Chapter 5: You’ve Won Your First Locker! Now What?

It’s an exciting time! You’ve bought your first storage locker and visions of all the riches and treasures that could be hidden within are racing through your mind. You’ll also be starting to realize there’s a lot of work ahead to process the unit. We have a number of tips in this chapter to help you maximize your return on investment, stay safe, and process the unit quickly, all without missing anything important.

If one thing is for sure, it is easy to miss the most valuable thing inside your storage unit. Here are the things you need to check carefully:

  • Any items that look old
  • Electronic items

    – do they work?

  • Clothing

    – look for items that could be sold in vintage stores – old jeans can be valuable
    – items owned by celebrities

  • Specialty equipment or tools

    These items are all worth taking a closer look at. The other thing you need to do thoroughly is check for hidden cash or jewellery. People will hide cash and other valuables in the strangest places. We’ve listed some of the sneakiest place we’ve found forgotten riches.

• Hidden in furniture. Look at the staples under the cushions to see if they have been replaced, if so it may be because

someone hid something inside the furniture. Also look for any lumps or out of place shapes as this can be a sign of something hidden. Look underneath the furniture too. People have be known to tape cash and jewellery to the underside of couches and chairs.

  • Behind picture frames. Take the backing off the frame and check behind each layer. People sometimes tape cash to these layers. There can also be hidden, valuable painting and prints behind the painting or print that is showing.
  • Empty safe. Make sure there are no hidden compartments. A lot of safes will have false backs and floors. Look at the dimensions of the safe and see if the inside proportions match.
  • Inside desktop computer cases. For some reason, this is a favourite place to stash cash. Carefully remove the cases of computers and look for cash. Don’t damage the computer. It will probably have value, even if it is old.
  • Stashed inside clothing. People forget to empty out their pockets so it is not uncommon to find cash, rings, watches, and wallets in shirt, jacket, and pant pockets. But that’s not the only place to look! The toes of shoes, inside socks, and even underwear are favourite stashing places for all sorts of valuable items.
  • Old food tins. This is a favourite hiding place for the older people especially. Any resealable tin or open tin should be checked carefully.
  • Between the pages of books. You may think it’s a urban myth, but people really do use hollowed out books to stash valuables. For some reason, people also like to leave cash in between the pages of books, even Bibles. Check all books carefully.
  • Pop cans and other tins. Look for any cans, tins, or other cylinders that might have a hidden compartment inside. They


can be tricky to spot and most will just be junk. We’ve found thousands of dollars though by thoroughly checking every container.

People hide things everywhere and anywhere. Always keep in mind that an item might have something valuable hidden inside of it.

It’s important to stay safe while processing your unit. You’ll want to make sure you have a dust mask, good work gloves, steel toe boots and possibly a hard hat if the unit is stacked high. Stay alert to sharp items, or heavy things that could fall on you.

Now it’s time to start processing your storage unit. Bring a handheld metal detector to help you sort the gold from the iron. Also bring an eyepiece to look at the tiny markings on jewellery. Have an Internet accessible item handy to do any quick, on the site research.

First, take a quick scan for any fragile and worthwhile items. Get these out first if possible and safely put them in your vehicle. Next, move onto the largest items keeping an eye out for the value of items while storing them away in your vehicle. Last move the boxes and small/ loose items.

Treasure Hunter

You’re only interested in finding that hidden treasure! If there was an item that caught your attention, causing you to bid, go to that first. From there, quickly begin sorting through your items. Place everything into two piles: stuff that doesn’t interest you and stuff that holds promise. Don’t waste too much time pondering over an item. You’ll be double checking everything anyway. Keep a list of the items you think are worth something. It is surprising how often an item disappears in transit. You don’t want your forgotten riches walking away on you!

Once you’ve sorted your items, do a quick assessment. Have you already made your money back and then some? If so, a cursory check through the uninteresting items pile to make sure you haven’t missed anything is all you need to do. Don’t waste too much time and energy

on the things that don’t hold a lot of promise. If a first glance doesn’t hold much promise, check again. Double check all items for marking and signatures. Look through all the boxes and bags. You might find something you missed at first glance. Still looking like a bust? Chapter 6: What to do when you’re locker is a bust will have more tips about recouping some of your losses.


For you, turning your unit over quickly is the fastest way to riches. Begin by doing an on site inventory. Focus on the items you know will make you the most profit. Calculate the value of your items and flag anything you need to do more research on. Try to keep three piles: winning items, lesser profit items, and not worth it items. You don’t want to have to transport items you won’t be able to store or easily sell. You need to be thorough. Check every item twice, even if it looks like garbage. Keep a list of what you can are keeping so nothing gets lost during transport.

Is the unit not paying off like you had hoped? Check every item again. You might have to try and recoup your losses. We cover that in more detail in the next chapter.

Store Owner

Start by separating anything you want a second opinion on or anything you know is valuable and will need to be sold outside of your store. Make sure you are keeping a list of these items so they don’t get lost. Next, move on to anything you do not want in your store. There is no point in moving garbage. Get rid of it as soon as possible. Take a quick inventory of your items and decide whether you’re likely to turn a profit or not. Do not waste time going through each item on site. You will need the time to process each item for your store. If it looks like you might have landed yourself a dud locker, take everything back to your store. You have the means and space to move and store everything. You can take a more thorough look through the unit. Read our next chapter to see how you might be able to turn your losses around.