The Storage Wars In Real Life

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My friends daughter went to live in Seattle with her new S/O several months back. Her partner had for some time been making a living bidding on expired storage units.

They are generally not as expensive in the bidding like the ones you may have seen on TV. They get a photo to show their are items inside just taken from the front, before bidding

Aside from their most recent one. (which was for some reason full of bugs and roaches amongst the stuff) they have never had a dud that did not have enough stuff worth enough to make a profit. Sometimes, they get a real winner which has jewelry or cash. But their are usually enough items to sell on E bay or Amazon to make them a decent profit. Anything they don't sell, or stuff not really that suitable to sell, they give to Goodwill.

My friends daughter has taken over the photography and marketing verbiage, social media etc.

It has not so far, though always a possibility, made them rich but makes them a decent living wage overall.

Anyone here ever tried this or similar? How did you get on?
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  • Profile picture of the author Gervasio Itzel
    With enough luck and knowledge, you can make a decent living from buying storage units. I have an uncle down in California, who bought a storage unit that changed his life, inside a safe that was hidden behind furniture he found close to 1 million dollars in jewelry. Just have to be careful.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by lanfear63 View Post

    My friends daughter went to live in Seattle with her new S/O several months back. Her partner had for some time been making a living bidding on expired storage units.
    They are generally not as expensive in the bidding like the ones you may have seen on TV. They get a photo to show their are items inside just taken from the front, before bidding
    Aside from their most recent one. (which was for some reason full of bugs and roaches amongst the stuff) they have never had a dud that did not have enough stuff worth enough to make a profit. Sometimes, they get a real winner which has jewelry or cash. But their are usually enough items to sell on E bay or Amazon to make them a decent profit. Anything they don't sell, or stuff not really that suitable to sell, they give to Goodwill.
    My friends daughter has taken over the photography and marketing verbiage, social media etc.
    It has not so far, though always a possibility, made them rich but makes them a decent living wage overall.

    Anyone here ever tried this or similar? How did you get on?
    Some 25+ years ago, I managed a new climate controlled storage center, it was one of the first in the area, today, I have two of them within a mile of me, including UHaul which built one of the biggest ones in the Country.

    Abandoned storage is a crapshoot, almost always able to make some profits, but few who do this ever reveal their TIME investment, and if using eBay, their shipping costs. Those tales of million dollar units are rare and jewelry of value just luck.

    HOWEVER, because I had an established Network of Buyers already lined up, I could get rid of almost every single storage unit I got within hours, and this might be a tip anyone can use.

    Now there aren't as many as there once were, but still, consignment furniture stores, antique/junk stores, bike shops, motor guys...and even Pawn shops are all places which still BUY. Jim Straw taught me this 40 years ago, SELLERS are BUYERS too.

    So, for what it is worth to anyone considering doing this, before you even place a bid, see if you can make a local list of people who may buy the treasures you find behind those doors. I consider myself to have expertise on the flipping of chattels, and the reason I quit doing this and eBay especially...there is just so much "junk" being sold daily at below market prices it is easy to find, easier to sell, and one can make more $$$ per hour of their time just buying and selling.

    Now, there is a FUN element to buying mystery bags, treasure chests and storage units full of potential...but if it is an outside, or older place, expect to find more of those bugs, vermin and moth eaten designer clothing than you bargained for.

    If your friend's daughter learns the area and talks to as many second hand retailers as she can, then her efforts to turn a profit could happen much faster. One BIG treasure, which I have found, is in the Ephemera world, where a box of old letters, Civil War, fetched a tidy sum from a collector. I suspect it was someone's grandfather's cedar chest that had been moved from house to house and nobody really knew what they had.

    Old postcards, stamps, coins, and correspondence and original documents and old comics, baseball and football and any trading cards could all be valuable too, depending on condition.

    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author Gervasio Itzel
      That is a very good point, the time investment for my uncle was 15+ years of struggling on a daily. He got Lucky, that is a fact.
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  • Profile picture of the author palmandolive
    It sounds like with some luck and effort, it can definitely make for a good side business or source of extra income. I've always thought it would be kinda fun to see what treasures you might find inside one of those storage units.
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  • Profile picture of the author art72
    Yes, back in the day, we were very fortunate to have stumbled blindly upon the storage auction opportunity, mind you, this was 20+ years ago before the TV show, and online bidding wars started.

    The irony being, back in those days (In my 20's) I went to jail for driving on a suspended license, and while awaiting a court date lost a storage unit in the process... to wit; I reverse-engineered the storage action process, lol.

    From what I've gathered, most storage facilities no longer hold 'on site' auctions like the old days, and most have gone to online bidding. Which from what I've seen, still leaves plenty of room for profit, as many units are sold for $100 or less.

    The only downsides in bidding and landing storage units in my experience is as follows:

    - You generally have 24-72 hours to clear out the unit
    - Bugs, roaches, and the nasty comes with the unit (On occasion, as you've mentioned)
    - There's nearly always a pile of trash, mattresses, Christmas trees, etc) that has to be thrown away - dump fees, and most facilities from on using their on-site dumpsters.

    However, there is a 'treasure hunt' thrill to unveiling the goods and mystery boxes that I'll never forget...as you really never know what you might find - from the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    I'm still considering bidding a few units, as the eBay experience I've gained would serves as a means to sell much of the lighter/smaller items, whereas, the furniture, larger items could be sold locally through various markets - both online and off.

    But yes... one could very well earn a full-time living if they are willing to put in the time, energy, effort, and some financial investments, no doubt.

    I loved buying storage units back in the day, but there is a lot of work involved, and the TV show made it some glorified means to 'get rich' that is possible, but unlikely, unless you hustle, work your @$$ off, and commit to the hustle!
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    Many years ago I got into buying storage units and the reselling. This was long before the TV shows and selling on eBay.

    My places for the resale were Flea Markets and Auction houses. These auction houses were small country auctions with maybe 50 to 60 people bidding. A whole lot of interaction with the crowd and a lot of fun driving up the bid.

    Most times I made a good profit. As far as I was concerned the interaction with the bidders was a absolute blast and the money was secondary. (my wife disagreed about the money being secondary)
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  • Likely there is more munney in whorage stores.

    Butchya cain't say shit 'bout that.

    Gotta figure there always valyoo in an infinitely plunderable vestibyool.

    Space may be vast, but you coulda askt.
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