Keychain Minimalism

I wrote a < 101 a little while back about keychains and I wanted to expand on how I arrived at my current configuration.

I used to have a much busier keychain. It consisted of at least two split-rings with a “remove before flight” tag, some random souvenir my father had brought back from Vietnam (I’m still not sure what it actually is), keys to doors I hadn’t seen in years, a key for the faceplate lock on my desktop computer that I hadn’t started in nearly half a decade, useless Red Bull tabs, an armadillo bottle opener, and other random things.  It was heavy, oddly shaped, and didn't sit right in a pocket.  In short, it was a pain.

When I finally decided to do something about the mounting clutter I chose to take a much more streamlined approach. I really only have five keys I need, four of which I use on a daily basis (car key, apartment complex key, apartment key, mailbox key) and one I use infrequently but seemed relevant enough to keep around.

I removed everything I didn’t actually use. That meant getting rid of the giant red tag, the random thing from Vietnam, the various keys I hadn’t touched in forever, and all the other superfluous stuff.

I added a CRKT P.E.C.K. for two reasons: first, I thought having a small, keychain-sized knife would be handy; and second (perhaps more importantly) it took up the rest of the space available on the chain shackle itself; this prevented the rest of the keys from jingling about. In order to add the P.E.C.K. I had to remove the pocket clip and then add a small washer to retain the proper spacing on the pivot-screw. This was simple enough as the pocket clip was just attached with torx screws. Another benefit to this mod was finding a reason to purchase a small torx screwdriver.

I chose to put everything on a chain shackle in an effort to keep things in their place (chain shackles are available in most hardware stores or, as linked, online). I had seen other solutions similar to this one; one using half of an old Leatherman Micra; a more commercial option; and a couple variations of those themes. A few of the holes on the heads of the keys required some enlargement to fit onto the chain shackle, I accomplished this with a couple seconds of filing.

At first, the bolt of the chain shackle when tightened down completely inhibited easy rotation of the keys. When I loosened the bolt to allow rotation it would continue loosening in my pocket. I rectified this by tightening the bolt as desired and fastening the end of the bolt with a bit of super glue. It hasn’t moved since.

This keychain solution has allowed me to keep all my keys aligned and close together. The keys are easy to access individually and the chain shackle gives a far better grip when actually turning a key. They don’t bunch in a pocket or jingle excessively when being used.  The PECK has come in handy more than a couple times.  I've also discovered that the keys and chain shackle setup essentially creates a longer handle; I can pinch the pivot screw between my thumb and index finger and have the keys folded away from the knife creating a usable handle that fits the length of my palm.

I’ve been running my chain-shackle setup for quite some time now and haven’t found anything to complain about. Slimming down my keys has been one of the easiest and most beneficial things I’ve done with respect to my EDC kit.

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