Locks fall into the category of things you don’t notice until one isn’t there. Take public bathroom stalls, for instance: Typically, you walk in, close the door behind you, and lock it without a thought. But if you enter the stall and realise the lock is broken, it could turn into a stressful situation, as you attempt to pee while keeping the door closed.
And that’s only one of many situations where a lack of a lock can be a source of anxiety. In an article for BobVila.com, Timothy Dale provides a number of solutions to keeping a lockless door shut and secure. Here are a few examples that may come in handy one day.
How to use a belt or rope to lock a door
If you’re in a situation where there isn’t a working lock and the door has a lever-style handle, a simple belt or rope can provide a temporary solution. “Just attach one end of the belt or rope to the handle and the other to a fixed object,” Dale writes. “Consider using two tethers to completely prevent movement when the handle can open both upwards and downwards.”
How to use a doorstop to lock a door
You already know how a doorstop works to keep a door open — don’t forget it works the other way, too. Instead of wedging it under an open door, stick the doorstop under a closed door from the side that opens inward.
But keep in mind this method has some shortcomings: Namely, that it only works from one side of the door, and also that some people are strong enough to break the door down — even with the doorstop in place. If you’re using this on an external door, you may want to add another type of temporary lock for backup.
How to use a fork to lock a door
Bring out your inner MacGyver and use a fork to create a makeshift lock on a door that opens inward. The instructions for this one are a little complex, so here’s how Dale explains it in his article on BobVila.com:
To secure the door, bend the tines of the fork so that the tips of the tines fit into the door latch and the rest of the fork can comfortably remain in the gap between the door and the doorframe when the door is closed. Open the door and remove the fork, then break off the handle of the fork. Place the head of the fork back into the door latch as before, making sure that the bent tines are securely hooked to the door latch, then close the door. With the door closed, slide the handle of the fork through the tines, creating a horizontal barrier that prevents the door from opening inwards.
How to lock a door with the back of a chair
You’ve probably seen this technique used in a TV show or movie, but it can also work in some real-life situations too. First, make sure the chair you’re using is quite sturdy. Then place it at an angle so that the top of the chair fits snugly under the door handle, keeping two feet of the chair are firmly planted on the ground, as Dale notes.