When Self-Storage Auctions Go Wrong

When most people think of self-storage, they think of furniture, clothes or even business inventory. And that’s true for majority of people who use self-storage. Typically, there are restrictions on storing hazardous materials, illegal items, perishable goods, and living organisms. All of which will be listed under the Limits On Use part of any contract. It is always best to check with the specific self storage facility for their list of prohibited items. However, every now and then, self-storage is used for something more menacing. Some of these things found in units include human remains, haunted dolls, illegal drugs, weapons, and even live animals. It’s important to remember that storing illegal or dangerous items in a unit is not only strange but also illegal. The following stories you can find with just a simple Google search or you can click on the title of each Auction story.

A Meth Lab

If you are a fan of the reality TV shows for storage Auctions; then you probably have seen just how these types of Auctions are done. Majority of Storage auctions are public sales of abandoned storage units by storage facility owners. Just like those shows, you never know what you could get buried in the units once the lock is removed. Back in 2015, a South California man and his uncle got more than they imagine with a unit they won. Although, one of their units made them a profit, the other one caused a commotion. Unknowingly, the second unit turned out to be boxes filled with equipment and chemicals for a crystal meth lab. The findings were so toxic, that Hazmat had to be called out to clear the unit.

Photo courtesy of KCRA 3

Grandma’s Body

Losing a loved one is hard, and sometimes it can be difficult to let go. There have been dozens of cases of people keeping the ashes of their loved ones in their storage units. When a Florida unit was set for auction back in 2012, the Manager of the facility reached out in hopes to obtain payment. During this call, is when the family’s morbid secret came to light. Apparently, a grandmother who passed away in 1995 was stored in the unit for over 17 years in a homemade casket. The Police were called to the unit and found nothing else suspicious. After which, Largo chapel of A Life Tribute took possession of the grandmother’s remains.

Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Times

Suitcases filled with body parts

In August 2022, an unsuspected New Zealand family won a unit auction that would cause nightmares. The family loaded up the unit in a trailer and brought all the contents home for them to inventory. Once they started to unload the items, the smell from the suitcases started to get stronger. Upon opening them, they were startled to find what looked like human body parts. They quickly called the Authorities to their home, where it was determine the suitcases contained multiple sets of human remains.

Photo courtesy of New York Post

A Human Leg (Wrapped In Tin Foil)

Shannon Whisnant got more than he bargained for when he bought a grill at storage auction. Taking ownership of all the items only to discover a human leg, nestled inside a gas BBQ. As many of us, Shannon had a lot of questions but didn’t stop him from trying to become famous on finding the mummified human foot! While Shannon was living in his 15 minutes of fame for his find, it grab the attention of the original owner, John Wood. John did in fact come forwarded requesting his leg back. Unfortunately, due to the possession is nine-tenths of the law, Whisnant had the right to refuse causing a custody battle to begin. After a f few years, and life style changes the original tenant was finally reunited by court ordered with his missing leg. If you would like to know more about the amputee, check out this Finders Keepers (2015 film) article on Wikipedia.

Movie Posters from IMDB Finders Keepers

How about those intense auction stories?!? Even more of a reason to always make sure to carefully review any contracts or agreements before agreeing to them. Especially when it comes to storing items or information. Storage units have always been convenient for people who need the extra space. However, many of the items in the articles above are not permissible! But they are the perfect examples of what not to store in self storages! Luckily here at Belton Self Storage we’ve never had anything like this, and we hope we never will. But if you would like to know some of the weirdest things we’ve seen or experience, contact us today.

Prevent Pest Invasion

How to keep mice and bugs out of your storage unit.

It’s vital that everyone learn how to keep pests and rodents out of storage units whenever possible. The best way to keep rats and other vermin out of storage is by taking preventative measures. Storage units are attractive nesting sites for rodents because they sit undisturbed most of the time. Tenants will sometimes check on their belongings, which could mean an infestation could grow and spread with little to no disturbance. By storing items correctly, removing food and picking the right facility, it’s unlikely you’ll have an issue. We have compiled a few tips to better assist you in preventing those unwanted guest living rent free in your unit.

Do not store food inside a storage unit.

This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people make the mistake of keeping food items unintentionally inside storage.

Firstly, look for food where you might not have intended to leave it. Vacuum or clean out furniture beneath the cushions that you plan on storing. Secondly, check your kitchen storage containers, pots and pans for any crumbs or residual food on the surfaces. Lastly and very important tip is to make sure that the unit was broom swept and no crumbs are leftover from previous tenants or a lunch you ate in there on moving day.

Nonetheless, if you’re moving in a hurry, don’t leave your entire pantry inside a storage unit expecting no rodent to take notice.

Keep items raised a couple of inches off the ground.

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While bugs and rodents can crawl, it is helpful to keep your items elevated off the ground. One easy way to do this is by using open shelving or placing clean pallets on the ground.

Not only will this step help deter pests from making a home in your boxes, but it will also protect your belongings from moisture.

Boxes and Mattress covers

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If you’re using moving boxes, we recommend buying new cardboard boxes for storage. New boxes are stronger and are less likely to have gaps or punctures that pests could enter. They are also manufactured with added strength to withstand stacking for long periods of time.

Bugs can burrow into any upholstered furniture and rodents will chew through it. The most common way that bed bugs get in storage units is through mattresses. Make sure any mattress you keep in storage is free of insects before being stored. To prevent them from coming in, use a plastic mattress cover that is specifically designed for keeping pests out.

You are in luck!

To our current and future tenants, rodent proof storage is our goal for all our customers. Just come to our office and we will be happy to supply you mice treatment free of charge. We also sell new and used boxes, mattress coverings, and other moving supplies.