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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Male vs. Female Units - Part 1 (Male)

Hey y'all!   Happy Easter to all!  We hope you had a good time with your families.  We were pretty busy on Holy Thursday buying units, and Good Friday unloading them.  We had a sale on Saturday, but at least we were able to do some Easter things on Sunday.  If you are curious about how much of a dork Brian is, let me show you this picture of Easter eggs we decorated.  See if you can guess which ones are mine and which are his:  (Fits pretty well with the theme of this blog, doesn't it?)

All of the eggs:

Some of Rebecca's eggs:

And now, Brian's eggs:  

 If you can't tell, the one on the bottom is the globe!

But my favorite egg of Brian's was THIS one.  That he claimed was "interactive", as it posed math questions!



Never a dull moment around this place!

Back to our two units that we purchased on Friday. It was pretty interesting considering how absolutely opposite they were.  From the door you could tell that one unit was owned by a man, and the other a woman.  Not trying to be stereotypical, or anything like that, and it IS possible, I guess, that we were going to be wrong about our assumptions, but when you picture them together, side by side,  it cannot be more clear.   One unit was full of fishing gear, tools, and men's clothing in cardboard boxes and trash bags,  and the other was full of shoes and purses (and kids toys) in pink totes.  If you're our friend on Facebook you've already seen the pictures of both units.  If you're not, you should click here and do that.    Or you can just wait until the Female blog comes out to compare them.

Unit #1 we bought for $195, and let me tell you, it would have been a whole lot less had it not been Holy Thursday because there were a whole batch of men with their sons who were obviously looking for something to do with the boys that were out of school.  I guess golf wasn't an option.  They were perfectly nice, don't get me wrong, but they were bidding against us and it was clue they had no idea what they were doing.  So... we would have gotten it at around $75-$95, had they not been there (that's about where our competitors stopped), but we still managed to get it at a decent price.

Here's a picture of the unit:


If you're wondering why we bought it, primarily it was the fishing tackle boxes.  Not only does fishing generally indicate someone who spends their money on leisurely activities as opposed to doing something like invest it (which is good for us because we'd much rather find items of use rather than savings deposit slips in a unit)--  but in Louisiana, Sportsman's Paradise, these items are very quick sellers.  We have also noticed that if we advertise fishing equipment, we get about 15% more people at our sales, so it's worth it even if the items do sell out quickly-- it might attract buyers who are then interested in other things as well.

One of the first things we noticed about this unit besides the fishing tackle boxes was this little box. 

Apparently our guy was a stamp collector.   Most of these have been used (mailed) so just like a coin, that immediately decreases the value when they are actually circulated, but there still may be some of value in here.  Some go all the way back to days when 1 and 2 cent stamps were sold.  The foil was also interesting, so we opened it up and of course there was... 

Letters from 1939-1945, World War 2 era ish.

How cool are they?  The stamps are awesome (1, 2, and 3 cents), but also the design of the different bases and ships that were pictured on each envelope.  There were letters inside some of them, as well as a postcard, we'll be posting those in a future 'Letters from a Storage Locker" posting.

The tenant turned out to have been in financial disarray (as most of them are), and had thousands of pieces of paper from all sorts of different cash advance / pawn / bank / money places, in addition to tons of bills and letters from lawyers that he was being sued over money.  There were also receipts for lots of purchases he made (you know, the usual).  But, there was also evidence of him having worked MULTIPLE jobs (we'll run down a list of that later), and one of those jobs was as a pest control technician--  and he stored a lot of his fumigation equipment in the unit.  The locker did not smell when we were bidding on it, but when we began to uncover the machines, the smell became unbearable.  Rather than dig this unit, we moved it as quickly as possible without opening any of the boxes.  (We did it for the other unit as well because we could fit them both in one van load).  The smelly stuff we left for later, until we could go back in a truck, just as to not stink up the enclosed van.

We moved the units on Friday, and were preparing for a sale on Saturday, which brings us to:
Storage Heroes Tip #27 :  If you are preparing for a garage sale that will be coming up shortly, and you know there is no chance of rain (or have an enclosed covered space), don't do double the work.  Rather than unloading your items from the unit and sorting them, packing them up somewhere, and re-unloading them for the garage sale, just set up your garage sale tables, and do your dig right in front of them.  You'll be able to take items out of the box and put them straight in the garbage OR on whatever table they belong at for the sale.  It also saves you the trouble of having to get up at 5am the morning of your sale!

