How to Bid on Stuff in Abandoned Storage Units

Updated March 23, 2017

Buying merchandise from abandoned storage units can be lucrative, but it is risky. Merchandise is sold "as is" and in many cases you will not have an opportunity to inspect the contents of a unit before the auction begins. In fact, you may not even be allowed to enter the unit before placing a bid; the auctioneer will simply raise the door to the unit and require you to bid based on what you see from outside. However, if you are disciplined and lucky, you can find deals.

Contact the management office of the storage facility at which you want to bid to find out when it holds auctions for past due and abandoned storage units. Find out the accepted payment methods as well as whether potential buyers can inspect merchandise before the auction. Review the rules governing the auction.

Arrive at the storage facility ahead of the scheduled time if the company allows pre-auction inspection.

Manoeuvre for a spot near the front of the other bidders so that you will have an unobstructed view when the auctioneer opens the storage unit door. Scan the unit while the door is open to locate items of value.

Call out the amount of money you are willing to pay once the bidding starts; always raise your bid by the minimum acceptable amount. Set a limit on what you are willing to pay and don't exceed it unless you see something you cannot live without.


Set a budget and stick to it. Don't assume the same rules apply to all storage facility auctions. Be prepared to immediately remove your items from the unit if you win an auction.

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About the Author

Robert C. Young began writing professionally in 1989 as a copywriter for an advertising specialty company. From 2000 to 2007 he operated a real-estate development and construction company. His work has been published online at SFGate and various other websites. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics from Georgia State University.