First Day of Spring!

Today is the first day of Spring and you know what that means! It’s time to get back outside and take advantage of the pleasant weather by going to more auctions. Outdoor auctions can be pretty dreary on cold, rainy days. Not to mention that all the moisture might affect the goods you just fought other bidders tooth-and-nail for!

Refurbish
Shutterstock/Victor I. Makhankov

The coming of Spring also gives you an opportunity to do some work outdoors. Nice weather can allow you to refurbish any items that might need to be touched up before resale, and do it outside of your stuff garage, workshop, or basement.  For those of you that aren’t that handy, and have some items that need touched up here are some basics to get you started.

Use the instructions below to get started on making your outdoor  furniture, or other items, ready for use this Spring! Increase its resale value with a few simple steps!

Outdoor wood furniture can require a lot of attention. Follow these steps to extend your furniture’s life!

Shutterstock/Hannamariah
Shutterstock/Hannamariah

Redwood Care 
Redwood naturally resists weathering and rot. However it should be coated with a sealer to keep out moisture and thus retard cracks. Colored sealers restore redness to grayed redwood. Scrub with detergent and water, rinse, and dry thoroughly before sealing; sometimes sanding is also necessary.

In winter, cover and store in a sheltered area.

Cleaning 
Wipe with a sudsy sponge, followed by a damp sponge.

Before storing, and when needed, scrub with detergent suds, rinse, and dry.

For grease and soot stains as from outdoor cooking, wash with solution of 1 cup trisodium phosphate in 1 gallon water, and rinse.

Reseal as needed.

Finished White Wood 
This is used for camp stools, directors chairs, parts of some metal frame chairs.

Care 
Seal completely with penetrating sealer for exterior use. May also coat with exterior varnish. If cracks develop in finish, refinish to prevent mildew from moisture getting in. Store indoors when not in use outdoors. Do not leave out in rain.

Cleaning 
Wipe with damp cloth and dry, when soiled, and before storing. On painted wood, can wash with mild detergent solution, rinse, and dry.

Unfinished White Wood
Used for “rustic” furniture, tables, benches, etc.

Care 
Treat with exterior penetrating stain containing wood preservative and mildew inhibitor. Soak bottom 4 inches of legs that touch ground in wood preservative, or shield with thin aluminum covering. Cover and store in sheltered area in winter.

Cleaning 
Wash with detergent solution rinse and dry when soiled, and before storing” (Field, 2003).

Outdoor Metal Furniture

metalchair2
Shuttterstock/cdrin

“Remove general soil and grit with detergent and water. With steel wool, or sandpaper, or wire brush, remove all loose, peeled paint and rust. Wipe surface using cloth dampened with turpentine, or vinegar.

No paint will stick to a greasy or wet surface. First coat should be a “metal primer” or “rust retardant” type paint. Second coat can be of enamel or paint suitable for place item is to be used, usually outdoor enamel. When painted surface is completely dry (a couple days) apply protective finish as if item were new.

Even small chips or scratches should be touched up immediately with primer followed by matching paint to prevent rust forming” (Field, 2003).

Here are some instructions for those of you (like me) with plastic outdoor furniture that could use some attention.

Plastic Outdoor Furniture

“Most plastics can be washed with solution of mild detergent (hand dishwashing liquid) and water, rinsed, and can be wiped dry to prevent water spots if that is a problem. Never use strong alkalis on plastic. Never use scouring powders or other abrasives as plastics scratch easily.

Some new plastic furniture is finished with lacquered resins that protect the surface against ultraviolet rays, rain, and salt spray, with a special resin for plastic tabletops that gives touch ceramic-like finish. For others, waxes or special protective finishes for plastics will give extra protection.

Polyvinyl Chloride Frames and Tops
Not affected by weather, but mat finish on frames soils easily and should be cleaned when soiled. Easily scratched so do not use abrasives. Auto wax protects it.

Wash with mild detergent solutions and rinse

Polyvinyl Chloride Coated Polyester Mesh Fabric
Wash during the season when soiled with mild detergent (hand dishwashing liquid) solution and brush, and rinse. Wash before storage at end of season. Fabric sheds water and dries quickly.

Nylon Webbing Seats
Wash with mild detergent solution and brush and rinse when soiled, and again at end of season before storage.

Vinyl Strapping Seats
Protect from tanning lotions with large towel as some can stain. Never use abrasives or strong detergents.

Clean regularly as buildup of soil, oil, lotion can lead to fungus growth. Wash with mild detergent solution and brush, and rinse, when soiled, and before storage. Some may have mildew inhibitors” (Field, 2003).

With these easy tips you’ll have great looking outdoor items in no time! Perfect for resale or your own enjoyment!

-Field, Anne. “Painting Metal Outdoor Furniture – Refurbishing.” Painting Metal Outdoor Furniture – Refurbishing. Michigan State University Extension: Home Maintenance And Repair, 24 June 2003. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.

-Field, Anne. “Cleaning Plastic Outdoor Furniture.” Cleaning Plastic Outdoor Furniture. Michigan State University Extension: Home Maintenance And Repair, 24 June 2003. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.

