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Friday, March 30, 2012

Never Had It Sew Good

Greetings!  Rebecca here.  First of all, thanks to our friend and very recent customer MN for helping (even though she didn't intend to) with the title of this blog.  Sorry for jacking your creation, but it seemed appropriate.  Second, we know we've been out of the picture for awhile, but all I can say is that there have been PLAGUING computer issues, and hopefully they are all done with now.  The folks at the Apple Store cringe when they see me coming in, I think, if that gives you any idea.  But they fixed it, and we're back.

So, without further delay... here we go....

We only really bought one unit so far in March.  That I remember.   Either way, there's only one that mattered.  But let's start at the beginning.   AGES ago (at least 4 or 5 months, which is a lot in the auction world when you might see 200 units a month),  there was this really dusty and interesting unit with a bunch of sewing machines and a lot of neatly packed boxes.  Of course we wanted it, and so did everyone else, but it was a bid/hold, which made things interesting.  If you've been reading this blog, good for you, you know what a bid/hold unit is.  Skip to the next paragraph. If you don't, shame on you, but here's a quick lesson so you can keep up with us. If a tenant does not pay for their unit, obviously, it goes to auction, and they can show up until right before the auction is over and get their things back.  Every once in awhile, you will have a sympathetic manager or auctioneer, and they will allow the tenant just a little more time.   In this case, they may give the tenant an extra 24 hours or sometimes even a couple of days, but in case the tenant does not show up to pay they don't want to have to wait another 30 days or more for the next auction-- after all, part of the reason to auction the things off in the first place is to get use of their space back.   So, they "auction off" the contents to the highest bidder, with the understanding that the bidder will have to wait X amount of time until tenant shows up, and if they don't, then the bidder gets it.  And if the tenant does in fact show up and pay their bill, it's like it never happened.  Ya dig?

So, months ago, we had seen this bid/hold unit and liked it and bid all the way up to $425 or $450, I can't remember which, but the unit went well into the high 400-500 range, so we backed off.   The person who won the unit was going to sell parts of it to us (like some of the sewing machines) but rescinded the offer so I was super disappointed about that.  Either way, apparently the tenant had showed up and paid, and I had forgotten all about it.  Now, the unit was supposed to go up again for auction the following month, the month after, and the 2 consecutive months after that-- but it didn't!   Any ideas why?  Well, because laws are strict and auctioneers do NOT like to interpret them loosely.  They don't want to get sued, either.   They are very careful.  If an auction is supposed to be Monday, March 1st, and they put in the paper  a misprint of Monday, March 2nd-- they do not have the auction.  If the tenant is named Sally and they write Sallie by mistake, they will hold that unit.  If they typo the middle initial and put O. instead of I. -- well, you get the idea.    Apparently, our tenant is one of the luckiest ladies in the universe, because her auction was delayed for reasons like this FOUR TIMES.     When the unit came up again at auction in March, I almost didn't recognize it.  But fortunately, I did, and even more fortunately, the rest of our competition was at not one, not two, but THREE competing auctions they had that same day.

Side note to auctioneers:  We know you can't control this, but often times you CAN control the dates of the auction.  The 26th-30th are VERY popular auction dates, we realize this is for a reason because of the way your billing cycles work, but it does you no good to have all 6 chain-companies have caravan auctions on the same day.   But we thank you because in this case it did great for us!

With a lot of the competition gone (including the original buyer of the unit from the first auction) and combined with the fact that it was a lot of work (on an un-airconditioned 2nd floor with no elevator) AND that we were the only people to recognize the unit, we were able to get it for $125.  I was ecstatic.  Brian, not so much, until I reminded him of how much we were willing to pay for it the last time.  And then I told him that I had had one of my "feelings" (meaning I thought jewelry would be inside) and he came around.  It also didn't hurt that we had made a $75 sale that very morning, so we really each only had to pony up an additional $25.  I love when everything just comes together!

