A married couple scored more than $10,000 worth of valuables at rock-bottom prices by bidding on abandoned storage units.
Amy, 50, and Luke, 47, bought about 80 bundles of goods since January last year, bagging tonnes of items including a 24K gold bracelet, laptops, TVs, washing machines, a lounge, beds and a signed Jason Donavon album.
The hobby saved the Gold Coast family thousands of dollars and allowed them to deck out their entire home with quality furniture and electronics.
The husband and wife, who own an electrical business, became interested in the concept after watching US TV show Storage Wars, in which companies auction off the contents of units if renters can no longer keep up with their bills.
Amy, 50, and Luke, 47, (pictured) have scored thousands of dollars worth of goods by bidding on abandoned storage units
Amy pictured with some of the goods they have scored, including a signed Jason Donavon album, a globe, Christmas ornaments, a statue and relay batons from the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth games
‘I’m absolutely hooked. I never thought I’d retrieve such valuable goods this way. I paid only a couple of hundred for my first storage unit and ended up uncovering items worth thousands of dollars,’ Amy told Daily Mail Australia.
‘After that I went on to bid on another, then another, then another and now I’ve upgraded my whole house with furniture that I never would be able to afford.’
Pictured: A 24K gold bracelet Amy picked up in a $500 bid, which she believes is worth around $1200
Some of their biggest bargains include a $3,500 leather couch, from a $300 bid, and a ‘whole house worth of furniture’ inside a shipping container which cost $459.
They also snatched up collectibles such as relay batons from the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth games, Dr Who and Star Wars memorabilia and a Singer sewing machine.
Amy, who shops on iBidOnStorage.com.au, said units can range from $10 to into thousands – but each haul has always been of more value than the price they have paid.
‘The cheapest was $11 and our maximum spend is around $450 – $500, but that is on the expensive end for us. We usually pay about $200- $300 for a unit,’ she said.
‘I even purchased unknowingly a few pieces of jewellery, including a 24K gold chain bracelet that is worth about $1200, not knowing they were included as part of the contents that I was bidding on.
‘You can find some absolute treasures and you don’t know what you are getting. For what the items are worth and how much we paid, I reckon we got the items for half price.’
The couple purchase at least one unit per week, clearing the space in two or three car loads and taking the goods home to be sorted
After efforts to chase up storage payments fail, companies are legally permitted to sell the items being stored and place the unit back on the market. Pictured: One of the bundles of goods Amy and Luke purchased
Amy pictured with a leather couch picked up in a $300 bid that is believed to be valued at $3500
After efforts to chase up storage payments fail, companies are legally permitted to sell the items being stored and place the unit back on the market.
Photos of the contents are placed on a bidding site – either the boxes or an itemised list of what they contain – to give potential buyers an idea of what is inside.
Once a bidder wins, they have 72 hours to completely clear out the contents from the space.
A $200 cleaning bond is taken to cover the costs of removing items if the buyer leaves anything behind.
Amy said they purchase at least one unit per week, clearing the space in two or three car loads and taking the goods home to be sorted.
An assortment of alcohol the husband and wife picked up from one of the storage units
A Singer sewing machine that the Gold Coast couple acquired during one of their shopping hauls
There have also been some peculiar items, including a wooden foot (pictured) and a stuffed python and stuffed mongoose statue
The couple have also scored boxes of hand tools, including a rivet gun and a plunge router
Furniture including tables, several cabinets, wardrobes, chairs, desk for their son, and a princess bed for their daughter are some of the more common items.
There were also bottles of alcohol, lamps, figurines, clothing, lunch boxes, hardware tools, 24 boxes of Christmas ornaments, stamps, and tanning lotion.
And occasionally there are weird and wacky objects hidden in the mix.
‘We’ve had a Viking helmet, a wooden foot, a stuffed cobra and stuffed mongoose turned into statues,’ she said.
‘We even found a breast implant… And way too many adult toys.
A brand new glass coffee machine still neatly packed in its styrofoam packaging
Tribal masks and a figurine that were discovered in an abandoned storage space
A box containing 24 unopened bottles of men’s Bondi Sands tanning lotion
The couple have also picked up clothing, such as the dresses pictured above
‘We have to be careful when the kids come with us. We will go ‘ooh what is in this pretty pink box”… ‘Wow. Kids, don’t open that one.’
Amy said she sometimes sells the smaller goods and although most items are in good condition, they will drop off damaged pieces to the tip.
‘You will find a box that is full of records or photos, so there are a lot of personal items that would identify the person. We give them to the company to send back,’ she said.
‘It’s amazing the stuff that people don’t go and pick up. I would be heartbroken to lose all of that stuff.’
Bargain hunters have been shifting their focus from garage sales to bidding on storage units, with TV shows such as Storage Wars and American Pickers increasing the trend.
Other goods have included a Viking helmet (pictured), Xbox games, beds washing machines and several display cabinets
Opening ceremony relay batons for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth games
Furniture items have included tables, several cabinets, wardrobes, chairs and a princess bed for their daughter
Although auctions in America are usually held at the storage facilities, Australian companies allow shoppers to bid online.
‘We host all sorts of auctions from all over Australia and people love to bid from the comfort of their own home,’ said owner of iBidOnStorage.com.au Grant McNamee.
‘Unlike what you see the TV shows, iBidOnStorage is online, making it easy for you to bid (from home, work or anywhere else by mobile phone) or (from anywhere at any time).’
Mr McNamee said one lucky bidder recently scored a Holden Ute for just $3,000 and another bought an entire storage unit packed full of furniture including a washing machine and a fridge for $460.
Grant McNamee (pictured) said iBidOnStorage auctions are held all over Australia
One lucky storage unit bidder recently scored a white Holden Ute (pictured) for just $3,000
Another bidder gained a drum kit, seven designer guitars and keyboard scored for just $2,020 (pictured)
Another gained a drum kit, seven designer guitars and keyboard scored for just $2,020.
‘Each time feels like Christmas, because you have these boxes and you don’t know what you are going to find,’ Amy said.
‘I love the thrill of not knowing what’s inside and discovering something special. It’s very addictive.
‘It may be a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun.’