People Who Lost Their Storage Containers Share The Valuable Treasures They Will Never See Again
Everyone has their treasured possessions—items that have monetary or sentimental value enough to make them worth keeping and protecting. But sometimes, when you’re in the midst of moving or simply don’t have enough room in your apartment, it becomes necessary to leave such treasures in a safe place until things have settled down again. Many people turn to storage containers. These places offer protection from the elements and thievery while freeing up your space.
However, if you forget to pay the rent on your storage container, you risk losing all the treasures stored inside. Most companies have the right to sell anything inside a container that has not been paid for. Here are some of the treasured possessions, either sentimental value or monetary, that people have lost in their storage containers.
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My parents separated when I was 13. Dad kept the house, but was on disability and couldn’t afford the mortgage. He put everything in storage when they foreclosed, and passed away a few months later. We lost everything, all of our furniture, family keepsakes like old beer steins and a banjo that had been passed down from my father’s father, and so many other things. All of our childhood toys, all the old pictures of my dad when he was younger. Priceless things.
44. $20,000 Missed By 10 Days
My brother had sold his house and moved into an apartment and was having financial difficulties. He put a lot of stuff into storage including some furniture and a whole lot of guitars, basses, audio, and mixing equipment. After a long while, he comes to me to help out, he was falling behind. So I go over to help him move his stuff to my house. Turns out they had sold his unit about 10 days before. Probably close to $20k worth of equipment he had acquired over the years.
43. Still Searching For The Handmade Stockings
My mom and dad divorced and my mom put everything in a storage unit until she could find a house. She ended up in the hospital for a while and she thought it was on automatic payment. It wasn’t. She lost everything including handmade furniture by her great-grandpa, antiques she collected, family heirlooms, etc. We tried contacting the storage unit to ask if we could buy back the unit from the buyer for more than they bought it for, but we never got a response after multiple calls and messages.
I was most upset that we lost all of our Christmas decorations. It may seem silly, but all of our stockings were handmade by my grandma who passed and every ornament on our tree was from a vacation or special occasion with the family that is impossible to replace. Every time I’m home I can’t help but check out the local Goodwill and Salvation Army to see if they got donated.
42. Heirloom Jewelry Practically Given Away
My ex and I had a unit together when we split we agreed to each pay half. She stopped paying her half so I let it go. I didn’t have anything worth keeping really, but she did. She lost all her family heirlooms, including her great grandmother’s jewelry collection. It was worth close to $20k. I didn’t realize it was in there when I let it go…
41. Looking For Grandmother’s Cadillac
I had my grandmother’s 71 Cadillac Coupe Deville in a storage place; the bill was paid upfront. Long story short, got busy with life, went back to get it four months after expiry and the owner of the place said he crushed it (an obvious lie). He said he tried to contact me (another lie because he’s been a patient at my clinic for 10 years) and said he couldn’t get ahold of me. So I got a lawyer and received back a letter saying that I owed them money for the car leaking oil in his unit and it cost $3,000 to clean. The car had 48,000 miles on it and had never seen a winter. I reported it stolen to the police and I search the VIN through a friend who works at a dealership every few months hoping it turns up, but I have a feeling it’s still there. It’s only worth about $7,000, but it means a ton to me.
40. Lost Over A Typo
I lost my grandmother’s collection of china and furniture because of an error at the storage site. the unit next to mine had unpaid rent, but someone made a typo and my unit was auctioned off. I lost about $18,000 worth of stuff, and all I got was an empty apology and no compensation, they wouldn’t even tell me who bought my grandmother’s stuff. This happened five years ago and I am still furious. The company that ran the units is out of business and nowhere to be seen now, so it is unlikely I will ever get my grandmother’s stuff back.
39. Childhood Friend Gone Forever
My mom had a storage unit for our stuff after she finally left her abusive boyfriend and we stayed at my aunt’s. Among the furniture and clothes was also my Boo Bear, a childhood teddy bear I’d had since birth. I carried it everywhere until I was 12 years old. Yes, I got made fun of, but as an only child in an abusive household, he was my brother. Someone to talk to, cry against, look to for comfort and someone to play with all in one.
When we lost the unit, my mom was most devastated not by losing her things, she told me, but the heartbreak she saw in my face when she told 15-year-old me he was gone.