When we first opened the unit, here's what we saw:

There were sewing machines EVERYWHERE.  We counted 9 at first glance.  Here's a picture of one:

And another:

And still, another!  This one is older and comes in a table.  We get these ALL THE TIME.

We see those all the time, I guess, because they are cool, and dependable, and never break.  They just don't make things they way they used to!  Lots of older things in here, including this old stereo:

I got really excited about this disco ball and pair of roller skates.
 Brian, well...  watch the video to find out what Brian thought of  them!

Poor Brian.  I kept tricking him all day:

Even there were lots of old things in this unit, it was pretty cool-- it was like doing the time warp.  There were items from the 2000s, 1920s, and everywhere in between.  Here's an example of what the movie collection looked like:

Our lady was a seamstress, which we'll get to later--  and there were a lot of handmade dresses.   I now have costumes for decade theme parties for life!   What do y'all think of this sparkly number?

Even Brian found a fashion item or two:

Can't you just see him wearing these right now?

I found this box, and a few others along the way, marked "New Hope" -  I'm unsure whether that was maybe the name of their church or if they were writing inspirational messages to themselves.  Either way, I certainly hope that they found what they were looking for.

Now, without giving away too much information about our tenant,  we can tell you that she stored some of her mother's things, and all of her things.  She was born somewhere in the 50s, which makes her about 50 now herself.   She was presumably a teenager in the 70s, which is when she did a lot of diary, journal, and note writing.   As always, I started peeking through these, expecting to see signs of simpler times.  I was rewarded at first by phrases like "Dear Diary-- today I walked with Henry to the school dance."   -   but as I read, I started reading words and phrases like "little hoe,"  "he just wants the pu**y",  and many more that I'm embarrassed to even write here.  In the future we'll try to give you a letter from storage locker on this very topic!

Speaking of less innocent times, while I was going through a box of greeting cards, photographs, and wedding invitations,  I also found this little gem:
 It broke in two when I dropped it by surprise.  It missed my toe by inches.

At first it seemed like we would only have a few personal items, like a yearbook and a few photographs,
 but it turns out that we would have boxes, and boxes, and boxes of personal items. I counted somewhere between 9 and 13 in total.  And they were all jam packed!  We returned everything to the office.  I think they were surprised that we went through the effort to do so, given the amount of stuff, but we figure it takes the same amount of time to haul it to the office as it does to haul it to the dump.  At least this way, we're earning karma.

Speaking of car-ma (get it?)  we also found THIS little gem.   Let me please point out that we did NOT steal this sign, we only found it.  As far as I know, it's not illegal to possess them, just to take them. And if the City of New Orleans wishes this sign returned, we gladly will.  But for now, a photo op:

This is actually one of our most complicated streets (and lakes) to spell, because of the added R (we say "pont-cha-train" --  so it's a good reminder, anyway.

No idea what this picture was supposed to be of, but it came out really artistic/cool/pretty, didn't it?

Day 1's work is done and it's time to reward our work with what we eat on Fridays during Lent in South Louisiana.  Seafood!  Crawfish, to be exact.

Day 2 begins, and I have tons and tons and tons of boxes.  Brian is loading the truck (we have a truck today, not the usual van), mostly because the van is still loaded from the day before and we are on a very strict time schedule.  Thanks Dad for the trade! ...and I'm upstairs opening boxes doing our usual initial sweep for valuables.  Let me just say, I have never seen so much fabric in my entire life!  Every single box we opened was like a fabric store:

Another box full of fabric:

More boxes (big boxes), full of, you guessed it, fabric:

Here's a look at what all I had left to open on Day 2.  TONS of boxes!

In addition to fabric there were also lots of sewing notions, scissors, buttons, zippers, velcro, even arts and crafts items like pipe cleaners and glitter.   Here's a sample of some of the fun stuff!

