Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Storage Wars: Crystal Lake Public Storage

Ever seen Storage Wars on A&E? It's streaming on Netflix if you want to watch it. It turns out that similar storage auctions are going on right here in the Corvallis/Albany area. I got invited to tag along with a friend yesterday and it was a hoot.

There was a single locker going up at this place - a 10' x 10'. The manager came in with the cutters and opened it up. What did we see? Stuff. And lots of it. If I had to guess, at one time it was all in an apartment, and everything was jammed in here all the way to the very top.

We were given 5 minutes to look - no going inside, no touching - and then bidding began.

This auction was a verbal one. The other style is silent - you write down your bid, then they open them all up and choose the highest. For this one, the manager stood at the door calling out numbers while the rest of us stood back calling out amounts. He didn't talk super fast like the guy on the TV show, but I could still feel the excitement as people started bidding.

From what we could tell, there were a couple items potentially worth something, but most of it was just household junk. Still, you never know - there could be that rare multi-thousand dollar find lurking in the back! ha ha.

In the end, my friend won the bidding. Super exciting! He threw on his lock, paid the manager and filled out the paperwork. He now has until the end of this weekend to get it all out.

We spent a few minutes poking around to see if there actually was anything of value. Thanks to smart phones, we were able to look up a couple items on eBay to see what going rates are. This sub woofer shown below could probably go for $50-$70 if it's in working condition. The telescope, turned out to not be worth as much as he thought, only $35, but that's the gamble.

It was fun getting to tag along and watch the process. To be successful, even as a hobbyist, you need a few things:

  1. The cash to pay if you win
  2. The transportation and storage if you win (unless you want to keep renting the unit...)
  3. An eye for the value of a large cross section of items
  4. Patience to list and sell everything

Will I ever get into it? I'm not sure yet. Part of it depends on Jessi. :) Something like this would never replace my current job. So it would always be just a hobby.

My dad recommends I at least bid a couple times and see what it feels like to win, on a smaller unit of course. He also said I should check out a construction vehicle auction because the bids are in the thousands instead of the hundreds. Now that would be a rush!

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