Playing Super Sleuth at an Auction

Storage units are giant closets holding items that are not in current use. People don’t want to toss out the items or sell them.They are holding on until they make that decision or use the items in the future. Furniture, electronics, clothing and personal records, holiday items are all things that exist in the darkness of the unit. Sometimes, it could be someone’s whole household or business packed up inside. And then, occasionally you might find equipment, tools, machinery, appliances, guns, or toys. You may also find antiques, collectibles or jewelry and money. And, then there is always the weird stuff that may turn up!.

When you go to a Storage Unit Auction, you have to develop a sixth sense.You have to let your first feeling guide you often times because when they open that garage door for the very first peek, you have to make an assessment as to whether you will bid or not. As you intensely look for clues, you will more than likely be presented with tons of boxes! Often, those boxes are packed so tightly that there is no indication as to what is inside. And there is a line up of more boxes behind the first set! It is a guessing game. But, there are a few small things that you can look for. Check for boxes that are sealed up with tape. Someone packed this with care for the items inside. They didn’t want the box to come open. Boxes that are open or stacked haphazardly normally have a mixed bag of items and usually ones that can be tossed around a bit. If all the boxes are the same size, there are the same items in all of them You will be bidding on a mass of products. How boxes are stacked can indicate the delicacy of the things inside. Look for stickers or markings on the boxes that may indicate what is inside. Also look for professional movers tags. This can also indicate a more precious item.

Take a quick inventory on things you can see in the unit. Then do a google search on your cell phone or laptop. You can quickly check what the going price is for certain items such as appliances or toys or antiques that might be hidden in the mass. Don't throw anything out before you research it Things that appear to be worthless junk are sometimes worth thousands, and that's why it's so important to do research and get appraisals. The more experienced you get, the fewer trips you'll have to make to an appraiser, but there will be a steep learning curve at the beginning.

Furniture is always an easy search because you can see it and quickly check out it’s condition from far away. Furniture can be resold for profit usually and if it is an antique piece, then it is even more valuable. If you see curved legs or beveled mirrors or even certain types of wood, you may have found a money maker. Professionally wrapped furniture is another sign of value. It indicates that the storage unit renter had enough money to hire professionals and/or has stuff that's valuable enough to be worth storing properly. Learn the different styles of furniture. Knowing the style helps in narrowing the search. Finding home appliances will often have a resale value that is high if they are in good, working condition.

Baby furniture, toys, books and clothes can be resold at garage sales if they are in good condition. There are also Swip Swap sites through facebook, craigslist, ebay and even children’s consignment shops. Toys from decades before hold an element of nostalgia and can be worth a decent amount.  

There are certain things that you will have to look for before the bidding begins. These things may indicate that it is not worth bidding on the unit. If the unit immediately smells musty, there is probably dampness and mold on everything. Mold is very difficult to get out and the smell can linger no matter how much bleach you use on items. It may also smell dusty and things may be covered up in a dirty film. That could mean that some of the items have been sitting in the unit for a number of years.

Over time and with some experience, you will develop your own sixth sense about a unit before you begin bidding and spending money. The guessing game will come down to the amount of times you have bid and then resold an array of items. You have to be consistent if you really want to make money with storage auctions. As you gain experience, you’ll have better odds of purchasing units. The more units you view, the better your percentage of making money.

As you look for clues, don’t forget to take into account that there will be junk that comes with the good finds.It is part of the package and the expense to get rid of that stuff. If there is more junk that great finds and the cost to get rid of it is too high, then don’t bid. It is not worth it. If you operate as if you  are the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, girl detective, then you will solve the mystery and see a profit. provides listings for every form of other auction in the US. We have detailed handbooks available for your reference to help you succeed at any and all auction types. Our original handbook is a complete guide from industry experts providing tips on how to sell your products. In addition, we offer a bluebook guide to valuing your acquisitions. We are now providing subscribers with a comprehensive reference to the wholesale, drop shipping, and liquidation industry to best prepare you for your auction experience and resale options.

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