I was seriously starting to feel like I had just walked into a JoAnn crafts.   Despite Brian's disappointment so far, I was excited, because I do craft and I know how expensive some of this stuff can be!   It doesn't look like a lot here, but the buttons for example, were probably collected and assembled over a period of YEARS, a  16 piece $3.99 packet at a time.    Plus, I like really pretty things, and colorful things, so I'm excited about all of the eye candy in this unit!

I'm just getting over my excitement from the buttons, when I spot it... a box of personal items that looks really important, cherished.   When people hide jewelry and valuables, they are 9 times out of 10 in one of two places (if there is no safe).  They are either packed with the bedroom, or they are with the cherished belongings.  I saw that box, and I saw the corner of a jewelry box sticking out!  I hollered for Brian and immediately ran downstairs to put it on the tailgate of the truck, where I could see.

There was a lot of costume jewelry inside, but there was also a lot of real gold and silver.  We found 2 or 3 more containers of jewelry on this day, and another 3 or 4 containers on day 4.  We'll get to that in a little while.   Here' s a sampling of what was in this particular box:


Since I'm now outside, I take a second to look at what we've already loaded into the truck.  Here's how it looks thus far.  Aren't those chairs neat?   By this point, we've figured out that not only did our lady sew, she also had established a business where she made prom dresses, bride and bridesmaid dresses, suits, daily fashions, and much more.  I think the chairs must have been inside one of her crafting areas.  They're eyecatching!

A closeup of the chairs.  They're still for sale if anyone wants them!  Definitely unique!

Another angle of the truck:

Day 2 was finally over and after 2 full days and 3-4 trips we had finally unpacked this unit. We rewarded ourselves on THIS day by making some barbecued shrimp:

Day 3 begins and I'm basically just trying to unpack as many boxes as I can, as Brian tries to unload as many boxes as he can.  Meaning, he is trying to get boxes from the van and truck into our warehouse for storage, and I'm trying to get boxes open to see what's inside.   I dug most of the items in the unit but we ran out of time toward the end so there were several boxes that I just opened to see the classification of what they were (fabric, glassware, kitchen)... just so we could leave the personal items at the facility, but I didn't get much further than that.  I also left the sewing stuff completely alone until I had time to deal with it, but more on that later.   To start out, I opened some kitchen and bedroom boxes.

My first box was obviously glassware, but to my delight it ended up becoming vintage / depression glassware.

Some dessert dishes:

Bar glasses... these weren't old, just collectible.  A Crown Royal collection.

A glance at the newspaper always tells me when items were packed.  I've seen items in this unit going all the way back to 1996, but this stuff appeared to have been packed in 2007.  The only thing I can figure is that the tenants items were packed in 96 and moved in 2000 when they were evicted, and I suppose maybe the mother or grandmother passed in 2007 and her estate items joined the rest.  That would explain the sewing items versus old glassware and kitchen items.   But, it's always speculation.

This was from our contest we ran on Facebook posting different views and angles of items (starting with a small view and working our way out so you get the entire picture).  This one was guessed in one picture!  At first glance I thought it was a second line umbrella (we use them in New Orleans at weddings, funerals, and special occasions), but it turns out that it's a net that you put over your food at a picnic.

We find this glass juicer, which is super exciting-- I've never seen one made of glass, and the maker and patent date is imprinted on the side.  March 6, 1906.  What's a little odd is that I opened it on March 5, 2012! Very close to an anniversary date!

A ha!  Now there is more jewelry and while Brian wants to get right to the real stuff (as do I), I also want to check out some of the costume jewelry.  There is AMAZING costume jewelry, include some vintage and some retro.   My friend Kristen has this amazing blog called Glitter 'N' Glue where she shows you how to make your own cutting edge fashion and accessories for pennies of what they actually cost, and she makes a chandelier earring that looks VERY similar to these.  I immediately thought of her!  Check out her blog if you like that sort of thing-- she has super cute fashion forward ideas.

More vintage jewelry:

And more,  Kristen, if you're reading, I want to make earrings like this!  I have enough sewing stuff, maybe that is possible now!

