All self-storage auctions are gambles, but the odds as a buyer can be improved by looking for storage facilities in expensive areas with well-stored and well-cared-for items inside the storage units. Remember that if a unit is well-maintained, it's a sign that the owner valued the contents.
When judging any particular storage unit auction, buyers only have a few seconds to draw a lot of conclusions. By looking for key signs of a good or bad auction, bidders can train themselves
to make those split-second decisions. The most important thing to look for is a clean unit. Neatly stacked boxes, particularly moving boxes in good condition, suggest contents the owner planned to come back for. A unit where things look like they've been moved or gone through has probably already had the valuables removed by the owner. Dusty units are a good sign.
On storage auction shows, a lot of attention is paid to units with a few rare, very valuable items. For most auction buyers, however, the regular money is in everyday items that can be resold quickly and at a profit. This means that items such as furniture, bikes and sporting equipment, which are often visible, are worth special attention. Furniture should be clean and, ideally, wrapped in plastic. Experienced bidders learn to tell the difference between cheap pressboard and real wood at a glance. Sports equipment should look well-maintained.