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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Units... part 1

The other day I posted the listings of the auctions we were going to on Monday... we ended up buying two of those units.  See comments on that post to find out which two, if you're interested.   We woke up bright and early this morning and were unloading units before 7:30am.  Four hours in both units (and 10 minutes in a dumpster because Fred Sanford... I mean Brian, saw something he liked)... and we were done, exhausted, but excited, as usual.   Here, is the tale of those two units (part 1):

Unit #1 was an outdoor (read: hot) 10 X 10 unit.  It was not completely full, and it was at the very last auction site of the day.  People were tired, and lazy, and hot, and I think that contributed a lot to why we were able to get it for such a reasonable price.  We only bid on 3-4 units the entire day, and we won 2 of those 4.   I got my strong "storage psychic" feeling on two units, and those were both of the ones we ended up getting.  Mad props to Brian for trusting me and going with my instincts -- and he totally is responsible for winning them at such low prices because he was the bidder.

Here's what our unit looked like when the doors opened:

Three things were pretty apparent when the door opened.  1)  It was a young family with children,  2) they were lower-middle class, and 3) they hadn't taken the items of sentimental value out.    Although points 1 and 2 might not be a reason to buy a locker, reason 3 definitely is.  If someone does not take the time to take their emotional valuables out, they probably didn't take the time to take their true valuables out of the unit.   There was always the risk that this couple divorced and that's why they left that artwork-- but I could see a few other personal belongings and it was enough to take the risk.   There were also two additional reasons we liked this unit a lot:  1)  The red Wolverine box had some tool items in it, and underneath were 2 brake rotors and a set of ceramic brake pads.  I know the value of those having spent so many years in the automotive industry (usually $50-$80 a rotor and $40-$300 for pads depending on what they fit).  2)  See the wooden hamster wheel looking thing?  To the right of that is a cardboard box that I could have sworn said "wedding gifts" on it.  Do you see it?

On to the dig.  What we typically do is go right to the things that we think are valuable and remove them from the unit.  Because we managed to do this yesterday, 5 minutes after we bought the unit, I was able to process it in spacial order.  (I start in one corner and work my way around, just like you would do if you were cleaning a really packed messy room).  

The first thing I found is what I'd like to entitle "Kool-Aid Kit" -- it's everything you need to make Kool Aid!   The mixing bowl, pouring bowl, packets of Kool Aid, and even a special Coca-Cola collector's glass to drink it out of.  Sigh.  Who goes to such great lengths to pack their kool aid?   At least we have the collector's glass!

The next thing we found was a deep fryer.  It is covered and grease and oil and wholly disgusting and I would have thrown it out but I left it up to Brian and I believe he kept it.  But, I know it can be cleaned.  And those things are expensive!

There was a box of decently nice men's clothing... mostly our regular brands of Rocawear and Nike...

There was also a box of women's clothing.  One or two baby girl pieces but mainly woman's clothing.  Lots of her stuff was brand new even though it's cheap brands (Forever 21, Aeropostale, etc).  It's still really cute though, so if any ladies are looking-- check my Facebook albums or comment or e-mail us at   Size S-L tops and size XS-S bottoms.

There was a box of kitchen supplies... after throwing away the butter, oyster, and sour cream containers this is what was left:

So far my "keep" box contains a notebook of love letters (I'm sure you'll be reading them here shortly), as well as some Saints and Hornets cups.  WHO DAT!  Yes, I stole them out of the Kitchenware box.  yes, I plan on keeping them for myself.  Got a problem with that?  You'd do the same thing! :)

There's also some men's, women's, and baby girl shoes.   The ladies shoes are super cute (size 8), and some are pretty nice brands.  There's one pair of baby girl shoes new in the packaging.

A few baby toys and pieces of some type of baby...  thing.  (You can tell I don't have kids)...

Remember I thought I saw a box with "Wedding presents" written on it?   I did.  It had several uniform looking boxes inside, and at first I thought maybe they were empty (lots of people keep boxes for glass with the styrofoam inserts inside so that when they move they can do so without breaking it).  But nope, turns out they were actual, unopened, wedding presents!   Crystal, china, silver and gold plated goblets and cake cutters-- some monogrammed (bummer).  I always hate when they monogram it with the full names and dates because it's totally useless--  at least if they did something like "Ted" I could try to find other Ted's!  But all in all there is a LOT of it...  about 12 pieces of unopened crystal.  I even got to rip into some Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Dillards gift wrap!  And it was fun opening wedding presents, I'm not going to lie!    Oh, and PS - if you're getting married between now and 2012-- please do not be surprised (or offended) if we give you crystal.  It's super super nice, if it makes you feel any better :)

Turns out, there was also another box of wedding gifts.  Score!

And here's what the writing on the box looked like:

There were also a few really nice mirrors and large pictures / art...

 A vacuum cleaner and our ever-increasingly-common printer, in box.  (We have like 8 of them, no lie).

There were a few other nice mid-ticket items, like a boom box and 2-3 suitcases:

And the ever-typical box of rollers.  But no fake hair!  I'm pleasantly surprised, and even a little impressed!

