three to four were used on a daily basis. As for the remainder of the keys, they were used less than once a week.

But here is the really scary part of my survey: More than 80 percent of the people carrying a bucketload of keys did not have duplicates of any of them. And that means they could be facing a financial disaster — or at least an incredible hassle — if those keys were lost, stolen or fell off the boat. When I inquired why they would put themselves at such risk, not a single person could come up with a plausible answer. Nor did any of them seem to be concerned or really motivated to get the situation corrected. Taking this one step further, the lack of concern increased with the number of keys carried by that person.

Many shrugged it off by saying, “That will not ever happen to me.”

I called a locksmith and learned it can cost about $10.50 to re-key each lock on the average door in your home. So, when you have to re-key 10 locks, you are looking at spending $105. If you also have a deadbolt on each of those doors, add another $10.50 per lock — for an additional $105. And don’t forget the fee you’ll be charged just to come to your home, say another $50. That expense would be a real bite.

I find this key phenomenon to be quite interesting and ask you to consider doing your own personal key inventory. Rid yourself of the dead weight. Put the infrequently used keys on a separate keychain and maybe place it in the glove box of your car so it would be nearby when needed. Then head over to your favorite home improvement store (or any place that makes keys), have at least one duplicate made of every key and put those in a safe place at home. Label each one so you won’t be looking at a key with no name.

Now treat yourself to a nice new keychain and use it for the three to four keys you use every day.

What an accomplishment. You have prevented a disaster, lightened the load you carry and avoided a stressful and expensive situation.

What a great way to begin a new year!

Our humor column in this issue features an article that one of our publication’s designers, Beth Nabi, wrote for Tallahassee Magazine last year. We entered it into the Florida Magazine Association’s annual contest, and in August Beth took first place honors for the “Best Humor” column in the state.

Beth holds a Masters Degree in design from the Savannah School of Design and an undergraduate English degree from the University of Florida. I am extremely proud of her talents and want to share her accomplishments with you.