Where To Find UK Storage Auctions (Abandoned Units & Cabinets) | British buyer (2023)

I collect coins so I go to traditional antique auctions all the time.

After watching American programs like "Storage Wars" and "Storage Hunters" I wondered: Are there any storage auctions in Britain?

It turns out that there really are storage auctions in Britain - you just have to know where to look!

Some specialize in the entire contents of shipping containers, and others are just regular auctions of abandoned self-storage that people "made hits" and never paid for. Most sell for very small amounts, such as £1. Others (especially when full) cost hundreds.

I've put together a list of all the UK storage auction companies I've found, where the storage facilities are located and a link to where you can bid. But first, there's some important information you should know if you're an unsuspecting storage hunter like me.

Covered in this article:

What you need to know when bidding at a UK storage auction house

I've bid on these auctions once or twice and here's what I've learned:

1. There is an additional cost

If you have never bid on an auction before, please note that a buyer's premium generally applies to all auctions. this is how the auction house makes its money. The premium is a percentage you pay above your bid amount. This can range from 10% to 25% and sometimes VAT is added on top of thatAlways read the auction terms carefully to add how much your bid will actually be.

Additionally, you should be aware that storage companies often charge a "cleaning deposit". Looking at the existing auctions it appears to be around £100.

When you win the storage auction, it will be stored on your card. You will get it back when you COMPLETELY empty the storage space.

If you leave anything in the unit for the storage company to dispose of, they may withhold your cleaning deposit. This is to prevent people from picking the valuables and leaving the mess behind!

2. The content is usually not valuable, but there are gems

My daughter (who also writes for this site) used to work in TV, and when she told me that US TV shows like "Storage Hunters" were almost all fake (and "dressed up" with cool storage stuff), she blew it . it's a bit much for me!

Don't expect abandoned suitcases full of cash, pallets of Macbooks and all the rest. There's a reason people gave up their storage - usually because what they left there wasn't worth the bill.

Other common items you'll see are things that are difficult to move, such as exercise equipment, washing machines, or bulky furniture. You can get this stuff cheap if that's what you're looking for.

Where To Find UK Storage Auctions (Abandoned Units & Cabinets) | British buyer (1)

However, there have been gems. A friend of mine used to make fun of a young lad who always said something that sounded like garbage: garbage bags full of old clothes or puzzles. One day, the contents contained what appeared to be old, outdated video games, but turned out to be rare games from the 1980s that collectors were paying hundreds of dollars for. They stopped laughing!

I've also seen storage rooms full of designer shoes or autographed sports memorabilia. I have no idea about these markets so I didn't bid, but to someone these were huge bargains.

What I'm really saying is don't get your hopes up, bid on what you know and don't pay too much for something you can't see!

3. Be prepared when you win

Some people bid online and then are surprised when they win… and aren't ready to go to "their" unit, which may be across the country. Be serious when bidding on storage auctions and:

– Look at the time you come to clean it. It's usually not that long, like 72 hours

– Becomes “your” unit if you win – sobring a lock!You'd be surprised how many people forget this. The existing lock will of course be removed prior to the auction.

- Select transport and boxes. Some units are deceptively large and have A LOT of stuff in them. To get your cleaning deposit (listed above) back, you must move the entire lot.

4. Some items must be returned to the owner

Some personal items must be returned to the original owner if found in your storage. These items include things like:

  • Passports or ID
  • Legal documents or certificates
  • Tax or business documents
  • Deeds, wills, etc.

This is quite reasonable and it is just common sense to return it to its rightful owner. The auction house will probably tell you their rules or it will be according to their terms and conditions.

Where To Find UK Storage Auctions (Abandoned Units & Cabinets) | British buyer (2)

UK Online Auction Storage Unit Companies

Good storage auctions are few and far between, but there are a few. This is what I found:

IWater Storage

Probably the most active online storage auction site ever. Offers start from £1 and have locations across the UK including Bristol, Derby, Buckinghamshire, London, Devon, Sussex, Hampshire and Worcestershire.Click here to view their current auctions.


It sounds obvious, but many companies that used to do their own auctions are now doing just thateBaybecause it is easier for them to manage bidders and bids this way.Click here to see which companies are auctioning storage units on eBay.

Space station

They have a private "mailing list" that you can request to join. They say there are over 1000 people on this list so it must be popular. You will then receive an actual email from them when they put a storage unit up for auction and you can bid directly with them.Here is their page where you can sign up.Their locations are mainly in and around London and Birmingham.

Η British Storage Company Ltd

They have written an interesting article on some of the key information about storage auctions. They say they put one up for auction "very occasionally", usually because the person has stopped paying or moved back overseas. Interestingly enough, they believe they never made enough money back to cover the cost of the rent they owed!

They use Ebay to auction off their abandoned units.Visit their website here.

Storage giant

Storage Giant used to post about itFacebook auctionsbut that hasn't happened for a while, and I'm not sure if they still do. Better call them and ask them. They operate mainly in the South West and Wales region.

Ask locally

This is probably one of the best ways to get "first chance" storage and that is to inquire at your nearest self storage. Today they can be found in most towns and cities. This would be a good way to fend off the competition, because if it's an online auction, anyone can bid - but if it's just in your town, you'll have a smaller pool of competing bidders!

In short, do some research before you start looking and don't just assume everything has value. Remember: if you end up winning something, be sure to move it from where it was saved. But above all: have fun! That's the point, at least for me!


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