For some people, there’s a moral dilemma with storage unit auctions. How could you possibly take advantage of another person’s misfortune like that? Others follow the time honored mantra “you snooze, you lose”–I bought it fair and square. While it’s true that tenants have ample time to pay their delinquent fees and get their goods back…well, sometimes life gets in the way and it’s just not that easy.
And sometimes, as the new owner of one of these units, you find yourself looking through stacks upon stacks of baby photos, birthday cards, and love letters from long ago. Perhaps you’re feeling a pang of sadness for the people who left them behind, or perhaps you’re simply thinking, what in the world am I gonna do with all of this garbage?
Fear not, my friends! Let all of that frustration go, because there’s a wonderful website called www.LostInStorage.com that will help you let go of some of the guilt, or simply let go of some of the junk. Let me give you a little run down on this site–it might just come in handy in your storage unit adventures.
The main idea of this website is to connect the auction buyer to the original owner of the storage unit. There are two ways this works. The original owner can make a post describing what they’re looking for, where the unit was located, and how to get in touch with them. Conversely, if you’re the auction buyer and you’re sittin’ on a unit filled to the brim with “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments and cheesy home videos, you can post an ad for your area to let people know you might have their stuff.
The best part? The website offers “blind shipping” services if you’d prefer to stay anonymous. Because let’s face it: you won the unit fair and square, you’re generous enough to reach out to these people and maybe give back some precious one of a kind family keepsakes….but you probably don’t want someone tracking you down trying to get back their flat screen TV, Nintendo Wii, and antique pinball machine they couldn’t pay for.
For those of you who are still reluctant, here’s a little perk to pay for your time and effort: some people on this site are so desperate to get their stuff back, they’re offering rewards. Getting paid for something you were just gonna throw out? Sounds good to me! Not to mention, you’ll be keeping all of this junk out of landfills and dumps, so it’s the earth friendly thing to do. What could be better?
I took some time to talk with Nicole Smith from LostInStorage.com. I was very eager to find out how and why this website came to be.
What inspired you to start this website?
“I have friends that buy storage auctions. The idea came one day while watching them sort their “winnings” after a day of auctions. The personal documents/photos were tossed in the trash per the laws. Being a sentimental sap and a mother of 4, I couldn’t stand the idea of someone never being able to recover finger-paint art, clay hand-prints, generations of photos, old letters, genealogy records, family bibles, etc.”
Have you ever been to a storage auction?
“Nope, never been to a storage auction.”
The site is still young, but have you had any success stories yet?
“The site has just under 40 public posts from owners of items lost to storage auctions. For posts or private emails that contain recent losses (with enough details), I reach out to the storage facilities immediately. The majority of the facilities are extremely helpful but to date we have not been able to reach them in time to save the personal documents.
However, Nicole has high hopes for the future:
“I’m currently working with a variety of storage facility owners on a plan to reach renters sooner. Once that plan and the site renovation is complete, we will begin to market LostinStorage.com. To date, traffic has been purely organic.”
On that final note, help Nicole help others by visiting her site and spreading the word. Think about it: you can’t score big on a unit filled with photo albums and the like. But at least you can score yourself some karma points by heading over to Lost In Storage! You’ll feel good about it, I promise.
To make an account and start giving back (or getting back) today, visit their website at www.LostInStorage.com.
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