Storage Wars fans can star in their very own, off-camera version of the show by attending a storage auction at All Storage. The real life version may not be quite as theatrical as the TV show, but it can offer just as many unexpected treasures.
A storage auction takes place after a storage unit has been abandoned or after the tenant has stopped paying rent. Thanks to lien laws, there are actually many legal steps that a storage facility must take, including repeated attempts to contact the tenant and notifying the public of the sale, before the auction actually takes place. Once it’s actually time for the auction, anyone who would like to bid is welcome to come on down (and hopefully leave with some valuable antiques instead of somebody’s dirty old clothes).
If you’d like to attend an auction at All Storage, here’s everything you need to know beforehand.
Know the Auction Schedule
Storage facilities are legally required to advertise auctions. All Storage advertises auctions in the Recorder which can be found in print at several law offices, city administration buildings, courthouses and newstands around town. Information is also on the newspaper’s website. You can also contact All Storage directly to find out when the next auction will be.
All Storage typically hosts multiple auctions in the same day, so you’ll actually have the opportunity to attend several auctions. Here’s how it works: you’ll start at one storage unit and every 15 minutes the auctioneer will begin bidding on a new one. There’s no waiting around and it makes for a pretty action-packed event.
If you’re bidding to win (Who isn’t?), be sure to have cash with you. You’ll have to pay on the spot. Bring as much cash as you’re comfortable spending and budget extra money for associated costs, such as renting a truck to clear out the storage unit. Storage unit bids tend to be all over the place based on the unit size and who’s at the auction, so base the amount of cash you bring on what you’re comfortable spending and not what the people on Storage Wars are doing. Some people will bring up to $3,000 in cash with them, but if you’re a first time bidder, there’s no need to be a high roller on day one.
Learn Auction Etiquette
Feeling like an auction pro comes down to knowing the etiquette. This starts with following the rules. Show up on time, have cash and don’t attempt to enter the storage unit that’s up for auction. The auctioneer will open the storage unit, but you will not be able to enter it or take photos. You will, however, be able to shine a flashlight into it, so feel free to bring one along.
Self storage auction etiquette also means not being a jerk. Be polite and don’t shove anyone or yell at them, no matter how competitive things get.
Empty it Out
You won! So now what? You’ve got to empty out the storage unit. After you pay, you have 48 hours to clean out the unit. It’s crucial that you have a plan for removing everything—and we mean everything—from the unit. Those who have failed to clean out units in the past have been banned from future All Storage auctions. If you’re not able to remove everything within 48 hours as a result of some unforeseen challenge like an unexpected—and insanely heavy—piano in the storage unit, you can always rent it for a month and quite literally buy yourself some extra time.
Enjoy Your Treasures
Hopefully your winnings will include something really cool, valuable or at least interesting. For all of the non-cool, non-valuable stuff, you can donate or at least recycle. Thrift stores and shelters are always looking for clothes and housewares. If you discover any personal items such as birth certificates, social security cards or cremains (yep, it happens), contact All Storage about getting these to the right person. After all, you probably don’t need someone else’s marriage license, but you do need that vintage collection of records or whatever other treasure you found buried within that storage unit.