5 of the Best Storage Auctions

woman self storage facility

Self-storage is quite popular in today’s era and will continue to grow in the future. You may not know, but almost 40% of Americans use self-storage. People need self-storage when they don’t have enough space to store their belongings or undergoing transitions like moving.

Whether you are a business owner, homeowner, renter, or military member, you always need extra space. Self-storage helps you declutter your home or keeps your business organized. Finding a suitable unit can be easy if you plan to look for short- or long-term storage solutions.

Even if people rent a storage unit, there have been problems where people need to remember they even have a storage unit or don’t pay rent on time. When this happens, the facility has a problem: an unrentable space. In a situation like this, a storage company will hold a storage auction if the company cannot contact the renter.

What Is a Storage Auction?

You’re already acquainted with self-storage, but do you know what a storage auction is? A storage auction is when the storage unit when someone abandons it or goes into a lien, and the storage companies want to reclaim their financial losses by holding a storage auction.

A storage company schedules an auction, and the public could attend an auction on a unit they want. The bidder will get it if they win the bid. Many people love to go to storage auctions because they can find treasures. Depending on where you live, you may find a nearby storage auction.

There are many storage auctions held annually in the United States: approximately 80,000. Many storage facilities like their tenants to pay rent on time, but that is only sometimes the case. When this happens, the facility must hold an auction to reclaim its losses, but the process can be costly and time-consuming.

Even though they are losing money, this is the best choice for storage companies to compensate for their financial losses. Of course, they will receive only some of the profits back, but some money to prevent them from being in the red zone.

How Does it Work?

When the storage company cannot contact the renter, the company will consider it abandoned or gone into a lien. The next phase the company would do is to schedule an auction, advertise for the auction, and bring in the auctioneer.

This phase takes a lot of time and money for the company. Finally, the storage company auctions off the units on the event day, and the highest bidder will get the unit. Storage auctions are extremely popular, thanks to reality TV shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters.

Registration Process

Before attending the storage auction, participants will likely have to pre-register to participate in the event. The facility manager handles registration, so remember to contact the facility to learn more about the storage auction. You may sign up online at the facility before or on the day of the event.

When Can a Storage be Auction off?

Before the storage auction even happens, the storage facility gives the tenant a grace period of 30 to 90 days to pay any past dues. If the tenant pays the balance, the storage company will not auction off the storage unit. However, in failure to do so, the storage facility has the right to auction off the unit.

The Bidding Process

Before any bidding begins, the storage units will open for the auctioning participants to look and they are allowed several minutes to see inside the unit. The unit will close after every participant has a chance to see inside the space.

You may struggle to look through everything due to the time limit, and searching through all the boxes before bidding is prohibited and considered trespassing. When this happens, you should take notes on the items you saw to understand better what you will bid on later. You should also note that winning bids can vary from less than $100 to nearly $1000.

Auction Rules

Many participants need to learn about the auction rules because they are only sometimes common knowledge. If this is your first auction at a storage facility, familiarize yourself with the rules before participating in the auction.

List of Rules:

  • Bidders are bidding on the contents of the entire storage unit, not on an item-to-item abscess.
  • The highest bidder will get the unit.
  • The winning bidder must pay in cash upon winning (depending on the facility)
  • A deposit may be required until you clean out the unit.
  • The winning bidder usually gives 24 to 48 hours to clean the unit or rent it under their name.
  • The buyer must return all personal items of the previous renter, like photos, legal documents, or tax records, to the facility so they can return them to the previous tenant.
  • You must turn firearms over to local law enforcement if firearms are in the storage unit.
  • Units are won and paid for immediately, meaning if you are the top bidder, you must pay the balance immediately.

Who Can Participate in a Storage Auction?

You can participate in the auction if you are 18 years old and can provide legal identification. Most of the time, your local auction may be swarming with bidding veterans. However, you may find unique individuals like online sellers, collectors, or treasure hunters because anyone can participate in the auction as long as they are of age.

After the Auction

If you become the winning bidder, you should have your storage, whether that’s your garage or paying for the storage unit itself, because it might take a long time for you to clean out all the possessions. You might also need help, so asking a family or friend to help you can cut your time in half.

Places to Find Storage Auctions

Storage Treasures

Storage Treasures is a prominent storage auction website to help you bid online and find nearby storage auctions. In addition, it is a free social site to find onsite or online storage auctions across the United States and Canada.

Storage Auctions

Storage Auctions is an online storage auction that allows customers and buyers to purchase and bid on. This platform enables you to find storage auctions near you and bid confidently. In addition, storage facilities can list their inventory for live and online auctions for those to see.

Locker Fox

Locker Fox is a premium online platform for the storage auction experience. By bidding online, you can save time driving and get more chances to turn your wins into cash. It is a user-friendly platform where you can easily find and bid on storage auctions near you. When you win a bid, you’ll be responsible for cleaning out the unit, be charged a 10% buyer premium, and pay cash at the facility for your high bid.

Cube Smart

Cube Smart is a site where you can find storage auctions throughout the country. If you want to attend one, you need to look for your state and see what auctions are available in your area.


Bid13 is an online storage auction that allows you to find auctions for storage units across the United States. The site has a paid membership option of $5 per month and a $1 bid fee. However, if you win the auction, the fee is waived.


What happens to the storage unit if the renter passes away?

If the renter passes away, the storage company will contact their loved ones if they want to pay the rent or clean it out. If the company gets no answer, the unit will go up for auction.

Does the storage company keep the total profit from the auction?

No, the companies usually keep around 50% of the winning bid since they have to pay advertisers and services of the auctioneer.

What things do you usually find at a storage auction?

That depends! You can find treasure or nothing but junk. In most cases, you can find valuable items like jewelry, art, collectibles, and even cars.

Does the storage company remove any valuables before the auction?

No, they do not since the auction is their last resort.

How does an online auction work?

Most auction websites want you to create an account so that you can participate. Once you create your account, you can search the list to see which unit you wish to bid on.

How often does storage auction occur?

Depending on your area, there can be a few to multiple storage auctions almost every day of the week. For example, a storage auction near me may have two; where you live, there may be 6. On average, storage facilities sell between 3 to 6 storage units at a time.

Do you need a special license or permit to attend the auction?

You do not need any license or permits to attend the auctions. You only need your valid state identification.


If there are storage auctions in your area, remember that every storage auction is a different experience. You may find valuable items like junk. If this is your first time attending a storage auction, bring a friend to experience it. You can win as the highest bidder!

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

Last Updated on December 24, 2022 by Cindy