I’m 39 years old now and I still miss him whenever I remember him.
38. My Childhood And Mother’s Childhood
All of my childhood memories. All my photo books. My stuffed animals. My toys. And all of my mother’s childhood memories, stuffed animals, photo books, etc. Nothing of value to anyone else, but that meant the world to us. We lost it when I was a kid, but I’ll remember it like it was yesterday. It still breaks my heart.
37. Change Of Owner, Loss Of Stuff
All of our family photos, an expensive sealed old gaming system (European one), a really old guitar that belonged to my father (around $3k value), my teddy bear collection as a child, mother’s jewelry and most importantly my grandfathers typing machine—he was in the military and it was a gift to him from one of his comrades, he loved it and used to type us letters even when internet was a thing.
The worst part is we never stopped paying. The storage facility changed owners due to bankruptcy and the new owners apparently didn’t receive payments. The old owner said they would send us a note with the new details and they never did.
36. Candy Red Lifted 1977 Ford Bronco, Liquidated
A candy red 1977 Ford Bronco with a C4 automatic transmission conversion, 4-inch suspension lift, 2-inch body lift, fender flairs, and 38 inch super swampers. I was deployed and my autopay got messed up. They had no way to contact me and after who knows how many months, they liquidated the unit. It makes me very sad but in all likelihood, I would have had to sell it anyway.
35. Sold Off Dreams
My mom went into rehab and her sister, who’s a bad person, took all my stuff and stuck it in a storage unit she promised my mom she’d pay, which she didn’t. I was barely 16. She lost valuable jewelry bought by my grandfather who’d been dead awhile: things he had bought me as a baby, sending it to me when I got older; jewelry his mother brought from Ireland when she immigrated; sentimental but some of it was worth a bit I’d imagine. It was stuff I dreamed of wearing at my wedding or giving as heirlooms to my kids. My aunt said who cares; I should get over it. She hated my dad’s family in general and we all think she behaved this way on purpose. I’m still angry about it 15 years later.
34. Games, Antiques, Cards And More
My parents let a storage unit go. I lost thousands upon thousands of football cards, memorabilia, complete Pokemon collection from 2001/2002 or so, large Magic the Gathering collection, my high school diploma, old game systems and games, other various childhood things, their antiques worth thousands, all sorts of stuff. My parents were (and still are) horrible with money.
Pains me to think about still. It’s been nearly 10 years.
33. Sentimentally Priceless
The woman who raised me had a storage unit after I ran away and ended up moving to live with another family. She was constantly getting evicted from houses and I had to pick up all of our things off of the busy road just down the street from my high school (a lot of people from school saw and kids are cruel). She got a storage bin and in it were all of my childhood photos, stuff my father had left me when he died, an elephant ring in particular… nothing too valuable but sentimentally priceless.
32. Peter Beard’s Collages
I think my father can take the grand prize for this one. Back in the early 1990s, my father briefly befriended famous wildlife and model photographer Peter Beard in NYC. He ended up buying four original framed photos from him that included his signature, bloodstained handprints, writings, cut-outs, etc… In short, all the personalized things Beard included in his most desirable photo collages that today make them incredibly valuable. Anyway, about five years later, my dad moves from NYC and puts all of his things in a storage locker including the Beard photos. Eventually, my dad, who was having financial problems, decided to just let everything go because he’s broke and can’t afford to pay off the back storage fees plus the cost to move everything (mostly furniture) across the country.
Well, today, those four photos are worth at least $25K a piece but most likely much more given the amount of personalization on them and the fact that they were some of Beard’s most iconic photos.
31. Never Forgive
Not my unit but my mother’s. She stopped paying on it because she had no income and lost everything inside. Seeing how she was effectively homeless, nearly everything she owned was in there, including all of my baby pictures and a Christmas tree topper my deceased grandfather had bought me for my first Christmas. To the best of my knowledge, no one in my family possesses physical pictures of me before the age of 20 now. I’ll never forgive her for losing the tree topper.
30. Every Other Thing I Owned
In college, I studied abroad in Ghana and was out of the country with no internet access for six months. When I got back, my storage unit company had screwed up their paperwork, and instead of charging my credit card every month, they charged it once, then never again, then auctioned off everything I owned. I was left with nothing to my name except the suitcase of African souvenirs I brought back with me.
