Best Selling Storage Auctions of 2020

best selling storage auctions

2020 was a strange year for most people, and the same was valid for online storage auctions. Unless you were born IN the year 2020, you heard all about COVID 19 and the “new normal” we all needed to navigate. For the first time, storage auctions were either banned or suspended due to state mandates and a massive unemployment crisis. There were little to no storage units sold from March through June of 2020. Storage operators, auctioneers, online websites, and bidders all felt the impact of the virus.

Thankfully, bidders and operators were able to rally during the second half of the year, when we saw record-breaking unit prices. Below, you will see the top-selling units on StorageTreasures last year and one honorable mention unit for reaching new heights in the first half of 2020 during a global pandemic.

 

10. Water Filtration Systems in Newark, NJ – Sale Price $17,120

: Storage unit auction containing unopened water filtration systemsA 10×10 unit was full of unopened boxes of water filtration systems. The boxes were labeled Brondell, H20+ for better water. A quick search of these items shows they sometimes sell for up to $400. The unit was full of unopened, wrapped boxes. The facility description also listed household furniture, mattresses & bedding, and personal effects. Those additional items were icing on the cake for this unit.

 

 

9. Disney Collectibles in Franklin Park, IL – Sale Price $17,810

10x20 online storage auction unit with Disney collectibles and household itemsWhen first looking at this unit, a large stack of beautiful teal boxes stands out. Once zoomed in, you can see the boxes are labeled “Classics Walt Disney Collection.” Classic and Disney is always a winning combination. In addition to the potentially hundreds of Disney collectibles boxes, this large 10×20 also contained household items and other décor. All of the belongings in the unit appeared to be in excellent condition. Items in the front of the unit were covered in dust, indicating nobody had entered the unit in quite some time. Units with dust are always a bidder favorite.

 

8. Funko Toys in Broadview, IL – Sale Price $18,020

Online storage auction unit filled with Funko ToysFunko Pop Toy Chester CheetahI had to do a quick internet search of “Funko Toys.” I recognized them immediately as the small, plastic figurines representing pop culture characters. Funko toys represent popular characters from hockey players to characters from the TV show, The Office. Amazingly, these little toys are incredibly valuable. The company that makes the toys claimed $686 million in sales in 2018. The most valuable Funko Pop toys sell for thousands of dollars. This 10×30 unit was filled with pallets of neatly wrapped Funko Toy boxes. It probably took a while to resell all of these toys, but it surely brought a nice, tidy profit.

 

7. Golf Equipment and Apparel in Buffalo Grove, IL – Sale Price $18,110

20x10 storage unit full of golf equipment, accessories and apparelThis unit was one of those units in which experienced buyers of storage auctions could see something I could not.  There are some visible boxes and a golf bag; nothing that grabbed my eye. Several bidders felt the items inside were worth almost $20,0000 as 127 unique bidders bid on this unit. There were some hats and golf shoes visible, and they all seemed to be great brands of good quality. The boxes were numbered as if they might have been inventory to be sold. Hopefully, the right buyer got top dollar for the items in this unit.

 

6. Unique Home Décor in Sarasota, FL – Sale Price $20,010

Large 20x10 storage auction unit filled with unique home décor itemsAfter seeing three Illinois units, we finally move south to the Sunshine State, and wow, this unit did not disappoint. The sixth highest-selling storage unit of 2020 was filled with large, colorful home décor and art pieces. The furniture in the unit appeared to be of very high quality. All of the items were carefully stored, with some items still inside moving crates. If you are the lucky winning bidder of this unit, we would love to know how well you did after the sale.

 

 

5. Paintings and Murals in Hicksville, NY – Sale Price $23,150

Storage unit filled with stacks of artwork and muralsThis unit was one that required the heart of a gambler to win. There are stacks of framed artwork, but they could all be Bart Simpson from what I can see. There are some beautiful pieces standing alone that you can see with exquisite, professional frames. The storage unit itself is well lit and looks more like an office. It is almost sure the monthly rent was higher than a typical storage unit. It’s likely the overall quantity of artwork is what drove the price of this unit to over $20,000.

