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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

How is buying auctions in real life different from buying on TV?

 We've been promoting our FREE storage unit auction class for a few weeks now, and we've had a couple dozen people go through the class, and they all keep asking the same question, one we've been asked for years:

Is it actually like it is on TV?

Five years ago if you asked us that question, we would have only been able to tell you what we had experienced in real life at storage unit auction.  It's part of the reason we started writing this blog, to answer the questions that people always had, and to really dive into the interesting stories and the emotional stories and the really and truly unique things you can find.

Five years later, we can say that we've worked with some of the stars of Storage Wars, we've been on the Storage  Treasures Pro Series with many of them,  we've done an episode of Auction Hunters, we've known people that were in other episodes of Auction Hunters & Storage Hunters, and I've spent probably 50,000 hours working in the film industry, so yes, we definitely have a handle now on what's real versus what's reality TV.

1.  Are items planted?

It depends on the show.   Storage Hunters planted all of their items and sourced them locally from well known stores & shops, when they were in New Orleans.    Auction Hunters uses a mixture, I think-  I've seen them finding a crazy unrealistic amount of guns and vehicles, which are (depending on the state) usually items that are seized by an auctioneer before the bidding even begins, so it's hard for me to say that they don't plant.  It's also very convenient that that's what they're finding when they have slow-motion cameras ready to show the bullet piercing the watermelon or the jet ski doing a spin.  Storage Wars tends to use mostly real items, I say mostly because I know there are situations when they have to "greek" or hide an item's logo because it either hasn't been cleared by their legal team or it's someone who hasn't paid to advertise on their show.   That's no different than any other TV show in the history of time, ever, though.

Another quick point here is that these are real tenants.   People that owed real money and are presumably at least partially in debt because they were unable to pay their storage unit bill.   Don't you think that if someone saw their unit on TV and items were planted they'd be calling TMZ immediately?  

2.  Are the bidders real?

Again, it depends.   Storage Hunters used paid actors and changed their names and stories, so that was 100% fake.  It wasn't a real auction and wasn't real items.  Auction Hunters used a mixture of real bidders (me) and some paid actors, they also paid me as if I was an actor, so again,  it's kind of a half and half deal.  It was a PODs facility, so I can't even tell you whether they were real units, although I do know they use real storage facilities as well, however at the show I was at it was not advertised and was not open to the public.  While Storage Wars pays their principals and their featured bidder, all of those auctions are listed on the American Auctioneers website and are all open to the public.  I'm sure they don't pay all of those people,  although I'm sure they probably have them sign some sort of disclaimer that they can be seen on TV before they are allowed to enter the public auction.  

3.  Why don't they film at real facilities and real auctions all over America?

The very short answer for this is that most storage facilities do NOT want cameras anywhere near their auctions.   A lot of auction buyers are technology resistant, and do not feel comfortable being on camera.  Storage facilities also don't want to give the impression that they auction off all of their customers stuff, so they don't like to do it because they feel like it detracts paying customers.  I can't even begin to tell you how many shows wanted to follow me around and how many storage facilities said no.  Storage Wars has gotten around this by partnering with the auctioneer, so Dan and Laura are obviously not going to say no as they are series regulars, and many of the storage facility owners are producers on the show.     Many of these shows would be thrilled to travel around if only they could find the facilities to allow it.   Storage Wars has recently had similar success (as in California) with Texas, Florida, New York, and Canadian markets.

4. Are these shows scripted?  How come no one else ever wins units?

It's really hard to script any kind of reality show but there are certain story lines that they are going for.   In the case of Storage Wars they just play up certain personalities.   "Hey, Dave, you have kind of a jerk personality, let's make sure you really give it to Jarrod today!"   When I was featured they asked me often to play up that I was from New Orleans or that I wear dresses and heels, etc.

 The bidding is all real and other people besides the featured players win auctions, you just don't see  In the case of Auction Hunters, they know Alan and Ton are going to win every unit. Storage Wars has real people bidding on units and they win often, they just don't televise those particular units.  Keep in mind that for every 100 units they tape they probably air 10 of them.     They edit out so much footage it's unreal. They also do go back and reshoot (with the same bids) so that they can get camera angles on people that they didn't expect bids from the first time around.

5.  Are these auctions really profitable?  I can try to buy but I'm not going to get $3000 for a vase!

Okay, that's partially true.  And not because that 17th Century Chinese vase was a plant, it's just that it doesn't happen very often.   I've found Purple Hearts in units,  $3000 of gift cards in a unit,  $60,000 of records in a unit,  multiples safes,  hidden cash,  engagement rings,  super rare antiques, it ALL happens.  It just doesn't happen very often.  So your level of success at finding the super rare items is totally correlational to how many units you buy, or your level of psychic ability.   The more units you buy, the better your chances of finding a really cool find.   It DOES happen.   You make money on almost every unit.  Sometimes it's $10, sometimes it's $50, it's usually around $300 for me.  Money is money.

