Scott – What is going on at the storage auctions? I won a few storage units and I am very disappointed to say the least! I won 2 units – the first for $600.00 and the second unit for $300.00 and all said and done, I think I have lost about $100.00 for my time. — please help, Mary Las Vegas.
Yes with the new storage auction TV shows, it is very competitive bidding at the auction these days. I think people forget, that they are not the only ones watching TV.
Is there money still to be made? I think so, but this will be money found. The market is tight almost everywhere, even in second hand goods, and with storage auctions reaching the main stream, the prospects of making money has brought people out of the woodworks to bid!
Scott’s sneaky selling tip –
When buying many units, I found myself with an abundance of items like… dishes, VCR s, toasters, DVDs, mostly 1-5 dollar run-of-the-mill items. These are difficult to list on the web one at a time. To turn these into hundred dollar items, sometimes I would make what I would call “Home starter kits”. I would gather 10-25 items into packages that people living in the budget suites or maybe have recently relocated to the Las Vegas could use. For example: I would get full set of dishes, DVD or VCR with 10 dvds, blender, toaster, and sell this for-like $129.00.
Congratulations on winning your first storage auction!
I have outlined the steps to liquidating the contents of your storage unit.
- You need to remove the content in the storage locker, in most cases this needs to be done within 24 hrs. Some people will take their time looking through boxes and sort the items. I don’t even bother going through the content until I have removed everything.
- Remove trash and sort. I like to remove all the personal documents and pictures and shred them. Some storage facility encourages you to return the personal documents as a courtesy, I never do this. I properly dispose of all documents and photos by shredding them, as a courtesy.
- I look at everything in the unit. To date I have found $1500.00 in a sock, $3000.00 in a Bible, it’s not just cash, but it is almost anything. People hide things in their house, just like you! BUT sometimes they will forget where they have hidden their most treasured item and you can become the benefactor of these items, but remember, you must look through everything in the unit!
- When sorting you must remember almost everything is worth something, knowing where to sell it can make all the difference. It sounds sick and gross, but I have sold a 5 gallon bucket full of USED sexual devices.
I make three piles. *Moving things once can save you time and money.
1. eBay – I snap all the photos, right on the spot. Within 72 hours I will have the selected items posted on eBay. As for pricing the storage unit items, I have a good idea of what items go for. However, I will do a market value research on items I am not clear on to ensure the best return on the item.
2. Garage sales or flea-markets – I store these items in easy stackable crates. This give me the ease of loading and unloading the storage units items to be sold at the flea-market on Friday.
3. Craigslist – I have photos of everything. I have prepared a template with a meeting address, contact information and a short description for buyers, which allows me to cut my time in half pasting and post on Craigslist.
*Fun fact: Craigslist online free classifieds has not reached full popularity across the US, in many areas, this is not the most popular method of reaching the masses! ***also see: Backpage online classifieds.
Tip: Make money with donations, I took many items I found to the salvation army or local woman’s shelter to get a tax write-off.
- Self appraisal – looking up things on the web and researching cost can make you more money, for most things there is already an established cost. But sometimes it boils down to what someone is willing to pay.
- Having connections to sell items can help – I knew where to sell my storage items living in Las Vegas, about three hours from the Pasadena swap-meet in California allowed me good access to a large market of buyers/collectors.