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What Are Storage Auctions, and How Can You Participate?

Self storage is a great space-saving solution for businesses, homeowners, renters, or military service members. You can use self storage to declutter your home, keep your business organized, and even help as you move across the country. Whether you’re looking at short- or long-term storage solutions, finding the right unit is usually pretty easy.

Life changes quickly, however, and sometimes a storage unit can be forgotten or abandoned. In cases like this, storage facility owners are left with a problem: unrentable space. Despite how much the owners try to contact a renter, sometimes they’re not able to.  In situations like this, a storage auction may be held.

Storage auctions allow storage companies to reclaim this lost. Members of the public can bid on the contents of the storage unit based on a short glimpse of what’s inside. Sometimes you’ll find rare treasures, antiques, or items of interest. In other cases, it’s boxes of documents and unwanted goods. Let’s look at how and why Prime Storage uses storage auctions at many of its locations, and how you can find your nearest auction.

How to Find Storage Unit Auctions

The explosion in popularity of storage auctions stems from reality TV shows, but they’re fairly easy to find even without that bump in promotion. Many self storage facilities use online platforms to auction their units in lieu of traditional live, in-person auctions. .

If your local facility doesn’t use online auctions to help plan and facilitate a storage auction (most do), drop by their leasing office and ask about any plans for an auction.

When can a storage unit be auctioned off?

Most of the time, a storage facility will offer tenants a state-mandated grace period to pay any past due amounts. This period usually lasts between 30 to 90 days. Failure to pay the balance in full after this period gives the storage facility the right to auction off the contents of the unit.

How do I plan for a storage auction?

Before you consider entering a storage auction, make good plans for what you plan to do with your haul and how much you’re willing to spend on a unit. Bidding on storage units can be a competitive process, and if it’s your first time you may not want to even bid at all.

Most of the time, storage auctions are quick endeavors. You won’t have much time to clear out a unit (sometimes as little as 48 hours), so it’s a good idea to make sure you know what you plan to do with its contents. Renting a storage unit in the same facility can give you some extra time to sort through your prizes, but bear in mind you usually won’t have access to the facility’s dumpster. Failure to empty the unit could lead to expensive fees, which might blow through your budget even faster.

How do I know what unit to bid on?

Most of the time, you’ll be able to see inside an auctioned storage unit for a few moments. You won’t be able to step inside or touch anything, so this short glimpse is usually all you’ll be able to use. If there are some key types of items you’re looking for, make a list and keep an eye out for them.

What do I do with any personal goods I find?

Two people reaching into a box

Sometimes personal items, such as legal documents, important mementos, and even urns with ashes find their way into storage units. The best course of action isn’t to throw these items out or to try and contact the original owner. Give them to the storage facility, who will often make every effort to return them. Most of the time, a storage facility won’t require you to initiate contact with the previous tenant. In fact, it’s usually frowned upon.

Find a Storage Auction (or Available Storage Units) Near You Today

Whether you’re in the market for storage of your own or considering taking the leap into the world of storage auction hunting, we encourage you to visit your nearest Prime Storage facility. Our friendly team can answer your questions and provide you with help finding solutions to your storage needs. We can also let you know about any upcoming auction opportunities. Contact us today for more information.

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