All of our piles of jewelry on a desk:

More jewelry:

And more:

A precious cloisonne owl pendant... it was probably very in style in the 60s or 70s, and then it wasn't, and now it is!

A really cool old locket:

Some flower clips/pins:

Lots of really cool pieces.  You get the idea:

I had never seen anything like these earrings before.  I had NO idea what they were, until I realized how they opened up and worked

Voila!  Super neat!

We have a ton of this antique jewelry listed for sale already and more to come.   To see details on the above pieces and all of the pieces, visit our Bonanza booth:   Storage Heroes' Bonanza Treasures

And the jewelry just kept on coming.  We'd find boxes that looked unassuming, like this:


But ended up being filled to the brim.  Here are just a few of the boxes and bags that we found:

Now let me emphasize, again, that you don't find jewelry in every storage unit.  Far from it.  But when you do, it really pays off.  We were thrilled because at this point we had paid for our unit times three, and we hadn't even started counting everything else yet.

We now feel like we can take a break on this day, and do so to send some King Cakes to my other Los Angeles friend, Holly.  Last time we sent King Cakes they were discussed on TV with Drew Brees, so we were very willing to do it again! :)

And lunch on this day was some delicious gumbo!   That's file gumbo, y'all!

Dig Day 3 ends, and we decide that we are just going to hold onto all of the sewing stuff until we can sort it, figure out what is there, and we have enough to probably have a sale JUST for that stuff.   But, there is a Saturday coming up, so we decide to have a garage sale with another unit we had bought a few days prior, as well as the stuff from this sewing unit that was not sewing.    As Brian was outside selling, I was inside and outside unpacking more boxes.    I was immediately disturbed when I opened what I soon learned was a bag of Barbies.

This is the image I had when I first opened the bag.  Does this not look like a gay dance party to you?
I also had some fun trying on some of the fur coats, stoles, and hand muffs (is that what they are called?  Muffs?)

More glassware:

MORE glassware:  Look at all of the Hurricane glasses!    This lady has obviously been in New Orleans for a long time.

Some of the Hurricane Glasses are from bars, like Pat O'Brien's.

Some are from bars that I've never heard of, that obviously don't exist anymore:

Brian showing his Wyoming roots at this particular sale!

We got a ton of really cool old shoes...  a shame that they were like a size 5 or 6!

Also some more completed dresses and costumes that our seamstress had made.  This was a really cute little girls Easter dress.

A closeup of the detail on the dress:

This lady had two children, both boys, and one of them had SEVERE anger management problems.  He was kicked out of school often, and made have even had an arrest.   The school's way of dealing with this, was, I guess, making him do activities like this:  (I guess this is from when he was younger):

And I guess this was as good of an answer as any to "What are you Feeling Today?"

Some great answers here:
I hope the kid got his go-cart fixed.  And that he managed to work through some of the anger issues!

Speaking of people with issues... here's Brian with another Wyoming article of clothing!  Go Cowboys!
(if you look closely you can also see the layout of our garage sale behind him)

At the end of the day, I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that Brian had rescued this box of stuffed animals for me so that I could throw them next year.  (I ride in the brand-new and super awesome Mardi Gras Parade, Mystic Krewe of Nyx).  
An older man had offered us 10 cents a piece for them earlier, giving the usual garage sale pity stories of "because they are so dirty"  (um, then why do you WANT them?)  -- and I guess he realized I was aggravated with that (they cost me 50 cents a piece, if I purchase them) --  so he must have put them inside for me.   Yay for Stuffed Animal Rescue!

There are videos from our first garage sale, and there's some good stuff so I will try to locate them and when I do I'll update here with a link to our YouTube channel.  Until now, here's a really good one (we posted it when it happened on the Facebook page), of Brian accidentally hitting himself in the face with a hand-truck, unloading this very unit.

There is LOTS more from this unit, but this blog is long enough already, so expect a Part 2 soon!

Until next time,
Storage Heroes

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