Auction Tips: The List of 9 (Tools) Saves Time


There is nothing worse than winning a unit, then feeling like a fish out of water as to what to do with it.

As a treasure hunter, we all know you have your work cut out for you.  If you’re going to get serious about this business, you will save yourself substantial time and money over the long haul by being a regular MacGyver.  That is, having the master’s tools on hand at every auction.  StorageUnitAuctionList has your back on this one.



There are good flashlights and junk flashlights on the market today.  For the purpose of peering through cracks to view treasures hidden in the shadows, we recommend something with “1000 lumens” or above, and with LED capabilities.  The lumens indicate the beam strength.  “LED,” or “Light Emitting Diode” flashlights do not require replacement of the single Double AA battery for a very long time, and some do not need traditional batteries at all.  A worthy investment!



Would you start tearing down a rusty fence without gloves on?  The truth is, one has to be very careful when entering into the unknown region of the storage unit.  All sorts of bacteria may be lurking, depending on the age of the unit.  Bring a thick pair of work gloves so you can perform your moving and digging with a clean conscience and clean palms.  Sanitation isn’t the whole story either.  It can hurt a lot to move and lift metallic or wooden things with sharp edges.

Might as well bring a little First-Aid kit while you’re at it.


Ever leave your front door open, go out on the town, then, realizing later that you did it, it ruined your whole night and you had to resign yourself to just going home early?  The same thing applies to storage units you have purchased.  When the lock is cut, a new one must go on.  If you are without one, you run the risk of

A) getting your unit cherry picked while you are blazing down the highway towards Lowes.

B) Paying double the retail price by buying one off of the facility owner, or even worse, a fellow bidder.  Word travels fast in this business.  Don’t set yourself up to look like a rookie, because nicknames stick.


If you read yesterday’s blog, “Treasure Hunter or Packrat?” you will have grown wise and learned that doing some substantial preliminary sorting before you take your treasures home is an essential part of being a shrewd unit-picker.  So, doesn’t that mean you need something to get into those prized sealed boxes with?  Absolutely.  Be prepared to slice into some tape and see what goods you are really working with.  See yesterday’s blog to also see why having plenty of garbage bags is also part of this equation.


Are becoming a popular fad in this subculture.  Bidders these days plop them down when they get their short observation period, and, flashlight in hand, get above the regular plane of vision, therefore gaining a much better idea of what is lurking in the background.  An absolute must.  Although, make sure to ask the auctioneer beforehand if the stool advantage is ok with him.


Say you have a smart phone at an auction.  You get to peek inside and see a few things worth researching further.  Well, writing them down would be most beneficial in such a case.  Also, keeping track of your spending is a good idea, if you are planning on winning multiple units in a day.  Finally, as you conduct your clean out process, it can be very easy to lose track of promising inventory as you pick through.  Write down the interesting inventory, even just a quick note, so you can dummy check it later at home.


Some days, you just aren’t going to have help with the moving process.  Additionally, you are going to want to take a unit that requires you to haul off some bigger goods, like furniture or mini-fridges that work.  Therefore, get a utility sized hand truck that can handle some serious weight.  That is, one with a broad base and an interwoven metallic body.  A few serious ratchet straps will go a long way too.  Dropping expensive, heavy stuff and ruining it before you even get it home = a horrible, demoralizing experience.  Be prepared to lug the lucrative stuff.


Again, as per our mantra of screening a units contents before you take it all home, a lot of the electronics you have are not going to have fresh batteries and will probably be dead.  Gather an assortment of AAA’s, AA’s, D’s, and 9 Volts and bring them to the party so you can decide beforehand if you need to stop at the dump before taking electronics and toys home with you.

1) JEWELER’S LOUPEjeweler's loupe

Picking through, you may find a jewelry cabinet or a jewelry box.  Obviously, you are not going to want to discard anything immediately, but carrying a “jeweler’s loupe,” (say “loop”), a pocket sized magnifying device that reveals stone quality up close, is going to get you a little more excited as to what you may have on your hands.  A “10X,” triple lens loop is the industry standard.  Learning a little about jewelry characteristics is going to protect you from any under-appraisal, and also make you able to post and sell jewelry product descriptions with confidence that you are being honest and selling it at the right price!


Many storage pickers swear by many another object and I would not necessarily disagree with them.  This is just a list to aid beginners in not flopping on their first unit and also to inspire intermediates into a new trick or two.  Let us find the storage auctions for you and you get to stuffing that knapsack now!


David Gross, Content Writer


Image Sources:





Web Sources:



Back to Blog
Leave a reply