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Thursday, January 3, 2013

You should have written your Grandma back!

 Disclaimer:   We bought this unit a LONG time ago.  Over a year ago.  I found the pictures the other night when I was going through old pictures and remembered we hadn't blogged it.  I also found something else that I still have in my house that you'll see at the very end.  Despite the 100-something blogs we've put up here, believe it or not, just like Storage Wars, we don't show you EVERYTHING-  there's just too many units some times.  So we have a couple of them saved up!   Expect to see more of these in the future.  The good news is, you're getting to read it now.  The bad news is that I remember very little about the price of this unit, etc.  Sorry!   You want to follow us along to auctions with a notepad, pencil, and digital camera, feel free!  Maybe you can bring a Bongo too.     "I'm Sheldon Cooper and I'm playing the bongos.... "

We can say (because we remember) that we attended a caravan auction at facilities we rarely ever go to (they rarely ever have auctions and when they do it's just 1 or 2 units and it's usually during another auction we'd rather go to), but we love it because it's literally RIGHT NEXT DOOR to our warehouse, so it's super convenient.   In fact, 8 out of 10 people who come to our warehouse for the first time believe that because we "do storage units"  we must live at (or be housed at) the storage facility.  So we've had to go down there multiple times to re-direct people to where we actually are.  We've actually even had people show up to our garage sales believing that we were selling off actual units, not contents of units.  Like a regular storage auction.  And a few people actually think we are selling the UNITS "what's your best monthly price on a 10X10?" -- but I digress.   On this day, we went to the location right next to us, and didn't find anything we liked, but we then went to the second location (not  right next door to us but not too terribly far away either) and saw this unit that we weren't crazy about, but we did spot the antique dresser.    Our competitors didn't take us too high (I remember it being under $200) so we were happy with the unit.    The competitor who dropped out is notorious for never carrying more than like $200 with him, so we're unsure if he dropped out because he couldn't afford it or not.

Here's a view of the contents after they were loaded into the van.  I believe we made 2 trips, at least 1 1/2.

 You'll notice the dresser, some clothes, a bucket, and some random boxes and bins.

Another view:

Another view including the bins:

We would have gotten pictures of the actual unit, except for a couple of things.   One-  they were out of carts, so we were frantically trying to find one, because Two, it was trying to rain.   Three,  as soon as we get the dresser out it starts raining, so we confirm the antique marks, know exactly what it is and what it sells for, and no sooner get it back into the unit (until we can find a cart because we don't want to leave it out in the rain if we're not going to move it), when the broke jerk who didn't bid against us comes sauntering up.   Now, just to put it into proper perspective, this is the same guy who complained to the auctioneer that we were taking unwanted pictures of him at auction (false)  and asked for us to be kicked out and banned from attending future auctions.  (We later learned this is because he has a worker's comp or insurance claim and does not want to be photographed lifting heavy furniture.)    This is ALSO the same guy who GAVE our information to a former tenant that he knows to be a constant rule-breaker (putting it nicely)  just because he could.   GRR.    But again, we digress.   We'll call him Big Dummy,  and here's how the conversation went:

Big Dummy:  How'd you guys do?
Us:  Fine!  (in unison)
Big Dummy:   Even with the crapper dresser?
Us:   It's Antique! (again in unison)
Big Dummy:  No it ain't, it's particle board, and the drawers are crooked, and it's factory stamped, Big Lots or something, and I bought one last week for 20 bucks.
Rebecca:  It's actually a Saltman dresser--
Brian:  And it's from the 40s or 50s, maybe earlier--
Rebecca:  and it's stamped on the back, but also signed--
Brian:  And the serial number (which is only 3 digits) indicates that it's exactly what we say it is,
Us:   And it's worth $200 plus!!!  (in unison again).

He just literally turned around and walked away.  I DO remember that much.   And he mumbled the entire way out.

Anyway,  I don't remember much else about the unit, other than the letters, but we'll get to that in a bit.

Back to the dig:

First thing out of the van was a lamp, and an ORECK vacuum cleaner.  Don't know if Oreck is big where you live, but the guy who invented it lives here in New Orleans and they are a very good, well trusted, well loved vacuum cleaner.  You could probably cover it in your own poop and still manage to sell one. We can usually get at least $40-50 for a used one, and sometimes even more.  We were satisfied with this!

Gas canisters are always useful.  Especially in South Louisiana, where Hurricanes are a common occurrence.  We sold these for $5 each, easily.  I think we may have had them for 5 minutes tops.

Assorted military duffel bags, cleaning buckets, and cleaning supplies.  You may have remembered the military duffel bags from the 'Don't Ever Come Back Here Again!" post- where someone tried to shoplift it and Brian busted her.   We performed a very special parody of the occasion on that blog.

