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Friday, December 30, 2011

In a Good Estate of Mind

  If you're an avid reader of this blog, you'll know that we haven't really bought any units in a few weeks.   Part of this is because prices have gotten sky-high with lots of new and inexperienced bidders duking it out amongst themselves,  but mostly it's because we've been pretty busy with other things.    We started this business to have some fun, and it evolved into something completely different.   Buying lockers for fun turned into buying lockers for money--  that turned into helping tenants save or rescue their potentially about-to-be-auctioned items-- that turned into helping friends and relatives do consignment sales, gold and silver sales, appraisals, and garage sales,  and then THAT turned into some amazing referrals to help people battle hoarding, and deal with issues they may have around their own homes, including junk rooms that have gotten out of control, and/or client's family members that may have passed on leaving a lot of things that seem impossible to deal with on top of the emotional and financial issues that are already being faced.   I love doing Storage Auctions/Lockers-- but it's nice for once to be the "nice guy" -- not the capitalist pig who's just taking someone's stuff and reselling it for personal gain, but someone who is actually providing a necessary service to someone who really needs it.  It's a really good feeling.

     One of our estates right now is one of our most touching (and rewarding) stories. Here's a brief synopsis: Lady and Man are married, spend their whole life together, have two children.  Children grow up, get married, and have children of their own.  Eventually Man passes away.  Lady continues on being a doting mother and grandmother, having lunches with girlfriends, riding in Carnival Krewes, and taking care of all of the maintenance on her home herself.   She has problems with her weight (who doesn't), and some blood sugar issues, but generally is in good health.  One day Lady goes to the doctor because she is having difficulty breathing.  She is told she has pneumonia.  She goes home and celebrates Thanksgiving with her family.  The next day she returns to the doctor and is told she has lung cancer.  She is not a smoker.  She passes away 10 days later.  This is right before Christmas and family is shocked.

Children try to deal with her death but it was so sudden and unexpected they are (understandably) unable to cope.  They go in the home a few times to take care of important estate matters, take out heirlooms and  valuables, and for general maintenance, but otherwise stay out of the home.  A year passes and they realize the expenses of keeping the home are great and they need to take steps to deal with the unhandled estate.   They hire another company who makes several promises and never shows up to get the work done.  Then, through a referral, we're called and show up.

Estates are similar to Storage Lockers in a bunch of ways but also (and obviously) dissimilar in a lot of ways.  Let's start with the similarities:     It's a lot of miscellaneous items that need to be sold, of which you can come across clothing, shoes, baseball cards, coins, jewelry, furniture, food, or all of the above.   Items have a variety of different values.  You sell the things the exact same way.  You learn slowly about the person who owned these items piece by piece, item by item.   You still have to deal with cleaning and trash and getting rid of things that you may not have found a buyer for.       Conversely,  the things that are different about estates are:   size wise, it's like buying 2, 3, or even 10 storage units at the same time from the same person,   you deal very closely with the family and sometimes have to work around special requests (reasonable or unreasonable), and if there is a piece that you are having trouble figuring the history out on you can always ask.   On a positive side, you don't have to put up any of your own money upfront (except for selling and listing expenses), but you don't actually have to purchase the items like you would a storage unit-- but on a negative side, as opposed to a storage unit that may have a 1, 2, 5 or 10 day turn around-- you can have sometimes a  5 or 10 week turnaround.    Instead of having 100 different customers who each buy 1 or 2 random things out of different storage lockers (a fishing pole from one and a lunchbox from another, for example)--  you end up with fewer customers who buy more things who are more similar to your client (for example, a bunch of older ladies who like to sew and wear a size 8 shoe).   Finally, you have pressure of having to make $ amount-- with a storage locker-- you may buy it for $100, and your goal is just to double your money or more.  It really doesn't matter to you whether you make $200 or $2000 (although you're always trying your best, obviously).  With a family,  you want to make sure you meet their expectations, while also factoring in your own costs and fees.  In general, the estate business is very different, but also very much the same.

So far, I really like estates -- even the services we've provided to a slew of different customers just by helping them price garage sale items and decide what to do with certain items so on and so forth.   You can expect that pretty soon we'll have a guide on How to Have the Best Garage Sale Ever.   And it's fun!  While appraising some items for a family one day we found THIS glorious poster from the 1980s, who's star happens to be wearing the same pants as Brian!   (Note, these are the same pants that Brian wears CURRENTLY.  You can infer what you want from THAT statement.)

Here's a picture for reference:

And let's see a picture for comparison:

We also found this little gem while offering advice at another garage sale:

Can we see this one on?


