Amy Cunnigham
[email protected]
One man’s trash can turn into another man’s treasure – or so attendees may find out on Saturday if they choose to buy the contents from one of the storage units that Outback Storage will auction off on Saturday.
The contents of 15 abandoned units will be sold individually to the highest bidder. Storage facility owner Lance Crist said that this is only the second auction he’s held since buying the property from his father nine years ago.
“We only auction units whenever people do not pay, which doesn’t happen very often, thank goodness,” Crist explained.
Good economic times ensured that it was rare to have renters unable to pay, but recently there has been an uptick in the number of people falling behind. Crist said that in more recent years he’s only had one or two delinquent units at a time, not enough to hold an auction.
Crist’s wife, Octavia, manages the facility. She said that the couple must follow Kansas law when liquidating the contents of a storage unit.
“I usually wait at least until the third month that (renters) are behind. I send out certified letters and put an auction notice in the paper. We call consistently and try to get their payment or make arrangements,” Octavia said.  “We’re pretty lenient. I think you only have to wait 30 days. I wait until they’re at their third month.”
The Crists say the popularity of the A & E television show Storage Wars may have generated a buzz surrounding the sale. Storage Wars follows professional buyers in California who purchase abandoned units and sell the contents for a profit.
The couple expects a crowd to show up Saturday morning. They said in the past attendees have frequently been other business owners – auctioneers, resellers, but this time may be different because of the television show people are more aware of the profit they can make by selling the contents.
“You can find some good stuff in there. My sister bought one pretty cheap, for around $100, and she ended up selling the stuff on Ebay for over $1,000,” Octavia recalled. “Nobody wanted that unit because it was full of trash bags, but once she got the trash bags out there was some good stuff in there. You just never know what you’re going to find.  There’s been money in (units) before, quite a bit of money, actually. You can usually find some really good furniture in there, just lots of different items.”
Lance will open up the units for viewing Saturday morning. Attendees will have the opportunity to view each unit from the outside before the bidding begins.  Once the auction is complete, purchasers will have one week to haul items from the unit.

You get the whole works; you get the good, you get the trash, everything,” Lance said.
Outback Storage operates 350 storage units. They offer the first month’s rental free. The facility is located at 1098 East Santa Fe Street in Gardner. The sale will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on June 4 at Outback Storage.