How can I reuse or recycle old house keys?

A bunch of keysI’ve had an email from Jory, asking for suggestion about what to do with “a ton of old house keys”.

We’ve got a number floating around too – not just house keys but old bike lock keys and other misc keys that are probably for something really important we just don’t know what.

So any ideas?

Best Suggestions

  • Reuse: Lots of people have suggested using them as different type of decorations and jewellery – and if you don’t want to do that, there are a number of different artists collecting them (see below).
  • Recycle: If you’d rather recycle them for charity, they’re collected by a number of charities – for example Keys For Kindness in the US.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by irizarry)

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263 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old house keys?”

  1. Shar says:

    Dear all, I just found a few old house keys [major clear-out and de-cluttering project] so there’s lots of other stuff I want to recycle too – and I’d love to send them to somebody. Anybody here in the UK? If you want them I can post them. I’m in Lewisham SE London.


    • Gill Hickman says:

      Hi Shar
      After loads of research I’ve started collecting for charity again at my school. We did this for guide dogs a year ago but they stopped. I’m probably able to get someone to pick up on London but I’m away for the next ten days. Have you an email I can write to you on? Don’t think I can see it on this forum


  2. Patsy says:

    I am a recycle artist and am in need of:
    1) house keys
    2) dead button/disk batteries like for watches, clocks, hearing aids etc
    3) bottle caps
    4) Maxwell House coffee blue plastic containers with handles
    5) broken old mismatched jewelry

    thanks for any donations

    • Susan says:

      Hi Patsy,

      I would love to give you several old house keys. Please contact me at

    • Joyce Watt says:

      We have about 30 keys that we could send you – it seems a waste to throw them out – I could send them to you ?

    • shar says:

      hi patsy i have old house keys you can have. whats your e mail? i’ll contact you there if poss?


    • Monica says:

      Hi Patsy,

      Have lots of stuff I could send – please do post up contact details so I can send you an email.

      Many thanks

    • Eric says:

      Hey i have a ton of keys i don’t need if you want them just contact me and let me know if your still in need of them.

    • PEG says:


    • Megan says:

      I have a house key and nothing to do with it, send me your address and I’ll mail it.

    • We have just had a number of locks changed and I have a bag of old keys, are they any good to you to recycle in your work.
      Let me know.
      Kind Regards

    • Jodi Boreham says:

      We have a large amount of unnamed lost keys in our lost property and, we would happily donate them to you if uncollected by the end of this term.

    • Denise says:

      Hi Patsy, I hoard all kinds. I have a box of keys somewhere and a largish bag of plastic bottle tops. Jewellery bits too and probably more besides you could use. I normally off-load to my arty sister, but she draws the line! (Hardy ha!)

      Please message me back if you are still doing great things with all our would-be crap! Dee

    • elaine says:

      I have keys & mismatched jewelry. Send me your email address, please. Who pays the postage?


    • Amy says:


      I would like to send you some of my old house and other keys. I’d love to have them incorporated in art. Where can I send them?


    • Tom says:

      Patsy – are you still wanting old keys? And does anyone want a few bags of old wine corks? I live in Brisbane, Australia, so I guess I’m hoping to find possible recipients who aren’t overseas!

      Thanks – Tom.

      • gloria says:

        Sorry, I live overseas, but if you didn’t find anyone interested in your corks, pending quantity cost and shipping, I would be very interesting. I work in a low income school and I am always on the lookout for possible craft items, or items I can make and sell with some of the proceeds going to chairity.
        Thanking you in advance. Please respond soon.

    • Maz says:

      I have a number of keys as well as broken and mismatched jewellery.
      Any good to you at all?

      • judith callahan says:

        I’m trying to teach my grandchildren some sort of jewelry crafts and also to use in our Bible school with young kids. Anything you have that we could make something out of wold so much appreciated. Will send you my address later & we can talk. house-wife, retired and tired! Thanks!

    • Darlene Lynch says:

      What kind of artwork do you do with them??

      • judith callahan says:

        Mostly and so far, pasting small items (whatever) on
        a design- flower, fruit etc. , just anything we can come up with. Once decorated a birdhouse. we liked it- birds liked it more!

    • Tony says:

      are you still looking for stuff?
      let me know what you want/need specifically


    • harry says:

      Where do I send them? Got the keys of a lifetime from my dad and just didnt want to throw them out.

    • Anna R says:

      Bit of a long shot, but if you still need keys I have hundreds.

      • Viktoras says:

        Hi Anna,

        It is a long shot from my side too, but if you still have those old keys I would be interested. Where are you based? What type of keys are they?

        We are producing key wallets and would love to use old keys for display and explanation purposes.

        I look forward to hearing from you,


    • Di says:

      If you want keys lots of them please email me.

      • Britt Ivey says:

        Hi, my names Britt. I collect old car keys, house keys,etc. I usually get the old car keys from the cars at Pull-a_Part. If the cars have keys in them.I started collecting keys a while back and I am still collecting them. I was wondering if you still had any? Thanks. Britt. By the way, Pull-a-Part is a place that buys old junk cars and sells the parts off of them.