I lost set of kimonos that belonged to my grandmother, an accordion and two guitars, some dope paintings, all of my childhood photos. Every other thing I owned.
29. An Easily Avoided Tragedy
Back in 2007 my family pretty much lost everything. As a result, we had to move across the country and all of our college savings/personal savings were gone, almost overnight. So my parents hired two of those semi-trailer storage containers and we loaded them up with almost everything that was non-essential (with my dad telling us all it was going into storage until we landed a house that could fit it all). We were gullible and it made sense.
Well, into this went winter clothes, snowboards, skis, bikes, high school trophies and awards, clothes, TVs, computers, books on books, etc. But also went in were some not-so-essential, but very valuable items (both monetary and sentimental): artwork that was likely in the tens of thousands in value, and also some of my mom’s artwork, which was a hobby and in my opinion phenomenal. Then there were also all the sentimental things, such as stuff from us kids growing up—photos, toys, etc.
A few months later, my family had relocated. We keep asking what happened with the other stuff and my parents kept spinning how the moving company is storing them, then they can’t locate them, then they located them but there’s an issue with the trailer, then with enough time we just stopped talking about it. We moved on with our lives and just carried on. A few years later, I was going through some boxes and found the receipt for the company storing the trailer, decided to call and see what happened with it (this was maybe 2012 or so). The company tells me both trailers were delinquent by $1000 and put up for auction. They tried to call and get in contact since they realized this was sentimental family items but my parents ignored or avoided them.
28. My Mother’s Sadness
Because we were super poor growing up and living paycheck to paycheck, my parents had a lot of items they couldn’t fit or keep dragging around to the apartments we were in and out of at the time. They had a “family friend” who gave them some kind of insanely low discount on a storage container to hold their things. Of course, mom and dad jumped at the thought of having a place to store their items of sentimental value.
Turns out the dude was just taking their money. This “friend” never paid the rent on the storage unit at all, it probably wasn’t even his unit in the first place. Mom and Dad never figured out who the actual owner of the unit was. Who’s going to pursue legal action when you’re trying to keep the lights on and food on the table for your kids? My parents lost my moms wedding dress, my dad’s tools, family photos, that sort of thing.
That was almost thirty years ago and my mom is still so sad about it.
27. Broken Over Break
When I left for college I couldn’t take my things so they went into my mom’s storage unit. I was making a small amount of money at the time but not much.
I cam home over break and asked for the keys to get some of my clothes so I could start moving out and then she told me that the unit had been auctioned. All of my yearbooks, scrapbooks, pictures, furniture, postcards, literally everything was in there.
26. Loss And The Generosity Of Strangers
My mother lost everything of ours by not paying a storage bill when we were in between housing over a summer about 12 years ago. She found my childhood bunny rabbit stuffed animal in a pile of garbage (she saved it for me). There was a ton of valuable furniture, China, etc. One positive note is that the person who bought the storage locker made an effort to get our photo albums back to us. They found a phone number of a friend of the family in one of the albums. They were able to contact us in the end. I only have my baby photos because of the generosity of that man. The thing I miss most is my childhood homemade dollhouse and my art projects from childhood.
25. Give Anything To Have Mementos Back
My parents had some financial troubles when I was in high school; we were evicted and had to move all of our stuff to storage. They couldn’t pay that bill either, unfortunately.
We lost all my childhood photos, my parent’s wedding photos, afghans that my Grandmother had made me before she passed, all the mementos from when I was a baby, plus several sentimental items from when my parents were children. We also lost all our furniture and electronics, but I don’t care about any of that. Whoever ended up with our stuff probably just threw all the meaningful things away. I would give anything to have that stuff back and even at 30, I can’t even think about it without tearing up. Sad times.
24. Every Teenage Picture That Exists
My ex- cleaned a ton of stuff out of our apartment and moved it to a storage unit after I served her with divorce papers. She arranged for a friend of hers to pay the rent, and they didn’t.
My baby photo albums were among the stuff that was lost, and another album that contained every picture of myself as a teenager in existence.
I didn’t even know she had done it until months later after the unit had already been lost. This was almost ten years ago and I’m still bitter.
