The Hidden Treasures of Self Storage

The Hidden Treasures of Self Storage

The self-storage world hosts many surprises, full of forgotten belongings. While most people utilize storage units to house their possessions temporarily, there comes a point when some units are left unattended. These instances pave the way for what is known as a "storage treasure auction," a fascinating process made popular in recent years by shows like Storage Wars.

Understanding Storage Treasure Auctions

If you were to step onto a property, you would see rows of storage units, each holding its own hidden treasures. For a variety of reasons, some of these unit owners are unable to complete their rental payments, leading to the eventual auctioning of the unit's contents. This is where the term "storage treasure auction" comes into play. These auctions provide an opportunity for the highest bidder to purchase the entire contents of a storage unit with the hope of finding valuable items within.

What to Expect: The Digital Process

Not all auctions involve a fast-talking auctioneer surrounded by eager buyers waving their paddles as seen on TV. The more common digital auction process is just as exciting and competitive with the convenience for bidders to participate from the comfort of their own homes.

Here's a breakdown of how it works:

1. Delinquent Payments: When a storage unit renter fails to make payments for an extended period, the storage facility issues notifications and warnings. If the payments remain unpaid, the facility eventually gains the legal right to auction off the unit's contents.

2. Online Auction Listings: Storage facilities list upcoming auctions on their websites or dedicated online auction platforms. These listings include details like auction date, time, location, a brief description of the unit, and any terms and conditions of the auction.

3. Registration: Interested bidders need to create accounts on the online auction platform in order to participate and win a valued unit.

4. Unit Previews: Before the auction, to give bidders a better sense of what they might be bidding on, participants can view photos or descriptions of the storage units up for auction. As an auction rule, pictures are only taken from the outside of the unit.

5. The Bidding: When it comes to the bidding process, think eBay for storage units. The auction opens at a specific time, and registered bidders can place their bids digitally. Bidding typically lasts for a set period, often a few days. It's crucial to note that bidders often have limited information about the unit's contents; they're essentially making educated guesses based on what they can see from the pictures taken outside of the doorway.

6. "Sold to the Highest Bidder": The bidders have the opportunity to put in their bid up until a specific time. Once the auction time expires, the highest bidder is determined. They are notified through the platform's messaging system or email.

7. Payment and Unit Collection: The winning bidder must make payment within a specified timeframe. Accepted payment methods are usually outlined in the auction's terms. After the payment is processed, the winner receives details about accessing their new unit and belongings.

8. Discovery and Rewards: This is where the treasure hunt truly begins; the winning bidder is finally able to start exploring and sorting through the items within the storage unit. While some units may contain everyday items, others could hold valuable collectibles or antiques. The new owner can choose to keep the items, resell them, or donate them.

9. Clean out: Storage companies provide a cleanout time during which bidders are given a period, typically 2-3 days, to clear out the entire unit, as the companies aim to quickly secure new renters for the space.

Tips for Prospective Bidders

For those searching for their next storage auction treasure, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  • Research Auctions: Stay updated with local auction listings through online platforms such as and Set reminders for upcoming events to ensure you don't miss out.
  • Know the Rules: Familiarize yourself with the auction's terms and conditions. Some auctions require cash-only payments, while others might have specific rules about their cleanout timeframes.
  • Budget Wisely: While the allure of finding valuable items is exciting, it's important to set a budget and stick to it. Automatic Bidding allows bidders to set a maximum bid. The platform will then automatically increase the bid on their behalf until the set maximum amount is reached. This feature enables bidders to stay competitive without constantly monitoring the auction or overspending.
  • Manage Expectations: Not every storage unit holds hidden treasures. Be prepared for the items pictured to be damaged or have nothing but junk inside.
  • Get Organized: If you are an auction bidding winner, congratulations! Winning means it is time to sort through potentially hundreds of items in your unit. Check out our Tips and Tricks on Getting Organized to streamline the cleanout process.

Although it may take some digging, storage treasure auctions allow you to embark on a modern day treasure hunt. As you navigate this process, remember to approach it with curiosity, caution, and a sense of adventure. Who knows, you might just stumble upon a storage unit that strikes gold. Happy bidding!

In order to avoid your unit from being auctioned, make a payment here or call our customer service team at 833-777-7273 to sort out your billing over the phone.