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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Home is where you hang your hat?

Hello again!

Rebecca here!  We've wanted to blog about this one for awhile, but truth be told we were missing the original "opening the door" pictures of this unit, so we were waiting to find them.  Between California and other such things, we have been unable to find them, so you'll just have to read our brilliant description and take our word for it :)

As usual, this blog has a FEW items of an adult nature-- it's probably one of the tamest we've written though that's "adult"  but I figured we'd warn you anyway.    It's probably rated PG-13.   If you don't like your kid walking around the drugstore and asking questions, you don't need them to be reading this.   That's a pretty good description.

Now...  we went to an auction last minute at a storage facility that is literally a block away from my father's car repair shop-- so it's convenient, to say the least.  Especially because if my Dad needs my help for a few hours, we can dig while I answer the phone, so it's a really good deal!    The doors rolled open and it was a tiny unit, a 2 X 3 or 3 X 5, but stuff was PILED HIGH, all the way to the ceiling. 60% of it was in boxes, but much of it was just loose.  It was a total mess.  Usually the kind that we find jewelry / gold / cash / treasure in.  We were immediately intrigued, but so were some newbies that happened to show up this one day only (we haven't seen them since) so they took us almost three times higher than we wanted to go.   In our defense, even though we don't condone being bullies to newbies (and like for people to grow their connections and bridges instead of being jerks),  sometimes if you have a newbie who is bidding uncontrollably against you it doesn't hurt to show them that you won't be bullied, either.  And that's exactly what we did, we did not back down, we won the unit, and we have not seen them since.

The one thing I did see in the unit was a Coach bag, and usually where there's one of those there's another.  Brian agreed with me that it looked real (Coach isn't THAT expensive so we very rarely seen knockoffs) so we went for it.    It took us about an hour to move the unit, and it went really well, because even though we didn't bring the van, we realized that we were able to have me inside digging / packaging / boxing while Brian was taking 3-4 car trips 2 blocks down the street to Performance Motor Werks (my Dad's repair facility.   They are great and specialize in imports, if you're in New Orleans give them a call at 504-822-2222.  Shoutout!)

After we moved everything to the dealership, this is what we had  (keep in mind this is about 8-10 boxes shy, that were still in the car).  Gives you an idea though of what it looked like:

 And even more stuff (it was a lot):

We started finding lots of different things.  Like crazy things.  But not crazy things.  Just odd varieties of things.  Let me start over.   It's not odd to find clothing or shoes in a unit.  But typically, you'll find 3 or 4 shoe sizes,  3 or 4 clothing sizes, and you can start ascertaining whether it was a woman and man and two kids, or four females, or a college dormitory, or whatever.  Right?    We had shoes in here of every size, clothing of every size,  school uniforms, costumes, just all kinds of things.  Nothing made any sense.  It wasn't a retail store because everything wasn't pristine.  Some items were but some were dirty and with smell.  It took awhile for the pieces of the puzzle to start to fit.   We won't spoil the surprise yet, for those of you playing along at home.

Here's a Santa Claus costume...

And I know this looks like nothing but what's so extraordinary about this is that it's a pair of pants (black jeans I think) that were so pressed or rolled over that they were completely flattened

There were actually some nice bags.. a knock off Louis Vuitton (pictured)  and a few Coach bags, we will get to that in a minute.  What was odd about each of the bags was their contents.  Here's the contents of the knockoff Louis:
Notice the packets of sunscreen,  Emergen-C,  ketchup, feminine products, and an extraordinary supply of condoms.  Some paperwork and bus passes, and a curling iron.  Figured out who our tenant is yet?  The clues are adding up...

There were a few pieces of jewelry that were either silver or what our tenant thought was silver.  Many were scratched and beaten up or rolled over.   Here was one such ring:
Notice lots of things were rolled over.  Any guesses yet?

LOTS of food.  Some of it was out of the packaging so you couldn't even tell what it was.  Lots of samples of things,  lots of packages of coffee --  and items you might find in hotel rooms, etc.

Interesting slogan on this shirt!
The back of the shirt has tire tread marks on it.

There were so many BAGS in this one, I figured we should play one of my favorite games, "What's in the Bag"   -- here's Bag #1

What's inside...  a TON of papers, plastic bags,  bus tickets,  casino cashout tickets, photos, and more!

In fact, there were a lot of purses, and while some of them seemed new, others weren't, and they were filled with all sorts of stuff.  Pretty quickly on, we realized that a lot of the purses were "acquired" --  I'm not going to say they were stolen, because there's no way we have of knowing that,  but let's just say at some point they obviously had lots of different owners.  There were, as we said, a couple of genuine Coach bags, so that was pretty cool.  They are still for sale if anyone is interested.

There were lots of pictures of our tenant getting married.  It appears to have been in a hospital, although I'm not totally sure about that.   Before you go feeling sorry for the tenant, though, or wondering about this ridiculously cute story-- you should also know, this marriage lasted 2 years (we have the divorce certificate) and was our tenant's 3rd or 4th marriage.  

Baby clothes, infant clothes,  and school uniforms.  See how random this is?

There were also lots of home health care items, including this bottle of Niacin.

There were also a ton of educational pamphlets and brochures, including this one, "Caring for Someone with Bipolar I Disorder."   And just so you know,  Bipolar I is a disorder that runs rampant in my family-- so, no jokes please.  But we WILL tell you that this is a pretty big clue to our tenant's identity.  Do you know yet?

Lots of the interiors of bags were cut open so that small things the tenant deemed valuable could be hidden from other people.  Bus tokens, unique coins,  keys,  and even things she thought were silver.

