It’ll happen to all of us at least once. You’ve been out and about in the neighborhood taking a walk, you get home, only then to discover you somehow managed to get locked out of your own home. While scenarios differ from person to person, it doesn’t change that being locked out is a stressful and sometimes scary thing that can happen to people.

In order to avoid being locked out, you need to know how to handle it when it happens instead of simply pretending it won’t happen. Here are five tips on what to do when you’re locked out of your home.

  1. Pick the Lock
    While this will require some skill and a specific set of tools, one of the simplest means of getting into your house when you don’t have a key is by picking the lock. With a small amount of practice, anyone can do it, making it viable for any homeowner.
    The only downside to this strategy is the need for lock picking tools. Even then, there are many sets like Sparrows lock pick sets available that can be carried easily if you foresee yourself in this kind of situation.
  2. Call a Locksmith
    If picking the lock yourself isn’t an option, try calling a locksmith. They’re professionals who are well versed in opening all kinds of locks and should be able to get the job done. If for some reason they can’t pick it themselves, then they’ll be able to take off the knob temporarily to let you inside.
  3. Look for Access
    While we like to think of ourselves as home security experts, many of us actually leave tons of vulnerabilities around our homes every day.
    Whether this is an unlocked window or screen door, box of tools with which you can unscrew your doorknob, or any of a multitude of other ways someone could potentially get into your home, make your oversights work for you (and learn a valuable lesson about locking up properly in the process).
  4. Use a Credit Card
    It’s a common trick in movies that actually works some of the time. Provided your house isn’t using a deadbolt lock, you should be able to open it with just a credit card if you’re resourceful enough. Using a card you don’t mind ruining, push it perpendicular to the door latch while wiggling and bending it away from the knob. All it takes is for it to catch and the door will open with ease.
  5. Remove the Door
    A bit of a last resort, but the easiest way to circumvent a lock is to get rid of the door around it. All you’ll need is a screwdriver, which you’ll use to unscrew the hinges on your door and move it until you can unlock the door. Just remember to put it back when you’re done, or being locked out will become the least of your worries.

Remembering these five tips should make getting into your house after you’ve locked yourself out a breeze. The key is not to panic, thinking things through logically and calmly. As long as you try at least one of these fixes, you should be back inside in no time.

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