Not only can you prepare for your sale by digging directly onto the garage sale tables, but you can also make use of your time at the garage sale (if it's slow) by continuing to dig.  Especially if you're someone like us, who has new material and merchandise every week!  It's always a good idea to make the best use of your time.  Often times, because Brian's the much better salesperson, he'll take care of the customers while I scurry around and try to make things presentable, dig, blog, take photos, etc.   Just another reason why it's very helpful to have a business partner who compliments you.


Day 1 of our dig and we're at the garage sale, digging away.

No disrespect intended, but there are a few pastors who issue life advice via copied cd or cassette tape.  We always find their tapes in these units.  Not sure if it's the advice on the tapes that gets people into these situations or if it's the people who get into these kind of situations that go and search for these tapes!   But whatever the correlation, there's obviously some kind of relation here.


Some of the random junk that was thrown into boxes.  It's obvious that this tenant packed in a REAL hurry.

When I saw the corner of this peeking out at me from a box, I almost danced a little.  But, it's fake... an inflatable $100 bill.  We found quite a few of these and it's from a church that sent it as a sign of "riches to come" - you were supposed to send it back along with a prayer and a donation to make your wish come true and ensure financial success in the future.  Excellent marketing technique (not that all churches do, but certainly this particular one did)--  getting the guy to think about $100 bills and how much he could use money and then convincing him to send a donation to encourage a higher power to send him more money in the long run.  Almost like gambling.  Very sad that people would take advantage like that.

A box full of ties...

And spoons... and frying pans... and plastic utensils... and notes.  he definitely packed in a hurry.

The kitchen utensils, pots and pans, and tools we were left with after the first few boxes:

I saw this and was instantly excited, as I thought perhaps our tenant knew a Saint or was a Saint.  It took me a while to realize that it was a prayer he was issuing forth on behalf of Reggie Bush. Very true.  And although Reggie didn't take it to the bank in 2008, he certainly did in 2009!   Go Superbowl XLIV champs!


Our guy, in addition to making donations to lots of reputable and maybe not-so-reputable charities and churches, he also paid over $900 a month in child support.  Not exactly sure how many children he had but I know it was at least three based on the # of courts that were involved and pictures.  


Up until this point, shoeboxes contained tools, or papers, or miscellaneous items, but at this point I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out that one of them actually contained shoes!   Along with matching socks and hats.

This bag of gel and q-tips scared me just a little.  I definitely didn't touch anything.  No idea what this stuff is used to treat!


 Another shoebox... full of paper this time!

A bag of fishing line:


 A box of random miscellaneous items.  Coat hangers, clothing, kitchen utensils, baseballs.

He worked at Sears at one point as a pest controller.  Also as a pump operator, a city employee, a security guard, a police officer, and various other professions.

This popcorn tin was filled with... guess what?  It starts with a P...

Papers!

Another box of random miscellaneous.  Usually when people pack in this much of a hurry we find gold  or cash, but I guess this guy was just so hard up in his financial situation that there was no chance of any of that happening.    Don't worry, I threw the canned goods away.  I don't eat them, I'm very particular and scared about what I eat, and I don't want to sell them to someone who may sue us for making them violently ill.  So I threw them away to not chance it.

Another box of miscellaneous items.

Another one of our fella's jobs.   This drainage department shirt would probably be really popular with some of the guys who think it's cool to wear shirts with other guy's names on it, bowling shirts, high school letter jackets, that sort of thing. We could have absolutely sold this to the local trendy consignment shop, but opted not to because I'd feel guilty if someone used this to gain entry into someone's house claiming to be a parish employee.  And by the way, for those of you not from Louisiana, we have Parishes instead of Counties.

And sure enough, Brian comes by, notices the canned goods, gets upset with me that I threw them away, and excited that they are not indeed expired, and confiscates both of them.  Here's a picture of him and his new bounty!


