From James Bond’s iconic submarine car to the very first Superman comic, these are just a couple of the unexpected items that have been discovered in self storage units. Typically used for storing furniture, seasonal decor, and sentimental items, self storage facilities have proven to be a convenient service. But there is another side to the self storage industry, and that is abandoned goods. Abandoned goods can become a huge problem for many self storage operators as it can take away their time and money. In this blog, we discuss with Keepers Cottage how utilising self storage room clearance services can help maximise the profit and sustainability of your self storage facility.

A Form of Upcycling

Hannah Marks, Operations Manager at Keepers Cottage – a highly professional and efficient room clearance service has helped hundreds of operators across the UK successfully dispose of abandoned self storage goods.

“Our managed room clearance service consists of us visiting a self storage site, going through every bag, box and crate inside the unit or container, creating thorough inventories of the goods, photographing items of value, and then placing it all back in an attractive manner ready for it to be listed on our auction platform eKonnect Storage Auctions.

We then run the auction and deal with all buyer communications. This creates a smooth and easy way to clear abandoned goods for the storage operators.”

The “Storage Wars” Approach

Storage Wars, an American reality TV show, follows a group of bidders looking to get rich by buying repossessed storage units. Hannah explains that with this approach, operators will lose out on potential profit and can even get into trouble.

“The main problem is that self storage operators are less likely to achieve best market value and this is down to time they may not have. We have the time to spend hours in a room (if that’s what it takes). Operators may also sell items that they believe are legal to do so but require certain licensing, such as alcohol.”

Abandoned Goods and The Environment

According to estimates, the UK produces 222.2 million tonnes of waste every year, with England being responsible for 84% of it. When self storage goods are abandoned, it can have negative effects on both the local community and the environment. This raises ethical concerns for self storage operators.

“Disposing of abandoned goods via auction means they aren’t being taken to a dump or being fly-tipped on the side of roads. The items can also be used again, or we can send items to those in need.”

Unexpected Discoveries

The task of cleaning out storage units may seem mundane to some but for those tasked with this responsibility, it can lead to unexpected discoveries that range from bizarre to disturbing. Each unit tells a story, and often, it’s a story that the original owner never intended to share.

“The worst thing we’ve found in a self storage unit will vary depending on who you ask. For me, the worst was a recent unit. The unit had mostly VHS and cassette tapes, books and clothes, all being in quite poor condition. We started sorting through the bags then a colleague of mine asked if I had found any inappropriate videos like he had. As it happened I was sorting through a bag that had these in, as well as multiple scrapbooks. Now because we remove anything that we think is personal I knew I had to look through them to check there were no photos of the customer.

But what I found were cutouts from newspapers and magazines. Most were of celebrities and scantily clad women but amongst them were also cutouts of children. In the context of the reports or articles the photos had originally come from I imagine they were completely innocent but the context they were now in felt quite sinister and disturbing.”

A Duty of Care

“I spoke to the manager of the store and we agreed to remove anything like that from the unit. As a company, we have a duty of care for the storage company as well as to our buyers. It didn’t sit right to leave these images in a unit for somebody else to come across. This was a rare occurrence, but we wouldn’t have found it if we didn’t go through the bags. The thought of someone else finding images like this doesn’t bear thinking about.”

An Ethical Future

With the help of Keepers Cottage, self storage operators can confidently navigate the complexities of clearance service. At Kuboid, we’re committed to contributing towards the well-being of our planet, and that’s why we have taken the initiative to become a carbon-neutral company. This year, we have offset our carbon emissions by supporting sustainable projects globally. Moreover, we will be conducting internal awareness campaigns and training sessions to educate our employees on ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

About Hannah:

Keepers Cottage is the UK’s most trusted seller of abandoned storage goods due to implementing The Self Storage Association‘s best practice. Hannah joined Keepers Cottage, experts in self storage clearance services in 2019. It didn’t take long for her to work her way up to Operations Manager. Hannah now leads the team in visiting stores to complete room preparation for online auctions.

Find out more about how to maximise the profit and sustainability of your self storage facility here.

Kuboid is Europe’s trusted self storage manufacturer. If you’re interested in setting up and starting a self storage business today, contact us here.

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