Uh oh. You’re locked out of your apartment, and your roommate isn’t home. Rather than falling into a state of panic, take a deep breath and get ready to problem-solve. After all, you’ve tackled bigger challenges than this!

If you’re not a pro at getting back into your apartment after you’ve locked yourself out (and we sincerely hope you aren’t), read this guide and you’ll know exactly what to do to get back into your pad:

What to Do When You Are Locked Out

OK, first things first: If you have your cellphone on you, there are a few calls you’ll need to make:

  • Your roommate: If you have a roommate, they should be the first person you call. If they are nearby or could make it back to the apartment and let you in relatively quickly, that’s definitely the preferable option.

  • Your landlord: No roommate? Call your landlord. They likely have keys to your apartment (to take care of maintenance issues) and may be able to help you out of a jam.

  • The locksmith: If no one is available to help you, you’ll have to call a locksmith. They’ll help you “break into” your apartment, but you’ll have to pay them a pretty penny. Use this option as a last resort.

If you don’t have your cellphone on you, now is the perfect time to get to know your neighbors! Knock on their door, explain the situation, and ask if you can borrow their phone.

[Getting to Know Your Neighbors]

Once you’re back in your apartment, make sure you thank them with some baked goods!

How to Prevent it in The Future

Now that you’ve survived this traumatic (OK, mildly inconvenient) experience, take steps to prevent it from happening in the future:

  • Hide a spare key: Consider hiding a spare key somewhere outside of your apartment. You could place it in a combination key lock box that hangs on the door handle, or wedge it in between two bricks behind a bush. Make sure your hiding place of choice is less-than-obvious—potential thieves will know to look underneath the doormat.

    [Tips to Prevent Burglary]

  • Give a key to your neighbors: If you don’t feel comfortable having a spare key out in the open, consider giving one to those neighbors you just met! OK, you should probably get to know them a little better first, but if they seem trustworthy, giving them a key could be just the thing you need to gain a little peace of mind.