There are three possible approaches to buying storage lockers. You can 1) buy your locker and throw everything away minus one or two valuable pieces (think Barry Weiss on Storage Wars), you can 2) donate almost everything or just sell it in bulk to wholesalers, which is quick but not maximizing your profits, or 3) you can invest just a little more time and sell every single item off yourself, regardless of how long it takes. That's the option we always take, and honestly, I think it's one of the reasons we've been so successful up to now. This time, we knew we had a lot of a quality product (ie, fabric), so we took it even a step further, and rather than just selling it off piece by piece, we actually spent a little bit of money on some ziplock bags and spent hours and hours organizing it into packages with price tags. It was definitely time consuming, and we had to spend a few dollars on supplies (something we never like to do), but it absolutely paid off.
To give you an idea of just how time consuming this particular unit was, take a look of just some of the boxes of fabric.
Be Prepared for a Flu Pandemic!
This is a particularly important book. It's also very coincidental that I found this today because I just watched a Celebrity Apprentice where Arsenio Hall won some money for Magic Johnson's AIDS foundation. Definitely not a laughing matter.
It is interesting though (or disturbing), the note that is written on the inside cover. An assignment for school, maybe? A shame that it's unfinished:
There were also these bottle covers, like these:
Most of the home items were in the other unit (the tenant had 2), and we failed to purchase that one just a few days ago. It went up for auction a full month after this unit. But, we did have a small handful of household items, including these kitchen utensils that are probably from the 1980s.
Videotapes! Mostly VHS, no beta, fortunately, although we did find a slide projector!
A close-up of just one of the drawers of patterns:
The patterns were the one exception to selling things one item at a time. We've had some recent problems with eBay (see our *%$ eBay post for more information on that), so when a wholesaler showed up 5 minutes into our garage sale and offered us $400 for all of the patterns, it was an offer we couldn't refuse!
We were very interested to see what would be inside this bag/box:
Admittedly, I'm also going to keep this book! Not only is it older and very interesting, it might be useful to me as a single lady who has had little luck in the romance department! ;)
Our lady was obviously very talented. Here are just a few (of thousands of pieces of paper we found) of her orders!
and her price list for her business:
It's truly a shame that these things were re-possessed away from her ability to make more money from her family. I don't know what happened, but I hope she's still sewing. It breaks my heart when people are talented and not able to use that talent. Brian and I have since been back to this facility several times, and when we watched her second unit get auctioned off (for way more than we wanted to pay for it) we learned that even though we assembled 12 boxes of personal items for the tenant to pick up, she still hasn't, over a month later. So, she clearly doesn't want any of these things, or is not able to have them.
Another bag of fabric:
Take a look at how the fabric pile was increasing!
Lots of purses and bags and shoes and hats as well:
It was also interesting to see someone else's creative process at work. She often packaged fabrics based not on color, texture, or size, but on whatever project she was working on at the time. She probably wouldn't have had as much fabric go unused had she been a little more organized (all of the pink together, all of the cotton together), for example, but it was pretty cool to see the color combinations that SHE would have chosen, like this one:
Guess what's in the bag? That's right, more fabric!
There were also full bolts of fabric. These were all used for suits for groomsmen for weddings, I think:
This box was full of what appeared to be old business cards...
And when I say old, I mean OLD...
Not only do some of these places not exist anymore, but some of them I didn't know ever existed, ever! Here's a Mardi Gras Disco called "Mason's Las Vegas Strip" that was right here in New Orleans!
Here's a match book for the same place:
A business card for a Disc Jockey, something you DEFINITELY don't see any more! And you have to love the name, Super Soul Tank-- if Brian stops using Captain Trashbag, that might have to be his new nickname!
Ha, the card says it all!
A bag full of polaroids. It really is a shame just how many photographs we find inside units.
A stack of papers that we of course went through:
Nothing too interesting, except for this really interesting Texas Longhorn themed wedding or shower:
Back to digging the last few "miscellaneous boxes"...
These "Last Supper" panels were pretty interesting:
There were also stuffed animals, which made me very happy, 1) because I can give them to my puppy, Lola, but 2) and more importantly, I ride in a Mardi Gras krewe so these are perfect to throw!
This was an actual bag of cotton. It was in with a bunch of wedding keepsakes (not the Texas wedding, although I guess it's possible)... not sure why she kept this cotton, but here it is!
Closeup of the cotton:
Speaking of carnival, there were also some really fun costumes in here! Costumes for parties, every day wear which just so happened to be from the 70s, so that worked as costumes, and even some outfits that appeared to be made for exotic dancers (including this one). I had fun trying on several of the costumes:
She also made and bedazzled her own shoes. Gotta love a woman who bedazzles her own shoes!
All in all, I was particularly happy for the costumes, especially since a party I go to every year, for a great cause, called the Lympho-Maniac Party, was coming up and it is a 70s themed costume party. There were so many to choose from but I liked this one the best!
It's easy to get caught up in the personal lives of our tenants and wondering what might have happened to them, but it was time to get back to work. Here's how things were looking before a sale:
Finally, we had lots of really cute fabric, including some cartoon characters, many vintage like this older Scooby Doo print. It was all cut up to make... SOMETHING. But, what shape does this look like to you?
Another view. Giggle.
All in all, we did great with this unit. We have a bunch of sewing machines, a lot of fabric for ourselves (and that have made a significant profit off of), the patterns, costumes, some old glassware, and much more. Remember, we paid $125 for this unit and here (unlike on Storage Wars) are a listing of REALIZED values so far:
Glass juicer, glassware, and other old collectibles: $15
Sewing Machines: $40
That's $1700 and we're not done yet. Had we wholesaled the entire unit to one or two people, we probably wouldn't have crossed $800. Don't ever underestimate the value of a little hard work.
Storage Heroes Tip #32 : Sometimes it's easier and less time consuming to just throw away, donate, or wholesale items in bulk. But if you can take even just a little bit of effort and clean up, organize, or re-package items, you can increase your profit exponentially. And why let someone else have YOUR profit?