How to buy at storage auctions

Updated April 17, 2017

Storage auctions are great places to find hidden treasures. Storage facilities often auction off the contents of units when people renting the space fall behind on their bills. After several months of nonpayment, the facility holds an auction for the contents of the unit so the business can recoup some of the money lost in rental fees. Since you do not always know what you will find in a person's storage unit, you could end up with some interesting stuff.

Find the auctions in your area. Storage facilities have different ways of alerting the public about storage auctions. One way is the classified section of your local newspaper. There is usually a "Public Announcements" or "Legal Notices" section which lists auctions and other public information. You can also call the storage facilities in your area and ask when they hold storage auctions and their methods for listing them.

Inspect the merchandise early. Most storage facilities allow potential bidders to look through the available units before taking bids.

Register for the auctions. When you go to a storage auction, the facility will have a registration area where you must register to bid. Depending on the bidding process, you will either receive a bidding card with a number on it or you will simply be assigned a number and given a piece of paper and a pen.

Familiarise yourself with the bidding process. There are generally two types of bidding processes with storage auctions. The least common type involves an auctioneer starting the bid at a given price and going up in increments as people bid. The more common way for storage auctions, however, is the written bid. This involves the bidders taking a look at the merchandise in the unit and then writing down their bids.

Pay for your bid and take the merchandise. When you win a storage auction you will be expected to take the merchandise with you when you leave. The storage facility office will likely be the place to visit to pay your winning bid and discuss moving arrangements for the merchandise.


Bring a trailer or a truck with you to storage auctions. You may end up with some rather large items such as furniture or appliances and you will need the capability to load it up and haul it away.


When inquiring about auctions, find out if there is more than one storage unit being auctioned off. If there are only a few, there is a chance that all the renters will pay their financial obligations to the storage facility before the auctions, which would then be cancelled.

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About the Author

Chad Hagy is based in southern California and he has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in writing from the University of Michigan and his articles have been published on several prominent websites including eHow and others.