It’s hard not to get wrapped into an episode of Storage Wars, and harder still not to wonder if making money off of left storage items is really possible. The magic of TV applies to storage shows just as much as it applies to anything else that you watch. To provide you with some information about the things that you don’t see on a show like Storage Wars, here’s what really happens when storage units are abandoned.
The Complete Contact Process
No storage company can start selling abandoned items without first trying to contact the original owner. Companies have to send out letters, make a lot of phone calls, and try to find anyone that might be related to the original owner that can pay the bill and claim the goods. Typically, it takes a few months of trying to contact someone before goods are sold at auction. If a person refuses to pay a storage bill, or states that they no longer want the stuff, items are sold to the public.
Antiques are Rare
Television shows tend to focus on items of worth that are found in some lockers. The truth is that most lockers really contain few items of value, and many only have a few items to begin with. Often, people rent storage space in order to store one or two things, and very few people store antiques inside of storage lockers – in fact, it is advisable not to store anything of real value in a storage unit. Items that are worth a lot of money should be stored in a bank or somewhere that is completely secure. If you are tempted to bid on a storage unit with the thought that you may become an overnight millionaire, your chances are slim to none.
Where to Sell It
Let’s say that you come to a Waterglen Storage auction, and you purchase a locker for $40. You may have some items in that locker that some people might want to buy (furniture, etc), but you still have to sell those things. Unless you have a store where you can place items, you’ll probably have to sell the things that you do buy on eBay or another auction site. In the interim, storing all of those things could be an issue — and you can’t store the items inside of the locker where they came from.
A Security Deposit
To make sure that everything inside of a locker is removed, most Fort Collins self storage facilities require a deposit once items are sold at auction. That deposit is in place to remind buyers that all items must be cleared from a locker by a certain date. Even if there’s nothing that you want in a locker that you just purchased, you still have to move everything out of the locker. You could be looking at a lot of junk and nowhere to put it!
Buying at Auction
If you go to a storage unit auction, go for the fun of it. Don’t attend an auction because the guys on TV make it look lucrative. There’s a lot that goes into buying the items inside of a storage unit, and you’ll want to check on extra costs like that security deposit before you start bidding. You may find an priceless antique, but it’s more likely that you’ll find some old items someone didn’t care enough about to claim.
Do you watch Storage Wars? If you do, you may have a few questions about the show that we’re more than happy to answer. Let us know what you’d like to know more about when it comes to storage auctions, and we’ll get back to you quickly. You can leave a note on this blog or call us!