 

 

4. Food Truck in Austin, Texas – Sale Price – $23,550

Food truck sold at an online storage auctionThe description of this truck is listed as a Freightliner Van. In theory, it could be used as something other than a food truck, but inside it has an area for preparing food, cooking stations, coolers, and an ice machine. The food truck was previously used to prepare Korean-Mexican fusion food. It was also used as an advertising medium, as evidenced by the AT&T logos appearing on the side.  The listing also says it was “truck 2 of 2,” meaning this tenant also had another truck for sale. The second truck did not make our top ten list, but this was likely a massive score for the winning bidder when he or she found a buyer.

 

3. Floral Supplies, Craft Room, Craft Reseller in Oakland, CA – Sale Price $25,110

10x20 storage unit with a home crafting businessI had to look at this unit for a while to figure out what the draw was, and then it hit me. This unit looks like my mother’s craft room. She loves to collect and make things and sell them on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. All of the contents appear to be household items. They don’t look like a store inventory. There are nicely packaged boxes for mirrors or paintings. Totes labeled floral or craft supplies, Legos, and figurines. There are also American Girl Doll boxes, which sealed my opinion of this unit. Those dolls sell like hot cakes on the reseller market. The variety of different resalable items in this unit made it worth the $25,000.

 

2. Comic Books in Lake Worth, FL – Sale Price $25,210

Storage unit auction full of comic books and collectiblesEvery year when I write this article about the best-selling units, there is always one unit containing comic books and collectibles. This particular unit was 10×12 and full. The first thing that catches the eye is the standard white rectangular boxes typical for storing comic books. Also, there are several excellent, sturdy, high-quality totes and boxes neatly stacked. There are also some sports memorabilia and pop culture artifacts. This unit was a collector’s dream.

 

 

1. Art in Brooklyn, NY – Sale Price $35,030

Storage auction containing collectibles and model carsThis 10×20 didn’t look like it had much in it at first glance. There are nice crates and some wrapped items. There are some freestanding art pieces and what looks like a fancy car engine. Upon further investigation, the name David Datuna appears on the side of one of the crates. David Datuna is an NYC based artist from Georgia (the country, not the state). He once sold a portrait of Vladimir Putin for $269,000. There is also a box labeled “art Miami” which could have included pieces from his Viewpoint of Billions series that was showcased at Art Basel in Miami. If only one of the crates in this unit contained an original work by Datuna, this unit could have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

Honorable Mention – Antiques, Memorabilia, and Collectibles in Anaheim, CA

Storage auction containing collectibles and model carsDuring the pandemic and the following eviction moratoriums, many storage operators did whatever they could to make deals with their tenants so they could keep their things. One of those deals included having the tenant sign an abandonment form and turning the unit over to the facility to sell the items. When a unit is sold with an abandonment agreement, proceeds do not apply to the tenant’s past-due account, so the unit will be sold as a “non-lien” unit. This non-lien unit sold for almost $15,000 because it contained model cars and boxes of collectibles. The unit, a 10×30, was packed full and neatly stacked. The winning bidder on this unit had a lot of fun finding out what was stored behind that first layer of boxes.

 

 

Do you want to see the Best Selling Units of 2019 too? Click HERE. Will you be one of the lucky winners to snag a unit on next year’s list? Start bidding today on www.StorageTreasures.com. Are you new to storage auctions and curious about how it works? Check out our Help Center for more information.

10 Tips For Restoring Old Furniture

restore old chair 1

Professional furniture restorers and hobbyists alike all have one thing in common: the desire to pluck a piece of furniture from a garage sale or self-storage auction and restore it to its former glory. What’s not to like? You’re saving something from a landfill and if you are going to sell it, maybe putting a few extra dollars in your pocket as well. The former owner only saw a table with broken legs but you see the possibilities.

So here are 10 tips to keep in mind when restoring old furniture.

 

  1. Make Sure You Have The Time To Complete The Project
    Often, it’s more than just a facelift — it’s making the item usable again and possibly even adding value. It’s important to remember that a small side project can quickly turn into a time-consuming chore, depending on your restoration skills and how many free hours you have to devote to the work. The more complex the task, the longer it’ll take to finish, so be sure you have enough time in your schedule — or are willing to give up several weekends — to finish your project.
  2. Do Your Research
    Do a little research to determine the value of the piece you want to restore. Is it worth it? Inspect it for marks or labels that may indicate its origin. If you suspect it’s worth some money, consult a professional before proceeding with any work. Take photos of any markings or tags for your records. Removing a collectible antique’s finish could lessen or void its value, so hold off on stripping or sanding until you know exactly what you have.

