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Friday, August 19, 2011

A Tale of Two Units... part 2

If you didn't read part 1 yet of this story yet, you might want to.  You can find a link to it here:  A Tale of Two Units... part 1 If you didn't, it isn't really necessary for this blog (but you should read it, it's good stuff!)

After our 3 hour long encounter with the 10X10 unit in the 103 degree New Orleans heat, we were thrilled to get to dig unit #2, a climate controlled 5X5?  No, I think it was more like a 2X3.  It wasn't completely full, either.   But first, back to auction day. When the unit had first opened up the day before, the first things we saw were a box marked "Baseball cards",  a bunch of sterilite bin towers with the drawers in them (I LOVE those things!) and clothing and miscellaneous items haphazardly thrown in.  There was also a box of caps (like baseball style caps).  Everyone remarked that it looked like he (the tenant) had already taken out what he wanted and left the rest- but to me, someone who is into sports is not going to leave his baseball cards and hats behind.  If he had collected them in the first place, they meant something to him, and if that was left, who knew what else was?   I think only one person was bidding against us, and as we neared $100 I could see Brian looking at me like "are you nuts?  This is only a 3/4 full 2X3"... but I just told him I had "that feeling" and he finished bidding on it like a pro.

Minus the baseball cards (which we removed before I took the picture), here's what the unit looked like:

We won the unit and immediately went in to quickly assess what was there and take the items of value.  Unsurprisingly, there were a bunch of sports collectibles, including the box of baseball cards (pictured below) and a whole slew of sports team hats and jerseys.  To our absolute delight (we are both HUGE New Orleans Saints fans) there were a couple original print editions of the famous copy of The Times Picayune (our local paper) from the day after the Saints won Superbowl XLIV, which every Saints fan has framed somewhere in their home.  Here's the one in my house:

That copy of the paper without any signatures or anything, is worth about $10-$20... because everyone wants one!   So we had about 4-5 of those, a Superbowl XLIV program, and a few other Superbowl Saints Championship collectibles.    All in all about $140 worth of stuff, paying for our unit.  Later that day, we actually went to Saints training camp, and Drew Brees himself signed all of our items.  Now they're each worth about $120-$150 a piece.   The trick to being great in this business is not just finding things, but getting the maximum value out of them.  I respect and admire Allen Haff from Auction Hunters a lot, because not only does he find great antiques, but he often restores them and pours a lot of love into them to make them worth five times more than they were when he dug them out.  Mad props to him, and so far, it's a technique that's working for us, too!
But back to our amazing Saints items-- we have now quadrupled the cost of our unit.   Here's a photo of Drew signing our stuff:

Here's a photo of the box of baseball cards:
Sure, there may not be a $10,000 baseball card here... although, I guess there COULD be, but even if we grab bag them 20 to a bag at a garage sale for $1 a bag (people love buying "mysterious" things -- we'll make $50 at least!   And we'll have fun going through them!

Back to our unit.  We've bought the unit and ransacked it for obvious valuables, and now it's Day 2 and we've brought the van back and we're doing our dig.

Ever wondered how people get their storage units repossessed?  I gave you the technical rundown on this a couple of weeks ago...  but that's not what I mean.   I mean, what GETS them to that point?  Well, in my experience, they're usually either starting some type of new company and get in over their heads, have had some type of major life change (move, marriage, divorce, baby),  or... they are idiots.  This guy... it seemed like all three things applied!   The books told us the story of his start-up businesses.  He had "Building a PC for dummies"  "Starting a Business for Dummies," "Learning to Screen-Print for Dummies,"  and more.  But there were others, too. He had books on theories of political conspiracies, including one gem about how 9-11 was orchestrated, that had a title having something to do with Alice in Wonderland.   He had books on how to please his woman.  He had all sorts of books that can ALL explain his current situation!   We kept them to sell at garage sales.  If you want one, please let me know and I'll be happy to get it to you :)

I mentioned earlier that we found the contents of a screen-printing t-shirt business?  That was actually an exciting part of this locker.  Getting those t-shirts printed is expensive.  Making the screens is even more expensive.  We found bags and bags of pre-screened t-shirts (already done), bags and bags of tie-dyed t-shirts, bags and bags of prepared (rubber banded) tie-dyed t-shirts (which I loved because it brought back many memories of being a girl scout),  the actual screen templates he used for the screen printed shirts, and all of his ink and dye.  Pretty cool.  We just need to see if we can find a buyer.  Here are some of the boxes of shirts and dye, along with a pretty nice computer monitor.

Here's a close up of the tie-dye shirts.  Anyone want one?  I'm running a special... $2 a piece!  You can't beat $2 to make you feel young again.  It's like being in the 80s.  Seriously.

Fortunately, unlike our last unit, this guy's personal effects easily fit into one designer shoebox.  I also put his kids backpack in the box to be given back to him because a) the little kid is cute and b) the little kid's name is Chayse-Davide and it's monogrammed on everything.  The odds of me finding another kid with THAT name is as likely as me actually wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt.   I will say though, the kid is really cute-- so cute, in fact, that a Times Picayune (again with the newspaper) photographer took a picture of him enjoying Jazz Fest 2009.   That was a cute little clipping his uncle had sent him that he had left in his storage unit.  I put it in the shoebox.  Hopefully, he gets it back!

