Tag Archives: selling

First Question from the bag – What do I do with all this stuff?

The first question comes from Mary F., Chicago, Ill.

Dear Dirk,

I’m quite upset with you.  My husband bought your book and purchased two storage unit auctions, against my better judgment.  Now, we have a house full of stuff and although he’s sold some of it, I can’t stand my house looking like a junk yard.  My husband acts like he has gold fever and is ready to buy more.  What should I do?


Mary, I’m glad your husband read my book, did you read it?  I explained several ways to move the merchandise once you bring it home.  I assume you held a garage sale since that’s the best way to move a house full of merchandise.  Here’s a couple of more suggestions to unload large quantities of merchandise if you’re not willing to sell individual pieces.  Look in the phone book for auction houses in Chicago, there should be several.  Go see a couple of these auctions and you’ll see that you can create box lots with many items.  Box lots are a great way to make some money and get rid of the stuff around your house.  Another suggestion would be to load a truck full of items and take to your local swap meet.  If you really just want to get rid of the stuff, load it up and take it to your favorite charity and get the receipt – you can deduct at least $500 from your taxes.  If you don’t want to be bothered loading it up, put an ad on craigslist under the free section and watch people back up their trucks and haul everything away.

I’m sorry you’re upset with your husband but you should consider reading the book and working with him as a team.  Two heads are always better than one when it comes to selling your house full of merchandise.  It takes constant energy to list and sell.  If you don’t want to do it, you should just tell him you don’t like that.  If he doesn’t understand your desires maybe you guys should seek marriage counseling.

Good luck!

Who’ this Dirk? Read about Dirk

How Many Garage Sales Can I have?


Hey Dirk,
I was looking at your book on Amazon and love the idea of making some money at garage sales but a neighbor told me that we’re only allowed by law to have two garage sales per year. Even if I had the two best garage sales ever, I don’t see how it’s possible to reach financial freedom from that. I know there are people that break this law, how do they get around it?

Dana, Atlanta


Dear Dana,
Thanks for your question. First, I wouldn’t take your well meaning neighbor’s word on the legal limit for garage sales in your neighborhood. You need to determine whether you’re governed by the city or county, depending on where you live and actually read the ordinance or code that states the legal limits for garage sales in your jurisdiction. Second, understand that code enforcement is a complaint driven process. If nobody complains about your garage sale then, in theory, you could have it every day. I was personally told this by more than one code enforcement officer when I lived in Las Vegas. Also understand that the definition of garage sale is typically considered “outside sales.” That means that you’re not having a garage sale if you’re selling items inside the house.

When I first started the business I held a garage sale every weekend until a neighbor complained. I told my mentor about code enforcement showing up at my door and he told me my problem was that I hadn’t involved my neighbors. He told me to speak to the neighbors, invite them to hold sales at the same time and give them items they want from your sale for free – in essence, to bribe them. The next opportunity I had to hold a “legal” garage sale, we printed a letter to the neighbors explaining that the law allowed so many days of outside sales and we were going to have the first of our four days on such and such weekend. We invited them to participate, that we would advertise the sale as a multi-family sale and they knew how much traffic we could generate and they could profit and have fun as well. Nobody on the block chose to participate but we never had any further complaints from the neighbors and we extended our sales past the legal limit on several occasions. If you have a good relationship and respect the fact that nobody wants to live next to a permanent garage sale, you can exceed the legal limit of sales days without incident. Just don’t be obnoxious about it. Also, if you read my book, you’ll find that I describe many other outlets to sell your merchandise besides garage sales. Garage sales are just the beginning of learning to sell on a personal level and to determine the intrinsic value of any item. Once you acquire that skill, you’ll see that you can make money anywhere, all the time.

To buy Dirk’s book:

Gold in every storage unit?

Yes! As a matter of fact – I found gold in most storage units I won at auction!

I am not talking about striking it rich by finding a stack of gold bars in a storage unit, but I would say that 8 out of 10 storage units with everyday household items had some sort of gold in them.

Most people own some-type of gold, earrings, necklace, rings, teeth, just about anything you can think of. One ring might be worth twenty bucks, but put all your gold together and it really adds up! Over the time I was buy storage units at auction I would say I found about 3 ounces of scrap gold total.

Want to sell your gold? Gold scams are at an all-time high so you need to be careful.

What is the best way to cash in your gold?

First you need to find out just how much gold you have. Then you need to find out what karat of gold you have and the weight. Then this will give you an idea of what your gold is worth.

The best way to proceed is to shop around! I would get 3-5 bids and only deal in cash, because onces it gone, it’s gone!

Many people claim to pay the most, but this not true. Gold buyers are looking to pay the least for your gold, so the closer to market value you can get the better off you are.

Tight for money? Sell your unwanted jewelry using Cash4Gold today!

