This Halloween we have something extra spooky for our readers – the best tips and tricks for buying the best storage unit from our very own Lonnie Bickford! Learn from the best on how to pick out the best!
20+ years in the self-storage industry has taught me a few things about what’s inside a storage unit. One thing I’ve seen is that the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” can definitely apply to self-storage units.
One of the best units I’ve seen was passed on by over 20 bidders on auction day and only sold for $10. With a small swinging door and what appeared to be a unit with only file cabinets, it looked like it only contained abandoned business files.
Well, hidden behind those filing cabinets were 75 framed pieces of art, 20 of which being originals, two violins, trumpets, trombones and a nice piano. The unit also contained a grandfather clock and several bedroom sets of good-conditioned, American-made solid wood furniture. To top the unit off, it also contained a carved cedar chest filled with nine fur coats – three of which were mink!
Talk about a hidden gem!
Years ago, before the TV shows and large crowds, I had a buyer repeatedly telling me that a lot of the units have “good stuff” in them. Personally, I was a little skeptical that anyone would ever leave something valuable behind in a locker. After receiving no bids on one of my units up for auction, I offered this bidder $25 if he would clean out the 2 units that didn’t receive a bid. The next day he called, asking to come by office. Pulling an old tube sock out of his pocket, I was more than a little worried about what he was about to pour out onto my desk. To say I was shocked would be an understatement – he poured out over $900 worth of gold and silver coins.
Obviously, most of the storage units bought at auction are not filled with hidden gold, silver and furs, but don’t just judge too quickly.
Here are some of my personal tips to spotting hidden treasure on StorageAuctions.com:
- Old boxes can mean that the stuff inside may have been stored for a long time
- If they paid rent for a long time, it could be worth a lot
- Spider webs
- Unit has been stored a while and no one has disturbed things
- This means this unit has also been paid for quite a long time
- Big-boy toys
- If you see some adult toys, fishing, hunting, camping stuff the unit could have all his stuff – tools and collectables alike
So to recap, the older the unit the better in some cases but more importantly, never judge a book by its cover! Or in this case, storage units.