Here's the box of caps:  Some really nice ones, including 2 New Orleans Saints caps (YES!), a New Orleans Hornets cap (awesome!), and a bunch of other sports teams.  Most in pretty good condition, some still have tags:

And... drumroll please... oh my goodness, can we say designer shoes??  The guy's size is a little unorthodox for the guys I know (he's a 9, which seems pretty tiny for the boys I hang out with), but boy, did he have good taste in shoes!   Aside from the 3-4 pairs of super designer shoes (dustbags and everything), there are at least 20 pairs of Nikes.  Pictured below is only maybe 1/10th of them.

On top of the sterilites (with drawers!) that make me  happy, there was also something Brian loves, as it keeps his beer cold, and that is the mini-fridge.  At this point, we have mini-fridges EVERYWHERE.  But, here's one more!

And what bachelor pad would be complete without a man poster of some sort?  Here's a ROCKY movie poster!

There are some really snazzy jackets-- some look like the Fresh Prince would wear them, others are quite the Dillards catalog.  Brian kept a James Dean looking black leather one.  Watch out, Ladies!

Oh, and more Saints beads!   The bead below, affectionately dubbed "Saintopolis" by Brian (I have no idea, either), is now hanging on the rearview mirror of my car!

Some cds (okay, a lot of cds) and a ton of designer clothing (EVERYTHING he had was Ralph Lauren, all the way down to the socks and underwear)...  and we are now getting into the Rastafarian portion of our journey.   I was so relieved to be able to stop going through clothing (I had done about 5 laundry baskets full),  and it was time to pause for a picture with my new blanket and drum:
 I swear I don't normally look like that!  It was hot and I was sweaty and had been up since 6am.  I don't put on makeup before 8.  Ever.  The one exception to that was when I went on Wheel of Fortune.

Back to the dig, and more clothes.  Grr.   At least we have more sports themed t-shirts.  We found Packers, Broncos, Saints (yay),  and a few other teams.  No rivals though, except for the Eagles.  And I really don't like the Eagles.  So, even though this shirt was fine and there was nothing wrong with it, I threw it away.  I've done the same thing before with Cowboys blankets and Falcons caps.  My whole deal is that if I throw them away, that's one less thing that can end up going where something Saints themed should go.  And I've done my part for society.  Here's a picture of the Eagles shirt in the trash:

A free tie-dyed shirt to the first person who can tell me what the HELL this is.   I thought it was a gag of some sort, and then I thought maybe it was ladies stockings for a bow-legged lady.  Now I think maybe it's a doo-rag.   Whatever it is, it scares me.

Speaking of things that a) I don't know what they are and b) scare me... you HAVE to see this video Brian and I took at this point during our journey in this locker.    Here you go!

Speaking of strange things... in another hamper of clothing,  I was pleasantly surprised for a change of pace by finding this.  At first I thought it was a Bible... but it turns out it was a hollowed out book!  I really wanted to find jewelry or money, but instead...   what I found was... (any guesses)??

That's right, it had been used as a holding box for some lovely marijuana.  Sigh.    Just once I wish these people would realize that I am a good person and therefore drugs mean nothing to me.   Can't they just leave me cash instead?

I still really wanted the box/book because I thought it was super neat and really pretty, but Brian convinced me that I didn't want all this residue:
 and also, that knowing my luck, I'd get into an auto accident with a K-9 cop and go to jail for drug trafficking.    So.... the hollowed out book is sadly in the garbage at the storage facility.  Knock yourselves out if you'd like to go try to find it.

I DID eventually find a Bible...  I always go through them because people keep very important things in Bibles.  Except for pot which goes in secret hollow books.   But, most other important things are kept in Bibles.  I always go through all books, but I take special care with Bibles going through page by page.  A lot of times people will leave money, safe combinations, whatever you can think of on pages with verses that mean something to them.  I did find a lot of things this time, but nothing valuable-- mainly bookmarks, letters, and things of that nature.

And if you're wondering about our book, "Letters from Storage Lockers" - I did find TWO journals filled with a couple of letters that are coming home with me.  You'll get some great letters pretty soon!

My battle scars of the day:

Look at all of the trash bags!  3-4 bags of things thrown out!  That made Brian aka "Captain Trashbag" super happy!

All in all, it was a pretty good dig.  Here's what we found:
sports cards
sports jerseys
sports t-shirts and caps
Nike shoes (25 pairs)
designer shoes (5-10 pairs)
a really nice Sony sound system for an MP3 player (also takes cds) and matching speakers
kid/baby stuff.. backpacks, gym bags, baby lotions and washcloths, bibs, and clothing
Computer screen
Saints newspapers & programs (now signed!)
Designer clothing including a few suits
The disgusting brown thing we have no idea what it is (see video)
An entire screen-printing business
Enough tie-dye shirts to last another 20 years

That's it for now... stay tuned, there is some super exciting news to come this week!  Also, be prepared for a tale of the WORST AUCTION EVER!


  1. Those were some great finds. Always love reading your blog. Specially since it's up-to-date and not 3 months old. Specially love the pictures and stories of your digs. For me all those shirts would prob end up at one of my kids schools for field day or something. Keep up the great work.

  2. Ok the weird thing in your video.... the only thing I can think... is ... um... a special toy for boys to enjoy themselves..... EWE LOVE the blog

  3. HA! I thought that too... but the hole in the center of it (wish I had taken a picture).. is only about the size of a pencil. So... that leaves me wondering some more! :)



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