 One of the tool boxes that drew us to this unit to begin with.   It also doubles as a step-stool.

One of the fishing tackle boxes, modeled by our very own manly man.

Another tackle box.

Speaking of men, I DEFINITELY could use this "How to Recognize a Real Man" CD!  I might be taking this one home!

My table was shaping up quite nicely.  I now had pots and pans, tools, VHS tapes, workout equipment, and even a boat battery.

A closeup of some of the items:

Remember earlier I told you about some of the correspondence this guy would get from churches and companies seeking donation?  Some of their tactics were ridiculous.  I actually for a split second thought this was a certified letter until I read it.  I showed it to Brian right away and he almost thought the same exact thing.



More of those types of advertisements/ mailings:


The guy had over 100 of these envelopes.  I can't really blame him, it really does look like real handwriting! 


It's kind of unfortunate that the people who don't have money or credit borrow money from people who charge sky-high interest, leaving them with even less money. It's a vicious circle.  This book actually advertises ways to further in-debt yourself.  No wonder our tenant had so many financial problems!



This letter was really sad but told the entire story of our tenant.  I blew it up (and covered his identity of course) so you could read it.  There are lessons to learn from EVERY locker.  Don't do drugs, don't sell your body,  don't get in over your head, don't value possessions, don't buy above your means, etc.   This one is a perfect example of someone who was very poor at managing money and continued to make poor decisions.  On top of a high truck note, high child support payments, and tons of super high interest loans and credit cards, he had no chance.  Here's a letter he wrote begging for assistance.  He also was living out of his truck for awhile which may explain why his things ended up in storage.  (Although I will say that the only piece of furniture in the unit was a small nightstand, so hopefully his other furniture is elsewhere and he does have a home established).


Very sad, but we can't get caught up in it.  We try not to, at least.  Only to share the lessons and stories with you all and make the world a better place somehow. Moving on...

Forgive me for stereotyping, but just like a man!  Do you see that in the same box are the following things:  Belly Burner Meal Planners, a Deep Fryer, and an entire bottle of oil?  NICE!


This unmarked envelope seemed rather peculiar...

And I was VERY interested by its contents!  Talk about a MALE problem!   And I didn't even know about this when we picked the title of this blog!


A close-up of the product, called Extenze.  I wonder how many hits THAT brings to our blog this week!

After a day's work, look at the trash pile!  Not too shabby!

A close up of the trash pile that wrapped up Day 1 rather nicely.


Day 2 of our dig, and Brian has gone in the truck to the facility to get the rest of the smelly fumigation type of items.  I'm unloading the rest of the things and looking for treasures!


This lock box looks promising...

But it's just filled with papers.  Big surprise.

It always amazes me when people have drivers licenses and credit cards in their units.

Here's a sampling of the cards I found in his envelope "wallet" -   and I'm not sure WHO that driver's license belongs to, but it is not his or his ex-wife's.   I'm always wondering if I should turn things like that over to authorities in case they are stolen / a shrine to a victim / whatever.  In our defense, we did turn these items to the storage unit and were told to destroy them... so, here we are.  They were properly disposed of and we have records of them if anyone ever needs them or asks.

It's no wonder our poor guy had financial issues.  In addition to all of these churches writing him and asking him for donations or to buy whatever book or cd series, there were also several who tried to get him involved in pyramid schemes.   Getting rich quick usually doesn't happen for anyone, folks.  If it's too good to be true, it is (Storage Hunters taught us that!) ;)


These law office envelopes caught my attention right away because, well, a friend of mine is a partner in the firm!   Very cool.   Six degrees of separation, right?  Apparently the tenant used their envelopes to hold his hornets ticket stubs. At first I thought it was a gift from the law office to the tenant or vice versa but then I caught several letters from them warning him that they were representing their client who was suing him for non-payment, so now I doubt the free ticket thing.

Our guy was also very interested in a procedure that can reduce male breast size.  He printed this out several times, in fact.

Here's a card from the tenant's cousin saying that she feels sorry for his situation and wishes she could lend him money but she's already loaned a lot to other people.

Several months later, in fact, there's a letter from the same cousin, asking for her $200 back that she loaned him several years earlier.  She's now having financial trouble herself and is calling in all of her favors.  Pretty bad when a cousin has to write you a letter to recover your debt.

