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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Congratulations! It's a Beautiful... baby... storage unit!

Our Top 15 Units

Greetings!   We realized the other day while sitting in the car forever waiting for auction (we did in fact, bring the laptop with us to auction and it worked out well, as you can see here by the fact that we have a new blog in less than 3 days) -- that we have a ton of photos that we've taken on the phones and have just never uploaded.  It wasn't enough for an entire blog in some cases, or in other cases, it was when we were first starting and not really blogging.   Either way, these are some of our favorite units, and we'd like to share them with you now.  We've been at this for just about 9 months full-time, enough time to have a baby, and while neither of us have any of those- we do have over 60 storage units that we remember fondly!   Here are some of our favorites, and most memorable, in no particular order:

#1:  Princess Unit 

 We call this unit the Princess unit for two reasons.  First, the girl who owned this unit was actually NAMED Princess, and secondly-- all of the things in there were fit FOR a princess.  She was only an unemployed college student, but somehow, she had Juicy Couture / DKNY / Coach EVERYTHING.  Some really super nice stuff.  We bought that unit for $50, and it was a tiny little locker, but Brian saw the Louis Vuitton and no one else did. Even if it was a fake, we knew it was a good fake (it was, and it was) and either way it was worth at least $40-50.  We ended up with the bag (which I kept), a diamond heart necklace (that I kept),  a gold chain that we sold for $100,  a Juicy Couture chain (that I kept), a bunch of XOXO/Betsy Johnson/DKNY watches and glasses that we sold, and some ALDO boots, that were amazingly my size.  There were also 3 digital cameras, and we sold them, but only after we spent hours looking at photos and videos.  It was basically pictures of the kids getting high and dancing around (Wally World style) in parking lots.  If you don't know what the Wally World video is, consider yourself lucky.  Here are pictures from the Princess unit:

                                                              #2 - The Stripper Unit

This was one of our very first units as well, and also a $50 unit.  We could see a lot of toys and totes, and random miscellaneous things, and so we jumped on it.  It was a very profitable unit, and was super fun to have our first stripper unit.  At the time, we thought it was such a cool thing-- now we realize it's sort of commonplace, but I won't ever forget the thrill of "the first time!"   - and it's still a novel thing, regardless.       We'll call her Darla (we try not to reveal real names if unnecessary) -- and she was a full-time dancer, and a full-time single mom.  She also had a REALLY bad drug and alcohol problem, and was in both AA and NA (alcoholics and narcotics anonymous).   The drugs were so bad that she sold EVERYTHING of hers.  I will say, though, that she seemed to be a fantastic mom-- her little boy had everything he needed-- she did not ever sell any of HIS things, only her own.  So, basically, we had a little boy's entire room, and all of his toys, and decorations, and a bunch of stripper clothes!    Here's a picture of just SOME of the outfits:

Oh, another thing about that unit-- the one other thing she didn't sell (besides some cool vintage photographs that meant something to her)  was a George Hunt limited edition signed and numbered print that sells on his website for $450-$500.  We still have it if anyone is interested.   It's really cool!

Oh, and check out the painting she painted for her kid... it is the cutest thing EVER.  I kept it for if ever I have kids, but if anyone else wants it just holler:  

                                                       Unit #3:  The Old Lady Unit

One of our first big units we ever got (a 10X20 if I remember correctly) was PACKED with dusty boxes.  To date it is probably our most profitable unit of all time.  I don't even remember what we paid for it, I believe under $250,  and it seriously was the unit that kept on giving.  We had furniture, 3 boxes of records, 5 boxes of CDs all still in the cases, cassettes, DVDs, VHS, glassware, crystal, the entire house-- all packed into neatly organized boxes.   The lady was in her 60s and it contained both her mothers and fathers estates as they had both passed away a few years early.  The result was lots of fine china,  silver,  coins, jewelry, all sorts of things.  There was a beanie baby collection,  a doll collection, a poster collection, a medal collection, a Mardi Gras memorabilia collection-- all sorts of amazing things.  I think we sold and sold and sold the pieces of this unit for months.