If you're wondering why they're able to sell a bike for $500 when you thought you could only get $50 for it, that's partially because they are experienced auction bidders and know what they can get and have a network of buyers for their items in advance.      It's partially because the cost of living in California is pretty much higher than it is anywhere else,  and it's also partially the TV camera effect. If you're a wholesaler and you run a shop and someone comes in with an item that's worth $500, you'll probably offer $100 for it to make your money.  But when a TV camera is present you will offer more like $450 because you want to seem like a generous person.

There is still money to be made!  You just have to know what you're doing, have a network, and be creative with how and who you sell to.   And I PERSONALLY know people who have made 6 figures on a SINGLE. STORAGE. UNIT.       More than 1 person.  More than 5, actually.

I had a friend a few years ago who was just a regular bidder (who was pretty new to the game) who bought a unit that contained several thousand dollars worth of antiques and collectibles.  And jewelry.  Oh, it also had a 3.14 carat single stone, Old European cut, 1926-1932, set in 5.70 grams of 14k gold.   It was since appraised for over $25,000.   That friend ended up on a storage unit buying TV show.   Folks, it can happen, and it can happen to YOU!

For more information on how to buy storage units, check out our FREE class!

We put the fun in auction,

Storage Heroes

Lots of things happening!

Hey y'all!

Some super exciting news on the horizon, but for now there's just regular exciting news:

1.  Our new website is up and running!  Check it out at  And let us know what you think!

2.  Our new products are being added to the for sale website every day!  You can find them at - or link off of our webpage (above).

3.  Our new book on How to Have the Best Yard Sale Ever is out and getting great reviews!  For $19.99 you can learn how to make HUNDREDS more at your garage sale!  De-clutter your home, make more money.  Win win win.     You can grab the book here: - or again, it's also available on our website.

Finally, (I told you there was a lot happening)!   4.  Our FREE class on how to buy storage units has been a huge hit!  You can still sign up at -- there's also a link on our website.

Later Gators!

We put the fun in auction,

Friday, April 22, 2016

OUR FIRST BOOK IS OUT! How to Have the Best Yard Sale Ever!

Hey y'all!

It's been a long time coming with this, but my new book, How To Have The Best Yard Sale Ever, is out!

It's comprised of every tip and trick I've learned over the past 5 years (and over 600 garage sales), and has a ton of questions answered,  many from the readers of this blog.

It also compiles all of our other garage sale posts (especially our 3 most popular ones) in an easy to read and concise manner.    It's even got a chart on pricing your items!

If you'd like to check it out, you can click on the following link:

It's $19.95 but I promise if you use the tips & tricks provided you'll definitely increase your yard sale revenue by at least $20-- so it pays for itself in one use!

Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to let me know!


Friday, April 15, 2016


If you're reading this page you probably found us at the Indoor Garage Sale at Elmwood Self Storage.   Garage sales & Storage units are both kind of our thing, so that was definitely a good place to meet us.

We buy storage units & estates & often just collections throughout the year and make the items available to the general public at a discount.    You can find our wares online in the following ways:

Our Facebook page (albums are updated often)
Our eBay store
Our website (It's under construction in Spring 2016 so if you get an error message just try again)
OR you can check out our separate sale blog that has photos & descriptions of our items for sale.

For your next purchase,  you'll receive 20% off, if you reference this post.  If you order online, you can use the code word  "ELMWOOD".

Thanks for stopping by!

Storage Heroes

PS - If you like a good story, check out our blog (the most popular entries are below) for stories on what's really behind the stuff you find in storage units!

Monday, March 7, 2016

How to Have the Best Yard Sale Ever!

Hey Y'all!

We're back & better than ever!

Our new book, "How to have the Best Yard Sale Ever" is coming out pretty soon!
You can pre-order by commenting below with your e-mail address, or sending an e-mail to

One lucky pre-orderer will win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY!

-- Storage Heroes

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I'm baaaaack!

Hey y'all,  Rebecca here!
  It's been almost a year, but I've been busy selling storage unit items all fancy and new at Fox It Up!  check out or  for more information.

It's been a privilege to continue to buy units & estates, and even more fun helping others learn to craft & get cheap items to repurpose (as well as an endless supply of gift bags, paint, brushes, wrapping paper and bows), but I miss writing, and I think that's really the one thing I've always done better than everything else.  Back to basics.

Storage Heroes is going through a restructuring process where there will be lots more people helping, in different cities, with different things (auction buying, estate buying, garage sale liquidation, organization, and blogging/writing).  With the extra help I'll be able to focus on the things you love most  (photographs & books & blogs) and I'll still be able to get material for all of the things mentioned above without feeling like I'm going crazy.  If you feel like you'd like to work for Storage Heroes as a buyer or seller or driver or mover, feel free to e-mail storageheroes at for more information.  You can also contact me via the Facebook page.