Out of that entire lockbox, these were the only two items of value. And no, I'm not kidding.

Our next box yielded some bug zappers, office supplies (including some legal sized clipboards), and various other VHS tapes, and household goods.

There was also a picture of this basketball team-- apparently the tenant's brother is a coach of an Australian basketball team.

Here's another basketball team, seemingly Chinese?  I have no idea what league or division this is.  There was lots of cool basketball memorabilia in this unit, but it was all foreign.

Our guy did have some collections of things, and one of them was Coca Cola bottles.  Very cool.  These can be worth a lot, depending on what year and type of glass they are!

This next shoebox (so far a lot of his items were in shoeboxes) was full of tools.  That's always good for us.

We also found a really nice lock, if only we could find a key! Maybe!   I do have some I saved from the other day, we will have to try them out.  Between the gloves and the locks I found, it almost appears like our guy could go into the storage unit business himself!

Another nice item,  a multi-cut haircutting system.

Ahh... another collection.  The New World-Wide Postage Stamp Album, which he had already begun filling in.  That explains that big box of stamps!

Lots of the pages are already filled in as well!  We'll have to do research to see what these are worth.  Many of them are cancelled (used/stamped), but some of them appear new/mint.   Here are a few of the pages he was working on:



This next item was pretty interesting.  It was an NOPD tape recorder, with a tape inside.  For those of you not local, NOPD is our local Police Department.  We will of course listen to these tapes and then submit them for evidence to the proper authorities, whatever they are.  But we will listen to them first! ;)

I love these Hoops & YoYo cards, they are so funny.  Made Brian listen to this one in the car.  Oh, and can anyone tell me what's wrong with the envelope??

Look more closely...
 That's right.  They didn't use a stamp, but the COVER of a book of stamps.  And the post office accepted it!

People always ask me when I tell them information about tenants how I know the things I know.  Despite having a psychology degree (and Brian being EXCEPTIONALLY talented with reading people), you just know.  You just have to put together all of the clues.  In this case, I found divorce papers, and then I found this book.  It's obvious that he really loved her and was sad, truly sad, that it didn't work out for them.

The next box had an iron and a toaster, always two of our best sellers (it helps that we let them go at $5 each).  Having the boxes helps them become even quicker sellers!

Ooh, and the Perfect Pushup!  I may confiscate this for myself!  It's almost swimsuit season!

This next thing wouldn't have been that interesting, except for the fact that I know a few of the people on this program.  And one of them is a great friend of mine, and a fan of this blog!  So, I had to post it so she could see that one of my storage unit tenants was at her concert.  It's a small, small, world.


More papers. An entire box full.  Admittedly, at this point I was ready to just pitch them all, but I remembered what we always tell you guys- to be thorough.  So I soldiered on.   But look at the paper!

And look at the size of the box!

At this point, a man started going through the garbage literally as I was putting more stuff out.  This happens all the time, people go through our garbage.  The trouble with this is that they make a MESS-- we put 8 or 10 nicely packed boxes out, and 20 minutes later it looks like a war zone.  Our neighbors don't appreciate it, and neither do we.  So, I reminded this guy that everything we throw away IS trash, he let me know that bed bugs/ urine / mud/ dirt doesn't bother him, because he can go bleach things at the laundromat, and that was that.  I reminded him to be respectful of our space and not to destroy the pile.   He understood and seemed nice enough, so I let him continue to rummage.    We agree that if something can't be used by us, we might as well let someone else get some type of use out of it!  Why not?   We try to be heroes after all!  I did get a chuckle though when I found these adult diapers and added them to the trash pile!  I wonder if he reused THOSE!

All in all we did okay with this unit.  Between the pest control items, the tools, the gym equipment, and the pillows, household items, glassware, and clothing, we made our money back.  The coke bottles and stamps have the potential to bring us way over the top, we just have to research them and find the right buyers.  And everything else is lagniappe!  (if you're not from Louisiana, it means, "extra")

That's it for now... stay tuned for our Part 2 to this blog, Female.

Until next time,

Storage Heroes



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