7 tips for storage auction bidding

You’ve all seen the shows about storage auction wars. It’s competitive, it’s rough, it’s disappointing and yet rewarding at times. Before getting into the game, here are a few tips.

Know the rules

Storage facilities have general rules that need to be applied. For liability reasons, they don’t usually enter the units they’re selling. However, when that door rolls up for bidding, back off if you see a couple of things:

  • odors, such as mold which can come from old food in appliances,
  • critters or insects like rats and cockroaches,
  • storage drums, which could contain anything, even hazardous waste.

Most storage facility owners can’t sell units like these, so know the rules and make sure you don’t get caught with an unsafe unit.

Keep quiet

The last thing you want to do is announce to the world that you’ve found a signed letter from George Washington or an unopened collection of original Star Wars figures. Keep your findings to yourself, identify buyers quickly and liquidate your haul… quietly.

Get in shape

Most professionals look to turn around units quickly, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Sifting through unit upon unit is physically demanding, so make sure you can handle the job.

Don’t get caught up in the excitement

There’s no need to buy a unit every time you attend a storage auction. Take your time and weigh your options. Have a goal in mind and bid on the units that make sense for you. Set a limit for yourself to ensure you can make a profit later. If you’re just getting into the business, don’t bring any money with you. Instead, have a look at what it’s all about.

Identify buyers

As mentioned, most professionals try to go through units quickly. You may need to bring items home or keep them in your own self storage unit for some time. To streamline the process, find buyers ahead of time like pawn shops, specialty buyers and online classified advertising services like Kijiji or Craigslist.

Go through everything

Some units may seem like they include a pile of junk, but you may find some hidden gems. Be meticulous and sort through all items. You never know what you’ll find!

Be safe

Not from the bidders, but from the hazards of an old storage unit. It’s a dirty business so invest in a mask and heavy duty gloves.

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17 tools you need in your toolkit

Things need to get done around the house. That frame needs to go up on the wall, blinds need to be put up, you need that new railing along the stairs, and the bathroom needs a complete gut job. Whatever the size of your project, there are basic tools that you’ll need for your toolkit. For pretty much any tool, padded or cushioned grips go a long way.

Hammer. This basic tool comes in different shapes and sizes, but you’ll need it to drive nails or break apart objects.

Pliers. They’re used to hold objects securely. Try 8 inch needle-nose pliers and 10 inch groove-joint pliers.

Screwdrivers. Make sure you get a large and small set of each flat head, Phillips and Robertson. You can find basic sets for a reasonable price, but if you’re looking to save space, try a multi-head screwdriver.

Saw. The manual version is always handy for cutting pieces of wood. Go basic and grab a general purpose saw with a 15 inch steel blade.

Safety glasses and quality work gloves. Safety is always important, so invest in some safety equipment.

Adjustable wrench. A great multi-purpose tool. Eventually, look to splurge on a set of combination wrenches.

Utility knife with extra blades. Whether you’re cutting sheets of drywall or removing caulking, you’ll need a good blade to cut through a variety of things.

Carpenter pencil. Contrary to a regular pencil, a carpenter pencil is usually rectangular or elliptical so that it doesn’t roll away. This may seem trivial, but you’ll know exactly where you left it when you set it done to do another task. Overall, they’re stronger than regular pencils to withstand the construction environment.

Flashlight. Useful for plumbing or fixing a washer, flashlights will help you illuminate dark areas that have low visibility.

Super glue. Used as a strong adhesive for most job fixes.

Pry bar. Before getting a job started, you may need to tear something up. Do yourself a favor and invest in a decent pry bar, somewhere between 7 and 15 inches.

Duct tape. Need I say more? The ultimate utility tool.

Putty knife. A two inch wide blade is sufficient to handle most jobs, from applying drywall mud to scraping away extra paint.

Allen key set. When a screwdriver can’t be used, it’s usually because you need an Allen key. Grab a set so you have a variety of sizes.

Tape measure. Most jobs require measurements. Depending on what you’re doing, those measurements could be quite long, so look for a tape measure that is at least 25 feet long.

Level. A handy tool when you’re putting up shelves or building a structure. You’ll need to ensure things are level so that your structure doesn’t topple over and things don’t roll off your shelf. You can buy small levels, but a foot long can be used for most jobs.

Drill. A cordless drill that is at least 18 volts can handle pretty much anything. If you don’t use a drill often, try a corded drill with a heavy duty, long extension cord. And don’t forget to grab a drill bit set.

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4 reasons why people keep things

We’ve all heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It’s all too true when it comes to our possessions. An old t-shirt, a collection of vinyls, a One Direction poster… Why do we keep things? What makes these things so important to us when they are seemingly unimportant to someone else?

One of the main reasons people keep objects is the sentimental value they have – the personal link they hold. There’s an association with a particular object that is important to us. Perhaps someone we admire values it and you may feel guilty if you throw it away. Old china from your grandmother or your someone’s trophies for example.

Sometimes objects are connected to memories. Old movie tickets from your first date, a tie from a loved one or a yearbook. Possessions are tied to important moments in our lives, whether they be positive or negative. These items help us remember specific times and losing them makes us feel like we’re losing a memory.

While these may not be of practical value, they are important nonetheless.

Market value
Objects hold value because, well… they’re valuable! They’re worth something, such as collectibles. Do you have some old Star Wars figurines? Bonus! In mint condition and still in their original packaging? Now we’re talking.

Gold and jewelry maintain and sometimes increase in value. Autographed memorabilia or a book that is no longer in print. You may want to keep these types of objects aside to cash in later.

Maybe these objects are not worth something now, but they could some day. One word: vintage. Something that is out of style today could come back later and is suddenly very valuable.

People also keep objects because they’re useful. Tools are a good example. How often do you use your mitre saw? Your chainsaw? They may not be needed now… or next year… or the following year, but they’re still useful. You’re not going to throw them away because they could come in handy later.

To keep for later
Similar to utility, we often keep objects for later use for other reasons. We’re saving them for a special occasion, a special moment. Or maybe you’re saving them for someone else.

Keepsakes for future generations, something you want your kids to have. Like an instrument you played that you want your kids to play, your mother’s wedding dress or even war medals. These may not be items that you necessarily need or want, but you may hold onto them for others.


Whatever the reason you’re holding on to those items, you may not have the space to keep them in your home. A storage unit may just be the right place to keep them.

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