We've had a lot of fun with the estates we've done so far-- and learned even more, while still hopefully teaching and helping the families we've come across.  We won't say too much more about this particular estate out of respect for the family, but I will show you some pictures so you can get a better idea of what we're talking about at this particular location:

The den:

Another picture of the den:

Another picture of the den:

And one more:

Master Bedroom:

Kid's Room:

Dining Room:

 Dining Room 2:

Living Room:

Bathroom 1:

Master Closet:

Guest Bedroom:

You can imagine how much work it is when you have over 9 rooms to work with!    The most storage units we've ever had at one time has up to date been 7, and that was over a period of a few days, so you can imagine what it's like to get 9 all at once.   Also, in Storage units, you're at an advantage because people had to carry stuff in there and move it in a vehicle, so you don't get nearly as much stuff as say, someone who has lived in the same house for 30 years.  But it's less of a time restriction so it ends up totally working itself out.

Some of our interesting finds so far:

 What is it with us and Captain and Tennille records?!   This is like the 3rd one!

 A really cool memento from the Great Smoky Mountains-- it seems really old too!


 A piece to a kid's game, all by itself.  I'm particularly fond of this one, as I was just recently on Wheel of Fortune (September 30th, 2011).

 Anyone who knows Brian or me knows that we are HUGE Saints Fans.  I throw away ANYTHING contrary to this-- including this hat, which isn't necessarily for the Atlanta Falcons but is, in my opinion, close enough.  It went in the trash.

 An old DH Holmes bag--  you don't see these anymore, for sure!

Speaking of old-- an old Cobra CB Radio -- in case you were curious, CB stands for Citizens Band.  I didn't know that either until I looked it up.  Yep, we're educational here at Storage Heroes!

The really cool thing about dealing with older clients is that you never know what you're going to find--  there are a great many antiques, collectibles, and just generally cool things.  Things that at the time they got them weren't anything or worth anything, but now, are really neat just because not everyone held on to them.  Perfect example is all of the Nabisco tins we have-- they are from when Nabisco was still called National Biscuit Company.   Who would think to save a tin?  I wouldn't--- but I'm tempted to go buy some of those Christmas gift sets on clearance and stick them in the attic for 20 years until someone like me finds them later!

All in all, these estates have been an amazing and powerful (and even educational) experience.   We are able to make some money without putting a lot of investment down, which is always a great thing from a business perspective, but we're also able to help family members who are just physically and emotionally  unable to do it themselves.  We take a great deal of pride in knowing that we helped someone out in a way that not many other people could.  Not only are we able to help them do something they can't, but we also probably do it more efficiently than anyone else would be able to-- just because of our experience level.  We also can get them more money than if they would have used their own contacts and methods to sell the items, which is nice to know that we're able to help them financially as well.    It's a learning experience not only because we are able to learn information about each piece, but also where it came from and stories of how it was acquired.  It teaches us that families are different and that one may value the sewing machine and one may value the silver but they all value the children's drawings and photographs.    Above all else, I have gained a newfound experience for life-- how short it is, how precious it is, and how things are not only things but a symbol of someone else's memory.    Also, that even though the things are a symbol of the memory, the memory is more powerful than the item and is the only thing that matters, even if the item is gone and cannot be replaced.

I remember recently going through my own Grandparents' estate--  they have so many descendants that we had to request items that we wanted of a list of all of the available items to divvy it all up fairly,  and my items requested were a few smaller things- those actually meant more to me than any silver or jewelry or even sentimental items like wedding pictures, monogrammed jewelry, etc-- because they were important to ME.  I took the hand towels I remembered using, the pictures I remembered looking at on the walls, etc.    It might be a good exercise for everyone to take a moment and think of the things in their parents, grandparents, childhood homes, etc, or the next time they are looking inside these homes-- and decide what is wanted so that the decision will come a little bit easier when the difficult decision has to be made.

Oh, and speaking of sentimental items-- I have to tell you this quick story.   We allowed some of our friends from auction to come and look at the items in the home, because we had all gone to auction as usual  and there were slim pickings that particular day, so we figured--  let's utilize all of our resources and sell off some of these things from the estate while helping our competition get items to put in their stores.  Win win win.  Win win win WIN if you count the future customers of our friends who will soon have beautiful pieces of furniture and art in their homes.

Now, if you read our blog, you KNOW how thorough I am.  I go through every drawer, take out every drawer to see if there is something taped underneath, go through pockets, I've even gone so far as to look inside mattresses and pipes of people who lived in the Depression era.  You never know where people will hide their stuff.    So, I'm thorough, but people make mistakes, or miss things, or whatever.   Well, on this particular day-- we had to move some pieces of furniture that we hadn't moved before.  Underneath, were some shoes, and underneath those... was a......  any guesses?      Post the best ones here and we'll reveal the answer in a couple of days.   If anyone gets it right, they'll get one of our antique Nabisco tins.
If no one gets it right, we'll post some clues tomorrow and see what happens!  MDC- you are NOT eligible,  because YOU found it!

