How many things do you have stored away in your home that you haven't touched in a year or more? The United States is a nation of pack rats, people who insist on holding on to things simply because they own them. Some people own so many things they have to rent storage lockers in which to store them, and this is where you can find the basis for a new source of income. When people don't pay their locker fees, the storage company can sell off the contents after a certain amount of time. Find the right locker filled with valuable goods, and you can make some nice cash reselling the contents. It's a job that relies on luck and a lot of physical labor, but with a bit of both you could make a significant amount of cash. Before you hop into the auction business, though, make sure you have the equipment and know the rules.
Own or Rent the Basics
Once you win a locker, you'll have to empty it out within 24 hours, or you'll have to start paying the storage fee on your own. Unless you bid on a locker with only a few items (and where's the profit in that?), you'll need a space where you can store all your merchandise until you sell it. An empty garage will work fine. Many sellers rent a commercial building and open it up as a thrift store, eventually, but you don't need to go that far right away. You'll also need access to a large truck to carry your goods back home.
Keep Your Head
Auctions are exciting, that's why people love going to them. Spend a few weeks before the auction investigating flea markets and thrift stores in the area to find out the average selling price for a variety of products. This will give you a general idea of a particular storage unit's worth. As soon as you decide to bid, fix a total amount in your mind of the maximum you're willing to pay. Don't let the excitement take over and cause you to overbid. Some bidders will do this on purpose to drain other bidder's pockets so they can afford to get the best deals at the end of the day.
Storage auctions are cash-only, so bring a pocket full of money. You won't be able to physically enter a storage unit, but any way you can look into it from the outside is fair game. Bring a flashlight to peer into dark corners, and binoculars or a telescope to get a better view of what's in the back. Program eBay and other useful sites into your smartphone so that you can call up average values of a questionable item. This will give you a better idea of how much you should bid.
Making Your Money
After you've won and moved your merchandise to your storage spot, spend some time sorting through the stacks. Divide it into collectibles, useful items, and extra. The category will determine where best to sell each item. Collectibles do well on eBay and other auction sites, and sometimes on Craigslist, depending on the item. Useful items such as barbecue grills or end tables can be sold on Craigslist, your local paper, or in a yard sale. Extra items should be judged on an individual basis. Some, like estate jewelry, should be inspected by experts. Other items aren't valuable enough to even worry about. When you're done selling the bulk of your merchandise, donate the rest to a charity and take the tax deduction at the end of the day.
For more information about buying the contents of old storage units, contact a company like AAA Windsor Storage.