Is Storage Wars real?

That is the first question people ask me when they find out I work not only in self-storage but also with self-storage auctions. Auctions typically happen when tenants default on their rent.

“Ooooh, like the TV show?” the next question is usually “What kind of stuff do you see in the units?”

Now that we are doing online auctions, we get the opportunity to delve a little deeper into some of the best selling and more fascinating units. Some of the best units we have sold at StorageStuff.Bid are listed below.

1. eBay Liquidation in Boca Raton, FL  


This unit was a 14×50 filled with eBay inventory. The gentleman selling the unit was the brother of the tenant who had recently passed. He was in the process of liquidating his brother’s eBay business for his estate. The unit was rows and rows of boxes of inventory items such as: electronics, sporting goods, car parts, collectibles, and more. Clearly this gentleman had a thriving eBay business. The unit sold for $6,260. The owner’s brother estimated its total worth at $30,000.


2. Obama Shoes in Kissimmee, FL


During the first round of auctions ever conducted on StorageStuff.Bid, we saw the bid on a seemingly normal 10×20 continue to rise and rise. The boxes didn’t look especially neat or special. However, some of our auction buyers are real professionals. The beauty of an online auction is it gives the buyers a chance to examine the unit, zone in on the pictures, and research numbers on the outside of the boxes. Finally, we had several bidders tell us they believed the boxes contained “Obama Shoes.” Obama Shoes were special edition Nike shoes made during President Obama’s campaigns that featured the President’s face as well as terms from his campaigns, such as “change.” We later confirmed with the buyer that the unit did indeed hold Obama Shoes. He estimated around 5,000 pairs, which he sold for approximately $25,000.


3. 1998 Harley Davidson Motorcycle in Palatka, FL


It is very difficult to process a motor vehicle for a lien sale in the State of Florida. The storage facility must abide by DMV rules as well as the self storage lien laws. It took a few tries, but this beauty did finally sell for a little over $4,000, with 530 views. Valuable vehicles rarely make it to auction. Ninety percent of the time, the unit gets paid before the date of the sale. The vehicles that do sell are usually ready for the scrap yard; so this unit making is all the way to the sale is pretty exceptional for the buyer who won it.


4. An Entire Household Contents in Fort Myers, FL


Unfortunately we do sometimes see a large unit that clearly contains an entire family home go up for sale. This particular 10×30 unit had boxes stacked from ceiling to floor, art work, furniture, lawn equipment and decorations, tool chests, many tubs containing personal items. We don’t see units such as these often. Usually, a tenant is only storing what they cannot keep with them. This unit, in which the furniture and art appeared valuable, was a steal for any auction buyer with a second hand store. In the end, it sold for almost $4,000.


5. Wrapped Furniture in Deerfield Beach, FL


One of the auction buyer’s favorite things to see is furniture wrapped in moving blankets. That means that someone took the time and effort to secure their valuables. This particular unit had nice furniture in front of the unit; boxes stacked neatly, and wrapped furniture. That is the trifecta of storage units. This unit was viewed over 1,200 times by buyers trying to get a look at everything in the unit. If finally sold for almost $3,000.


6. Packed Full 10×25 in Decatur, GA


The Metro Atlanta area has a lot of self storage facilities and we sell a lot of delinquent units in the area. This unit, which sold for $2,490, is another example of a unit that contained the entire contents of a house. This unit, however, was packed full. Sometimes units like this backfire. They are a lot of work! Given that auction buyers usually have 48-72 hours to clean out the unit. Units like these generally require a more experienced buyer with the capability to move and store the items.


7. Sound Equipment in Chicago, IL


Part of buying storage units is the gamble involved. That is what gets the blood flowing, but sometimes, the unit is a clear home run. Speakers, sound systems, DJ equipment, and stereo equipment are always a big hit with buyers. The resale value on items such as these is much higher than traditional household goods. This unit had all of those things and some neatly stacked boxes in the back corner. The boxes appeared to have the original seal on them. This unit was a sure thing for the buyer who reports over $15,000 in profits so far—the unit sold for only $2,410.


8. A Man’s Dream Unit in Boca Raton, FL


A lot of men like “manly things.” A lot of “manly things” are easy to resale under retail value. This 20×20 sold for $2,400. It contained step ladders, tool chests, air compressors, flood lights and a lot of other items tool buyers look for, but it also contained the parts of three Suzuki scooters, fishing poles, golf clubs, and an electric guitar.


9. Ornate Furniture and Décor in Tampa, FL


This unit was fancy and fancy sells well. For furniture or home décor buyers, this unit was perfect. It had ornate furniture pieces, glass door hutches, leather furniture, and specialty home décor pieces. The buyer for this unit owns a second hand shop and estimated the worth of the unit at around $10,000. It was purchased for $2,280


10. Tools and the Unseen in Topeka, KS


An auctioneer’s absolute favorite units to sell are the ones where they have to look at the paperwork to see the size of the unit. This is because the unit is so, completely full that the back wall is not visible. These are the units the gamblers usually spend big on. However, simply based on what was clearly visible in this unit, it was well worth the selling price of $1,910. It is obvious this unit holds a variety of items because the buyer can see tool chests, furniture, power tools, and trunks from the threshold of the door.


Cheli Rosa