5 Things I Learned When I Got Locked Out of My Apartment

Without good planning, you could end up like this!

Without good planning, you could end up like this! Photo courtesy via Creative Commons license via Bosque Village’s Flickr page.

Like any recent college graduate, I thought I was quite the grownup when I signed the lease on my very first apartment in Boston five years ago. But unlike getting locked out of a dorm room, getting locked out of a real city apartment was quite the challenge. It all started when my new roommate, who I was just getting to know, left for a weeklong vacation. No problem. I could handle a week on my own in the big city, right? WRONG. The second I stepped out of my apartment for my post-work jog, (such a grown-up activity!) I realized I left my keys inside. It eventually happens to everyone, but getting locked out is never fun. Here are the five life lessons I learned when it happened to me:

  1. Neighbors are nice

After realizing I was locked out, I needed a place to collect myself, but more importantly, I had to borrow someone’s phone to call my landlord for help. I knocked on my neighbors’ doors – something I had never done, and was relieved when a couple of normal-looking girls around my age answered the door downstairs. Immediately I wondered why I hadn’t reached out to them before – we should have been friends! They were super gracious and sat with me while I made calls all over the city trying to find a way back into my new Boston abode.

  1. Landlords don’t know everything

The first call I made was to my landlord, who I was sure would have a spare set of keys. Unfortunately, she said that she wouldn’t be able to drive into the city that night to let me in. I asked her what to do next. Her suggestion: call AAA. Yes, the AAA that provides car tows. But hey, I was new to the grown-up world and thought maybe there was an AAA apartment service I wasn’t yet aware of. I called AAA and inquired about having them unlock my apartment – the customer service agent’s confusion quickly turned into laughter at my question. I hung up, defeated. Turns out that landlords don’t always have a good solution and sometimes you have to take things into your own hands.

  1. Patience is a virtue

After finally getting ahold of a locksmith that would let me into my apartment, I was told I’d have to wait three hours for him to arrive. Yes, three full hours with these neighbors I barely knew. Getting locked out definitely requires a certain amount of zen in order to stay sane.

  1. Locksmiths are expensive!

My hero locksmith arrived, cut off my lock, and installed a new doorknob. Safe at home at last to the tune of $500. Of course he requested this money in cash, which seemed shady, but I got a receipt. If you leave your keys at home, be ready to pay the price – literally. This might require giving up happy hours and grocery delivery for a while.

  1. Hide a spare

Of course, the single most important lesson I learned by getting locked out is to have a spare set of keys hidden somewhere (and please, don’t hide your keys under the one pair of boots in the hallway…so obvious). A great solution is having a trustworthy friend keep a set for safe keeping and you can do the same for them. You never know when this will save you $500, 3 hours, and an embarrassing call to AAA.

What embarrassing things have you done to get back in to your apartment after you were locked out?  Tell us in comments!

1 Comment

  1. I just got back into my apartment. I got locked out since 11am while I was cleaning the hallway – I had to wait till my sisters got home school. At 3pm . As soon as I heard the door shut behind me I was like OOOMGGG. So I sat in the staircase waiting and greeting my neighbors as they entered their apartment. One was nice enough to let me use her bathroom and the other was nice enough to ask me if I wanted to stay in her living room. I respectfully declined and thanked them whole heartedly. Gee, at least I left my music on in my apartment while I was cleaning so I had that to listen to while I hopelessly sat on my staircase waiting and waiting. Ugh I totally learned my lesson. ALWAYS carry your keys! Lol.


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