-Field, Anne. “Outdoor Wood Furniture–Care and Cleaning.” Outdoor Wood Furniture–Care and Cleaning. Michigan State University Extension: Home Maintenance And Repair, 24 June 2003. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.

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Reselling the Super Bowl

la-sp-sn-2014-super-bowl-ticket-price-20130917-001

image provided by LA times

Anticipation and nervous excitement rises among football fans as the largest annual sporting event, the Super Bowl, approaches. That’s not the only thing on the rise, though. Ticket prices for the big game are high enough to make even a die hard fan think twice about seeking purchase. Loyal fans anxiously watch their teams, and will them toward victory as they move closer to the biggest game of the year. Many are clenching their jaws and grinding their teeth as the great spectacle that is the Super Bowl approaches.

Some fans are worried about their team making the cut, others are concerned about attending the event themselves. One such football fan, Josh Finkelman, found the high price of tickets so perturbing that he filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL, after paying $2,000 apiece for two tickets to this years’ game. The suit argues that the National Football League is violating a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, by withholding more than 5% of tickets from the public. Finkelman and his lawyer have taken the position that the League is gouging their fanbase by not releasing enough tickets to the public, and instead, is allowing reseller’s first access, which can drastically inflate prices. see full article here.

Josh Finkelman with his lawyer Bruce H. Nagel

MARK BONIFACIO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

This article got me thinking, how much would I pay to see my team play in the Super Bowl? And no, I’m not talking about bribing my team’s way into the game… although, that might take some of the stress out of my sunday afternoons, and monday nights. While I ponder ways to afford the Super Bowl, I’d like to know what is the most you have paid for a resale item, and was it worth it? And what are some methods you would recommend to avoid paying too much? Post your tips in the comments section.

Image Credits
http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-2014-super-bowl-ticket-price-20130917,0,6830560.story#axzz2ppJbeWkt
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/nfl-withholds-super-bowl-tickets-public-lets-resale-prices-soar-lawsuit-article-1.1569012

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Is Your Investment Really Protected?

This past Friday, there was a heart-warming story out of Newtown, CT about an 83-year-old Korean War veteran. More than 60 years after serving his country, Stanley Polcyn, was awarded four medals for his bravery and duty during his stint with the Naval Reserve (for more, check out the Newton, CT Patch) .  While this tale of recognition was uplifting to say the least, it reminded some of us here at storageunitauctionlist.com of a story with some similar cast of characters, though quite a different spin.

A few months back, as storage unit auction season was heating up bustedpadlockin the summer months, a story out of Kansas City, MO served as a bitter reminder of how important your storage unit security can be. Two hooded males gained access to a storage unit facility by entering random number sequences into the gated security code box. They found a less-than-unbreakable pad lock on a locker belonging to a war veteran of both Panama and Desert Storm. While the leather couch they strapped to the roof of their minivan was a great find; it is, ultimately, replaceable. The Bronze Star and three Purple Heart medals which were swiped are beyond valuation.

As reported, in early May, on KMBC Channel 9, once the thieves were inside the security gates, they simply drove around until coming across a standard pad-lock that was no match for a simple set of bolt cutters. For the safety of your investment, be sure to get the right gear to protect it. Standard pad locks that you may have lying around in the bottom of a gym bag might provide some peace of mind, but all it takes is a little elbow grease to break through most of them. I always have an image in my mind of a Master Lock getting shot with a bullet and still holding strong from those commercials years back. But put in some time and effort and see what’s out there.

The latches on your unit might require a specific brand, but check out some titanium- or iron-shrouded padlocks. See what’s available. There’s Kwikset, Master, Schlage, Brinks, Yale, and countless others that have developed new materials and shape designs to help prevent someone from having easy access to the items that you feverishly outbid everyone else at the auction to acquire for your business. Above are just a few quick links to help get you thinking about the big picture when it comes to protecting your investment.

Those of you out there who consider yourselves veterans of the storage unit auction game know full well that its not as quick and easy as it seems to be on television. There is a lot of hard work and valuation involved. It would be a shame to put so much effort into the acquisition of a new-to-you locker only to put so little into making sure that it’s contents will still be there when you get back with your truck to empty it out.

Image Credits:

Busted Padlock: http://www.shutterstock.com

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Storage Auctions: The Adult Version of Easter Egg Hunting?

The best part of Easter?  My family’s annual Easter egg hunt. It was such an adventure to find all the plastic eggs hidden around the yard stuffed to the brim with candy and stickers and other treats that kids go coo-coo for coca puffs over.

ImageSuddenly, I went from your average child, bopping around the yard all hopped up on too much sugar, into something else entirely. Suddenly I thought I was Blackbeard sailing the high seas in search of my buried treasure.

The yard was my Treasure Island, and any landlubbers (cousins, siblings, or children of family friends) who got in my way would soon be having to walk the plank! Arrrrgh! I took weird self-satisfaction in winning year after year. So maybe I was (am) a little overly competitive. So what? So what if I still plan to beat my 8 year old brother this year? He’s a freakishly smart child. He can hack it. Besides, I’m helping to build his character. Some would say that literally taking candy from a baby should take the fun out of it. I would have to disagree and say it makes the candy taste even sweeter. Mwahahaha. (So in two short paragraphs I’ve morphed from Blackbeard into Dr. Evil. It happens.)

