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What Are Storage Auctions?

Sometimes, but very rarely, a storage unit is left unclaimed or a customer defaults on their payments. When this happens, every effort is made to sort the situation, however, as a final resort, the storage unit is then offered to the highest bidder via a storage auction.

From popular TV shows and movies, we envisage storage auctions as exciting intense scenes when a storage unit is offered to the highest bidder. The reality is a little less dramatic, and instead, many unused storage units are auctioned off online or via email.

How Can I Find a Storage Auction?

Nowadays, most storage companies use online selling websites such as eBay to sell storage units. They often give detailed descriptions of the unit’s size and contents. In addition to this, many storage unit companies conduct their own private auctions with closed bids or some employ auction houses to carry out this on their behalf.

One great way to find out about any upcoming storage auctions is to get in touch with your local self-storage companies and they can let you know of any, or notify you when they’re open to bids.

How Do Storage Auctions Work?

Typically, bidders aren’t able to see or access the storage unit that is being auctioned before they make a bid on it. Instead, they usually see a photograph that is taken from the doorway. Usually, any potential buyers are bidding on the entire storage unit and not for individual items inside the unit. 

Online auctions are a great way to bid on abandoned units; they’re convenient, stress-free and often give more information on the items inside. Overall, this means that the potential buyer can make smarter and better purchasing decisions, with a clearer understanding and view of what items they could sell on afterwards.

Why purchase the contents of an abandoned storage unit?

Buying and selling abandoned storage units is a way to make money as a side hustle. The premise and business model is fairly simple too: buy low, sell high. Although a storage unit is abandoned, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find something valuable to sell inside it – it is always crucial to bear in mind that predominantly they won’t have anything of major monetary value.

“I’m a first-time bidder! What do I need to know?”

If you’re a first-time bidder, in particular, it can be easy to get carried away with thinking about the possibilities of uncovering valuable treasures to resell and make a huge profit. We often see this on reality storage auction television shows. However, bidding on storage auctions is a gamble, sometimes buyers may pay more for the contents than they are worth. Other times, they strike gold.

Here are some top tips you can follow if you’re a first-time bidder at a storage auction.

  • Set a price limit

As with anything you’d like to purchase, or gamble on, it is always advisable to set yourself a budget, making sure it is something you can afford. When you have set yourself a maximum price, don’t exceed this during the bidding. By having a budget, this also prevents you from feeling overwhelmed, spending more than you should, or making any last-minute decisions and bidding on too many units.

  • Pay attention to the contents

Take note of what is inside a storage unit. If you only have access to a photo, take a look at the large items (these can be easily sold) as well as anything concealed or packaged more securely, they may be in good condition and perhaps of higher value.

  • Bid on units that are conveniently located

There is nothing worse than spending money on contents of a storage unit, to then spend further money in getting there and transporting the contents. Sometimes you only have a number of days before you need to collect the contents, so the closer the unit the better


If you’re living in Solihull or Birmingham and interested in hiring a self-storage unit, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team today by calling 01675 442 827. Alternatively, you can fill out our online contact form, and we’ll be in touch.