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Deserted storage units become treasure troves

Chief Operations officer of All Bids, Richard Hume at Storage Shed Queanbeyan. The entire contents of abandoned storage units going up for unreserved online auction.

Chief Operations officer of All Bids, Richard Hume at Storage Shed Queanbeyan. The entire contents of abandoned storage units going up for unreserved online auction. Photo: Melissa Adams

Bargain hunters are shifting their search from garage sales to storage units as the abandoned possessions of Canberrans are offered for auction online.

Fuelled by television shows such as Storage Wars and American Pickers, the trend of sifting through junk is on the rise, says ALLBIDS' chief operations officer Richard Hume.

''There's a whole movement about this, where people are looking for bargains,'' he said. ''We're getting massive interest.''

Chief Operations officer of All Bids, Richard Hume at Storage Shed Queanbeyan. The entire contents of abandoned storage units going up for unreserved online auction.

Chief Operations officer of All Bids, Richard Hume at Storage Shed Queanbeyan. The entire contents of abandoned storage units going up for unreserved online auction. Photo: Melissa Adams

Working in conjunction with Capital Self Storage, the company is auctioning the contents of abandoned storage units after allowing potential buyers a quick peek through the site.

Attracting up to 50 bidders per online auction, the units are generally about the size of a standard single garage and the contents sell for anything between $500 and $2000.

Three units have already gone under the virtual hammer, offering items as varied as skis and a set of weights. Mr Hume said eight to 12 storage units would be up for auction each month, allowing bidders to make the most of someone else's unwanted goods. ''Reused is the best form of recycling,'' he said.

There are three auctions currently under way, offering an eclectic assortment including a motorbike tyre, child's trampoline and Ford Falcon - keys not included.

Bids for each auction are open for a week, while potential bidders can take a limited look through units in question up until two days before the auction closes. Once finalised, the successful bidder must remove everything from the unit, Mr Hume said.

''[People] are discovering the joy, the mystery of this style of auction,'' he said.

While bidders may be angling for bargains, Mr Hume said previous renters of the storage spaces weren't being disadvantaged by the scheme.

He said there were very strict contracts surrounding the sales, a statement backed by Capital Self Storage owner Ian Oliver.

''We go to the extremes to make sure that people are given every opportunity to retrieve their goods,'' he said.

''In most cases, the [previous owner] tells us to sell the goods.''

Previous owners also receive some of the funds raised through the auction, Mr Oliver said, if the winning bid was more than the cost of ALLBIDS' commission and the debt owed to Capital Self Storage.

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