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How to Open a Jammed Locker: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

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Jammed locker becomes ‘inadvertent time capsule’

Jammed locker becomes 'inadvertent time capsule'

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Tucked away behind a couple of half-walls, the lockers inside Study Hall are easy to miss, and easy to forget. Though they’re available to day students, the orange lockers aren’t used much these days. If girls have books or papers to store, they use the crates lodged under their desk chairs.

So it’s easy to see why a locker that’s been jammed shut since 1989 went unopened until this summer, when Dean of Students Katherine Burkhuch and Maintenance Supervisor Bobby McLaughlin were getting them ready for the new school year. Once the two pried their way inside, they found a mix of papers, some clothing catalogues, a tube of lipstick, a copy of the Lamplighter newspaper, and the “Putting It All Together” student handbook.

Among the papers were two copies of an independent study proposal submitted by day student Annie Lonero Cable ’90, who in those days went by the name Tiffany Eaton. The proposal was for an “in-depth study of stage design”—Cable wished to help build the set for that year’s drama production, along with her friend Hillary Hudis ’90.

“It took 30 years to open that locker?” said Cable, who currently volunteers with at-risk LGBT youth in Southern Oregon. “Sorry about leaving the mess, but I’m kind of glad it turned into an inadvertent time capsule.”

In her proposal, Cable wrote that she wanted to gain confidence in her construction skills, especially in the use of power tools, because she hoped one day to renovate her own home. “I did end up renovating my grandparents’ house,” she said. “I was planning to even then, and finally got the chance about 10 years later.”

The locker contents also contribute to a bit of California history. The Lamplighter, dated October 1989, includes quotes from students and teachers about where they were when the massive Loma Prieta earthquake hit that month. Although the quake was centered in the Bay Area, Monterey got a good shaking. Students reported feeling the temblor outside the Hacienda, in the dorms, in the infirmary, and at athletic events all over town.

Cable was in the Performing Arts Center rehearsing for the Princess and the Pea, for which she was stage manager and moat monster. “I just came off break, got to the stage manager’s station, put on my headset, and heard my friend up in the lighting booth scream out. Being so high up, she felt it just before we did. I remember going flat and hoping that the sets wouldn’t fall over on top of me, and the lighting bars clanging into each other as they went back and forth, and at some point thinking that this earthquake was really long. I remember how eerie it was that night. We lived up on Spaghetti Hill and we could look out over Monterey, lit only by the emergency lighting from the fire escape on the Marriott. Something you just can’t forget.”

The Catalina community was ready for the quake, though—according to one Lamplighter quote, students had just gone through preparedness training the week before. And in the locker was a letter to parents about earthquake safety, dated Summer 1989. “We are all, of course, hopeful an earthquake or other emergency never strikes,” it reads, tempting fate, “but we do want you to know that we are fully prepared.”

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How to Open a Jammed Locker

In this Article: Using Your Hand and Arm Strength Knocking the Locker Kneeing Open the Locker Getting Help Community Q&A

A jammed or stuck locker is a nuisance and potentially a time stealer, causing you to be late for class or maybe even to miss the bus. Use these handy suggestions to free that jammed door and retrieve your books and stuff from inside.

Steps

Part 1

Using Your Hand and Arm Strength

  1. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 1

    1
    Try shaking the locker while holding the handle. Use all your weight to pull the locker.

  2. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 2

    2
    Grab and pull. If even a small handle is seen, grab it and pull hard. The door may come unstuck.

Part 2

Knocking the Locker

  1. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 3

    1
    Try knocking the locker with either your foot or hand. If the locker is still stuck, a light kick or smack may help. Put in your locker combination or turn the key and kick or smack while holding the lock.

