It’s no surprise that here at Storage Direct we’re big fans of storage units. That means we’re always eager to hear stories involving them - whether they’re crazy, inspiring, heart wrenching, or otherwise. Today, we’d here to share a few of our favorite weird, wild storage unit stories with you.
Story 1: I don’t think those belong in there, buddy.
This is the story of a funeral home director who used ingenuity for some rather nefarious purposes. Joseph V. O'Donnell was a funeral home director in Massachusetts. When his license lapsed and he had to close the family business, he decided to ignore the law and take matters into his own hands. At that point he had already accepted (and, of course, spent) deposits from a variety of families. The problem was, his business was closed and he had nowhere to do his work... or did he?
O'Donnell decided to rent a storage unit in his home town and stash the bodies he had been holding within it. He'd then give random ashes to the families who had paid him their deposits and tell them that they were the ashes of their loved ones. It didn't take very long before O’Donnell’s customers starting asking questions. Finally, investigators busted O’Donnell by opening the storage unit and finding its dearly departed contents. O'Donnell ended up spending five years in prison for his crimes and incurred a hefty fine. Suffice it to say, he definitely misunderstood the idea of self storage.
Story 2: Disintegrating disaster, storage unit style.
We've said it before and we've said it again: temperature control is essential when it comes to choosing your ideal storage unit. Temperature controlled units limit humidity, protect possessions, and lead to better preservation of everything within. One woman who stored her things in a non temperature-control unit unfortunately learned this lesson the hard way.
Deane Ritzman came back from basic training to find that her possessions had developed a… rather severe case of mold. So severe, in fact, that she when she picked up a bookcase it “literally literally disintegrated in [her] hands." Not only is this story tragic, it’s... pretty gross too.
Story 3: Fascinating Finds at Auction
There are a lot of stories out there about people finding incredible and/or valuable things while purchasing storage units at an auction. Some of our favorite finds include:
- The thirteen-foot neon marquee that once adorned Sunset Strip institution the Whisky-A-Go-Go turned up in a storage unit… in Maine. The auctioneer ended up selling the sign for almost fifty thousand dollars.
- In Virginia, a local storage unit company put an unassuming storage unit up for auction after its owner defaulted on the unit’s payments. What bidders didn't know at the time was that the unit once belonged to a WWII general who owned a large number of historical documents and ephemera. The collection found inside the unit included documents with original signatures from previous United States presidents. Experts valued the contents at over two hundred thousand dollars.
- This one is one of the more well-known stories - and our personal favorite. In 2011, Dan and Laura Dotson sold a storage unit for a thousand dollars with no idea what was inside. When you flip and sell so many units, sometimes it's easier to offload a few to better manage your merchandise. What they didn’t know was, this particular storage unit happened to contain a pirate’s treasure! When the buyer opened the unit, they found a simple plastic rubbermaid container… packed to the brim with Spanish gold and silver! Experts ended up appraising the value of the pirate’s booty at half a million dollars.
If you’re interested in a storage unit of your own, get in touch with Storage Direct any time. We’ll make sure your storage unit story is a happy one (even if we can’t guarantee it ends with pirate treasure).