Our bounty so far:

There were also some tools, car equipment (funnel, jack),  random gardening equipment, men's shoes.   An iron.  This locker was still very haphazard and we couldn't really figure out what kind of tenant this was yet.  When things are packed THIS haphazardly, it usually means one of three things.   1)  Our tenant was a drug / alcohol addict,  2) Our tenant was on the run, or going to jail, and packed in a hurry,   or 3)  Our tenant was a younger male (no offense, men!)  --   in this case, all 3 were also possible!

A graduation tassel ?   Made into an earring?

A cane?  For walking?  Beating people?  Who knows.  We still have NO IDEA who our tenant is, which is odd at this point, usually we know man/woman/age/whatever.

Clothing / Laundry-   Men's and Women's, Medium sizes.   We're getting somewhere, now.  None of the clothing is special, none of it is even slightly remarkable.  I think the best brand may have been from Target.  Seriously.  But it should bring at least $20-$30 at a garage sale, so we'll take that any day.

A bunch of electronic gadgets, cds, video games, technical manuals, and paperwork.  FINALLY!  Paperwork.  Now we're getting somewhere.  Not in terms of money but in terms of Rebecca's peace of mind.

How sweet!  A card to our tenant from his Maw Maw (Grandma in South Louisiana).   If you didn't read it, she asks him how he's doing, thanks him for calling her, and hopes he's attending a nice church.  She sounds like everyone's grandmother, and like a really sweet lady.  Here are a few samples of her advice, if you couldn't read the handwriting:

* I will call you sometime, you won't know when, to see if you've found your way to a nice church.
* I really hope you will use your gift in music to praise the Lord
* To have a friend, you have to be a friend
* Work hard, do your best always, and remember, I love you dearly.

I *REALLY* want to find a way to meet this lady. She sounds incredible.   She lives in Shreveport, which is about 5 hours away from here (and probably where he's from), otherwise I'm pretty sure she would have visited him as much as she could have.

Back to the dig: Some really stained shorts.  We really hope that's paint, although it really looks like bird poop, right?

At least there are some nice church-shirts in there as well.  Maybe this is what he wore to visit Grandma?

Lots of first aid supplies, and toiletries, which we love (if they are unopened!)  I think this first aid kit is STILL sitting in my bathroom closet, although it's almost empty at this point.  It served me well though.

Some cables, wires, and toiletries mixed together.

I don't think we'll be keeping THOSE vitamins

Yep,  this first aid kit is definitely 70% less full than it was then!

Its' funny how this unit has suddenly resurfaced, because this is over a year old but this shirt is sitting on my living room table as we speak.   We're gifting it to our friend Mickey for Christmas!

So now we have "Clothes 4 Madison and Angslie" -  now I'm really confused because I thought we were dealing with a single guy with the occasional sleep over girlfriend, but now we have two daughters as well?

Lots of kids clothes, but lots of cute adult girl clothes as well.  And even though they were all cheap, some of them were really cute.  I remember getting a few work tees out of this unit.  LIke this one,

And this one

This is actually the stack that I took for myself:

While I'm removing items from the van, I'm sorting as I go.  We're having a sale the very next day, and the weather promised to be good over night (a CONSTANT thing for us is checking the doppler and weather forecasts), so we had a genius thought-  Brian would set up tables and move stuff from inside the warehouse outside, to prepare for the sale, and as I dug the unit out of the van, I could just place each item on the table on which it belonged.  Piece of cake!   Made everything super easy and we didn't have to do things over and over again.

I decided to wear one of my new shirts!

Kitchen ware set:

It's almost time for the dresser, but first I've got to get all of the stuff out from it's drawers!

And by the way,  the drawer wasn't broken, it was just in wrong-  someone packed in a hurry and put all the drawers back in in the wrong places.

We find SO MANY empty electronic boxes.  Everyone saves the box (no idea why) and never keeps the frequently used electronic devices in the box.  If you see a laptop, camera, cell phone box in a unit- the stuff is never ever inside.  We always say this, yet we still get people bidding against us for MacBook Pro boxes.

Cleaning products!   ALMOST as good as gold.  A cleaning product in the hand is worth one we didn't have to buy from Wal-Mart.

Why do people keep phone books?   Why do people even still make phone books?  Isn't that what the internet is for?    I get that there are 50 grandma's out there who still use them,  so just make 50 and let those people subscribe, like the newspaper.  Shoot, you could SAVE the newspaper if you stopped printing phone books.  But I digress.
And please, don't STORE your phone books.  Do you really think when you go back to your storage unit, you'll need a phone book?   You'll have one at your new house,  one at your old house,  one in the driveway that just got delivered, and probably one that someone gives to you because they hate you.

More miscellaneous weapons.  I don't even know what this one does.  A file?