Part 3

Kneeing Open the Locker

  1. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 4

    1
    Place your knee three quarters of the way to the opening side. Press hard.

  2. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 5

    2
    Open the lock with the combination.

  3. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 6

    3
    Pull the latch up and release your knee. The locker will swing open.

  4. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 7

    4
    Clear the obstruction that was jamming your locker.

Part 4

Getting Help

  1. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 8

    1
    Have a friend grab it. Together, use brute force to open the locker together.

  2. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 9

    2
    Get the janitor to help. Ask the janitor to come and unlock/unscrew/undo it for you.

  3. Image titled Open a Jammed Locker Step 10

    3
    Get the locker fixed. Once open, see if the locker needs to be repaired, to stop the problem from continuing. Make sure the locker gears are clean and ask a janitor if they can attend to the problem.

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      Tips

      • If using your knee doesn’t work, then kick your locker where it is jammed a bit. If the jam is higher, then try to pound on it. If it is in the lower section, then you can kick it.
      • Try not to attract attention when unjamming your locker. You can also get in trouble for kicking your locker, which is part of the school’s property, too hard.
      • Janitors usually have a special tool to get lockers unjammed. Just ask one of them for help if you are unable to get it opened yourself. They also have keys.
      • If at first your locker does not open, press harder with your knee.

      Warnings

      • If hitting, avoid hurting your hand.
      • Try not to get your hand stuck (it hurts!).
      • If you can’t close the locker after opening it, take all items with you to prevent their loss or theft. Inform the janitor that the locker needs repair and put the items somewhere safe in the meantime.

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      Article Info

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      Co-authors: 14
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      SchoolLockers.com Blog

      School Lockers Blog

      How To Open A Jammed Locker Or Gym Locker On Your Own

      How To… , Lockers , Tutorial and manuals gym lockers , how to , How to open a jammed locker , jammed lockers , metal lockers , police lockers , school lockers , wood lockers ChanceC
      Jammed locker 5

      Dude. It’s okay! We are here to help you open your jammed locker!

      Before we begin, remember that although the school locker is yours to use, it is on a “borrowed” basis. The locker is legally considered school property and belongs to the school district, so before you begin cranking on it, using your gym baseball bat, football helmet as a battering ram and handy pry bar or explosives, first try these simple steps;

      First the obvious; try dialing in your combination again, but this time slower. In your rush to get to class and see your Romeo or Juliet, you may have passed the numbers too quickly. Clear the dial by turning it quite a few times and then slowly, methodically and carefully re-enter the combination.

      If that isn’t the issue, you know you have a real jam to solve. The jam may be applying enough pressure to the latch which is making it difficult for the latch to release the door, so using the palm of your hand slap the door a few times to try and dislodge the obstruction. Remember that kicking the daylights out of it may help your frustration but it won’t work on the jam, after which you may be buying the school a new locker.

      ht_329834_vrag_haunt_03

      Again, try not to release your frustration onto the jammed locker. They are made of things far more durable than your fist, foot or forehead.

      If the slap doesn’t work, try applying constant pressure to the jammed area which hopefully will allow enough force to relieve the tension on the locker door as you dial and open it. This may be awkward, but using your knee, place it about three quarters of the way up from the bottom and apply pressure. Press hard and once again repeat the opening sequence.

      Now dial the combination or use the key to unlock the locker. Once you pull the latch/opening mechanism up, release the pressure your knee is placing onto the door.

      If you are finding that the constant pressure from your knee or a shoulder doesn’t work as you attempt to open the locker, try a firm but gentle “pound” on the area to try and jostle whatever is causing the jam. Remember you are trying to shift the obstruction that is creating the jam and not trying to put another memorable dent into your locker. But don’t beat relentlessly on it. Just a few firm, well-placed taps should do it.

      IF the door opens, before you close it and wander happily off, examine the doorway and the contents of the locker and remove whatever obstruction, book or piece of clothing that was jamming the locker in the first place.

      Jammed locker 2

      My oh my. Where did your mother and I go wrong with you?

      If none of this worked, you’ll have to shelve your ego and go find the janitor or school custodian. Odds are they’ve seen this happen before and have an arsenal of tools they use, as well as a vast amount of knowledge and experience to solve this sort of thing.

      Jammed locker 4

      You know that guy who works silently among you? Yep. He’s got mad locker skills!

      …But remember the ol’ “my locker was jammed” can only work so many times before your homework will finally have to be turned in. Good luck with those jammed lockers!

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