There will be more blogs and letters coming soon, but just know that I'm back around and they will be coming more frequently.

That's it for now but I do want to leave you with this story because it's amusing to me:

The other day I was calling estate sale liquidators in Baton Rouge to help with an estate that we took on several months ago but have been having problems (issues with transportation, warehouse space, company restructuring, the estate being over 80 miles away, etc) getting it liquidated as easily as the client needed, so I was making some phone calls to some local companies to see if someone else was more capable of handling it.   I spoke to lots nice people, many who recognized me from auctions, or the blog, or garage sales, as well as a few new contacts that I'll be happy to add to my rolodex.  And then I got to this one particular woman who from the very beginning seemed, a little off.

Here's a SNIPPET of our phone conversation:

Her:  HELLLLOO????
Me:  Hi is this _____ with ____ company?
Her:  YES!
Me:  Okay, my name is Rebecca with Storage Heroes, and I'm calling because I..
.Her:  You are WHO with WHAT?!
Me:  Rebecca, with Storage Heroes, and I
Her: WHAT???
Me:  Is there a bad connection?
Her:  No.
Me:  Can you hear me?"
Her: Yes.
Me:  Okay, well I don't understand the problem, but my name is Rebecca with Storage Heroes and I...
Her:  WHO?????  WHAT???
Me:  Sigh.   Do you buy estates?
Her:  YES!
Me:  I have a company that buys estates like you do in New Orleans and I have an estate in Baton Rouge that I'd like liquidated.  Do you do that?
Her:  WELL,  I can have a sale there next weekend!!!!
Me:  No, we've already exceeded the number of sales allowed by permit, plus the house is going to closing so we really just need the estate liquidated.   If you don't do that, I can call some other people.
Her:  I do everything (or something ridiculous like that).

Anyway, it went back and forth like that for several unproductive minutes, with her telling me how wide open her schedule was for May (although she was trying to make it sound important by saying how many clients she had),  and at one point she actually had the audacity to try to explain to me what an ESTATE SALE is.

Her:  You see... an ESTATE SALE is when you sell items from a person who has PASSED, in their HOME.
Me:  I know what an estate sale is.  I told you I was an estate sale company, like you.  Plus, I do that.  I'm really seeking someone to move the contents of this home somewhere else to resell.
Her: I don't DO THAT.  Let me explain to you what an ESTATE SALE is.
Me:  That's not necessary, thank you for your time, I have a few other people to call...
Her:  WAIT.  I want to help you.  I wish I can help you.

She somehow manages to waste another 10 minutes of my time, and is still showing off with how busy and well known she is, and how once she was on a reality TV show casting call but didn't make it but was so close and she is so famous, and I just lost it and really wanted to get off the phone so I told her briefly who we were and how we've done a few TV shows and have met Dan & Laura and the Storage Wars gang, and used to write for StorageTreasures, and how we've done the mini series, etc etc,  and she instantly starts trying to one up me, one up me, one up me.

Me:  I'm sure you're great, but I really need to go...
Her:  WAIT--  (by the grace of God, the call disconnects.  I guess it was a bad connection).

I briefly don't want to be seen as unprofessional, and think that I should call her back and issue a proper goodbye.... and then I wait a minute and decide against it.  But I'm a Christian woman, and I would want someone to end the conversation with me, so I call her back.  She answers, and I guess didn't realize she had answered??  Because I hear her having the following conversation with some other person... I THINK a man, but I can't be sure.

Woman:   That girl.... she said she was someone FAMOUS?    What nerve.  I've never even heard of her before.  What did she say her name was??  Super heroes trash??  
Other person:  Storage Heroes?
Woman:  She clearly doesn't know who I am.   I don't know who she thinks she is.  Thinking she can lie to me about how cool she is.  We were almost on TV!    (inserts name)  will show HER!!
Other person:   What did she say?
Woman:  All this crap about how she's done TV and blogs and reality shows and books and 300 garage sales, that's not even possible, I haven't even done that many.   She probably doesn't even have a website.
Woman:  (still going on)  Google that shit.  Storage Heroes.  Google it right now on your smart phone device.
Other person:  Storage Heroes.
Woman:  Give me that....    Let me..  OH.

Other person asks to see....  I hear something like "COOL!" and "Is that Dan Dotson in her profile picture?"  and then I clicked off the phone, completely satisfied.   It was a good day.   By the way, I didn't even bother calling her back.

Until next time,
Storage Heroes

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bed, Bath, and Beyond (the $1 unit)

It's been awhile, and we have lots to write about, but it's just been super busy.

