5 Weird Storage Unit Auction Finds

Have you ever wondered how storage units go to auction and what weird stuff is found inside? Shows like Auction Hunters and Storage Wars are popular because people want to know….”Do people really leave behind treasures and money? And if so, what are those items?” 

Read on to learn about the strange items people have found in their newly acquired storage units and how those units make it to auction in the first place.

Why and How Do Storage Units Get Auctioned Off?

Storage units go to auction because the tenant failed to pay their monthly bill. Every storage facility has its own rules and regulations. But 30 days after missing a payment is a pretty standard timeframe for a self-storage facility to take a lien on the tenant’s things. This means that whatever is inside the storage unit now belongs to the facility.  

This doesn’t come as a surprise, though.

When tenants sign their contract with a storage facility, these guidelines are firmly stated in the document. Your signature states that you understand the rules and are willing to abide by them. 

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that when you rent a storage unit, the things inside may be confiscated if you fail to pay your monthly bill. They are auctioned to pay your rental fee.

After all, it’s a rented space from another person; you’re just paying to have your things there.

Without further adieu, read on to learn about the 5 strangest things found in storage unit auctions.

1. Someone’s Grandma

A family in Florida did not make their monthly payment for their self-storage unit. This went on for some time until the facility contacted the tenants. When facility staff told the family that their unit would be auctioned off due to not paying their rent, the family balked.

The family eventually confessed that they had been keeping their grandmother’s dead body in a casket inside the storage unit. The woman had been deceased for 17 years.

2. Andy Warhol’s ‘Electric Chair’ Canvas Silkscreen’

Alice Cooper is to blame for this one.

In the 70s, Cooper’s manager got his hands on the print. Cooper’s girlfriend wanted the print and so Cooper’s manager bought the canvas for $2500. Somehow, though, the silkscreen was left in a poster tube and was never framed. It was then lost and forgotten in a storage unit for decades.

Years later, Cooper’s manager remembered the print. A conversation with an art dealer friend sparked his memory of the art. The piece is worth millions of dollars. 

Not a bad thing to remember!

3. A Man’s Amputated Leg

John Wood fell behind on his payments, so his belongings were up for auction. When Shannon Whistnant opened the smoker she purchased from the auction, she couldn’t believe what she found:

John Wood’s amputated leg.

Apparently, John lost his leg in an airplane crash in 2014. He saved the leg because he ‘wanted to be buried as a whole man’ when he died one day. Whistnant called the police, who took the leg to a funeral home where Wood could pick it up. 

Things got interesting when Whistnant tried to strike up a business deal with Wood. Whistnant suggested that they charge people to open the smoker and see what they find inside. Whistnant would split profits with Wood and he could make money on his removed leg.

Wood declined.

4. 42 Ball Pythons

Some people store furniture and others store… snakes?

Authorities were surprised to find 42 ball pythons in plastic storage bins when they rummaged through the abandoned unit. Of the 42 snakes, only 22 were still alive. The living snakes were immediately taken to an animal rescue facility for rehabilitation. 

No one knows why these animals were stored the way they were or for what purpose. Either way, it’s a cruel way to treat any animal.

5. 7.5 Million Dollars in Cash

What would you do with 7.5 million dollars in cold hard cash? 

A man bought a storage unit in SoCal for $500. When he got to see what was inside, he noticed a safe. After a failed attempt, a locksmith was able to crack the safe open. That’s when they found 7.5 million dollars in cash inside the safe.

The buyer enlisted an attorney, and the attorney notified the previous tenants of the abandoned storage unit. Apparently, they did not know their storage unit was being auctioned off and tried to settle with the new buyer.

The suggested negotiation? $600,000 in exchange for the 7.5 million dollars. The buyer declined and they eventually agreed on 1.2 million dollars for the money back.

Don’t forget about your millions of dollars in cash stashed in your storage unit, folks.

Pay Your Bill, Keep Your Stuff

The mystery of storage unit auctions are thrilling to say the least. When a person bids at a storage unit auction, they’re unable to see what’s inside the unit. It’s going in blind and hoping for the best— almost like gambling. 

Keep in mind that storage auctions are an extreme measure taken when all else fails. At Albuquerque Storage, we make every effort to avoid this situation. We want you to have your things and we want you to feel safe storing them with us.

We keep open and clear communication about payment rates and expectations so that you never have to lose your things.


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