Storage Wars: 'I'm making money, it's how I paid for my wedding'
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Popular shows such as "American Pickers" and "Storage Wars" have people everywhere looking to turn trash into cash. Here in the Treasure Valley, storage lockers left for auction are attracting a larger crowd as people hope to find treasure in what's left behind.
For some it's a hobby - for others it's a job. But for everyone it's a way to take the junk that's left behind and turn it into green.
"I've been doing this and making money," said Mike Viescks of Meridian. "It's how I paid for my wedding."
On a recent weekend hunt, bargain hunters picked through various storage lockers looking for treasure.
"The very first one that I bought was full of these big giant boxes," Veisicks said. "I buy it and start opening up the boxes and they're all hangers. But they were the high quality plastic retail hangers. I looked them up online and it turns out I was sitting on a goldmine."
Veisicks thinks he made between $15,000-$20,000 on the sale of those hangers, and stories such as that can give people false hope.
"There's nothing really glamorous about doing auction sales," Veiscks said. "Most of the time it's just household stuff. There's a little money here, there's a little money there."
Mark Gamas of Boise was also on hand for the storage locker bidding. Sifting through boxes, Gamas found some old cell phones nearby.
"Wow - that's a find," he said. "The cell phones are old probably not worth much, but maybe the Palm though. That might be our biggest find yet."
Among the clothes, the furniture and the stuff, treasure hunters look for jewels, collectibles and just stuff. And while there is definitely a thrill to the urban hunt, it's not as glamorous as you see on cable TV.
"'Storage Wars' has had a huge impact," said Grace Godfre, who runs a self storage facility in Boise. "On the one hand it gives people the idea that there's all sorts of fantastic treasures here in Boise and generally that's not the case."
So, how did Gamas do on this weekend's bidding? In addition to the cell phones, Gamas found a backpack that will probably sell on Craigslist for $40 -- more than he paid for the locker.
Veisicks did a little better. He had enough furniture to make back his money, plus he found Barbie clothes and a projector that will put about $260 in his pocket.
If you are looking to try the auctions be prepared to get dirty. Moving, sorting and loading can be back breaking work. Storage facilities are allowed to look inside lockers after 90 days without payment, so they can give you an idea of what is inside before you show up to the auction.
Godfre also ask that you leave behind any personal items such as documents or photos so they can be returned to the owners.