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Making Money from Unpaid Storage Lockers

Updated on July 28, 2011

I've always known that storage lockers, when unpaid, gives the landlord the option to auction them at some point in time. Up until today, I've never thought much of it until I ran into one of my friends who was helping someone haul things from such an auction.

He mentioned that most of the time, they are able to turn a significant profit. Read on and I'll tell you more.

Storage Lockers in California

In California, when a storage locker customer fails to pay for 3 months, the storage provider, has the right to put the locker contents up for auction. Too bad for the customer who may have valuable items there as they lose rights to their stored belongings.

Good news for the serious bargain or storage locker hunter! Many storage locker providers have auctions every week. By the way, these events have never really received much attention, until the airing of the show "Storage Wars". This reality show has brought storage locker auction much attention, and thus more competition.

Storage Locker Auctions Every Week

Believe it or not, storage providers have weekly auctions. They aren't in business to hold things in storage and not get rent. So, they work to get items hauled out of the storage within 2 days of someone winning the bid.

To find a storage locker auction near you, check out this URL: All you need to do is provide a zip code and it will give you a calendar of auction events. There are some that occur during the weekends, but several of them occur during the weekdays.

The Process

The storage locker process goes somewhat like this.

On the day of the auction, all auctioneers are allowed to view the contents of the storage locker. When I say "view" it means that the locker is opened and the bidders are allowed to look at, but not touch or move anything. This means that if you can see valuable items, it may be worth bidding some value you can afford to pay for the potential of big profit.

On the other hand, you may see worthless items on the front, but there could be very valuable items in the back or underneath. You can take your chance and outbid others hoping to find something good inside.

In general, you don't want this to be a gamble. If you know the value of things you see, then you can make a bid that can still allow you some profit, taking into account the overhead of renting a U-Haul to pickup the stuff within two days.

If you win the bidding war, you are given at least two days to clear out the storage locker.

Disposing of Your Winnings

How do you get rid of the the items you acquired from the auction?

Well, there are many ways.

One of them is to go to a flea market and sell them there. This is how my my friend sells his winnings. Another option is selling them through e-Bay. Check prices of similar items and price your accordingly.

You can also probably sell some of them through your own garage sale. Some of the things in the batch is probably not worth selling; some you can trash, the others you can donate.


Now you know as much as I do in this area. If you have time on your hands and don't mind going to auctions and bidding, go for it. You may just win something big.

Remember, sometimes it can be a gamble, but the winnings can be extremely rewarding. The reward materializes when you sell your winnings at the flea market, on e-Bay, or at your own garage sale.

Good luck on exploring and starting your own garage wars.


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    • forlanda profile image

      Juancho Forlanda 6 years ago from US of A

      Thanks for the vote up JT Walters. I appreciate it.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Forlando,

      This is a reall a great idea. Vote Up!!


    • forlanda profile image

      Juancho Forlanda 6 years ago from US of A

      Cameron & Deborah-Diane, thanks for stopping by to comment.


    • forlanda profile image

      Juancho Forlanda 6 years ago from US of A

      Deborah-Diane, it definite sounds fascinating. Like I said, I never paid much attention to the topic, until he mentioned how much they were bidding and how much potential profit they were expecting. I also did a search on ' storage wars' on and found information on their costs, profit, and findings; here's the URL:

    • forlanda profile image

      Juancho Forlanda 6 years ago from US of A

      Cameron, the friend I mentioned in this article said that the highest amount they ever bid was $1000. For this they got several gas powered RC (remote control) cars and aircraft. It also included some snow boards. Obviously, he thought that the original owner was some sort of hobbyist. Anyway, RC cars and aircraft were gas powered, and from what I know one of these can cost several hundred dollars. So I think they will be able to make a profit on this particular deal. Based on this, most bids probably end up costing them several hundred dollars, in general.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      Every once in a while you hear about someone getting a real treasure from a storage unit they bought. It sounds fascinating.

    • Cameron Corniuk profile image

      Cameron Corniuk 6 years ago from Painesville, OH

      I've been curious about this for some time now. Nice little informative piece. My biggest question is how much these lockers usually end up going for. I'd hate to waste a whole day to not even be able to afford one full of useless rubbish.