23. Childhood Gone In An Instant
My mum stopped paying the rent on her unit many years ago. Turns out it contained hundreds of our original 1980s star wars figures, ships etc as well as thousands of dollars worth of games workshop minis and out-of-print boxed games from the same era. My brothers and I were kinda obsessed.
It didn’t occur to me where that stuff went when I moved out. She didn’t even give us the option of paying out the rent to recover it. Just bam, childhood is gone.
22. $10 For Too Much To Remember
I forget everything I had in mine, it was years ago. A couple of items always pop up in my head and I miss them.
My first PC, a Leading Edge Model D with a hard drive and floppies that contained about 10 years worth of memories on BBS’s, pre-web internet, IRC logs, etc. Friends contacts, early ICQ account… An original cel from one of the “Patlabor” shows; a nice cel and drawing of Noa Izumi. My autographed photo of George Takei from when I met him. Sure I could buy one or something, but it was just a nice memory.
I had a couple thousand books in there, electronics, etc. But they auctioned it off for $10. I think that pissed me off the most. Still owing almost the entire amount and losing everything.
21. Loss Piled On Loss
My mom got into a car crash and then died a year later due to related complications when I was 14. She downsized so pretty much all non-necessities got put into a storage unit. My parents were divorced by that point so my dad just let it go rather than paying it off (Mom was behind). Pretty much every single memento from my childhood and my mom’s past was in that storage unit. Every picture album from my childhood and earlier, my mom’s wedding dress, all my books (I was a nerd who had a lot of books), all my little collections, everything. When I moved out for college, and then my dad moved a few years later, it was just a matter of going through my high school stuff because every little thing I’d had before then was lost. I also have a very limited number of pictures of my mom and her side of the family which sucks.
20. From The Somber To The Hilarious
I lost a World War Two Japanese officer’s sword, my grandad’s metals from the war, a family lineage book dating back to 1790. My grandma had been working on it most of her life; I regret every day of trusting my friend to pay the bill while I was overseas… I also lost a damn fine four hose hooka. We called it the Duderomic Fromblotser.
19. The Value Of A Lost Olympian
I used to be a National Champion for an Olympic Sport and an American Record Holder for one of the distances I raced. From ages 14-19 I was the top athlete in whatever age division I raced in and by 16 I was top 3 among the 18+ field. At 19, I set the American record and held it for 10+ years.
I had every single award, trophy, and medal inside one of those storage units. I fell on hard times and lost every single memento. The worst bit is I know it ended up in the garbage as it had no value to anyone but me. I have never forgiven myself.
18. Legos, My Childhood
After my parents divorced, my mom got a storage unit as she was moving in and out of housing situations. Well, after a particularly hard financial period, she lapsed in her payment and lost the unit.
The unit held two to three massive (25-gallon) containers of Legos, roughly 12 years worth. We also lost a bunch of PS1 games, Pokemon cards, and other childhood toys.
Sometimes it sucks to remember that most of my childhood was in there and I will never get it back.
17. Furniture From Grandmother
When I was 19 and moving into my first place outside my parents’ home, we figured, “Hey there’s some extra furniture in our storage unit.” Well, turns out the owner mixed up my parents’ payment history with another customer who hadn’t been paying, so they sold all our stuff. I don’t remember the specifics, but legally there wasn’t much we could do. The stuff in there was furniture that had come from my grandmother and was collectively worth $10k, but the storage unit owner only would cough up $1k.
16. Baby Stuff, Marine Stuff
My mom had a storage unit that contained every single item of mine from the time I was a baby until I was about 14. All but about three pictures of me as a kid, all of my dad’s Marine Corps pictures, uniforms, etc. She just stopped paying it one month and never told me until a year later when I asked to borrow the key so I could go get my dad’s pictures and uniforms for him.
15. Bad Aunt
My mother-in-law had just passed away three to four months prior. My husband had been paying for the storage his mom was using, but it was under her sister’s name because his mom’s info alone wasn’t sufficient. It was never unpaid or paid late, but his aunt took it upon herself to sell everything in the unit for $200 because she needed money. Instead of selling only the washer/dryer, which was her goal was, she had someone take everything for $200. His entire baseball card set, his mother’s collections, the only family photos he had of his mother and brothers, a lot of personal documents. We found out because one day we called to pay the bill and they said it had been cleared out.
