If you’re in the business long enough, you’ll eventually find yourself in possession of one or more sewing machines. Our host, Curt Strutz, found eight in one unit, and in this episode, he goes over the pros and cons of digging up sewing machines with sewing machine expert, Ray Rice of Sew ‘N Save. Even if they’re not an antique or the latest-greatest model, there’s always a way to turn a profit, and Curt will show you how.
What do you do when you find a priceless item in someone’s old storage unit? Thanks to digital technology, it’s easier than ever to track down previous tenants and reach out to return sentimental treasures. That’s what happened with Alex Miller, who wrote a delightful account of how his father’s art returned to him.
Miller’s father has produced artwork throughout his life, including a well-known painting of a father and child. He remembers losing the artwork left in the storage unit due to delinquent payments, and in Miller’s retelling, he didn’t seem to like being reminded of his loss.
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Fortunately, the storage auction winners reached out to Miller. Karie Farman identified the artist based on an article Miller had written. As of this writing, Farman and Miller’s father are discussing the return of their items.
Meanwhile, Miller set his heart on one piece in particular: an unfinished drawing of him at 18 in his Navy dress uniform. Because of the irreplaceable and invaluable nature of the item, Farman offered to return it for free. Miller insisted on compensating her, and he now owns the portrait his father started years ago.
For storage unit buyers, this success story inspires us to return items that families may never have wanted to part with. In Farman’s case, it wasn’t about money, but about doing the right thing. She labored on her own time to investigate the source of the artwork and ultimately received an undisclosed amount of money.
Have you ever returned items of sentimental value to their former owners? Share your stories in the comments, and be sure to check out the story on Quartz, because Miller tells it wonderfully: My father drew a portrait of me a decade ago. I just bought it back from a stranger on Facebook.
Meet Vivian Maier, A Storage Treasure
Wouldn’t it be great to find an undiscovered Van Gogh in a storage unit? Or to solve the mystery of the stolen Rembrandt paintings, now missing for 27 years?
These scenarios might be a tad far-fetched. However, for historian John Maloof, an interest in local history led him to accidentally, posthumously discover the photography of Vivian Maier. Her incredible images of city life, from dramatic scenes to daily routines, are beautifully composed and expertly captured. Many of the images tell stories, and even more leave the viewer wondering about what might have been going on. This quintessential 20th century street photography may have been lost in storage had it not been for a lucky find.
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Photographs Discovered At Auction
Maloof first encountered her work at an auction selling items from a repossessed storage locker. He needed old photographs of the area for his book about Chicago’s Northwest Side, and paid $400 for a box of negatives from the 1960s.
When he finally got around to looking at the contents of the box, he realized he’d uncovered treasure. He contacted one of Maier’s former employers to gain access to two storage lockers — the contents of which were destined for the garbage. Maier was a hoarder, and it was difficult to sort trash from treasure in her packed floor-to-ceiling storage units. Yet the first box Maloof discovered ignited a passion for her work, and he now owns 90% of her collection.
Treasure Hidden In Storage Lockers For Decades
A highly lauded documentary delves into the photographer’s biography, and a new book by Ann Marks delves even deeper, dispelling some of the myths that have already formed around her life story. For those of us at Storage Treasures, it’s a fascinating journey into art and art history that began with the auction of a mysterious box, abandoned by its charismatic, talented owner for reasons unknown.
Baseballs, collectible cards, celebrity photographs, books, posters, art prints, band T-shirts: if you find an autographed one in a storage unit, your heart might just flutter. Is it treasure? There are ways to find out.
Keep in mind that just because an item isn’t signed doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Rare posters, first-edition books, original art, and limited run collectibles can potentially fetch a high price on the resale market, even if no one scribbled a jaunty John Hancock on it. If you do find a signed item, here’s how you decipher its authenticity:
If you have kids, chances are you’ve held on to a few things – okay, more than a few things – for posterity. Handmade items earn their place as family heirlooms, and useful items could save money down the line. Toy Story taught us that toys have feelings. Perhaps not, but they evoke feelings, and for some they’re hard to let go.
As they say, out of sight, out of mind. After a storage auction, you might find yourself the proud new owner of a family’s toy collection. You’re probably not as keen to store the keepsakes, so what should you do?
Remember when somebody won a treasure chest full of pirate booty at a storage auction? That was truly a rare find. It’s unlikely you’ll stumble upon a valuable coin collection, though it’s possible — people have been known to abandon valuable items. Even if you don’t find a cinematic treasure chest, there might be some change lying around, or some bills forgotten in an old coat pocket: score!
Sometimes a good thing, sometimes just that………………GARBAGE!
This time around I wanted to cover the pros and cons of black bag mountain units. I personally have grown fond of these types of units. I have found everything from loose cash, jewelry and such all the way to receipts and pocket lint.Continue reading
Recently, we discussed the best practices for selling clothes and where to sell them. Before you go through the effort to sell secondhand clothing, however, it might help you to know how much you can expect to earn.
Naturally, there’s a wide range of prices clothing and accessories could fetch. We’re talking anywhere between the tens of thousands to the tens of… cents. Some of the factors that go into pricing used clothing are fashion label, style, seasonality and condition.
Unit Hunter Curt Strutz demonstrates the chance you take when purchasing a storage unit through the example of a filled garbage bag found in his latest unit purchase.
A garage sale is a great way to free up space and make money doing it. However, it isn’t something you can just throw together at the last minute if you want it to succeed. To make the most of your time, here are some tips for holding a yard sale.
Hello and greetings from The Buckeye State!
My name is Tommy Zulijani and I was a contributor a few years ago on the old blog and have been given the opportunity by StorageTreasures.com to come back again as their newest Auction Pro Contributors. So, I wanted to take this time to put together my introductory blog, tell you all a little bit about myself and as time goes on my own tips, experiences and advice in the field of buying storage units as well as the profession of reselling. The area I specialize in is sports memorabilia as well as comic books. This business allows you to expand your horizons and learn a little bit of just about everything. Something you have to keep in mind is that you always have to have an open ear in this business.
So you’ve won your first storage unit auction. Congratulations! Now what? After paying and clearing out the unit, you might feel overwhelmed by the task of going through your winnings. By following through with these steps, you’ll make sorting so much easier. Besides, once you’re done with sorting, you can move on to reselling.
No matter how great a haul you have in winning a storage unit auction, you will undoubtedly have a large amount of junk. Before you simply start lugging off giant trash bags to the dump, stop to consider a few of the items you can recycle. This way, you’ll reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions while preserving important manufacturing materials.
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Part of the fun and excitement of storage auctions is finding out what’s inside. Perhaps you find some priceless treasures in a box somewhere, or maybe the unit didn’t turn up as much as you might like. Either way, you’ll likely have material you simply are unable to sell. Should you just toss the items into the trash and move about your day? Why not consider bringing out your crafty side to see what you can do?
After you finish pulling out all the treasures from your storage unit, you’ll want to deal with the items you can’t sell or use yourself. You may feel like you should simply toss everything into the trash to save yourself time and inconvenience. However, donating storage unit items to charity doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, you can do it rather easily. In addition to supporting people in your community and easing pressure on the planet, you can also use this donation as a nice tax write off on next year’s taxes.
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