Whoever said sentimentality wasn't worth much obviously never found priceless photographs stuffed in an abandoned storage unit. Many of us store old family photos in attics or storage units, but some photos are worth far, far more than a thousand words. For instance, one lucky woman was cleaning out her newly acquired storage unit when she came across photos of Amelia Earhart, each one valued at a whopping $1,000. So before you trash those old photos, take a second look for famous faces.
Grand pianos, particularly the rare hand-crafted ones, can bring in a huge payday if you're lucky enough to find one. Of course, as with most valuable finds, you'll have to find a buyer to liquidate your newfound wealth. And pianos aren't the only valuable musical instrument you can find in storage units. Vintage violins, cellos, and bows often sell for five- to six-figures at auction.
You may have seen a Hoarders episode or two where the homeowner owned enough newspapers to relive every day of the past 40 years, but these aren't the ones you want to find. The rarities that'll bring you a nice chunk of change are the ones from significant days in history. One batch of newspapers, all dated the day of Elvis' death, brought a $90,000 payday worthy of the King.
Finding cold hard cash is probably the most ideal find in any storage unit, but it's not always in perfect condition. Luckily for you, the United States Treasury Department will accept not-so-perfect currency so long as the serial numbers are intact. Even if the bills have all of the faces cut out, you can still exchange them in for some crisp new ones. Coin collections are also great finds, and even if they're only worth face value, you could see a nice payday. Rare and collectible coins could significantly increase that payday.
There have been great storage unit finds all over the world, but you should think strategically about where you go. Today, an average-size New York City condo costs $1.9 million, and average-size Manhattan condos can be quite cramped. As a result, more and more city dwellers are investing in offsite storage, and you never know what treasures you'll find behind those doors.
So the next time you pick up a storage unit, take some time inspecting its contents. Who knows, you might find that treasure chest after all!