That was about where the organization in this unit ended.  The wedding gifts, shoes, clothing, baby stuff, and hair rollers were, for the most part, in pretty decent order.  I guess they were organized in the home? Everything else was just thrown in trash bags, shopping bags, on the floor-- you name it.  I started putting it together.  Rule #1 if you're ever going to get a storage unit, is don't get a storage unit.  Rule #2 if you're going to get a storage unit, is to organize your things before hand.  Half the time you'll realize I'm right about #1 and you don't even need a unit if you throw away all of the trash and sell the stuff you aren't attached to.   Rule #3 is if you're going to get a storage unit and you still organize your things and need it-- at least make sure to take the personal sentimental items out.  The items that would kill you if you lost them.  The memories, the photos, the yearbooks, the things you can't get back.   This is a very sore spot for me because I lost a lot in the flood of 1995 and I lost even more in Katrina-- but I was one of the lucky ones. I still have stuff.  Lots of my friends lost absolutely everything.  I can't imagine how people can be in this city, go through Katrina, and still leave their most valuable belongings on the floor of a storage unit.  But I digress.  Here is just a few of the personal belongings I found:

Here's their original marriage certificate:
Super bad idea to leave that in there.  Even if the marriage ended poorly, it's probably still not a good idea to leave something with your maiden name, mother's maiden name, date of birth, and signature lying around.  Just saying.

Here's the entire stack of personal items when I was done with it.  It included: titles to the cars, birth certificates, marriage license, baby shower pillow (signed with all of the guests and their well-wishes), baby shower photo album, engagement portrait, high school yearbooks for both of them, middle school yearbooks, baby bracelet, hospital bracelet for Mom, high school graduation mug, wedding planning binder, baby photos, ultrasound CD, and more.  I still can't understand what would possess a person to leave this behind.  Even if their life together had ended - there were items in their from their childhood, before they met in high school-- and also, things from their children's childhoods.    Sigh.

We also found this thing.  If anyone can fill me in on what the hell this is, I'd appreciate it.  At first I thought it was for a large hamster.  It also kind of looks like a cage.   Or interpretative art.  Brian thinks it's a changing table.  He might be right.  I'm still undecided.  And how do you change a baby's diaper in a jail circle?

A closeup of the infamous printer.  Anyone want to buy it?  Give me $30.

Ooh!  We also found this construction worker "don't hit me on the side of the road" shirt- which Brian was happy to model for you all:

This is his mean "construction worker face", I guess...

Ah!  The fake hair.  It's always there somewhere... especially if there are rollers around!

We're getting ready to leave, and we realize there's one bag we've not looked through.  It is in a trash bag, and at first glance, looks like trash.  But I hear something clanging around (you learn very quickly that change, jewelry, and tools have a particular ring to them)-- and I know that I have to trust my instincts.  Plus, I know that I'm not going to be able to sleep wondering if I missed something!  So, I roll up my sleeves and "take one for the team".    It was mostly garbage.  There were empty Gatorade bottles,  McDonalds bags from weeks and months ago, used qtips, papers, candy wrappers, generally... trash.  BUT- there was about $1 in change, 3 or 4 sockets (from a set that we had 26/30 of),  and some XBOX accessories.  My best guess is they assembled a trash bag and at the very last minute found a junk drawer they needed to pack-- they dumped it into one of the 8 bags, not realizing one actually WAS trash.  Gross.   Here's a look at what the garbage bag looked like from the top:

I also had the misfortune of finding THIS.  *NO* idea what it was supposed to be... but I'm sure it was supposed to be it LONG ago.  Brian is lucky he was at the dumpster when this little gem came out of the trash bag!

Here's a close up.  You're welcome.  Let me know if anyone has a guess to what it is/was.  By the ribbon and cling wrap, I'm going to go with some type of Holiday cookies/bread/pie .... from 2008.

All in all, it was a pretty successful dig.  Let's do a wrap-up:

  Collector, life-size, porcelain doll (no pictures yet but they'll be coming, probably in a separate blog)
  Wedding presents, crystal, gold-plated things, frames, goblets, etc.
   The same printer we keep finding
  Fake hair & rollers
Picture frames, mirrors, curtains, 3-4 sets of brand new bedding (to match some curtains), and household items
Brake pads and rotors (if anyone needs them, let me know... I think they fit a 2000 Oldsmobile)
Baby girl dresses (several really really nice $40+ dresses, new with tags)
Baby girl clothes and shoes
Adult man/woman clothes and shoes
a special Chris Paul jersey (stay tuned for a pic of that)
a nifty Construction worker shirt
fun pictures of Brian in above-mentioned shirt
some old pizza... pie.... cookies... something
a bag of trash
and a wooden hamster wheel... oh no, we threw that away
and old coke glass, kitchen collectibles, and a deep fryer
a brand new purse with $98 price tag and a brand new wallet with $28 price tag (stay tuned for pics)


  1. Please keep me posted on the baby girl clothes and such - thanks! -Marie

  2. Hmmm I used to nanny for a little boy whose crib kind of looked like that.

  3. This story makes me sad. Could you find them on fb to return the marriage certificate? Or as a policy, do you not contact the ppl?

  4. We returned all of the personal items to the storage unit front office. They are going to hold the items for up to a month-- but they said the man told them that "he is a truckdriver and lives out of state and probably won't make it back" to claim them... It IS sad!

  5. Wow, maybe that mush is her husband. ;)

  6. HAHAHA... classic! Good call! That's a great way to kill someone and leave them in a storage locker... wrap a little bow around it and no one will EVER know! ;)

  7. "they dumped it into one of the 8 bags, not realizing one actually WAS trash."

    That's a well-thought explanation for why there were somewhat valuable items mixed in with the trash. But I'm always wondering, why people STORE their trash? You see it all the time.



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