Time to play "What's in the Bag"  again.  Here's contestant #2:

A bunch of stuff.  Mainly papers, but stuff.

Here's all the stuff spread out:

Guessed yet? You're really close.  Here's a voucher resource sheet describing resources in the City of New Orleans  (where we are).

Some fliers for local Churches in the area:

More Bus tickets, tokens, and route maps:

A Ha!   Since this pretty much gives it away, we will go ahead and tell you.  Our tenant  was/is (we're not sure)  homeless:

Apparently these homeless shelters offer all types of resources, including those for people who just got out of prison:

There were also several cards.  The only reason I included the picture of this one is because I found it funny, we JUST wrote about the Gazebo cafe in our very last blog, about our trip to California and how it was replicated in Disneyland.  And now, here we are, writing about a unit before we left, and there's a picture of a business card from the same place.  Ladies and Gentlemen,  it IS a small world, after all.

One thing I don't understand (or maybe I do)  is how you can be homeless but have SO MANY of this cashout tickets / vouchers to Harrah's Casino.  There had to be 20+ in the bags in this unit.

Another bag filled with more paperwork,  more toiletries,  interesting things picked up off of the road (which explains our tire tracks and street marks on a lot of items), and yes, even more condoms.

The doubloons actually were cool.   For those of you from out of town, a Doubloon is something thrown at a Mardi Gras parade-- usually by members or royalty.  It's sometimes made of silver or gold but 99.9% of the time is just cheap plastic or aluminum.   They're basically worthless unless you can get a rare one or one of a specific krewe-- she had a pretty good assortment of ones she thought were "neat".

Guess What's in the Bag  #3:

Holy Water & shower curtain hooks!  I bet you didn't see that one coming!

Guess What's In The Bag Volume 4:

This one contains another bag,  a sample spray perfume (one of the designer knockoffs), more holy water, a  keychain, some change, and a few books.  Also some random paperwork.

The book was donated by Volunteers of America:

More random coins and things found on the street or wherever.  All very interesting.  Some old bus tokens and pay phone tokens we need to look up.

This bag was super heavy and totally got my attention even from the unit, because it was so out of place with all of the other things:

It's filled with various pieces of glass in different shapes and patterns, I guess for doing mosaic work, or putting in your yard, or whatever.  I'm told they sell for a few dollars a piece and we have a whole bag full.  And they are beautiful!  No idea where our tenant got these either but they are available for purchase.

It's not a purse but it's time for What's in the Bag #5 anyway:

More feminine products,  toiletries, sample sized items, and soaps.  Things like that.  I suppose our tenant was getting them from the various shelters and stock piling them for later use / need.

More feminine products:

Surgical / safety / dust mask.  Good for storage units!   We kept the unused ones and threw the open ones away! :)

Another bag filled with more of the same:

There were also as we mentioned, a ton of shoes, and purses.

Also not a bag, but "What's in the Bag" #6 ... ??

Of course!  The suitcase is filled with more papers!

What's funny,  well, not funny, but ironic, is that I took a break from Day 1 of digging and ended up having to leave the dealership and run across town for something.  On my way back, this overpass (underpass?)  which is NOTORIOUS for homeless people living underneath it had 5 or 6 police cars arresting people randomly, bringing them in, and trying to disperse them.  That used to be something that would happen often, but lately it seems like they were being left alone by the police, at least in that area.  It was ironic that this was happening AS I was going through a unit of a homeless person.

Back to Day 2 of the dig, and it's now apparent that our tenant has been married and divorced a few times,  has moved around a lot,  has had a ton of different odd ball jobs, but is still homeless.  We have lots of random items that have been procured on the streets in whatever way, and some items were literally picked up from the middle of the street where they had been run over by cars on a daily basis.  We also had a lot of sample sized toiletries, likely from homeless shelters and other such resource providing places.     But how does it all fit together?  I can only imagine that our person was compiling the items found into a storage unit either for her own personal use, or to sell the items to make a profit.

A ton more stuff, including chinese take out menus,  and a lot more condoms.

More condoms, with directions on how to use.  We found over 1000 condoms total.  Finally, it occurred to me that our tenant was getting them for free from all of the hospitals and free clinics around the area.   (Which also explains the instructional pamphlet provided with them).

Closeup of the instructional packet.  I still can't figure out why she needs SO MANY condoms!

Then I see this.   And I go  "TEN CENTS!  That's a really cheap price to sell a hat for.... OHHHHHH."      That's right kids... she was getting her free condoms from the clinic and selling them on the street for ten cents a piece.  You have to admire that sense of entrepreneurship!

Speaking of entrepreneurship, the last thing we should point out is that of all the items she had,  she had this plate-- which has a copy of the cover of Offbeat magazine on the front.  I'm not sure what the significance of this particular cover is.  I thought maybe it was custom made for our tenant, but.. no-- this was an actual cover.

And the prices of these plates are $45 each!    It's for sale if anyone wants it  ;)

Well that's pretty much it on this one.    We don't think the tenant was living in the unit (although we have seen that before),  it was just too small and packed to the gills with stuff.    We also did get some pretty good stuff for the price, including the Coach purses.  And a lot of the uniforms and things are brand new and easily sold.    Finally, we have enough toiletries unopened to last a lifetime, plus a super sizeable donation to the local shelters in the area.  To pay it forward, you know.

Until next time...

We bring fun to auction,

Storage Heroes


  1. thanks for sharing.

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  4. I just wanted to say...after reading almost all of your post on this blog, you really should stop calling yourself experts. It is obvious that you are very inexperienced and lack any real knowledge, not only of the storage auction business but also of Ebay and picking. You are an insult to true professional pickers and Ebayer's.



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