How To Open a Storage Unit Door

Unlocking and opening the door to your new storage unit is usually a quick, easy task. Occasionally, though, this easy task turns into pain. That’s especially true if you’ve never rented a storage unit before. It’s not brain surgery, but it sure can cause a headache when it happens.

To help, the Moove In team put together this list just for you! It’s loaded with tips, advice, and helpful information you can use if you’re having difficulty. That way, if your storage unit door is giving you fits, or if you need to troubleshoot, you’ll be prepared. (And don’t forget, you can always contact one of our friendly on-site managers for help.)

Recognizing the Different Types of Locks

Every storage unit is secured with a heavy-duty outdoor lock. In fact, it’s required. You can’t rent a storage unit without a lock. (Learn more about the best kind of locks to secure storage units here.) While opening most locks isn’t usually problematic, they can sometimes be slightly challenging. That’s why it’s helpful to know the differences between the various locks. Three types are most common, including:


On most storage units, you’ll see padlocks as they’re the most prevalent. Padlocks are separate units and are usually purchased by the person who rents the storage unit. They have a locking mechanism that can be keyed or a dial with a numbered combination code. They also have a large, u-shaped clamp that’s placed on the door of your storage unit, connecting its two locking latches. 

Cylinder Locks

Most people use cylinder locks every day. They’re the same type of lock on most homes in the U.S. Small and round, you insert a key and turn it to move the bolt inside. Some prefer cylinder locks over others because, since they’re integrated into the door, they can’t be cut off.

How To Open a Storage Unit Door

PIN-Controlled Locks

PIN controlled locks have an integrated system that can’t be removed, which is why some prefer them to other types. They also have a keypad with a code to unlock the lock, which can be frustrating for some. The code and button combination need to be exact, or the door won’t open. Conversely, if you don’t put in the code correctly when you leave, your storage unit door will stay unlocked. (That’s never a good idea.)

How To Open a Storage Unit Door

Like opening a lock, opening the door to your storage unit isn’t incredibly challenging. That being said, there are a few things you can do to make it completely stress-free. Also, there are several different types of doors you may encounter. Some open like a shed, others like the door to your house on a hinge. Some are even automated (but most aren’t). Whenever you open your storage unit’s door, follow these tips:

  • If it’s a roll-up door, grab the handle firmly, bend your knees and pull the door slowly upward. We highly recommend using your legs, not your back, to lift. The doors aren’t extremely heavy, but you could still hurt yourself if you aren’t careful.
  • Hold the handle firmly as the door rolls up, and don’t let go until it’s almost complete. That will prevent any dust from being blown into the air.
  • If your storage unit has an automatic door, make sure you’re clear when it opens. Also, make sure no children are leaning against or touching the door. (It happens.) It won’t hurt them, but it could startle them.
  • Remember that hinged doors always open outwards. That way, they don’t bang up your stuff inside the storage unit. However, if there are things inside, be careful when opening the door. If you’ve packed your storage unit full, something might fall out.
  • What if you don’t have a key to open your storage unit door? Check out this info on your options, including cutting off the lock of your storage unit.

How To Close a Storage Unit Door

Every time you open your storage unit, you’ll need to close it too. (It kind of goes without saying, we realize.) Closing and properly securing the door to your storage unit is essential, though, and needs to be done correctly. That way, your precious belongings inside will have every security measure in place. After every visit, follow these steps to close your storage door precisely and securely.

  • Roll Roll-up Doors Down Slowly and Carefully. As we mentioned, they’re not extremely heavy. On the other hand, if you drop one on your toe, it’s going to ruin your day.
How To Open a Storage Unit Door
  • Once it’s rolled down, place your foot on the trim to make sure the door is completely closed. This will also help you to put on your padlock if that’s what you’re using.
  • Slide the locking latches into place correctly, lining them up as best as you can. That way, your padlock will go through smoothly, and you can lock it correctly.
  • Make sure nothing is in the way of the storage unit door before you start to close it. If you don’t, the door might hit something and damage it. (You could also damage the door, which might be a costly mistake.)

A Note About Storage Unit Door Safety

Opening a storage unit door in most instances is entirely safe. However, if you’ve stacked things incorrectly on the other side, they could come tumbling down when you do. That’s why correctly stacking everything and leaving some space near the door is always a good idea. 

In fact, it’s essential if you’re loading your storage unit to the limit. You certainly can, but we urge you to do it with caution. Flimsy or worn-out boxes, for example, don’t make a good, solid base. Stacking things in them is asking for trouble. If you have problems, ask one of our friendly on-site managers for help.

We hope you enjoyed these tips and that they’ve been useful. If you ever have problems you can’t solve on your own, a Moove-In manager is always here to help!

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