Monday, February 20, 2012

Storage Wars = Storage Work

I’m a fan of the storage auction shows.  I mean, who hasn't dreamed of opening a storage unit and finding untold riches?

So, naturally, I had to test the waters and buy a unit.

So far, my first and only unit was a doozy. I purchased it for a mere $225, and it was an 8X10 unit full of what best can be called “stuff.”  Actually, upon first glance when the doors were opened, my impression was that it was someone’s whole life stored in a storage locker.

Upon winning and digging through the unit, I determined that my initial impression was correct.

The unit was so full of stuff that you couldn’t see to the back.  The front of the unit consisted of a giant speaker, and assorted boxes.  I could tell there was either a washer or a dryer toward the middle, some sort of couch, a probably bed-bug infested mattress, and several damaged end tables.  Not exactly a gold mine, but I was determined.

Along with the aforementioned items, there were headboards, a stove, a microwave, and clothes stored in Georgia suitcases (big black plastic garbage bags).

Did I mention the big screen projection TV with a bullet hole in it?

What was really interesting, though, were the items found in the multitude of boxes throughout the unit.

From looking through everything, I determined that the former owner was not nice guy. My first tip off was the multitude of drug paraphernalia scattered about.  I quickly gloved up after finding the hypodermic needles.

I also found about 20 disposable cell phones, a sure sign of a drug dealer. I also found boxes of more personal items, including drivers licenses, work permits, parole cards, car keys, and believe it or not, a gold bridge that the dealer … er .. former owner wore over his own teeth.  Yuck, but after quickly dousing it with Lysol, it brought about $40 at the gold store.

Sadly, I also found his kids’ birth certificates, photographs, report cards, art projects, and a card that let me know that at least one of his offspring was in the Youth Development Center, a local “jail” for juveniles.

Between all the little items, and the gold bridge, I made my money back on the unit, but I didn’t know what to do with the bigger items.  I didn’t have a warehouse, nor thrift store in which to sell them.  In short, the unit quickly became an albatross around my neck, with the storage company pressing me to quickly clean out their space.

Luckily, fortune favors the prepared mind.  I saw an ad on Craigslist for a couple wanting donations.  Her husband lost his good job, she was unable to work, yada, yada, yada.  It sounds bad, but I saw opportunity in their alleged misfortune.  To make a long story short, I gave them everything that was left in the storage unit with the understanding that they had to clean it out.

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience.  Buying storage units is fun, cleaning them out is hard work, and, most importantly, every unit has a story behind it, if you look hard enough.

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