How to Break Into Your House

Five Methods:With a Plastic CardThrough a Door WindowFor a Chained LockThrough the GarageOther Methods

Ever gone outside while the door blows shut, with the keys inside and the door on auto-lock? Or it's simply too early to call your landlord and you haven't had your coffee yet and you wander outside ill-prepared. Whatever the reason, you're locked out. Don't worry -- you can get back in without breaking anything -- or without arousing suspicion.

Method 1
With a Plastic Card

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    Check the lock. A card will work on a spring bolt -- the kind that's part of a handle (and that moves back and forth with it); it will not work on a dead bolt.
    • A dead bolt can generally be found above the handle. If the handle is moving and the door isn't opening, your dead bolt is in lock position and you'll need to try a different method.
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    Get out a cheap, plastic card. It's best to start with cards that don't link you to all your money and can be replaced at the counter rather than being reissued and waiting for a new one in the mail -- in other words, if you have a card that's of little worth to you, use it first. You may wind up damaging the card and still not even getting in.
    • Laminated cards tend to work better -- they're more bendy.
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    Wedge the card between the door and the frame. If there's molding on the frame, this will be more difficult. You can pry it off -- but replacing a door is just as expensive (if not more) as calling a locksmith.
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    Hold the card flush against the door frame. You want it on the smallest part of the lock -- and the spring bolt is triangle shaped, with the point toward the frame.
    • If the sloped side of the bolt isn't facing you, you'll need a hooked tool or long piece of plastic.
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    Push the card in and bend away from the doorknob. When you feel it slide the latch back, turn the handle and open the door! Now go get your locks changed (i.e., get a dead bolt) because that was far too easy.
    • This may take a bit of maneuvering. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And then give up and call a locksmith (or try something else).

Method 2
Through a Door Window

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    Borrow a screwdriver from a neighbor. Don't by shy -- most people have one and it's just a screwdriver. However, if they don't recognize you, you may want to avoid the "I'm breaking into that house over there" comment.
    • A slotted screwdriver works best, but if you are handed a Phillips head (or cross slot) screwdriver, give 'er a go anyway.
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    Insert the screwdriver into the bottom of the window pane. Jimmy it around, exerting force upward. Pull out the door window, trying to not damage the door frame that much. In general, the door window should come out a lot easier than the lock and is less expensive to replace.
    • If it doesn't seem to want to move up, try moving it side to side and down. There may be another side that will work free a bit easier.
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    Take out the window pane. Put your hand through the hole in your door, and try to reach either a set of keys or the handle to open the door. If there's any broken glass, be incredibly careful -- a trip to the hospital isn't worth it.
    • If you're successful, you may want to worry about replacing the pane later -- at least when you have better tools to work with.
    • Go thank your neighbor, introduce yourself, and hand him/her the screwdriver back.

Method 3
For a Chained Lock

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    Open the door. If you can get your arm in the crack and the chain is at least semi-close to the handle, you're good to go.
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    Loop one end of a rubber band around the chain and through the other end. Basically, tie the rubber band around the chain, one end taut around the chain and the other looped away.
    • Tie or slide the rubber band to the point in the chain farthest away from you. You want it as close to the handle as possible -- the side closest to the outside edge of the chain strip.
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    Loop the loose end around the door handle. The very tip will do it -- you want the door handle to turn; if it's at the base, it won't.
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    Shut the door. The movement should force the rubber band to pull the chain to the side, releasing it. Once you hear the chain fall, open the door again -- this time to its full capacity.

Method 4
Through the Garage

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    Obtain a wire hanger. If you don't have your closet in your car, go door-knocking until you find a pleasant neighbor who can loan you one. Really, any piece of sturdy yet moldable wire will do.
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    Bend it into a long rod, but keep the hooked end. The rod needs to be as long as possible. If you can unwrap the twisted end to double the length, do so.
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    Insert the rod through the top of your garage. Some garages will be impossible to do this to -- others will be effortless. You'll know as soon as you try which category yours falls into.
    • Do this at the center of your garage, where all the mechanics lie. You're reaching for the latch at the top of the metal rail.
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    Grab the latch and yank toward you. This manual latch is located at the top of the mechanism that normally pulls up the door automatically -- you may not even know it's there. Once you've flipped it, the garage door will open like magic.
    • If you can't see into your garage, feel the rod along the metal support and work your way up to that machinery at the top. Once you feel a ridge poking out of the line, that's your key.

Method 5
Other Methods

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    Find an open window that you might be able to get through. If it's on the second floor -- start getting creative. Is there a fire escape you could climb? A trellis? A tree?
    • However, this article does not advocate risking your life. If there's even a question as to whether you would break your neck, don't do it.
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    If you have a tiled roof and a ladder, you may be able to climb onto the roof. Remove tiles and see what's underneath. If there's anything that's not completely stationary, do a little bending and twisting. Or, use the roof to get to a window that's too far away from the ground level to utilize.
    • But if it's not going anywhere, don't force it. Otherwise you'll get wet every time it rains.
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    Strike it with a hammer. This should only be considered when in an emergency -- otherwise waiting for a locksmith is a much better bet. After a couple rough hits, the handle should fall apart, creating an opening and allowing you to fiddle with the deadbolt.


  • Keep a spare key outside somewhere safe, or leave one with a trusted neighbor to avoid this situation.
  • If you have a small child and a doggy door, you might be able to get the child inside through the dog door and have him/her unlock the door for you.
  • If you live in an apartment complex, call your landlord during regular business hours. If it's 3 AM, though, find somewhere to crash and call in the morning.


  • The police will be hesitant to believe that you're breaking into your own house. Be prepared to show them your property deed, or tell them where it is located.
  • Any damage you do to your house/door/lock will result in something you have to fix later. When in doubt, just call a locksmith and wait it out.

Things You'll Need

Through a Door Window

  • Screwdriver

With a Plastic Card

  • Plastic Card

For a Chained Lock

  • Rubber band

Through the Garage

  • Wire rod (hanger)

Other Methods

  • Hammer
  • Ladder

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Home Security | Keeping Safe