    • Shirley Bond says:

      Dear Patsy
      Do you still want old household keys. If so where do I send them

    • Emms says:

      I’ve got old house keys I can send to you.
      Where to send to?


    • lin vaggers says:

      Are you still interested in any old keys? If so please send me your address and I will post them to you.

    • Makani says:

      Send me an address where keys and things can be sent to you.

      Thank you

    • Jan says:

      Do you still want old house keys?
      Your address?
      Would you pay for the cost of shipping them to you?

    • Marie says:

      I have loads of keys if you would like them?
      I work in property so have lots from when we change locks and have no use for the old ones.

    • Anonymous says:

      yes, I have several old keys I need to rid of!!! I live in Orange Co. CA. Is there such a place? I do not want them! Also, any place in general to rid of old scrap metal?? I don’t want to travel that far.

    • Anonymous says:

      Judging from the time as noted in my msg, I must be addressing someone in Europe? I live in California!

    • Teri says:

      Hi, I found this page today, August 1, 2013. Do you still need keys? I have two dozen of them of varying shapes and sizes. You can contact me at

    • Denise says:

      You can cover an old picture frame with them. Or even edge a lampshade.

    • Denise says:

      I would like to know if anyone has any of the following – old buttons, unwanted cd’s, beer bottle caps, material scraps, basically anything that they want to get rid of. I do many kinds of media. Would appreciate any donations

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi patsy! Came upon your post from 2011…are you still in need of old mismatched jewelry and house keys? Feel free to email me at if so.
      Alia rdissi

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you still collecting old keys?

    • PAT says:

      I am in Houston Tx and have lots of keys that need a new home
      please contact me

    • Nigel Barnes says:

      Hi Patsy,

      We are soon to be opening a shop selling amongst other things,
      ‘Up-Cycled’ items. Do you have any examples of your work ?

      Hope to speak soon

    • Anonymous says:

      Where r u located? If local, I could drop them off. Postage would probably be too much to try to mail them….thanks

    • Mary says:

      Are you still collecting old keys and where are you based.

    • Joanne says:

      I have old keys to be recycled and possibly mismatched jewelry, not sure if you want costume jewelry, please let me know where to send.

  3. jenna says:

    paint the keys with nail polish and put it on a chain it could be a cute necklace for you or a girl that you know and it is super cute

  4. Thomas says:

    If anyone would like to send me anything, I’d be very appreciative :) Contact @

    They’ve recently closed to local dump to the public, so it’s a bit hard for me to get a hold of interesting items anymore.

    • shar says:

      hi thomas where are you based? uk? i can send some items your way as long as not too much postage. [i am de-cluttering my home]
      what are you seeking, please specify?


      • Judy Henderson says:

        I am also an artist/crafter who uses old keys in my work. I am in USA but am often in Ireland with family. If you haven’t already sent your keys to Thomas, I would be grateful for any you may have left.
        Anyone else in UK/Ireland with extra or old keys you can email for my address in Ireland or USA.

  5. Karen Feldman says:

    I have been using unused keys into beautiful wind chimes. Anyone could try that, but I would also be very grateful to anyone that would be able to send me their no-longer-needed keys. I live in Arizona and can reimburse for postage. Email me at Thanks! ~Karen~

  6. Marcia Lewis says:


  7. PEG says:


  8. Sonya Wentz says:

    Hello everyone,

    I am an artist , who incorporates odd finds, such as items listed above, in altered art projects, props for independent films (I help filmakers with no budget ;-)) and i would welcome any donations. I will reimburse you for shipping if need be. Please contact me via email



  9. Amanda says:

    Keys make a great peice of home decor. Take a 12×12 frame, go to a craft store and pick out a sheet of 12×12 paper that matches your house. Than glue or tack the keys to a peice of paper that has been glued to cardboard or cardstock. Put the paper in the frame and close it. hang it on your wall and admire your splended yet easy work!!!!

  10. You can also get keys from hardware stores, home improvement stores and anywhere they make keys. I went into a hardware store and they gave me a bucket full! However i use them for projects with projects showing people how they can Repurpose anything!

    • Nigel Barnes says:


      Myself & my wife are setting up a shop this year and website selling upcycled products, do you have any examples of your work ?

      Kind regards

  11. Jag says:

    I’ve got lots of keys which I would like to recycle/donate. If anyone would like them please email me at and I’ll send to you.

  12. Shannon says:

    I own a jewelry business and would LOVE any old keys you have!

  13. Judy Henderson says:

    I am an artist/craft person always in need of old or unwanted/ unneeded keys to used in various ways. I am in USA about half the year and in Ireland about half the year these days. I can be reached at

  14. Judy Henderson says:

    I am an artist/crafts person and use old unwanted/unneeded keys of any type in many ways. Please email me if you have some – any amount. Thanks

  15. Erin says:

    I have a ton of house and mailbox keys since i work at an apartment community, the locks are changed after every move out. They aren’t old, just regular ol’ keys. I also have a ton of plastic bottle caps. Anyone interested in them, i live in texas. My email is

  16. jai says:

    i have seen keys stuck on card and then framed to hang. it looks lovely in a tall/long photo frame which you can pick up at charity shops

  17. Amie Barber says:


    I work at a property management company and I’ve got about 150ish keys that no longer work. Some are gold, some are silver and are various shapes and sizes (mostly apartment, gate and garage keys).

