8 Tips for Storage Auction Success

October 10, 2015 by  
Filed under How To, Spotlight

Storage Auction Success

So you’ve looked at storage auctions and decided you want to try to make some money from buying and selling contents. I’m going to outline some things you need to consider at a bare minimum before jumping into an auction.

There may be additional considerations depending on your location, the nature of the auction and facility policies, so do your research. Bottom line is to have storage auction success you need to plan ahead.

Okay, let’s set the stage…it’s the morning of the auction. You arrive a few minutes early to get your bearings. You notice there’s already a variety of trucks and trailers staged in the parking area.

You think to yourself, it shouldn’t take long to figure out where the action is. And before you know it you spot a crowd gathering as they wait for the auction to begin. That’s pretty well all there is to know about getting integrated with an auction. You may be asked to sign-in on an attendance sheet but even then it’s a very casual affair.

And that brings me to my…

Here are my best 8 tips for storage auction success

1. Transport
You will need a suitable vehicle or trailer. If you bid successfully, you will be expected to remove all the contents you have bid on. That can mean within 24 hours or less. This is something specific you need to inquire about at that particular auction site, preferably in advance.

All contents are expected to be removed from the unit and that includes the garbage. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can cherry-pick and leave the junk behind for the site manager.

To make things even more difficult some of the auction locations may not allow the use of their garbage bins. That means added time, labor and cost for you. All the more reason to bid wisely.

2. Helpers
Getting those contents from the unit to the truck will require people. Even a small unit could require hours of going back and forth to empty it. Keep in mind, the unit could be a fair hike from the parking area.

3. Moving Supplies
Along with helpers I suggest you bring at least two types of moving dollies. I use the stand-up dolly, and an adjustable flat dolly. Bring sash cord or elastic cords to secure items and free up your hands. You may want to bring some inexpensive plastic drop-sheets in case of inclement weather. You could use tarps but drop-sheets are much lighter and easier to deal with.

“I also bring gaffer tape with me. In some locations you will encounter automatic doors operated by sensors. Put a piece of tape over the sensor ‘eye’, to keep doors open while moving materials. This is generally not allowed but if you let the management know, I find they give you some leeway on this. Just remember to remove it when you are finished.”

“For storage auction success treat it as a chance to learn while you earn”

4. Evaluation Equipment
When the door rolls up and before the auctioneer begins you have only a few minutes to check out the contents. You are not permitted to enter the unit. You may also have to look through a group of taller people.

One idea is to bring a small folding step stool. Stand back from the crowd climb up and look over their heads. You can also use a scope or binoculars. Scan the contents looking for indications of value. Some people use a powerful flashlight as well.

5. Homework
Attending storage auctions does not obligate you to bid. I went to many where I simply watched and learned. For me just understanding the auctioneer took time. In time you will get almost a feel for contents as well. Household goods are fairly consistent from auction to auction.

There may also be the occasional unique item mixed in such as an old drafting table or old style retro telephone.

Even if you go only to observe make note of what you saw in the unit. Do your homework afterwards – calculate values. Figure your costs for the time to move what you saw. Don’t forget the expenses to cover your helper. This is a great exercise if you plan to make money from this.

6. Safety Wear
If you are successful in bidding you will now be permitted access. Make sure to bring safety gloves, glasses and dust masks. I would also suggest safety footwear, kneepads and a hat. Some units have precariously stacked boxes or furniture. You may encounter broken glass from crushed picture frames.

Don’t forget to bring a small first aid kit, with bandages and wound cleaner. Bumps and cuts happen when rushing to move items.

“A headband style lamp will free your hands and save a lot of time.”

7. Locks
Depending on how many helpers you have, you may have to walk away from the unit to load up. It’s good practice to bring a couple of designated locks. I have a marker tag on my lock, identifying it as “winning bidder”, while walking to and from my truck.

Just in case someone from the management office happens by and “cuts it off”- thinking they overlooked it earlier. The second lock is for your truck.

8. Money
This should be obvious but it’s worth mentioning anyways. Bring enough money to cover your bid. Before placing any bids make sure you are familiar with their payment policies, whether cash or credit etc.

If you are paying by cash make sure your money is secure. While moving boxes and climbing in and out of a truck is enough to knock your wallet from your pocket. I find a wallet chain to be extremely helpful.

If you do decide to check out an auction come back and share your storage auction success story in the comments. Or if you have any additional tips to share that’s even better. The best advice in the end is to treat it like an adventure and you will never be disappointed.

Best of luck and collect well.


“Links in this post may be affiliate links. By clicking + purchasing I would receive a commission.”

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What is OOP?

October 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Spotlight, Treasure

What is OOP

Have you ever wondered exactly what is OOP?
Almost everyone is aware that books go “out of print” and become desirable as collectors items. Few of us stop to consider that the same is also true for movies, in both VHS and DVD format.

For example, you may have come across an old re-release of a movie but notice the cover art looks strange. The original missing cover art is likely out-of-print. Also known OOP. The DVD is probably a genuine re-release but the cover art had to be redone, and usually not as well. A perfect example that may also be highly collectible.

New collectors sometimes ask what is OOP?

They frequently use this term to advertise their products. It’s used frequently in title bars where space is at a premium, or limited to 30-60 characters. Simply put, the abbreviation evolved from a need to optimize expensive advertising space.

The OOP expression is often used in conjunction with a date and the word “cover.” These terms mean the product and the package artwork are no longer being produced.

What is OOP and what isn’t, can make a difference on the final comparison value.

When distributors sell out their stock of a particular item they become difficult to find. Hard-core collectors and sellers usually know where to find items, but it’s more difficult for the average collector.

Brand new and factory sealed OOP movies can quickly become highly prized collectables, just as OOP books and music.

There has been a surge in auctions and e-stores offering OOP titles.
Items are usually listed in the seller’s inventory or are available through some indirect source.

A word of caution, most collectors have learned to pay close attention to an items catalog number. This important piece of information is the number listed on the items cover jacket or box. The catalog number is an easy way for collector’s to identify the studio’s authenticity.

This also proves that the item is genuine and in fact is out of print. This is especially important where foreign items are offered because some versions are not OOP at all. These could be intended to fool the average collector.

Some collectors who bid at auctions are not collecting for financial gain, but just want an item for the pure enjoyment of owning the item itself.

They can settle in with their favorite book or watch their favorite movie knowing the experience with their OOP item will be a truly unique experience.

What is OOP and what is not should only be considered if your endeavour is profit based. Whatever your motivation for deciding on an OOP purchase, be it as an investment or just for the pure enjoyment of watching one of your favorite movies, you are sure to find collecting of OOP movies both interesting and rewarding.

Best of luck and collect well.


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