14. A Gift Given In Love
When my parents first started dating in their mid-teens, my dad was really into martial arts. So as a really nice gift, my mom bought my dad a pair of really nice ninja sais with a leather, velvet-lined case and everything. He had them all throughout the years of me growing up and when I finally became old enough, he passed them down to me. Fast forward a few years, I move to Florida and have a storage shed because my girlfriend and I were in the process of moving. The sais are in there, along with my computer with all of my writings in it, the first guitar my grandmother gave me growing up and most of my clothing and furniture. A short time later, my girlfriend and I broke up and I lost my job… it was a bad time. The ex- agreed to pay the storage fee until I could get back on my feet. She didn’t have a car, so she was giving the money to her dad for him to go pay it… what we didn’t realize was that rather than pay the bill, he was spending the money on coke and tossing the past due notices when they would come in the mail.
I found out two weeks after my stuff had been sold. It still makes me sick to my stomach… It’s been 10 years and I still don’t have the heart to tell my dad.
13. Records, Dresses And Everything Else
We lost our storage unit when I had my youngest seven years ago. I lost my wedding dress, album, and marriage certificates, all of my childhood photos, my kids’ baby books and christening gowns. Whoever bought it sent us one small album of pictures of my kids and an Easter dress.
The most valuable thing was probably my dad’s old record collection. He had about three or four boxes full of records.
12. A Ferrari Returned
My friend lost a Ferrari 308 project car. If anyone is familiar with the 308, it’s probably the cheapest Ferrari you can buy, but it was still worth maybe $15-20k. His storage unit automatically drafted from his bank account. When he changed banks, that stopped. He didn’t realize it until three months after the car was gone when he tried to get into his storage unit.
About a year after the fact, the guy who ended up with his Ferrari (it had been auctioned off) contacted him asking if he could buy the title. My buddy actually made an offer on the car and wound up buying it back for sentimental reasons. As far as I know, the car is still sitting somewhere with the engine out.
11. Trusted The Wrong Friend
I shared a unit with a roommate in college after they decided to abandon the apartment we were splitting to join the military. He offered to share a storage unit with me; I agreed because I was basically homeless and needed a place to put my stuff while I stayed with a friend. About two or three months later I had a place, went to check the storage, and it’s completely empty. Everything I owned up to the point besides the few essential items I brought with me was gone. Handmade furniture by my grandpa, years worth of artwork I had created before and during college, tons of clothes, consoles… all gone. I asked the facility if the unit had been auctioned but they believed that it had been emptied by its owner. I filed a police report against my roommate, nothing ever happened. This was like seven years ago; I’m still kinda bitter about it.
10. Learned The Lesson
My mom lost ours when I was 13. I’m now 32 and have not one picture of me from babyhood/childhood. She also lost my cat figurine collection (dorky but had it since I was tiny), and a lot of sentimental things. Since then, I haven’t really gotten attached to objects so that’s good.
9. Rolled A Natural 1
I had a storage unit with my girlfriend when I joined the army. I found out from the storage management that she never paid the bills… ever. Even though I was sending her money for it every month.
I lost my full set of first edition DnD books and the DM guide was signed by Gary Gygax and the Monster Manual was signed by Dave Arneson.
I also lost a mint condition Punch and Judy bank in that deal.
My friend had his storage taken away literally because his mom was too lazy to pay the bill. His dad gave her hundreds of dollars and begged her to just get up and do it but it was “too stressful for her”. He couldn’t do it himself because she made then move it a two-hour drive away to where she lived when she ditched her son to go live with her boyfriend and had them put it under her name so she had all the control.
He and his dad lost the ashes of his grandmother (dad’s mom), his security blanket and all other baby things including pictures, really nice collectors editions/ first editions of books including books from his tribe, an N64, Wii, and all of their documentation including social security cards, birth certificates and vaccine records, and so much more. So whoever got the storage not only gets a good loot but access to all the info of an entire family including their identities.
But at least his mom got her clothes out in time before it was all taken.
7. First Painting “Sold”
I painted a large picture of myself and my ex- as a Christmas present to him one year. It hung in our living room over the couch. When we broke up, I took it down and ended up putting it in a tiny 3×4 storage unit along with some ratty bed-in-a-bag sets I didn’t have room for in my apartment’s tiny closets.
