The number of items that we need to carry every day is decreasing, partly due to technology as well as other cultural trends. We see this with the travel or work bags that we carry, our wallets, as well as the items that we carry inside of our pockets (interestingly, the pants we wear or apparel as a category hasn’t gone as big of a change as accessories have).

Within the pocket, one carry item that has undergone an interesting shift in design over the past years is the key chain, also known as a key organizer. Although it’s main use case remains the same, it’s intriguing to recognize the ways in which features and materials around the key organizer are being created, both of which this article will dive into more detail.

The Case for the Minimalist Key Organizer

Whether the key organizer is minimalist or one that contains many ornate features, one thing that doesn’t change much is its shape and silhouette, as most key organizers will conform to a Swiss army knife shape.

Typically, a minimalist key organizer can accommodate up to 3 to 6 keys, depending on the brand or style, but with the rise in digital forms of keys whether via a smartphone or in a card (the digital key market is expected to grow by 11% from 2018 to 2022), there is less of a need for the bulkiness that many might have had to carry in their key organizer decades ago.

Another area we’ve seen a change in key form and shape is in car keys, as many models of cars have gone away with a traditional key in exchange for a slimmer, more technical and modern keys (like these innovative car key designs).

As the need to carry fewer keys has risen, it’s coincided with brands that make key organizers adding additional features that can complement ones lifestyle. From USB sticks to bottle openers to knives, key organizers are now being accessorized in ways that weren’t possible before when there was more of a need to maximize real estate for the keys themselves.

Why Use a Key Organizer?

If carrying multiple keys is a regular habit, investing in a quality key organizer can pay dividends for your future self. For men, carrying a set of keys in the pocket of a pair of pants without an organizer around them can lead to inconveniences like jingling, poking, excessive strain on the pants, or even a misinformed bulge on one side of the pocket. All of these issues can be prevented with a key organizer that neatly tucks the keys in an enclosed space.

What Materials are the Best Key Organizers Made From?

Key organizers from decades ago were typically only made from leather, canvas, or forms of polyester, but today there’s been an increase in the range and versatility of materials that brands are using, since it’s common to find a combination of metal and other composites like plastic.


Despite the rise in metal and synthetic materials for key organizers, leather still remains one of the more popular options due to its quality, durability, and aesthetic. Leather has a great handfeel to it and it’s very wearable in that it goes well with other leather items one might have like a wallet, shoes, or bag.

A minimalist leather key organizer will prioritize usefulness and form factor over adding additional features, and we’ve seen one brand in particular, Orbit Key, execute very well on this.

Orbit Key started in Australia and it’s founders state that their mission was to come up with a better way to organize their keys and their daily routine. To their credit, they’ve come out with a way of taking the the silhouette of a swiss army knife and applying it to a key organizer in a thoughtful way that makes key carrying both useful and convenient while still being aesthetically pleasing.


Metals are popular with modern key organizers because like a swiss army knife, a metal key organizer will hold its shape regardless of how its used. Although different types of leather are regularly used, the most common type is aluminum or stainless steel.

With metal key organizers, because the volume is already predefined by the size and measurements of its metal based, there will typically be more additional features that are added like bottle openers or quick access knives.

Choosing the Best Key Organizer

The best key organizer is one that’s going to be the best for a given use case and lifestyle. Generally, a key organizer that’s easy to use without the need for two hands is ideal, since it covers all of those situations when you’re carrying a bag of groceries or have your hand ties and need to quickly use your keys.

A great key organizer is also something that is durable and will last for a few years at the minimum, which comes down to both the materials and construction of the key organizer. With leather, opting for real leather instead of vegan leather will increase the lifespan of the key organizer, while a metal key organizer that’s made from high quality stainless steel or aluminum is great for longevity.

With functionality, ease of use is one of the most important criteria to look for, since it serves the primary use case of the tool. Additional features like bottle openers and USB sticks can be nice to haves and will depend on ones lifestyle preferences.

Final Thoughts

With finding the best key organizer, it ultimately comes down to a subjective decision on choice of materials and functionality required. Most key organizers made today are purposely designed to be minimal in aesthetic and function, and as keys continue to be digitized and encrypted,(see Amazon’s $1 billion dollar purchase of Ring), we expect to continue to see this category evolve with the trends.