Jeff, one of our members, recently asked the following question:
When you purchase a unit, what are your responsibilities for disposing of the things that you don't want?
Before you purchase a unit, it is a good idea to speak with the facility manager or auctioneer to find out how much time you have to remove the contents from the unit. Storage facilities typically allow you 48 hours to completely remove the contents from the unit. Most storage facilities do require a clean up deposit for every unit you purchase. These fees can range from $25 to $100 and are fully refundable once the unit has been cleaned out. Some auctioneers will waive the clean out deposits once you have established a track record with them.
It is your responsibility have the contents removed within the 48 hour time period. It is a good idea to bring a broom, dustpan and some heavy duty trash bags with you, because it is also your responsibility to make sure the unit is clean and the floor is swept.
Regardless, of whether you get stuck with some merchandise you don't want, it is your responsibility to remove it from the unit and dispose of it. Most storage facilities won't allow you to use their dumpster and the ones that do will most likely charge a fee.
In this business, you have to take the good with the bad. You are going to come across units that you wish you would have never bought. For example: I purchased a 10x20 unit that was packed full of stuff. From the door, I saw a pressure washer, some antique Hina dolls, 15 filing cabinets and 2 safes. The unit also had over 40 full trash bags in it. Well, once I started looking through the unit, I realized that the previous owner was a paper hoarder. He hadn't thrown any paper away in years. Documents, notes, letters, bills, phone books, newspapers, food wrappers; it was all there. Every trash bag was full of trash. Every drawer in the desks and filing cabinets was full of trash. When I opened the safes, guess what was inside? Yes, more trash.
If you're in this business long enough, you will eventually come across one of these units. When you do, salvage what you can. Then take the rest to the dump and move on. If you can't sell some of the older merchandise, but it is reusable, consider donating it to a local charity. Not only will you get a tax deduction but you will be helping out the less fortunate in your area. Donation drop boxes are also a very convenient way to dispose of reusable merchandise. These drop boxes are open 24 hours and since they are unattended, they won't refuse any merchandise. The only drawback to using a donation drop box is that you won't get a tax deduction receipt.
If you or anyone else has a question or comment, feel free to post your reply below.