August 28, 2020

Expert Tips on How to Open a Storage Unit Door & Lock

It’s the first step you take every time you access your storage unit. It should be easy — but sometimes it isn’t. While not exactly rocket science, unlocking your unit and opening the door can pose unique difficulties for new renters and seasoned storers alike. Thankfully, our team at Stor-It is here to help.

On this page, we’ll provide tips, tricks, and expert insights on how to open a storage unit lock. Unlock the secrets (and your door) with our help, and reserve your Idaho storage unit with us today!

Unlocking the Door: How to Work Different Lock Types

For obvious reasons, most storage units are locked when closed. Thus, if you want to get inside, you need to know how to open a storage unit lock. This means knowing a bit about the type of lock you’re working with. Not all storage units use the same type of lock, so we’ll take a look at the three most common candidates to help you crack the code (figuratively and literally).

  • Cylinders. These are on the front doors of most homes. They’re small metallic circles into which you stick a key. Integrated with the door itself, cylinder locks are a great choice because they cannot be cut. To unlock them, you’ll need a key and a steady hand. Turn slowly but firmly and wait for the bolt to move.
  • Padlocks. Unlike cylinder locks, padlocks are physically separate from doors and must be attached manually to their exteriors. These locks consist of a locking mechanism and a large, U-shaped clamp affixed to a latch. Most storage padlocks use keys, but some have codes. The best way to open the locks is to tilt them so you can easily see the numbers or the keyhole. If you’re using a combination padlock, make sure the numbers are evenly lined up in the correct position before pulling it open.
  • PIN-Controlled Locks. Eliminating the need for keys while preserving the advantages of an integrated design, PIN-controlled locks use an electronic keypad to trigger a locking mechanism within the door. The trick with these locks is to complete the steps properly. Some require you to hit an extra button before or after the combination to unlock your door. The same is true for locking it up — so make sure you know the correct process, or risk leaving your unit accessible to passersby.

Opening the Door: How to Lift and How to Pull

You’ve just learned that not all storage unit locks are the same, so it probably won’t surprise you that not all storage unit doors are the same, either. Some are big, some are small. Some are automated, some aren’t. Some open from the bottom like a shed, while others open on hinges like the front door to a house. Here are a few tips for successfully opening different types of storage doors.

  • When opening roll-up doors, be sure to lift with your entire body (to keep your back in good shape). Keep a hand on the door until it’s fully overhead to maintain control.
  • When opening handle doors, make sure to firmly grip the handle and turn it all the way. These doors will always open outwards towards you so as to not make contact with the stored items inside.
  • When opening all storage doors, remember: slow and steady wins the race. You don’t want to cause trouble for yourself, your stored items, or your unit.

Storage Containers: A Short Aside

So far, this guide has focused entirely on storage units — but we’re going to take a quick detour and touch on a different type of storage, namely storage containers. Sometimes called pods, sometimes literal shipping containers, these portable storage solutions have a slightly different opening process than their facility-bound cousins. For one, you won’t find a helpful facility manager around to help you should encounter difficulties, so take these next few words of wisdom to heart. They may be your key to opening your storage container without a headache!

Many shipping containers use locking mechanisms called hasps, which are small, rotating clamps attached to exterior metal bars (called lock rods) on the door of the container. After successfully unlocking the container’s middle lock, you must rotate all hasps upward before opening the door. After rotating all hasps, lift up each lock rod’s handle to disengage its locking mechanisms at the bottom and top of the door. Most shipping containers have two doors side by side, each with two handles. Pick one door and open it by pulling the inside handle first, then both handles in tandem. Once this door is open, move on to the next one.

Most storage pods use roll-up doors with padlocks, so you can refer to the previous sections to learn how to open these successfully. As these pods are often placed curbside, be sure to test any handle with a ginger touch before opening. In the summer, they can get quite hot.

How to Close Your Storage Unit: Tips and Tricks

For every person that searches “how to open a storage lock,” there is another person that searches “how to close a storage lock.” Properly closing your unit is just as vital as properly opening it — and sometimes, the two processes influence one another. For these reasons, we’ve put together a few quick tips on closing up shop at your storage unit.

  • When closing roll-up doors, put your foot over the trim at the bottom and gently but firmly apply weight to ensure the door is closed all the way!
  • When closing slide latches (commonly found on roll-up doors), always slide the latch towards the wall to which it is connected. Line up the holes to make sure your padlock will be locking the door. Otherwise, it’s just an oversized earring for your latch.
  • When closing all types of storage units, make sure there is nothing in the way of your door. For roll-up doors, that means you’ll want to check all the way up to your unit’s ceiling. You also want to make sure everything is stacked with the utmost stability, as you don’t want anything toppling when you go to open the next time. Finally, always double-check your storage unit door to make sure it’s really closed before vacating the premises.

Learn More and Reserve Your Storage Unit Here at Stor-It

Now that we’ve opened the door, it’s time for you to do the same. If you’re looking for high-quality storage in Southern Idaho, there is no better choice than our team here at Stor-It. As the Gem State’s oldest and largest self-storage provider, we proudly own and operate 16 storage locations — each with a host of excellent amenities, including 24/7 access, packing and moving supplies available for sale, and FREE locks for new tenants.

In addition to our industry-leading facilities, we are also proud to offer exceptional customer service. Whether you’re looking to store with us or just have some questions about how to unlock a storage unit, we’re here to help. Experienced, friendly, and responsive, we’ve earned our spot as the region’s top storage provider through our dedication to you. Contact us today to see what the Stor-It experience is all about!