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Common problems with self-storage

A person using a padlock on a storage unit
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Operations - Store and Insure

Trouble shooting for self-storage lock-ups

Here are our thoughts on resolving common problems with self-storage units, including, lost storage key, moth infestation and musty smells.

What should I do if I lose the key to my storage unit?

Mislaying the key of your storage unit or forgetting the code is frustrating, especially if there are things in your unit that you want right now. But all is not lost. Your first step should be to ask the storage company for help. First of all, they may have tools, a master key or a preferred locksmith to help you regain access to your storage unit. The other reason is that you don’t want the staff calling the police when they see someone breaking the lock on a storage unit!

Your first choice might be to open the lock securing your storage unit without breaking it. This might mean calling in a locksmith, or it might involve going through all the numbers on a combination lock, using a lock-pick, or calling customer services for help with a malfunctioning high-tech lock. If those non-destructive methods don’t work, it’s time to try breaking the lock with a hammer or bolt cutters.

What happens if my storage unit gets infested with moth?

If you see moth in your storage unit, it’s time to act. Moth larvae will munch their way through natural fibres like wool, silk, fur and even cotton, ruining any textiles they can find. So it’s important to keep moth out of your storage unit.

Sticky traps will act as an early-warning system: if you find any moth, take out your stored textiles and clothes and shake them out. This disrupts the moths and their fibre-guzzling larvae enough to stop them ruining your wardrobe. You can also deter moth by airing clothes in bright sunlight, washing in hot water or freezing them.

From an insurance point of view, there are two types of moth infestation. If your stored goods get infested because moth was already present in your storage room, or because moth larvae spread from the unit next door, you are fully covered by your self-storage insurance. If, however, the infestation occurred because the moths were present in the fabric or textiles when you stored them, your insurance claim will be denied.

So it is definitely in your interests to carefully check textiles, clothing and accessories for moth and other pests before you put them into storage. For more ideas about protecting stored woollens from moth, see our blogpost.

How can I stop my lock-up smelling musty?

The best way to deal with a musty smelling storage unit is to have a re-organise. It may be that it’s a single item causing the smell. Getting rid of it and thoroughly airing your storage space will solve the problem of a musty smell.

A common culprit where mouldy smells are concerned is stored fridges and white goods that have not been properly cleaned and dried. UK White Goods has advice on cleaning every kind of appliance. Any item that has been stored damp is likely to deteriorate and will encourage the growth of moulds and fungus. As well as damaging your goods, these can set off allergies.

In the long run, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your stored goods to ensure nothing is deteriorating. You may also want to consider climate-controlled storage, as this can help prevent musty smells in a storage unit.

Are my stored goods covered by insurance?

Reputable storage companies require you to have self-storage insurance and this will be written into your contract with them. Like many insurances, it can pay to shop around to get the best deal on your self-storage insurance. It’s so quick and easy to get a quote from Store and Insure, so why not do it right now and see if we can give you a better deal than your current provider?


Question and Answer


How do I claim on my self-storage insurance?

Reputable self-storage insurers will have clear instructions on their website about how to make a claim. They will want to hear from you as soon as you are aware of the loss or damage from your self-storage unit. It is best to keep any damaged items in case your insurer wants to take a look during the claims process.