Until next time,

Storage Heroes

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sweet Charity... Storage Style!

  Hey guys...

It's that time of year again, and whether you believe in Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or that thing Brian created awhile back where he combined all of the holidays together--   it's still a pretty good time for giving.

We're doing something for the Christmas Holidays and we invite you to join us.    There are two ways you can participate:

1)  RECEIVE --  Tomorrow, Friday December 23rd, we are giving away FREE items at our warehouse location.   To get specific details (time, place, etc) -- send us a private message on Facebook or e-mail   We want to make sure we keep it by appointment only.  We appreciate our friends  & fans, and we want to be able to share with you and give everyone who wants one a Christmas present.   Items we have are basically garage sale items-- there are some non-perishable foods, clothing, shoes, books, dishes, towels, household decorations and for the unprepared- some last minute Christmas items.  

If you know someone who is needy and could use some things, feel free to get the information from us and send them our way.  If you have a particular charity in mind you can show up and make a box.  (You just need to bring your own box).  Take as much as you want or need.

2)  GIVE -  You can also give by donating something to us (which we will then donate to one of our charity contacts or sell and donate the funds to one of our contacts).    You can also give to Charity Storage, which is a new and innovative charity created by our friends at Storage Treasures.     Charity Storage is pretty neat, because you can donate money the normal web/ Paypal way,  but you can also donate an item (or items) that you drop off at the locations (all over the US and Canada) and they auction off the items (at Storage auction) and give the proceeds to one of the charities.  There are several different charities that are involved right now-- I think seven or eight, and most are related to childhood cancer or helping victims of child abuse.

That's it for now...  a blog coming soon about our latest Estate!

Storage Heroes Tip #25:  Sometimes it's not what you have, but what you do, that counts.

Seasons Greetings!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's For Sale #2

For all of you who may or may not be curious, here's what we currently have for sale!  If you are a blog reader and are interested in one of these items, you may be eligible for a discount!  Let us know what you want and we'll see if we can work out a deal!

Stereo System Wooden Housing - $10nor  materials 2011-12-19 23:572761959423
Solid Wood Desk - Very Nice - $150nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:542761958121
SCRAPBOOK SUPER SALE! - $1nor  general 2011-12-09 09:37,
renewed 2011-12-19 23:49
Bedside table - $25nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:482761956161
Barnum's Animal Crackers Tin - $25nor  collectibles 2011-12-19 23:442761954424
Twin Bed and Mattress and Head Board - $200nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:402761953003
Baby Kids Room Dresser - $60nor  baby & kid stuff 2011-12-19 23:382761952171
Baby Kid Bed Mattress - $50nor  baby & kid stuff 2011-12-19 23:362761951201
Bed - Bed frame & Headboard - $100nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:342761950493
Treadmill - Works Perfectly - $150nor  appliances 2011-12-19 23:322761949417
Sturdy Leather & Wood Chair - $10nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:302761948540
4 piece solid wood gorgeous vintage bedroom set - $500nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:272761947481
Antique Linen Sheet Holder or Hanging Rack - $100nor  antiques 2011-12-19 23:232761945455
Antique Wash Basin / Jug Stand Holder Set - $250nor  antiques 2011-12-19 23:212761944784
White Westinghouse and Whirlpool Washer and Dryer Set - Gas - $180nor  appliances 2011-12-19 23:182761943384
Bar stool - wooden - $25nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:152761941936
Bar glasses and rack - $60nor  household 2011-12-19 23:132761940985
Floor area rug - $20nor  general 2011-12-19 23:112761940024
Table - Heart Shaped - $15nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:082761938968
Strollers - Graco Single and a Double Stroller - $40nor  baby & kid stuff 2011-12-19 23:052761937334
Marble Topped End Table - $60nor  furniture - by owner 2011-12-19 23:032761936121

Additionally, don't forget we're currently having 2 contests on our Facebook page.  Our 300th fan (it's at 280-something right now)  will receive a piece of art valued at between $100 and $1000.    The piece of art is your choice of anything in our arsenal (a few restrictions apply).   There's also another contest where if you referred someone to our site, they can type your name on our wall and you're eligible for a Starbucks gift card.   To enter either of these, visit us at

New blog coming soon!  We promise!   It's just been super busy, which is a good thing!

Until next time,

Storage Heroes


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