Why Self-Storage Auction Shows are so Popular

(The cast of Storage Wars, one of many popular storage auction television shows.)


If you have ever been channel surfing while watching television, it is hard to deny that storage auction programs have become incredibly popular.  While the craze may have been started by the hit series Storage Wars in 2010, it has sparked an entire phenomenon surrounding storage auctions.  This is great for the self-storage industry, as it has provided a platform for average Americans to familiarize themselves a bit with the world of self-storage.


The premise of these shows is based on the concept of legal storage auctions.  Storage auctions occur as the result of tenants failing to pay rent for a given period of time.  If rent is not received by the facility owner within this time period, it is within the facility’s right to auction off the contents of the unit in order to re-coup the rent owed to them by the former tenant as well as clear out their unit for new occupancy.


These shows capture my interest for a variety of reasons.  Here are the major aspects of the shows that pique my interest:



You never know what you’re going to find inside of a self-storage unit.  There are frequently all kinds of interesting stuff that people put away into storage and forget about.  Many people write this idea off, believing that if something has been left away in storage for a long period of time, than it is probably worthless.  That is not true!  If someone was originally willing to invest the time and money involved in putting something away in self-storage, chances are there is something of value in whatever was stored.  Whether it’s monetary or sentimental value, there is usually something uniquely interesting about the items that are found.  Everyone has old tchotchke type items that are fun to uncover regardless of how much money they may end up being worth.



Competition makes entertainment.  American viewers are always looking to distinguish a clear winner from a group of contestants.  This idea is the same in many other successful forms of television entertainment including sports, American idol, and even coverage of political elections.  These shows keep track of how much each auction hunter spends on the units they purchase as well as how much money they make selling the items inside.  The winner is the team that turns the greatest profit off their units.  The competition aspect of the show is a huge part of its entertainment value.  Many people choose their favorite team and root for them to succeed.  This makes the self storage industry, which is not as “exciting” for most as sports and entertainment, more fun and interesting for the average American viewer.

(Picture from Storage Auctions mobile app game.)




In my experience with watching storage auction shows, I have found that I am often inspired by some of the ideas that the bidders have for the items found within the units.  It is truly amazing what some of the participants on storage auction shows are able to do with the items they uncover.  There is a real art in finding someone else’s damaged possessions or junk and turning them into something of value.  It also promotes the resourceful reuse of old items and junk.  The ability to take something that may no longer be useful to someone and make it something new is a valuable one in this world, and a large part of why watching storage auction shows can be amazing.


If you have never seen any of these television shows, I highly recommend you give them a chance.  I don’t want to play favorite with any particular program, so I recommend that you see what is out there and give a couple of them viewing opportunities.  It is a great way to generally familiarize yourself with what the self-storage world looks like.  There is also a tremendous amount of entertainment value to take advantage of.  Just don’t get hooked, it can be easy to end up watching all day!



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