One of my favorite shows on cable right now is Storage Wars. The show makes bidding and buying storage units look pretty interesting so I decided to check out some storage auctions myself. The first auction I went to was during a weekday and in a lower-income part of town. I would guess there were about 25-30 people there but only about five people who actually bid on anything. Most of the units didn’t look to be worth much. It made me wonder why people would pay to store trash. I’d guess in most cases just a few months rent on the unit would be more than the items stored were worth. Most of these units went for less than $100 and there were a couple that nobody wanted. There was one unit that went for about $1000 but I didn’t see the value. I mainly wanted to spectate at this auction and didn’t buy anything but if there had been a super bargain I would have bid.
The second auction was on a Saturday and fairly close to where we live which is basically a suburb. There were at least a 100 people there. I heard one of the people comment that he had never seen more than twenty people show up to an auction before. It seems that the TV shows are making a lot more people interested in self storage auctions. This auction had much nicer units but they also sold for a lot more. One of the units was packed with Hot Wheels, old metal toy cars, Nascar collectibles, and other collectibles. It went for $2000 and I’m sure the stuff in it was worth more than that but it was more money than I was willing to risk. The only units that were in my price range didn’t look to be worth what people were bidding so I once again didn’t buy anything.
I think there is some money to be made buying self storage units at auction but their recent popularity is probably going to make it harder to find good deals. There are several things that kept me from bidding on any of the units. Many of the units had a lot of stuff that would just need to be thrown in the trash. You can’t just dump it in the storage facility’s trash bin, you have to haul it off. I don’t think my apartment manager would like me throwing a truck load of trash in the dumpster. Also most of the units have big items in them. I’d have to find someone to help me move them and I would need to borrow a truck. And once I had the stuff on the truck I’d have to find somewhere to store them because the stuff wouldn’t fit in our apartment. After I had the stuff moved I would still have to sort through it, figure out which stuff is valuable and where it can be sold. All of that would take a lot of time and effort and I’m doubtful the return would be worth the investment.
I might check out some more auctions just out of curiosity but unless there is a small unit with really valuable stuff going for really cheap I won’t be buying.