Whether it’s your car or your house, the worst thing you could possibly do is violently try to force your lock open like an angry, confused bear. The reason you don’t do this is firstly, because it’s useless. Secondly, it’ll make the job for whoever has to pick/open the lock a lot harder than it needs to be. By damaging the lock you could make it either more difficult or impossible for it to be opened. If they do somehow manage to get it open, it will likely result in some sort of damage to your car/door/safe etc.
Know Who to Contact
If all else fails and you can’t pick locks, your first instinct may be to call the authorities. Sadly, most police officers and firefighters aren’t put under the sort of training that would allow them to assist you without battering the door until it comes down SWAT-style. You should instead contact your nearest locksmith which will likely be able to come to your location. Make sure the locksmith you call is from an official business and is authentic. You don’t know who you may be letting into your home. The locksmith will then come with specialist equipment to make sure that the lock is picked quickly and properly. Some locksmiths charge you for services like this, others don’t. What matters here is that you have access to your house/car again without any collateral damage.
Look for Unlocked Windows
If it’s a house that you’re locked out of, look for unlocked windows. Getting back into your house may be as simple as climbing through a big enough window. This saves your time and also the time of whatever locksmith or friend you have to call for help.
Don’t Forget Alternate Possibilities
Maybe you can’t find any unlocked windows possibly because you live in an apartment that doesn’t have any accessible. In that case, try a roommate or a family member who can get you in or open the door. If you live in a house that you pay rent for then call the landlord. They’ll likely have a spare key just in case. If you’re lucky enough to have them in the area at the time then you may be out of that sticky situation quicker than you think.
Improve Your Lock/Situation Accordingly
Maybe your lock was an off-brand, unreliable lock and the best thing to do for your home is to buy a more durable, reliable lock. Maybe you just made an innocent mistake. For example; you have a door that locks when it’s shut, and you’ve left the keys inside. An easy solution for this problem is to simply have a spare key hidden somewhere outside your house/apartment at all times. This way, you never have to worry again about being in a rush for work and forgetting your house key.
When All Else Fails
These solutions are only for situations that stop you from being able to get inside for several hours. E.g. you’re locked out very late at night and have no one to call who will be up
Sleep in Your Car
This is something that a lot of people have had to do at one point in their life or another. It’s probably more comfortable than you might expect, especially if you have one of those chairs in your car that goes all the way back. Another thing you could do to improve your comfort would be to have a backup blanket and pillow in your car at all times, just in case of an emergency like this one. (Or if you need a power nap during your lunch break at work.)
Any Friends Who Are Mad Enough to Also Be Awake
It may or may not be a bit awkward asking but if you explain your situation and be polite you may be lucky enough to stay at close friends house for the night. Stay there until you can call a locksmith (or whoever may have keys) and get back into your home. It’s worth a try because worst case scenario they say no. There’s not much to lose.
Sleep in Your Shed/Garage
Yes, you probably don’t have the proper space or materials to be sleeping your shed or garage but on the off-chance that you do it’s certainly better than staying outside in whatever harsh, unforgivable weather there may be that night. Personally, I think that the cars are the better option. But, not everyone has a car so a shed might be your last option.
Check Into a Hotel
This one may seem a bit over the top. However, if you’re one of those people who can afford it and need the luxury of it, checking into a hotel might be a good option for you. Maybe even just a B&B. This is probably only worth it if you can find somewhere to stay at an affordable price and maybe have work or something important the next day and need to make sure you have the opportunity to shower, brush your teeth etc. which would only be possible in a hotel/B&B.
Go on a Walk
This might sound ridiculous but maybe its 6 in the morning and the locksmiths open in an hour or two. The best thing to do is just wait it out. Assuming the weather isn’t miserable then a leisurely stroll is the perfect option for you. Not only just to pass the time, but it’s also good for your health and gets your muscles moving.
Hopefully you now feel more prepared for when a situation like this may come up at some point in your life. Remember to always have a backup plan no matter what the situation is. Whether it’s spare blankets in your car or a spare key under a plant pot.