  3. Set Your Budget
    Once you’ve determined whether your found treasure is actually worth any money, you need to decide how much cash you want to sink into it. Yes, you might love the challenge of furniture restoration, but if the piece isn’t valuable, you’ll need to figure out how important it is to you. Is it something that can be repaired relatively inexpensively? Will the project cost you less than buying a new piece? Is it worth your time?
  4. Know What You Want It to Look Like
    It’s happened to every restorer: You pull a wooden table off the curb, thinking its color will nicely match the rest of the furniture in a given room, only to discover after restoration begins that the piece is actually made from lighter-colored wood and doesn’t match at all. Luckily, with a little examination, you can get an idea of the true grain’s color. Find a spot that’s been protected from everyday wear, such as the back of a drawer front. Taking a peek at an unworn area will give you an idea what the finished product will look like.
  5. Safety First
    When embarking on a furniture restoration project, be sure you have safety in the front of your mind. The last thing you want to do is have a splinter of wood accidentally lodge itself into your eye or be overcome by harsh fumes. Make sure you wear long-sleeved clothing to protect your skin from harmful chemicals found in wood strippers and varnish. Use safety glasses to shield your eyes. If you’re stripping or varnishing a piece, wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated room to keep strong vapors at bay.

  6. Clean It Before You Start
    Before whipping out your sandpaper and paintbrush, give the piece a thorough cleaning. After years of neglect, it’s likely to have a patina of dirt and grime. Removing the buildup can reveal a nice finish underneath, so a good cleaning and buffing may be all that old table needs to look new again. Give the furniture a thorough scrub with a sponge and some vegetable-based oil soap and warm water. For detailed pieces, use a soft toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies. If you need to use steel wool on some stubborn wax buildup, go with 0000 grade (the finest grade available), and use a light hand. Too much pressure can dull the finish.
  7. Repair
    Next, repair or replace any broken parts. You may luck out and stumble across a identical leg or knob at an antique store, estate sale or on eBay, but don’t count on it. In most cases, a perfect match will require custom-made parts. Additionally, unless you consider yourself pretty handy, you may need a professional’s help with tougher repairs like leg replacements or almost anything relating to the structural integrity of the piece. However, tightening screws may fix wobbly tables and chairs. Find the culprit by turning the piece over and inspecting each leg where it meets the body. If it shakes, check out the screws. If they’re in good shape, tighten them down. If they’re rusted out, carefully remove and replace them. Join small breaks with wood glue, and fill in small cracks with like-colored wood putty. If you plan to use stain as your finish, make sure you buy a stainable putty.
  8. Refinish It Or Paint It?
    Refinishing the piece means taking off the old finish and creating a new one. It’s physically demanding, so be prepared to use some elbow grease for this messy and cumbersome job. For a do-it-yourselfer, it’s best to use a combination of chemical strippers and sanding. Above all, be patient, even though some finishes can be stubborn to remove. Trying to speed up the process could result in even more repair work. Research the type of stain you’ll need for your wood. If it’s not worth staining, you can always paint the surface. Just be sure it’s not a valuable piece, because it won’t be once you paint it. Before painting, sand the finish to smooth out any bumps. Regardless if you’re staining or painting, you’ll want to give the piece another good cleaning once you finish stripping and sanding to ensure that you end up with a professional-looking finish.
  9. How-To Guides and Youtube
    If you haven’t done much furniture restoration, you’ll likely find it helpful to keep a guidebook on hand so you can quickly find answers to any questions that come up over the course of your project. The library is an excellent resource for manuals and other furniture reference materials. Of course, The Internet is also a great resource for information and videos in which experts guide you through each step of the restoration process.
  10. Tools Of The Trade
    You’ll need some tools to make your project happen. Take a trip down the sandpaper aisle and get a variety of grits. Buy both the moderately rough stuff (80 to 120 grit) and the finest grades (300 to 600). Get a couple of putty knives, one plastic and one metal. Also pick up some 0000 steel wool and a liquid stripping gel. You’ll need Phillips head and flathead screwdrivers for tightening joints and a small hammer and rubber mallet, which will allow you to adjust the wood without leaving a mark.