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Storage auction 101

What to bring

■Cash - Most auctions require a security deposit of $50 to $100 to make sure you completely clean out the units. And don’t forget cash for the actual goods; they don’t take plastic.

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■High-powered flashlight - You’ll be viewing the storage units as if they are deep, unlit kitchen cabinets, from the outside only. Seasoned buyers bring a flashlight to spot treasures in the depths.

■Padlock - Once you buy, you’ll need to secure the contents from all the oglers who just saw that valuable stuff.

■Valid photo ID - Don’t leave home without it.

■Resale certificate, if you have one - Dealers don’t have to pay sales tax on items they resell.

■Layered clothing - Auctions take place year-round, often outdoors. Auctioneers don’t bat an eye at snowflakes, and neither should you.

■Truck, van, or trailer - You generally have 24 to 48 hours to empty the units you’ve purchased, no matter what you find. No leaving junk behind.

■No gawkers - Newbies are welcome if they want to learn the ropes, but people who show up just to watch gum up the works. Every potential bidder has to parade past the door of the unit.

SOURCES: Storage Auction Solutions, Atlas Self Storage

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