This picture (from the unit) was original art and was one of the ugliest pieces I'd ever seen, Brian agreed, as did most of the people on facebook.  But we put it up at a Garage Sale for $20, and actually had TWO different sets of people fighting over it in the parking lot.  They ended up paying $45 for it!

                                          Unit #4:  The wedding/gun/scrapbook unit

This unit was purchased the same time as Unit #3 (also at the same time as that unit where we keep sharing the letters between Michael and Jennifer),  so it was a busy day-- and it was equally as packed, but with newer stuff.  Stuff that was TOTALLY unorganized.  It was a couple in their 40s who had a small child who had divorced very recently.   Her wedding dress was still in the unit, and I put it on, used it to attract Garage Sale customers, and then sold it on Craigslist.  She also was an AVID scrapbooker and had THOUSANDS of dollars of scrapbooking supplies.  We still have all of them, to have a scrapbook sale at a later date, because I refuse to let that stuff go at garage sales for 10 and 20 cents a piece when I know how expensive it is in the store.  Plus, I have it at my house now so I can use it whenever I want!    I took pictures of just the Disney stuff and that is only 1/50th of all of the things I have.  So, if anyone knows a scrapbooker, send them my way!       This couple was also into anything Western, so there were lots of fake guns and Western things and Cowboy inspired jewelry.  It was a good unit overall, lots of gold, and toys, and household things, and we still don't even know what the scrapbook stuff will go for!

This is one way to attract more customers to our sale:

Brian wanted to get as much attention so he did this:

                                               Unit #5:  The Purple Heart / Cigar Unit:

We bought this unit because it was old and dusty, and we could see some records in milk-crates.  That was the only reason.  A newbie upped us to $355 and we were a little nervous at first that we had overspent, maybe for the first time ever.  We ended up selling the records for about $80 and still had a genuine beaver hat, and a TON of cigar paraphenalia and pipes.  Hundreds of pipes.   We sold one here and one there, some to antique shops, some to collectors, some at garage sales.  It took us a little while, but we finally sold our last pipe.   We now have contacts though that if we ever get pipes again, it will be a breeze to get them to the appropriate people.  And it was SO profitable.    I was really upset at the cigar stench at first, and the dust, and having to clean everything off -- but it ended up being worth it.  Oh, and did we mention we found a Purple Heart in that unit?  It was such a cool thing to get to see it in person, hold it, look at the documents that came with it, etc.   We decided that right away it wasn't right to keep it-- it needed to be returned to its rightful owner.  And we made back the money on the unit, so there was no question.  We're still waiting on confirmation of the man's correct address, but the purple heart will be shipped back where it belongs with a letter stating that although we couldn't return the man's other things because he couldn't fulfill his debt to the storage facility, we definitely can never repay him for his service to our country and our gratitude for that, so we are happy to return what he rightfully earned.  So cool-- who would have ever dreamed we'd find something like THAT in a storage unit?

Unit #6:  The Music Student Unit:

This unit was our first ever bid/hold unit, which basically means that you win the unit at auction like normal, but are not allowed to put your lock on it and pay for it for a couple of days while the owner is given extra time to pay-- if they do, you're out of luck, if they don't, you can then go to the office, pay, and claim your unit.  It's a pain in the butt, and so not worth it a lot of the time-- but in this case, we saw a TON of totes, and I saw some designer shoe boxes, so we went for it.  It turns out that 90% of the totes were BOOKS--  this guy was a college student, and had a thing for books and paper of all kinds-- even paper that no one should save, like out-of-date coupons and catalogs for cars and lawnmowers and paint sample cards, and things like that-- so we ended up toting around 1000 pounds of paper before we realized what it was.  On the bright side, he also had a silver collection (dimes and Quarters pre 1964 that were saved up), some rare coins and paper money, and lots of designer shoes, cologne, and clothing.  He also had some really nice musical books and instruments.  The guy was such a nice seeming guy, a gentleman, and although we never met him- we wish him the best. I don't know what happened to him except that maybe he got in over his head financially--  I hope he's okay. 

Unit # 7:  The Adult Toys in the Safe Unit

Here's a link to the Facebook note about this one, because after all, Brian always says "work smart, not hard"  :

Here's the picture of where the combination also ended up-- underneath one of the drawers.  This safe is for sale, and the other one is in my house.  Safe #2 contained paper, by the way.

