Storage Auction Tips: If You Have Time to Dream, You Have Time to Clean


storage slackerThe most lenient policy on excavating and evacuating a won unit is 48 hours total time.  We often talk about preparation in this blog, so today, wants to hammer home that two days is not a very long time when faced with an indefinite amount of goods and garbage to remove from a unit.  Will you score a 5x5 unit or a 10x30?  Will you need helping hands, a rental truck, or a trailer?  Here's a great middle path game plan on making a unit's contents disappear like a regular Houdini.

Leaving the SUV at Home

Even if you own a Chevrolet Blazer, you have to face a few realities of attempting to use your personal vehicle to both move and clean simultaneously.  The first is considering whether or not you want to haul litter or old musty furniture in the car you use to take your kids to school in, even if the furniture is looks promising in the resale market.  In essence, you never know what you are going to be hauling until you win the unit and start sifting around.  The smells and the spider eggs alone should deter you from using your personal vehicle for the clean out process.  The only time this may be appropriate is when you only plan on bidding and winning a small 5x5 or 5x10 unit that day and nothing else, but that sort of ruins the fun of the auction, doesn’t it?

If you aren’t convinced yet, let’s just look at it in terms of time, space, and money.  The more you stuff into your car, the harder it will be to loosen and unload your goods and you may run the risk of breaking something saleable.  Even when this first trip is done, you’re going to gas up the 15 miles/gallon beast and travel all the way back to the storage facility for round two, or maybe even three, the last being the actual clean out/trash hauling trip.  By then you are going to be exhausted, frustrated, and have eaten into your future profits significantly just by paying for gasoline.  Not to mention the potential scratches and scuffs to your car, giving it the appearance of hauling baby tigers around.

A Great Moving Plan for the Beginner to Intermediate Unit Sweeper

If you are relatively new at this trade and are looking to see the best profits roll in from the get go, you shouldn’t mind performing the hauling and sweeping yourself, especially on smaller lockers.  The idea here is to try to make one trip so that you can move on to the product testing, cleaning, donating, distribution, and selling processes, which will be work in themselves.

U-Haul, Budget, Penske, and Lowe’s offer dirt cheap day rates on moving trucks, usually around $20/day.  Of course, you have to cover your gas, returning the truck withempty truck the amount it started with.  So, a good plan is to attend the auction with a friend and make sure there is a unit you intend to win.  Once you have, consider giving one of these rental companies a call and reserving a truck for a single day.  However, you must be careful.  If you sincerely do not think you can move your goods in a single day, always book an extra day in advance because you can be charged mightily for surpassing it.  Like Blockbuster, these companies make more money on late fees than they do rental prices.

At the point of scoring a unit, you can load the cleanest, most delicate/valuable things into your personal vehicle and be dropped off at the truck rental site.  Obviously, the closer the rental place to your home the better since that will always be your final destination.

Go get the rental truck and bring heavy duty gloves, a broom, and plenty of garbage bags.  Bring the helping hands if there is going to be furniture to move and you know for a fact you can get everything out in one trip.  Otherwise, it will be more economical and diplomatic of you to go it alone.  It will “build character” (yes, character) and give you some much needed private time sorting and organizing your brand new treasures.

As a side note, make sure the truck you rent corresponds to the size of the unit.  If you see more trash than treasure in a 10x10 unit, for example, you may be able to get away with renting a pickup truck, which U-Haul definitely offers, instead of a 10 foot moving truck.  This will be up to you and your noggin to decide.

Facility owners may fine you or ban you from future auctions if you leave anything behind.  You will be expected to clean out the contents entirely and broom sweep the floor.  As we have mentioned, for obvious reasons, facility owners will not allow their dumpsters to be dumped in on auction day because it just creating more work for them, especially when people are negligently dropping unwanted junk on the side of the dumpster and peeling off.  It tends to get out of control quickly.

Buying a Trailer?

While having a trailer makes you look like more of a storage wars stud, it probably will not be worth your while to go out and buy one until you are absolutely ready.  A small utility trailer, closed or unclosed, is going to run you $800-$1,500, in used condition.  Open trailers are just too dangerous for shipping a variety of goods, especially ones you want to keep in the best condition possible.  A closed trailer would be the better option, but you have to consider price vs. how often you attend storage auctions.  A 5x5 foot trailer will very seldom be ample space to move any substantial amount of goodies in one to two trips, and you want to make your auction outing worth your while by leaving open the possibility of winning several or larger units.


All in all, just make sure you have won a unit before renting a one-day moving truck and you should be very well set up to put the unit back in the shape the previous owner should have left it in.


David Gross, Storageunitauctionlist Content Writer


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