Best way to sell your storage auctioned goods.

There are many ways to sell storage auctioned goods, I am going to go over what I feel worked well for me and why.

eBay – eBay started as a strong front runner when I first got started buying storage units, but after rising cost for listing items on eBay, the shipping cost and Paypal fees this became less of an attractive method to move my storage auction winnings. In my opinion, eBay’s feeing system was no longer advantageous for the seller.

*also I am working on my eBay blog talking about my selling experience. If you would like to see my eBay profile here

Craigslist – I like Craigslist overall, but even with this method of selling things it has some unwanted side effects. I know Craigslist in some markets is much better than others, but with all the new changes making listing more challenging and the overall decline in quality responses, craigslist in my mind has became almost annoying.

**SELLERS NOTE: I think eBay and craigslist is very useful tools, but you must be selective in what items you sell! Cost involved with eBay only make it a good for selling things with a high return, Craigslist is hit or miss on almost anything, and you always have to deal with lots of spam.

Selling at Garage sale – This I think is best way to sell your storage items, it uses everything you have right in-front of you, and very low over-head! I think most treasure seekers are out and about! You might be asking yourself, do I want to sell my stuff at the garage sale? I think that answerer is “Yes.” Many people are out seeking items that have value to make potential money left on the table.

Can’t have a garage sale? No Problem! Most cities have a local flea-market, an for just a few bucks you can get in-front of 100’s of people to sell your items.

With eBay and craigslist there is a premium to be paid on everything you sell. It might be gas, to meet people or shipping materials, it all adds up to something! I found that a garage sale brings everyone to me, todays garage sale shopper is a savvy collector, digging in the trenches for products to resale, even to this day I can still spot items to buy for just a few bucks and make 100’s reselling them on eBay.

Email question about investing in storage units at auction

An email question I received, about buying storage units in Las Vegas.

First, I wanted to thank you for your awesome website!! The hubby and I were thinking of maybe buying a storage unit or two. We have been doing other sales on craigslist, but wanted to see if we can step it up a notch. I read your scammers beware part and we were thinking the same thing so were a little scared to get out there with our hard earned mu-la. I wanted to see if you happen to know if any companies that you have dealt with that you think we should stay away from? I know there is times when we have learned a lesson the hard way and I always share with friends when I do. We have five kids so we have plenty of crap of our own to sell all the time but with buying a storage unit here and there we are hoping to buy a house in this down market. Any help much appreciated. We will be heading out to the first auction this Saturday that I found in the announcements. Thanks for the link and tutorial.  –Sarah, Las Vegas

First off I would like to Thank you for your question.

Buying storage’s units is overall very safe venture, most of the time its only a few hundred dollars at risk. Storage units can go for almost anything, but bidding on what you can see is a money saving statement. The best way to look at it, is like this… At the time of bidding, if you where 100% ready to pay for what you could physically see inside the storage unit, “most of the time” there is not going to be a problem. It is when I here of someone overpaying when they see a big screen TV, or something they believe to be a “goldmine” is when you run into a problem. Gamble at your own risk.

I have been burned buy storage units, but the bottom-line is, it has only amounted to a few hundred dollars loss. I know the market for buying storage units is very competitive with it coming to TV.

My best advise is to: sit back and wait, your unit is coming up!

Fun Facts: Here is a list of items that are only worth about half of what you think they are worth.

  • TVs
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • DVDs

Her Reply:

Sounds good! We do Dave Ramsey financial peace so Im very very patient 🙂 I have an eye for stuff my husband at first thought I was nutty but when he went a couple weeks with me not selling and saw how much I was bringing in selling on craigslist he jumped on board. We will be heading to our first storage auction tomorrow it should be interesting. We will probably just watch to see how it all works. I have to say I love the selling boxes idea I laughed today when I saw some in the dumpster behind Walgreen’s. I’m pissed about the storage wars thing and coupon thing on tlc I do both of those grrr.

I won my first auction, now what?

Congratulations on winning your first storage auction!

I have outlined the steps to liquidating the contents of your storage unit.

Step one

  • 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.

Step two

  • 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.

Step Three

  • 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.

How to sell the storage content

Most people buying storage auctions have a good idea how to get rid of all the stuff, connections is key in getting top dollar for items.

I personally sold about 80% of everything I won, at garage sales and the flea markets, with eBay and Craigslist filling in the other 20%

*One thing to think about: There is a tricky cost in handling items. The more you move it, the more it cost you, everything adds to the bottom line. If I won a storage unit full of stuff, it was on the open market in a matter of hours.

Popular places to sell the storage content:

  • Craigslist
  • eBay
  • Local newspaper classifieds
  • flea-markets
  • swap meets
  • Own a shop
  • Yard sales

here is my eBay number here.