When I was about 10 years old, I went to an abandoned property auction at a local self-storage place with my mother. We thought it would be a fun end to a long day of yard-saling. It was anything but. It was cold and rainy, and it was one of the more depressing experiences I've ever had. An old and sickly auctioneer went from unit to unit, auctioning off the contents by the lot, with no time for any kind of inspection. People bid $10 or $15 for a chance to acquire someone's property because they couldn't pay the $50 a month to keep it. Notably, a large collection of Jackson 5/Michael Jackson memorabilia went to auction after the family failed to pay its storage bill.
With foreclosures hitting record rates around the country, many former homeowners are packing their life's accumulations into storage units. But the financial woes that made it impossible for them to keep their homes are making it tough for them to keep their stuff in storage.
According to a self-storage center manager quoted in a New York Times piece, an increasing number of people are also trying to (illegally) live in their storage units.
Depressing: Self-storage unit auctions on the rise