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Why I Couldn’t Be On the TV Show “Storage Wars”

December 14, 2011 · 76 comments

in Personal Finance

First, let me start by saying I love the TV show Storage Wars on A&E.  The premise is this:  People rent out storage units, neglect to pay their storage rental bills, and the contents of these units go up for auction.  Storage Wars features five different people that bid on storage units for income or for collectibles:  Barry Weiss, Dave Hester, Darrell Sheets, Jarrod Schulz  and Jarrod’s wife Brandi.  At the beginning of the show, the auctioneer opens the storage units, potential buyers look at the contents from outside the unit (no touching allowed), people bid on the lockers, and then the show films each auction winner digging through the contents of their new locker.

And Behind Locker Number 1 Is…Something Valuable No Doubt!

Of course, almost every single storage unit ends up having something unique inside of it.  For example, a locker that appears to be stuffed with garbage ends up having beautiful (and valuable) little bird boxes (like a music box, but with a bird chirping).  You just never know what will be revealed!  (Hint, it is almost never just old clothes hangers and report cards!  Apparently every person that rents out a storage unit has something rare and valuable to place amongst all their junk.)

Anyway, the second half of the show follows each buyer as they go to a store or antique dealer to have their rare treasure appraised. Most of the time, the buyer of the unit comes out ahead and then says something like “I knew when I saw those golf clubs in the unit that there had to be something of value further in that I couldn’t see…”, and that something ends up being worth thousands of dollars.

So, Why Couldn’t I Be A Storage Unit Auction Participant?

Where I would struggle would be lack-of-buying remorse.  If I was in a bidding war and decided to let the other person win, I would be dying to know what ended up being in the storage unit, and how much everything was worth.  In other words, I would probably obsess over what I gave up, in hope of proving I made the right decision.  Then, when I found out that I could have made $10,000 in profit, I would be miserable.  Of course, that would be somewhat balanced by the times I passed on buying a unit that ended up being full of garbage and vermin.  However, I think I would put way too much thought into what I gave up, and it would drive me crazy.

How Storage Wars Relates To My Life

It is good that I recognize this about myself so that I avoid putting myself into those types of situations that would result in remorse of some kind.  I am sure it is part of the reason I don’t gamble- I would be saying over and over ‘if only this, if only that…’.  It is also why I don’t actively trade stocks (although I used to somewhat).  I hate that Monday Morning Quarterback feeling of “if only I had held this stock instead of selling” and such.

In the end,  it is best to know yourself, and accept your limitations in all aspects of life.   In my case, I know that I will beat myself up for ‘wrong’ decisions, so I have to steer away from situations where I can look back and think I should have done something differently.   I also know that I WILL look back, and moving on is not always so easy for me if I know I made a mistake.  So, in regards to financial management, index funds make a lot of sense for me because my money will just flow with the market.  I may give up a percent or two a year, who knows, but it isn’t worth the emotional turmoil for me to try and outdo the market. (And then get frustrated when I did worse than the market.)  It took me a long time to realize these things, but my contentment definitely increased once I understood that there are certain things I tolerate well, and things that I do not.

So, do you watch Storage Wars?  Have you ever participated in a storage auction?




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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Moneycone December 15, 2011 at 6:32 am

When it was time to finally reclaim my stuff from storage, I half expected to hear ‘your stuff got auctioned’! 🙂

Thankfully, everything was intact! I don’t think I can participate in any auction, including eBay! Knowing your temperament is so important when it comes to investing. You are right on Kris!


The Biz of Life December 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

Try estate sales too.


Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter December 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

My dad watches this show and has told me about it. It sounds interesting to some degree. I actually think it would be kind of fun to see what you would get. All investments come with some kind of risk and this is no different.


Lindy Mint December 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I love that show! Though, like you, I would never be good at it. I agonize over buying a single shirt – weighing pros and cons for way longer than I probably should for one piece of clothing. Buying on a hunch or on instinct just isn’t how I work.

I like your relation to the stock market. I haven’t ventured there yet, but for whatever reason the thought of investing in single stocks gives me a headache. It’s good to know there are multiple avenues for different personality types. 🙂


Susan December 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

I love that show! That looks like a lot of work (but fun), buying storage units and selling the loot. I don’t think that I could be on the show, but I would definitely participate in a storage auction. I like buying and selling on ebay. I have attended local auctions and estate sales as well. Also, I have personally lost some stuff in a storage sale some years back.


retirebyforty December 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm

There is no way I can do that. I think renting a storage space is singularly American thing to do. Do you really need so much crap that you need to rent space to keep them? Get rid of those stuff. 🙂 Sorry for the little rant…


101 Centavos December 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Hi Kris – Mrs. 101 likes the show. Good entertainment, but it’s dollars to doughnuts it’s as as rigged as a street-level three-card-monte game.


Niki December 17, 2011 at 9:10 am

I am with you, I couldn’t do it. Plus some of those guys irritate me so badly I don’t think I could check my emotions at the door. Which would probably defeat the whole purpose.


Melody December 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

My husband and I have been buying storage units for about 5 years now. The units that they show are so obvoiusly staged. 90% of the stuff that we get out of a unit goes to the dump, and we make out money on the other 10%. They don’t show the dirty laundry, the Dollar Store stuff that people pay to store(!) and the bags and bags of paper trash (phone books from 5 years ago). We have almost always made money, and on several units we have made several thousand dollars. We rent spaces at 2 “antiques and collectible” malls where we put the better furniture and stuff that my husband has fixed up, we have 4 yard sales a year with stuff that wouldn’t sell in our booths, and we donate the yard sale leftovers to Salvation Army. It is a lot of work, but we are making decent money each year. But each box that you open is like Christmas. You never know what is going to be in that package. We have found gold jewelry, and we have found, ummm, personal pleasure devices. We ALWAYS wear gloves.


Melody July 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm

We are located in South Carolina, so I don’t know anything about that facility. Good luck if you decide to “jump in”. Just make sure you have an idea about what you are going to do with the good stuff you get. Both of our daughters have almost fully furnished their apartments withitems from our storage units. Beds, talbles, kitchen equipment, patio furniture, etc


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