Is it Trash or Treasure? Identifying Valuables at Storage Auctions

metal-637748_960_720If you’re in the business of buying and reselling the contents of auctioned storage units, you probably know by now that not every unit you come across is valuable. On the contrary, many contain nothing more than empty boxes and old appliances. But don’t assume that a unit isn’t valuable just because there are no high-dollar items in sight. Items that are often viewed as trash may actually be treasure…


Whether it’s for a car, boat, motorcycle, etc., batteries are easy to turn for a profit — even if they no longer hold a charge. You can take any batteries you come across to the local scrap yard for a quick $10-$20 bucks. Granted, that’s not a huge payday, but if you find half a dozen or more in a single storage unit, those Hamilton notes will quickly add up.


Old computers (desktops and laptops) are often viewed as being obsolete, which is why many tenants leave them behind in their storage units. Even if it’s running Windows 95, though, you can still siphon some cash from old computers due to the metal that contain. Crack open the case and you’ll discover a network of various components, many of which contain metals like copper, silver and even gold. So before you toss that old computer in the trash, try scrapping the metal for cash.

Plumping Pipes

Think plumbing pipes are nothing more than junk? Think again. Assuming they are made of metal like copper and/or brass, you can easily resell them for a profit. Just break down the pipes and take them to a nearby scrap yard.


Another item that you are bound to come across at storage auctions is tires. The easiest way to resell used tires is to contact some of the local tire shops in your area to see if they are interested in purchasing them. Because many of these shops sell used tires themselves, they’ll probably purchase the used tires from you. And if you can’t resell it to them, you can always scrap the rubber for a lesser profit.


Of course, wire is another item that’s easy to resell. This includes TV wire, audio, electrical, and more. Most wire is made of copper — and scrap yards love to purchase copper. Once you’ve collected a decent amount of copper wire, make a trip to your nearest scrap yard to earn some cash for your hard work.

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