Storage auctions happen regularly when units have been abandoned and the bills aren't being paid. Facility owners need to make up for their losses. Allowing bidding for their units is a way to give everyone the potential to make some money - all the way around. There's no telling what will be inside. There may be nothing of value or someone might hit the jackpot.
First things first, you need to find out when a storage auction is being held. You can perform an online search or call to facilities in your area. If you run out of luck with storage units in your town, you might try the next town over, or a big city. Once you've located an auction, prepare for the bid. You'll be expected to pay that day, if you win a bid. Think about how much you are willing to spend. It will be a gamble. You might take a complete loss, find some excellent pieces to sell, or make some discoveries you will keep. It's all luck of the draw.
When the storage auction begins, the door to the unit will be opened for the first time. Everyone interested in the unit is allowed to take a look inside, without actually going into the unit. Before you consider placing a bid, pay attention. Are things packed carefully? Can you actually see anything worthwhile? Is everything tossed in a haphazard way? Is there any sign of damage? Once bidding begins, you can decide if you are going for it. If there is more than one unit up for bid, you might wait until the next unit. You can also use the first experience as a practice run and watch others.
If you actually win a bid, you will probably have 48 hours to clear out your unit. Take your time sorting through all of the contents. You can start taking things out that day. Decide what will be a keeper, what has to go to the trash, and if there will be any donations. Lock it up until you can take everything out.