Unit #8:  The engagement ring unit

We found this ring in a unit and were super excited.  We knew the odds of it being real were slim-to-none, especially considering where we found it (in the bottom of a junk drawer), but it looked SO real.   We spent the better part of the day washing it, cleaning it, and holding it up to the light-- also, estimating value if it was real.  It ended up being CZ, but still a very nice CZ and I think we sold it for a fairly good amount.  Would have been great if it were real, but you win some, you lose some in this business.

Unit #9:  The Antiques Unit

I won't say much about this unit except for that it's the only unit, to date, that we have not bought at auction-  We had a friend who had a dear friend who had a storage unit that was coming up for auction and could not afford the bill. (No wonder, after paying x amount for almost 4 years!)  They heard about the services we provide, and took us up on one of them-- to this day we still offer this service, and it's a pretty good deal (we think)-- if you have a unit that's going up for auction, and want some things that cannot be replaced (laptop, disks, heirlooms, photographs, baby shoes, etc)-- let us pay the bill to get you back current, you can take your sentimental items, along with a few other things and pay a tiny portion for the other things you want, and we've paid your bill for you and kept everything else-- PLUS we've hauled it away.  It's way easier than selling your things yourself at a garage sale or whatever, and if you don't have the cash to get the things out of the unit, you lose everything anyway.   We were grateful for the referral and super happy to be able to help.  There were amazing antiques in this unit (we still have the couch, meat-grinder, typewriter, and cash-register for sale if anyone is interested), and 3 of the pieces went into my own home. It was really nice too to be able to have an owner present to give you the back-story on where each piece came from. That's definitely a rarity for us!  Here are a few of the best pieces:

Not a unit, but still:  The Golf Clubs

One of our garage sale customers one day in passing told me she was going to bring us some golf clubs to sell.  I said okay and forgot about it.  A day or two later these are left outside of our gate, about 100+ golf clubs!  It took me about 2-3 weeks to remember where they came from, and it took us MONTHS to sell these things!   Ridiculously, we'd offer all 100 to people for $40-$50... and as they dwindled it would be all 50 for $20, etc... and people said no, always.  But they'd buy 2-3 at $3-5 a piece.  Makes no sense.  On the bright side, something free, that cost us nothing, made us over $300.  And I only got about 200 bruises from carrying these inside and out!  (Have you ever tried carrying golf clubs?  They're top heavy and RIDICULOUSLY impossible to carry without hitting something!)  Especially the yellow kitty litter canister-full.  I never once successfully got them inside or outside by myself.  I still can't figure out how Brian did it.

Unit #10: The Jazz Fest Poster Unit

We were at auction one day and discussing all of the things we have and someone brought up Jazz Fest Posters... since Brian has quite a few (and has sold quite a few more) he is pretty much an expert on the years and values of most of these posters.   We talked about this for 45 minutes, and then went on to the actual bidding part of the auction.  There was one unit, that had nothing in it except for a poster and an old beat up couch.  No one wanted it because of the couch, and they all thought the poster looked ratty, and only Brian (with the help of the flashlight) noticed that it was a 1999 Jazz Fest Poster, signed and numbered.  He told me, I couldn't see it, I asked him was he sure, he said yes, we bought the unit, I think for like $10.  The best part was, one of our competitors (the guy who upped us to $355 on the Purple Heart unit)  agreed to take the couch for free so we didn't even have to haul that away.  The value of that poster is $475.   Here are pictures:

Unit 11:  The Teacher Unit

When we bought this unit the Auction Hunters producers were in town scouting, and everyone got more than a little carried away-- this unit was full of bins, probably at least 24 and maybe upwards of 40, but still, it was crazy.  The locker went for $450.  We were excited to see what was inside, expecting a business, or a full house, or store, or who knows, and found that it belonged to a ... teacher.   We were more than a little bummed, especially considering that we had bought 3 teacher units that week, what are the odds?    It turns out, teacher things are EXPENSIVE--  Math manipulatives alone (we learned what a Judy Clock is, y'all)-- go for $5-$15 EACH, and we had over 500 of them.    Brian was really nervous that we wouldn't make our money back, and we at least tripled it-- plus I was able to give my teacher friends some really nice things.    I had no idea that teachers have to buy their own things a lot of the time and how expensive they are.  It gave me a complete new respect for the profession!  Also, I have to mention that she had a lot of really nice basketball and football things, and great decorations.  I spent a week re-reading my favorite childhood books again, and she had some decoder rings that were fantastic-- I still wear one from time to time and I gifted many to friends.  I think there's one pictured:

We now know what a Judy Clock is...

