Because who needs a house key?

My kids are begging for a frivolous trip to the small town nearby today.  There’s just one small problem: we have a total stranger coming to do a bit of work on the outside of the house today, and hubby would like us to lock the house if we go anywhere.  We have no illusions about keeping a desperate criminal out of our humble abode, but we would prefer to keep curious strangers off the computer and out of the fridge.  We simply don’t know him.

Do you see the problem yet?


We live in the country.  In the country, you never lock your house.  As I understand it, the theory works like this:  Nobody can see your house.  If a thief wants to break and enter, nobody will stop him.  Hence, you leave the front door open so that he can do his business with minimal breakage.  After all, if he’s going to get the computer, do you really want to pay for a new window and/or door too?  Do you really want to be picking glass shards out of the sofa for the next 2 years?  Let’s be sensible about this.  Don’t lock the door.

So we don’t lock the door.  And we…um…don’t know where the house keys are.  “House key?” my children say, tilting their heads to one side like so many curious puppies.  “Keys are for cars!”

And so we have the problem.  How can we lock the door when we leave if we don’t have a key?  With the right sort of lock, we might be able to do so. But still, how would we get back in ?  Never fear: we are homeschoolers.  We solve problems for fun.


First, we could do it the usual way.  There actually are occasions when we want to leave the door locked for some reason.  In these rare cases, the last one in the house just locks the door from the inside and climbs out of the window next to the door.  When we get home, somebody climbs back in through the window.  No key required.

It works, though it’s not exactly the most subtle way to do things, and could give the wrong impression.  There’s also the small issue of the unlocked window next to the door.


You might remember our back door.  It’s not in use.  It stays double locked, and has a 7 foot drop on the other side.  I used to joke about making the children use the back door when they were really bad, but they decided it was fun.

My children feel that the back door could be very handy today.  Their idea is that all but one of us should casually exit through the front door.  The last one will lock the front door behind us, then (ahem) use the back door, pulling it shut behind her before she jumps.  I have more than one child that feels perfectly competent to do so.  Then she will casually join us in the van.

When we get home, somebody will use a ladder to go in the back door.  Easy.  Inconspicuous, since the desperate criminal our contractor will be working on the opposite side of the house.


Find the house key.  But what fun would that be?


What would you do?  What do you think we should do?  Why?


  1. I am a little late to the party here, but these comments are so intriguing that I had to join in. When I was first engaged to my husband, I drove to his mom and dad’s farm one day and, without thinking, locked my car up tighter than a drum. My (now) husband came out to get something out of the car and sighed, “Susan! Would you look around? Just who do you think is going to break in around here?!” Now, twenty years later, I am guilty of almost never locking our doors. I can’t IMAGINE living in a place like the lady in Columbus, Ohio where I had to keep EVERYTHING locked up for fear of stealing. Country life for sure has it challenges, but safety is a wonderful blessing that comes with living in such remote places. I don’t think I could live any other way now!

  2. Wow! To see how the other half lives is quite intriguing! I can’t believe some people don’t lock their doors. I live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio with a million other people, and we even keep the doors locked when we’re home. My husband even shuts the garage door while he’s out mowing our (tiny) yard because he’s afraid someone will steal our things. That one I don’t understand, but oh well. Our grill is even chained to our deck!

    When my husband first moved in to my house, he couldn’t believe that I hadn’t changed the locks five years earlier when I first bought the house. That’s practically the first thing he did!

  3. What a fun thread! 🙂

    And a zipline…I agree – I think I’D even use the back door!

    Your hubby rocks, Kim…solving problems from afar. And they say that men can’t multi-task!

  4. For those who are really curious, we were totally ready to do #2, but somebody found the keys in the box that the lock set came in. Sigh. So boring.
    But I love Tanya’s idea to put a zipline outside the back door! Nobody would ever use the front door again!

  5. So, what did you choose? I think the back door would be a good option. Or the window by the front door.

    When we lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we never locked our doors when we went out. We left the house unlocked when we went out of state on vacation, too.

    So when we were getting ready to move to Arizona, planning to rent out our house up there, we had a hard time figuring out which keys in our stash were the right ones!

    It was great telling people out here (in a much more urban area) that our house in Michigan was unlocked as we spoke, a couple thousand miles away!
    Amy 🙂

  6. This is too late for yesterday’s dilemma, but I would vote for option #4 – leave a window open, but not the one right next to the door.

    We don’t lock our doors when w leave, but we DO lock them at night – that’s when all our most precious valuables are home (and asleep). When we sold our house 2 houses ago, we had absolutely no idea where the keys were!