Yesterday we went to a caravan auction and there were a couple of units that were decent for $200-300, but that was too much for a unit that wasn't "Great"  that we didn't have good feelings about.   There were a few $35-45 units that were okay, but they needed a lot of work, and it's not that we're lazy, just that we currently have about 3-4 units that we haven't even opened/dug yet, not to mention lots of friends that are moving that need us to sell all of their stuff.  So, there's no need for more small, non-exciting inventory.

Which is exactly why when this door rolled open, we decided we were not interested.  2 SUPER FUNKY mattresses (you can see the mold and mildew in the pictures),  and a couple of little things.  I saw some purses that seemed in good shape, so that was a good sign, but everything was just thrown all around.  Had it not been for the mattresses I would have maybe considered it but did we mention the mildew?   So we moved away from this, the very last unit of the day.   Only everyone else did too.   The auctioneer was having us sign a no bid (witnesses are required to sign that no one bid on the unit),  and it was then that we remembered that we have a friend with a dumpster very nearby.... SO, we went ahead and bid $1 on the unit and that was that.

It's been forever since we've gotten a $1 unit, I can't even remember how long, and I was kind of surprised because there was this bottom feeder guy there (he buys EVERYTHING under $20 and has a particular affliction for old mattresses) and a couple of newbies and none of them were interested.  Their loss, our gain.  At $1 I figure even if we sell the 2-3 purses we have tripled our money, so we're in good shape.

Here's what the unit looked like when the doors rolled open:

Notice all of the stuff thrown on the floor behind the mattresses:

This is a new one!  A peanut butter jar filled with....  pieces of mold and mildew?   Not sure if this was sheetrock, or paper...    remnants of a peanut butter sandwich?  Or maybe it's proof for an insurance company of Katrina damage?    Whatever the case, it was pretty gross.  There was lots of trash and old food in this unit.

A bag of Mardi Gras beads is a staple in New Orleans.  It's either a sign of someone who rides in parades themselves, or someone who is not a lifelong resident of NOLA (ie, they are new to the city and want a souvenir) :)

Lots of duffle bags filled with clothing.  The men's pants are all pretty nice.

Boxes and bags filled with clothes.

A few suitcases filled with clothes too!  There were also a lot of bath mats, towels, curtains, that sort of thing.

Laundry baskets and laundry hampers filled with more clothes,

And in one of the little boy's lunchboxes I found a camo swamp boat!  Yes!   #louisianalove.   Plus, we LOVE Duck Dynasty so this was a cool little find.

There are the purses we saw!   Some of them are really nice... so at least that triples our money just right there.

I almost impaled myself while bending over picking up clothes on this long metal rod.   Took forever to figure out what it was.... the BOTTOM of a salon style barber chair.  A shame we didn't have the whole chair- they are expensive and a very easy sell here,  so sadly we had to throw the bottom away.

While I was moving around one of the duffle bags filled with clothes there was a loud thud at the bottom when the bag hit the ground.  That's always a sure sign that you have something besides clothes in the bag, and we sure did.  I took all of the clothes out (Brian was getting rid of the mattresses during all of this, btw, credit where credit is due!)  --  and I found a glasses case, and a few toys, including this Ken-ish-GI-Joe-ish kind of man doll.      I swear he was looking creepily at me.   So,  I threw everything back in the bag to try to consolidate (we were in the car and not the van),  and I SWEAR TO YOU ,  this is how the doll NATURALLY landed in the bag.  I noticed it when I was moving.  Couldn't have done it any better if I had tried to do it that way!

Look at that little creeper checking out his surroundings!

He's still trying to stare at me!

Okay Ken-Joe, you win, you can have a kiss.

There was also an AWFUL lot of bedding.  Probably over 20 blankets, 10-15 pillows, and some stuffed animals.  Took us awhile to figure out why (maybe that was just the easiest thing to leave or the cheapest thing in the locker, or because they were so dirty they need to be abandoned, whatever).   We did find a card for Children's Hospital and evidence that the family had lived hours away in Mobile, Alabama.  I know hundreds of children travel from very far away to go to Children's Hospital, and this storage facility is very near the hospital, so I'm guessing that's what happened here.

 Our thoughts and prayers with this family- we hope everything is okay for them!

On a lighter note, this fuzzy headband wobbled as I was walking through the pitch dark unit and "ran" across my leg and it scared the bejeezus out of me!

It didn't take more than a half an hour to pack up the unit and everything was going great until we realized that we had filled up the car.  Oops.  We didn't have very far to go, so Brian piled the clothes on the hood, the pillows and blankets on the roof, and the bottom of the chair on the trunk!   

You should have seen the looks we got driving out of the storage facility!

And of course, when I opened the trunk, there was that doll, staring right at me!  

Until next time,

We bring the fun to auction--

Storage Heroes


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