Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

03 Jun 2011, 10:22 a.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2011 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

How do you remember that you have already locked the door?

Whether I'm leaving the house or going to sleep, I usually have the urge to double-check that the door is locked. Then I check it once and am satisfied. In a vanishingly small percentage of cases, I haven't locked it. If you're in the same situation: what do you do to firmly recollect when you have locked it and reassure yourself that you don't need to check it again?

In cases where I've had three locks on the door (say, knob, deadbolt, and chain), I've gotten some mileage out of audibly chanting "Batman, Spiderman, Superman" as I lock the locks, working my way from bottom to top. Then I can recall saying it, because I remember things I've said better than I remember instances of habitual actions with my hands.

Just today I came up with this idea: if multiple people are leaving the house together, they can lock the door simultaneously, like missile silo workers turning keys to launch weapons. That, too, might be more memorable.

What do you do?


03 Jun 2011, 12:56 p.m.

Oooh, I get so worried about this, particularly if I'm the last person leaving the house for the day. I try to say things out loud, too -- it does seem to make me remember the moment, more -- but I usually just say what I'm doing: "Shutting the door. Turning the lock. Putting the key in. Activating the lock. Checking the door, checking the door, checking the door."

Eric Fischer
03 Jun 2011, 14:35 p.m.

What do I do? It helps that there are two stages: merely shutting the door generally locks it automatically, and then I can make it extra-securely locked by turning a key or two. I don't trust the automatic locking and must verify by tugging on the door, but turning the key is active enough that it satisfies me.

03 Jun 2011, 21:05 p.m.

My old apartment door didn't close snugly, so if you didn't lock it it wasn't shut. As a result, I've mostly avoided this dilemma for the past few years.

03 Jun 2011, 21:06 p.m.

I still sometimes worry about my car, but I hate hitting the lock button twice and having it beep (I'm far more paranoid about making loud noises in public than I am about locked doors) so I just trust it to lock itself, which it very cleverly does.

03 Jun 2011, 22:26 p.m.

I worry about garage door, house door, and car door, at least I did back in the States. After we forgot the garage door and house door and had a late-night visitor that one time, I check more frequently, but still cannot remember if I checked or not. I just check again, as I'll never get to sleep if I can't remember.

Here in India I don't have a garage or car, and the house door automatically locks behind me. I guess you can buy that kind of lock that does that? Now I never have to worry about it.