I Went, I Saw, I Conquered – My First Storage Unit Auction Purchase

storage unit auction

Yesterday I attended my third and fourth self storage auctions. A few weeks ago I went to my first one and it was fun, but I did not end up with a locker for various reasons. After sitting back and watching a few times, I was ready to bid this time. At the first auction of the day, I ended up winning a locker for $55. Was this good or bad? That remains to be seen.

First, a little background. Storage unit auctions are not really anything like what you see on Storage Wars. Yes, there is bidding, but for the most part everyone is friendly and things aren’t so heated. Second, there are rarely super jackpot treasures found in a unit, unlike on the show where almost every fourth unit seems to hold gold bars or priceless antiques. Third, buying storage units is a lot of work and you can’t always get what you know something is worth when trying to resell it.

Picture of inflatables from the locker. 

Now for the goods on my locker. You can see above in the first photo what the majority of it looked like when I bid on it. I could see a table without the glass, four chairs stacked up and what looked like an organ. I took a gamble on the glass for the table being there and for the organ working. If both of those things had been true, I could have easily gotten 10X by money back. Unfortunately, the organ didn’t work, but the glass for the table was there. Here is a run down of what I pulled out that may be worth something and what I think I may be able to eventually sell items for:

Table and 4 Chairs $100-$150 (has some scratches and the chairs could use recovering.)
6 New packs of disposable underwear. 132 total for $30 (sell for $10 a pack or so online.)
5 1/2 Foot Nativity Scene Inflatable  $50 (Have this sold already.)
Set of 3 Inflatable snowmen yard decorations $50 for the set
3 four gallon buckets of outdoor carpet adhesive $50 (sell in store for about $40 each.)
12 Christmas wreaths $20-$30 for all
13 Children’s white choir robes $120 (going off current resale prices on Ebay where I will list them.)

The table and chairs we got from the locker.

There are a few other odds and ends, but these are the major items. On the low end if I can sell everything, it will be about a $300 profit on the locker. Not bad for my first time, but it could have just as easily been a flop. Sometimes a gamble is good and sometimes it’s not. I worry about the person who paid $900 for a locker at yesterday’s auction. 

Have and of you ever been to a storage unit auction?



  1. I love storage wars but have never been to an auction. it looks like you did a great job!! where do you find the time to sell the stuff??

  2. This is on our list of stuff to do some day when we have too much time. =P My sister did this for awhile and put all of the money in their house down payment fund. It helped they had a trailer they could use to haul stuff!

    Love reading what you found and not just seeing the one hot ticket item!;)

  3. Yeah, it takes the little stuff to add up to profit too Beth. Sometimes, it takes the little stuff just to break even. LOL

  4. Fun… and a lot of work. I have been to a couple… friend used to buy them. Not sure where all you sell stuff but I have found that there are a lot of Local facebook groups for selling stuff is pretty awesome.. I have been selling LOTS of stuff..no shipping or anything.. it works great

  5. I love that show! I think it is great that you went and got a locker. the way I look at it is, You have to be willing to loose all the money it it's not a good locker. I would love to try it sometime.

  6. Yep Tammy, that is the truth. You basically bid whatever you are willing to gamble and possibly lose.

    Lisa, I sell on Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, the flea market, a local parking lot sometimes where people have sales, etc. I have a bunch of different methods so that I have a better chance of moving things quickly.

  7. I've never done that, but I have had bloggers tell me they're waiting for mine to go up for auction so they can bid on it. I have a second house over there!

  8. I never have, but I love watching Storage Wars! I'm just to nervous to try. Looks like you did pretty well though!

  9. My husband loves Storage Wars — this post would be all the push he needs to do it himself … if I let him see it, lol …. Not sure I am ready for auctions!

  10. Never seen the show and wouldn't want to do it myself. I have enough stuff in my house. Looks like it could pay for you if you work at it.

  11. It sounds like you did well! I've never bought a storage unit before but it sounds like it might be a fun experience.

  12. Yeah, there are definitely plenty of bad deals to be had. I think it is just a matter of having restraint, patience and knowing your limit. Some people do get caught up in the bidding war though and end up way overpaying.

  13. Wow…I've never heard about the experience from someone who was actually there. That sounds like a cool thing to do – at a relatively low $55 gamble.

    Just this week I heard a news story that the show is staged by producers. Have you heard that? I don't know if it's true or not, but it'd make more sense that way.

  14. Yes, I definitely heard about the show being staged and it does not surprise me in the least. I have always wanted to do these, in fact I went to some years and year ago before the show was even on. There is no way that that many units have great stuff in them that often. I believe it happens once in a while by chance, but it just can't be that often.

  15. I've never been to one, but sometimes I watch the reality show on TV where people buy storage units to turn a profit. Pretty interesting.

  16. How cool! I would hate to get stuck with a locker full of crap, it would make me too afraid to even try doing this. LOL

  17. I think you did really well! I am not a gambler at all, I can't even justify spending a dollar on a scratch ticket, so I just couldn't do it.

  18. I honestly didn't think this was a real life thing, just a show thing. That's really cool though. I love those inflatables

  19. Congrats on the great finds! I would love to go to one of these, but I don't know how to find them. Is there a website or do you call them to find out the dates/times etc?

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