    For future door locking, I think you should install a short zip line over the 7 ft. drop – you’ll probably get more volunteers to lock up than you want, but at least the landing would be smooth!

  7. TOO FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. We live in the country, too, but we do lock our house when we ALL leave. My pick – option 3, with a prize for who finds the key. 🙂 Although, option 2 will make for awesome memories!

  9. We like to live life on the edge, so we never lock our doors either. And because of that whole edge thing, naturally, I vote for the back door solution.

  10. I vote for taking the key out of the box that the lock set came in 😉

    love ya

  11. Back door for sure. I LOVE your blog.


  12. I opt for the drop! 🙂

  13. Ahh… 🙂 Your blog is a blast… Thanks for keeping me smiling!

  14. I vote that I get to come live with you guys in the country where there is actually a discussion about locking the door!

    If I left my door unlocked I would come home to find the house completely empty!

    I say go ahead and lock the door and climb through the window.
    I don’t quite see your contractor crawling through your window to rifle through your fridge. If he is still there when you come home and have to crawl through the window just smile and tell him you forgot your key.

  15. Solution three,


  16. I go for option #3. We never locked our doors either. Even when we went on vacation it was unlocked so that whoever did our chores could get in and out. However, we have had several break ins out in the country on both sides of us. The one was a family with 14 children. They were home in their beds and someone came in. You may have more and more opportunity to lock your door…. find the key!!!

  17. Option 2, definitely. love it.

  18. oh so glad we arent the only ones! We locked ourselves out…well okay, it was me…i locked us out a few weeks ago…we hardly lock it now. See, our house if for sale…WAY out here in teh middle of nowhere…and frankly we dont want people looking around without us here…cause, well, not that we would do that or anything…but i know people who have gone into a house that for sale (though no one lived there) just because it was open.

  19. well I would choose the 7 ft drop or go ahead and put the ladder up for one to climb down, never know she may land wrong and end up costing you money in ER bill. I would opt for the drop.

  20. I have to admit I’m feeling a bit paranoid right now, since I like the front door to be double-locked at all times, but I vote for #1!

  21. Um…I say go into town tomorrow. I know. That’s no fun. ; )

  22. We actually had to buy new doorknobs…

  23. I’d either jump, or call Perry and ask him if he’d be ok with just leaving the door unlocked.

    I hope everyone realizes I was totally joking about him subscribing to your blog…. 😉

  24. I vote for the 7ft drop. It will make a great story to tell her grandchildren someday.

    When we bought our house in Idaho (in a town of 9,000) the owners had trouble finding the keys because they never locked the doors. Then, about a year later, their college age son was in town visiting friends and dropped by anther house key! We hadn’t thought that it might be a good idea to change the locks.

  25. Deanna,
    Then I think we’ve got bigger problems. Or maybe not: he’ll know we’re already onto him.

  26. I think I would choose the back door. Either way, it should be fun!

  27. Definitely the 7 ft. drop.

  28. We used to leave our doors unlocked until someone started vandalizing our fence and so for the moment we’re a bit nervous about it. But it’s driving me nuts. I hate having my hands full and having to fish for keys! I can’t wait for the insecurity to wear off.

    The people who used to live in my house were just the opposite – they left us with several envelopes of keys. There are four locks on my front door! Someone was a little paranoid ;D

    I agree with everyone else – sounds like jumping is your best bet. But if someone breaks a leg, I didn’t say that.

  29. What if your desperate criminal, or his cronies, subscribe to your blog?

  30. Too funny! I like option 2! How incredible! We live in the country too 😉

  31. Use the back door 😀

  32. My vote is for option 2!

  33. I totally hear you on this one! I’ve done my share of chucking kids through the kitchen window!
    I do have a question that’s somewhat off topic here though. I have 5 daughters, you have 8. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE HORMONES?!?! We are a strong Christian family, (my husband is a pastor of a Reformed church for goodness sakes!), we have taught our children well. But there is no denying the existence of preteen girl hormones, they are a very real thing. My daughters are not out of control, but around once a month there is an awful lot of yelling and tears. How do you deal with this stuff? Anything? Please?

  34. I vote for option two. It makes me wish I had a seven foot drop outside MY back door.

  35. btw…. we don’t lock our doors either… we only got animals around here anyway and the goats and chickens can’t turn the doorhandle anyway! lol country life is the way to go! 😛

  36. haha! thanks for the laugh… I needed it today! I think the 7ft drop sounds like the winner… 😛 that would be the one I choose!

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