Eventually, I got tired of paying $80 a month for that crap so I let it go. I figured they’d just toss the stuff: there were literally only three items in there.
About four years later, I needed a storage locker again and I went back to the same place, expecting them to charge me a fee for whatever it took to cancel that old unit. Instead, they signed me up without comment (and I didn’t mention it). A week or so later I got a check in the mail for around $1,500. Confused, I brought the check up to the storage company and was told that it was the leftover balance of the auctioned unit.
Someone paid almost $2,000 for a painting of me and my cheating ex and two bed in a bag sets. That was the first painting I ever technically “sold”. I still wonder what happened to it. It tickles me to think that it’s maybe hanging on somebody’s wall somewhere.
6. Grandfather’s Memorabilia As Gone As Him
My grandfather passed away a few years ago. For months we were looking for his collection of war memorabilia. He had several properties throughout New York and South Carolina, so it took some time to check them all. Finally, my uncle found statements for a storage unit in South Carolina. He called the storage place, and they told us they auctioned off the unit the month before. My grandfather would pay in cash every six months (he never used a debit card or checks) and somehow the letters got lost in the mail.
We lost his uniforms, his medals, his collection of war “spoils”, and lord knows what else he put in there.
5. Just Walked Out
My mom’s third husband walked out on their family, and never paid for the storage container that held all of their belongings after they moved to a new state (I was at college at this time, luckily, so I was pretty far removed from the immediate situation).
Because of that, the unit got sold off. It held every piece of furniture my mother owned, and all of her and my siblings’ belongings. This included my great-grandmother’s hope chest, my little sister’s massive snow globe collection, all the mementos and memory boxes I’d saved from high school and hadn’t taken to college, and all of our family photo albums.
It still makes me really sad to think about it.
4. Floods And Thieves
Mine was broken into two months in. I was flooded out of my apartment and put most of my stuff in there while I figured out what to do/where to go. In my case, it wasn’t because I wanted to.
So lost 1/3 if my stuff to the flood and another 1/3 to thieves. They broke into every storage unit in that row and covered the cameras. I still think it was someone who worked there.
To this day (three years later) I still will randomly realize something that was stolen. Dream journals I’ve had since I was 10, pashmina my mom bought from Greece, electric keyboard I’d had since 11, souvenirs from road trips or other people’s travels, two-decades-old tarot cards, beautiful leather satchel my sis got me for a birthday, etc.
The things I miss most are the things that were worthless to everyone else. Luckily, I brought my box of legal/medical documents with me as well as a brand new Xbox my bro had just bought me.
Sorry, I’m still not over it. It’s such a violation.
3. Loss Over A Minor Mix-Up
When I was seven, my parents had a lot of our sentimental items in a large storage room. My mom was just a few days late making a payment but when we got there the lock had been busted and the storage company took everything. I think my parents tried to take them to court but couldn’t afford a lawyer and so it never went anywhere. The company tried to blame it on a mix up but also said there was nothing they could do about what was already sold. They sold heirlooms, my sisters army medals (served in Iraq), photos of generations of family members, guitars, so many other things I don’t even remember anymore. It was a really bad time for my family.
2. Irresponsible Mother
My mother stopped paying on a storage unit when I was a kid. It had a silver tea service set that was gorgeous and given to her as a gift from an elderly woman at her church (and was worth a few thousand dollars), and some antique furniture. The storage unit also contained a ton of old family photo albums that can never be replaced. I was raised by my father, but my half-siblings lost the majority of their childhood pictures, toys, etc.
1. Irreplaceable, Historic Scarf Misplaced
I lost a silk scarf, made from the parachute silk from the pilot of a Kate bomber at Pearl Harbor. My mom’s friend was on a dual .50 Cal mount and his gunshot down the Kate on December 7th. The next day his team went to the wreck, he pulled the parachute from the dead pilot took it to a Japanese tailor in Honolulu and had it made into six scarves. I got it as a Marine Corps boot camp graduation gift in 1979, along with a US Dept of the Navy letterhead with its provenance, signed by mom’s friend who did 38 years in uniform, enlisting as a private in 1938, battlefield commission on Guadalcanal, and retiring as a Bird Colonel in 1976.
I didn’t know it was in the storage. I thought it was in my safe.
It’s the only thing that could not be replaced for any price.