Decoder Ring!

Unit 12:  The Silver Unit

We're at auction, and this one unit opens up that's pretty large (10x20, I think), with virtually nothing in it.  But we see a rocking chair, a carpet cleaner, and a cedar box.  That's enough for me.  We bid, and win the unit for something ridiculously low (under $30).  Everyone says "Good luck hauling THAT away"-- and I say "yeah, did you see the Cedar box?  It's probably silver."  They say "probably empty"-- I say "we'll see."   Plus, I know I can get my money on the other stuff.       The silver set was indeed there,  AND it's Wm. & Rogers (which from watching Auction Hunters, I knew was a great brand).   The rocking chair only had one-arm (don't ask, I don't know either), so ended up in the dump, but we sold the carpet cleaner to a good friend for about $50.  And all was well! 

Unit #13:  The RANDOM Unit:

I don't remember how or why we bought this unit, but it has yielded some of the greatest and most random things... like:

A pink scooter (we sold it for $65):

A picture that plugs in and makes waterfall/frog/bird chirping noises:

A portrait of Black supermodel Jesus:

and last but not least, Time for Tacos, a book that's not at all racially stereotypical:

Unit #14:  The Designer Clothing Unit

We bought this unit for $50 at auction-- no one else wanted it.  I saw pink satin and fashion design books and lots of clothes, everyone else just saw clothes.  Brian was gracious enough to buy it for me.  It turned out amazing, as we had hundreds of dresses and coats and suits and winter clothes.  The cheapest designer was Ann Taylor-  there were items from Banana Republic, Michael Kors, Christian Dior, Trina Turk, Betsey Johnson, and Tory Burch.  All amazing.   Most of them my size.  I now have a completely new winter wardrobe, including a few formal dresses, a few coats, some jackets, sweater dresses, and tons of stockings, tights, and sweaters.   We sold most of the formal dresses and shoes (they weren't my size at a 7.5), and still have a few of them, as well as all of the fabric and fabric samples for sale if anyone is interested.  It was a GREAT unit. 

Shoshanna dress

Trina Turk jacket

Tory Burch top

Michael Kors shoes

Christian Dior Butterfly Pouch Satchel

Unit #15:  Our very, very first unit

We got into this business because like many, we saw Storage Wars and were ready for a new business opportunity.  We researched, asked people who knew, and found a friend that actually worked on-site at a storage facility.  She told us about our first auction (EP, I am forever grateful to you for that!)-- and we bought 3 units our very first time.  This one, I got just because I really wanted the bistro set for my own house.  It sits in one of my guest rooms now and I love it.  The unit was $55, and I think we made $200 and had a ton of fun.   We've been hooked ever since!  Ahh, the memories.  Here's pictures from our first ever dig:

A stripper-ish top we found in that first unit:

Lily and I with the van and all of our goodies:

Wow, has Brian changed!!  Thank goodness he does not wear socks with sandals anymore. I am a good fashion influence!

And finally, a few random pictures that I'd just like to get off of my phone:

 This is Brian's idea of parking "NEXT" to me!

 We saw this in a convenience store once.  I couldn't resist taking a picture of it!

 Grab a Jerk and Go!

Brian wanted cupcakes one time, after I made cupcakes for my friend Taryn's birthday.  He whined and complained that he did not have cupcakes. I explained it was her birthday and it wasn't his anything.  He still wanted cupcakes for no reason or occasion other than that he thinks he is awesome.  So, I made him cupcakes!  Here is what he got:


  1. How much do you want for the butterfly satchel?

  2. Kathleen-- it was $780 originally, so I think we were asking $100 for strangers and $80 for friends. I also owe you a credit on that bracelet, so, let's say $70 if you want it!

  3. I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.



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