Ooh, bags for the Oreck.  Our vacuum stock just went up!

We see automotive manuals all the time.  WHY not keep them in your car? Hrm?

At least the phone book gives us a clue.  Funny how just a single piece of paper in a book can give you a big clue about a person (car was wrecked) -- I guess that explains the manual being out of the car!

We found a pawn receipt for a REALLY REALLY nice Gibson Les Paul - not sure if the tenant ever got it back or not.  We were excited for a split second that it might be in the locker but it wasn't.  More evidence of a possible drug problem. 

Apparently our tenant, in addition to being a budding guitarist, was also studying Massage Therapy. I  could seriously use a massage right about now!

Converse box looks promising...

Until we open it.  Dominoes!  At least we managed to play a game of Dominoes.

He also WORKED at Domino's.  Coincidence?  It's getting real, now...

One of my favorite games, what's in the bag?

Glittery stuff!    Elastic-y ribbon and such.  Score!  Also something with CARS on it! Vroom!  (Yes, I'm 5. I'm aware of this.)

This bag was boring, it had Christmas decorations (which if you haven't noticed by now we find in EVERY SINGLE UNIT)  and some other crap.  I mean stuff.  Nice stuff.  Would you like to buy it?

A box that was painted.... by someone... using nail polish:

Containing hair products.     Not special but we did manage to sell them to some salons and spas and random other people who like their hair glossy and smooth.  I think we made around $40.

Elvis, Elvis, let me be... keep that pelvis far from me---  is something you don't have to say EVER, once you have these amazing JAILHOUSE ROCK BOXERS!      I asked Brian if he wanted these and he said no.  Actually, I think it was more like HELL NO.   Sad.

Papers, taxes, and more letters from Grandma.  I really hope he read the letters from Grandma.

Kid was about the same age as me in elementary school.  Err..   (yeah, like he was 81 in elementary school, while I was a mere 5).  I MEAN that we're about the same age NOW, although we obviously went to different schools because I've never heard of this one.

What does this even mean?  Who is Ian?  Why does he need to autograph your taxes?  Is this a smart way to get someone named Ian to pay the bill?

More massage books.  We sold them all but have more from a different unit if anyone wants to buy some.

More tools!   It even has a pill organizer for when you're hammering?   I guess it holds screws.  But doesn't it look like a pill organizer?

I should write more blogs at 2am, yes?  Comic gold.    At least I'M giggling.

Hands that heal!

That course ain't THAT short!

More books, blah blah blah blah blah.

This thing was wrapped up SO much.  It was like Fort Knox trying to get into it.  I had to peel off like 12 layers to get to the point where I could even tell how big and long it was.   NO DIRTY JOKES!

It's a city of New Orleans official... something.  Name Badge?  Door badge?  and no, I don't feel like turning it around.   Please don't arrest us, we didn't steal it.

Binoculars!  Great for Saints games.

More tools.  Or workout tools?  What does this do, strengthen your hand muscles?  For giving good massages?  I thought the above mentioned books helped you do that?

GROWING UP WITH SCIENCE!   A science supplement!  It's like, science vitamins!

A tub full of more clothes, more Domino's shirts, more work pants.

A cool glass that looks like a high ball glass but only holds a shot.  Shenanigans!  In the best possible way!    Now all the chicks will think you're big stuff when you're only drinking a little bit!   We'll sell this to you for $1000.

He actually had quite the shot glass / trick shot glass / Hard Rock cafe shot glass / Coke bottle collection.  We still have a few of those coke bottles for sale.

The Hard Rock shot glass collection.

As I watch from the bushes, I now notice that the creature is doing something it NEVER does in it's natural habitat.... it is DIGGING!   A unit!  Voluntarily!    I guess it / he got bored.    I took a picture to commemorate the occasion.

Make that two pictures!   And I just realized the DVD is labelled "WAR!"

Oh, I do have to give props where props are do.  Brian did also find the single greatest thing to come out of this locker, and perhaps one of the greatest things to come out of any locker, period.  It needs no words or description:

Yep.  Here's the back of the postcard:

More clothes!

And more clothes!

Okay, at this point, I've now found about 100 letters from Grandma.  Only I've not found any letters TO Grandma.  Which, don't get me wrong, we don't usually get letters FROM the tenant, because they've usually been sent off, to someone, who doesn't live at their address-- makes sense that they only have one side of the conversation, it's not like e-mail or texting, after all.    However, almost EVERY letter from Grandma starts off with "Please don't forget to write me back like you did last time..."   It's so sad.  At one point she even sends him $1 so he can buy some stamps.

More clothes, we did get some nice leather and suede jackets, we retailed them for just under $100 for all of them.

