Interior of Storage Facility

By Patrick Galvan,

The auctions seen on the reality TV show Storage Wars might be worth a few good chuckles, but it’s certainly no laughing matter when it comes to storage tenants. Like on the show, if a storage tenant does not pay their bill after a set amount of time, the facility usually makes up for the lack of payment by confiscating the tenant’s storage items and selling them at a storage auction.

Obviously, you don’t want this to happen to you. Items such as electronics and furniture can be very expensive, not to mention some items cannot be replaced. It would be crushing to lose your personal photographs, mementos, and family heirlooms.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid losing storage items in an auction. In other words, here’s how you can avoid seeing your storage unit appear on Storage Wars.


If you’re living on a budget, the best way to avoid missing out on a storage payment is to put together a separate budget that will accommodate your storage expenses. This way, you’ll know you have money set aside each month to pay for your unit and avoid losing personal belongings in an auction.

Prices vary from facility to facility, but here are the general costs for standard storage unit sizes:

  • 5×5: $20-100
  • 5×10: $50-$100
  • 10×10: $60-$120
  • 10×15: $100-250
  • 10×20: $150-250
  • 10×30: $250-300

Some facilities offer flexible rental agreements such as weekly leases, but it would be best if you still budgeted according to monthly expenditures so you don’t accidentally spend any of your storage unit money.

When planning your budget, don’t forget about any other storage-related expenses. When you first sign your lease, you might have to pay a security deposit or an admin fee. You should also set aside a small amount of money just in case you lose your lock or if you decide to take out a storage insurance policy.

Auto-Reminders and Auto-Payment

If forgetting to pay your bill is a concern, you should ask your local storage provider if they offer any automatic features to remind you of an upcoming due date. Some facilities can send you automatic text messages or emails to notify you a few days in advance. This way, you’ll know to set apart time to either pay your bill online (if the facility allows that) or swing by to drop off the check before the due date. Most facilities charge a late fee if you’re overdue, so if you’re living on a budget, these auto-reminders will be of great help.

Of course, what’s more convenient than having your payments automatically taken care of? No, you don’t need to hire an accountant. Just ask your storage operator if they feature an automatic payment system. In this case, you can leave a credit card on file with the facility either online or when you sign your lease, and they will automatically withdraw your payments on the due date. Typically, storage operators will also send notifications via text or email after completing the transaction. This will provide confirmation and also give you reasons not to worry when you see a balance appear on your credit card statement.

Auctions are not pleasant for the storage facility or the tenants, so take these precautions when renting a self storage unit. Otherwise, you just might find your storage unit being featured on Storage Wars.