    My last day here is next Friday (May 11th) and I’m trying to clean up this mess before I go! I know the person who takes my place will most likely just throw them in the trash and I want them to go to good use. If you would like the keys (or a picture of the pile) please email me at and we can figure something out. I’m in the Los Angeles CA area but can ship them out if need be.

  18. Brizeida says:

    Gloria, e mail me at, I can help sending some art & craft materials.

  19. Hi, 
    We are a non profit organization helping women and children in need. We are self supporting and create bracelets and art work to sell as a fund raiser for our food closet, maternity and baby clothes and help with retraining young women. 

    Here is what we are looking for

    Old and new keys any amount 
    Bottle caps
    Acrylic paints
    Old paint brushes
    Old cowboy boots 
    Beads for jewelry making 
    Lace or linen for crafts 
    Broken jewelry 
    Seeds for the garden 
    Anything that can be used in art or crafts. Thank you in advance for considering helping. If you would like a receipt for taxes we are happy to send one for your donation. Just let me know. 

    Maternity clothes
    Children’s clothing 
    Any cook ware or Tupperware
    Canning jars 
    Dried beans and rice for instant soup mixes. 

    If you would like to mail it. 
    You can send it to: 

    Lifetime Adoption 
    Attention: Mardie 
    17860 Cattle Drive
    Rough and Ready , California USA 95946 

    Or email me at
    530 432-7373 ask forLolita 

  20. Sam says:

    Got keys. Need them still?

  21. Bev says:

    Make a wind chime out of them to hang near you flower/veg beds!

  22. Monica says:

    I reused some old keys but bending the tips to make a hook. THen screws them through the hole into the door and now they are hooks for my bathroom towels :)

  23. Song says:

    I am a design student based in London.
    I need loads of unwanted keys for my project.
    Please contact me if you have any amount of keys not needed.
    Thank you very much.

  24. Mary says:

    I make handmade jewelry, and I am in need of keys, the older the better! If you’d like to donate any I’d be more then willing to give coupons to my jewelry site in return. Thank you! Mary

  25. Rachel says:

    I used our old keys to make “Real” key sets for our twins. By the time they were 2, they were not interested in the plastic play keys, but in mommy and daddy’s real keys. Their new sets don’t open anything, but they often use them to “turn on” their play cars or other pretend items.

  26. Lisa says:

    To reduce, only get the amount of keys you need!

  27. Rachael Haines says:

    I am looking for house/door keys for an art piece that I am making in protest to the destruction of so many social houses. I need about 10.000!

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    Thank you.


  28. Kevin says:

    If anyone has any unwanted keys of all shapes and sizes then I would gladly have them for a craft project. Please email me at

    Many thanks in advance

  29. Kevin says:

    That would be brilliant Sara. My address is 1 boone place, the grove, Witham, Essex. CM8

    Many thanks once again!

  30. Rachel says:


    I have a couple of working Yale-style locks with keys that we don’t need, as we changed all the locks in our new house. Any ideas where I can recycle these? Someone could use them.



  31. pat says:

    I have 50+ old house keys can U use them
    in Houston Tx

  32. John says:

    I know this maybe a long shot but only just been researching this, if anyone has any more keys they would like to get rid of please let me know


  33. We are a nonprofit creative reuse center in rural Iowa. We just opened in August of 2015. We accept many, many items.
    We encourage you to look for other creative reuse centers that are close to you. We all take pretty much the same stuff. If you do not find any near you, we take donations of items via UPS, FED EX and USPS, etc

    WE really need old keys and other metal things like clock/watch gears, silverwear, metal washers, nuts, bolts, etc.

    Our physical address is
    Make it Yours Upcycle Center
    411 Main Street
    Welton, Iowa 52774

    If you are using the postal service then use:
    PO Box 70

    instead of the street address, thanks.

    you can find more about us on Facebook and by visiting

    Thanks to all who take the time to search for a better solution for items than throwing them away.

    We are trying to “Save the landfills one junk drawer at a time.” Can you help?

  34. Kelly says:

    Have you ever seen SAW the movie?
    I was thinking if you ever broke up with you ex- boyfriend/girlfriend, a fallout with a room mate, or fired from a job and you have to give back your key… just take a shoe box full of keys with or with out the key you need to return and simply dump it one the ground and say there is your keys and a few more and thanks for wasting my time, I hope that this will waste yours. You can add oh I think your safe deposit box key is in there as well.


  35. Cara says:

    Hello! I am in of:
    1. ANY used keys
    2. Blue, orange, purple or red glass
    3. Oil dip sticks (Yes the metal rod you check your oil with lol. The longer, the better)
    4. Silver ware or tool handles about the size of regular dinnerware.
    Just mail to Cara O
    12240 Meridian Ave

  36. Cara says:

    Also if you would like I can reimburse you postage thank you

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