More tools!  There were 2 of these... I think Brian MAY still have them.   A, because we don't like to sell weapons, and B, because for some reason Brian wanted them.  No idea what he'd do with them....  I guess he thinks he's all bad and stuff, even without the Elvis boxers.  Oookay....

This is what it looks like unfurled.

A ha, there's the other one!

Speaking of unfurled--   Hugh Hefner was now working his way up the alleyway...

Stained clothes and pillowcases were thrown away. Homies don't play DAT!

More sweaters!

More jackets!

Including this one that's like Leonard Hofstedter meets the Foo Fighters.   Yes, I know I have lots of Big Bang Theory references tonight.  Shrug.   But we do well with grungy-alternative-rock-types of clothing, there's always some kind of thrift or consignment store that wants them.  We sold this for around $30.

Folding chairs are like gold in Louisiana.  After all, we have Mardi Gras and Crawfish boils.

More pants.

Brian DEFINITELY agreed to wear this!

Dear Eric,  we appreciated that you labeled this box although we're sure you didn't label it for us.  Either way, the contents you list are NOT EVEN CLOSE to what's actually inside the box.  Learn to label.    Love, Storage Heroes.

Aren't skeletons supposed to be bony?  They aren't supposed to be STUFFED!  This is freaking me out!

Another note from Grandma:

She's basically giving him instructions on laundry,  telling him not to HOCK ANYTHING (in capital letters), which I guess meant it happened an awful lot, further supporting the drugs theory, and also tips on budgeting money and getting a full-time job.

Then I found the saddest thing I have ever seen, in any storage unit.    Keep in mind we've seen death certificates, divorce certificates, baby teeth, baby shoes, purple hearts, diaries of prostitutes and those who have slept with prostitutes to feel love--   nothing really though as sad as this, I don't think.    It's the thing I still had in my house to this day.

A shoebox, filled with the envelopes, that Grandma had sent.  Not just one or two, but HUNDREDS.   Notecard envelopes, white envelopes,  legal sized envelopes, even the larger brown envelopes she mentioned in the note that had 2 and 3 stamps.    And every single one was stamped!   Pre-stamped and PRE ADDRESSED!  No excuse for someone not to send a quick note in an envelope like that, right?  There were even packets of extra stamps, in case he needed more.  And that, you see, is why I still have this box in my house, because not a single one had been used.

What a shame.

Here's the note attached to the top of the box, from Grandma:

I literally cried for about 15 minutes while Brian looked at me like I was a nutcase.  How sad to have someone love you so much, and to not even write them, not even one time, when they've given you everything you need?  Life does terrible, cruel things to people, but none suffer as much as those who love them.   I really hope that this lady got at least a few letters back, and I really hope that he turned things around and found a better life.  I wish he would have written her back sooner, but I definitely hope that somewhere along the way he realized that Grandma is much wiser than him and that he listened to her advice.  Because it was really good advice, and she is a really good Grandma.   I was tempted to write her on that day,  but I didn't want to cause her more heartache and pain by letting her know that the unit was auctioned off--  I also didn't want to incite fear with questions that I couldn't answer.  I  do think about her (and him) often, and wonder if I should write to her to see what happened-- but just like doctors and lawyers, I think even storage heroes should keep their boundaries. 

I'll never forget this unit though!  We hope you never do either... and that you take a moment to contact someone who loves you this new year!

Until next time,

We put the Pal in Pen Pal,

Storage Heroes


  1. ahhhhh heartbreaking, hopefully he cleaned up his act and went and visited Grandma.

  2. Psssst. Grandma...there's this new invention. It's called the TELEPHONE! I know Grandma, your number is Fernwood-372. Seriously, though..he may have been one of those guys who gets out of high school with the inability to read (especially cursive). In which case he didn't know who the letters were from or what they said. Sad tale indeed.

  3. I would write grandma and tell her the circumstances and ask if she would like the letters back. She probably knows about her grandson and even if she doesn't, people want information and closure.

    James, AZ

  4. I ended up putting all of my letters into my storage in Chilliwack for safekeeping. You'll never know when you'll want to look at those old letters again.

  5. Thanks so much for posting this great information! I have really been trying to find good storage companies in salem or... Hopefully, I'll be able to find exactly what I'm looking for in the very near future!

  6. That's pretty crazy! I am looking for some storage lockers in Toronto. Do you know of any places to look? Thanks.

  7. I really like how you've taken the tv show into your own storage edmonton unit adventures. It seems like a really fun way to earn some money.

  8. I would like to buy some storage spaces like you see on tv. Is there a storage company that would let me purchase a space and in effect assume control of the property found in the storage unit?


  9. It is amazing what you can find in older storage lockers. Those things are really like time capsules. I bet there are still some turn of the century lockers that have not been opened yet.

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