It now strikes me that auction hunting is not dissimilar to the annual Easter egg hunts of my youth. A group of people all come together to outsmart one another in the hunt for unseen treasure and potential riches.

Over the years, I developed a keen eye during the egg hunts. Flattened grass? A clue! Misplaced pile of dirt? Another clue! Fallen tree debris, like small branches and twigs around the trunk of a tree? Clue! But let’s be honest. My parents weren’t that clever or invested. By the time I was 10 I had just memorized their normal hiding spots from previous hunts gone by.

Similarly, there are some tell-tale clues within each storage locker you come across that can be used time and again to give you an idea of the conditions of the contents within the locker.

ImageProfessional Moving Boxes/Plastic Bins:  During my many college adventures, I spent a lot of time packing and unpacking. My all-time favorite moving aid? U-Haul’s Smart Move Tape. Essentially, it was regular old rolls of masking tape, but with handy labels printed on them, such as Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom, Fragile, etc. I moved about 10 times in 4.5 years. That tape made my life just a little bit easier as I schlepped my stuff around the same 60 mile radius over and over again. (Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?)  There wasn’t much of value in my boxes, besides a pretty sweet DVD collection.  But often, storage renters who have taken the time to box their items, or have had their items professionally moved have valuables hidden inside. Keep an eye peeled for professional moving boxes, as well as plastic Tupperware bins as these offer protection from bugs and the elements better than you might expect for just about anything that may be inside.

Dust: Keep an eye out for units with lots of dust. I know this seems counter intuitive  because who wants to deal with a pile of dust. Especially if you have allergies like I do! But strap on a doctor’s mask and don’t forget the Zyrtec. If you find a unit caked in dust, it may be worth the allergy attack to see what’s inside! If a unit is covered in dust, this is a good indication that it hasn’t been touched recently. Meaning, the previous owners didn’t remove anything, and the contents of the unit may be older, IE Vintage and Antique items that can be sold online, to auction houses , or to local antique dealers in your area.

Image

Cleanliness: Take a look inside a unit before bidding to see if the items inside are arranged neatly and orderly, or if it looks like a free for all in there. If a unit looks disheveled, this means one of two things. 1. The previous owner has ransacked the place and already removed anything valuable before the auction. 2. The previous owner rented the unit, and dumped everything inside all willy nilly. Either way, what this means for you is that the item may not be worth your hard earned moolah. (Monopoly money or otherwise) On the flip side, if a unit looks neat and organized, not only does it make it easier to sort and review all the contents when you win, but there may be some great treasure inside.

Wrapped Furniture: While you may not have much of a chance to review a unit as thoroughly as you’d like before bidding begins, large pieces of furniture are usually easy to spot. If you are able to see items that have been plastic wrapped or at the very least have been covered by moving blankets, sheets, or bed spreads, that furniture is more than likely somewhat valuable and/or in fairly good condition and will be easily resalable.

Climate Control: Most storage units are not climate controlled. Many times, people only seek out climate controlled units if they are storing items of value that could be damaged by heat, humidity, or cold. Take for example, the unit that contained an upright piano that was won during the first auction I attended. If the previous unit owner went out of their way to make sure that they were renting a climate controlled unit, this is a good sign that it will be worth it to cast your bid.

Photo Credits:

Easter Eggs: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/fraserd

Tape: http://www.store.uhaul.com

Monopoly Money: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/andyculpin

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Alternative Use Storage Units

At Storage Unit Auction List we talk a lot about storage unit auctions, and storage spaces and the traditional usage for these spaces. But what about all the other wacky ways that people use storage spaces? We don’t want anybody to feel left out so we decided to do some digging to see what madcap uses for storage lockers we could find.

breath-of-fire-storage-band

1. Band Practice: Google “Alternative Uses For Self Storage Units” and the one thing you’ll find over and over again is band practice. In fact, in some larger cities, there are actually storage facilities that cater to bands, and have special units for them to rent. These units can include AC, Wifi, and electricity.  Because they are temperature controlled they also make a great place to store instruments. Playing in storage units is preferable for some bands because they don’t have to worry about noise complaints from nosy neighbors or aggravated roommates.

2.Personal Gym: The Personal Gym was another surprisingly common use for storage lockers. When you think about it, it makes sense. One of the most unappealing parts of being a gym member (aside from the actual exercise) is having all those super buff, physically fit specimens staring you down while you huff and puff and try not to pass out while treadmilling. Not that I’m familiar with that problem or anything. Having gym equipment in your locker also means you never have to wait for a machine, because that’s a drag. The more I think about it, the better of an idea it sounds!

3.Home Office: I once had a coworker who had five kids and could never get anything done out of the office in his house. If only we had put two and two together!  Many people use storage facilities that offer electricity as a home offices to save space in their actual houses and to save money on renting office space. Many businesses use storage units to store their inventory, and use the space as a processing, packing, and shipping hub of operations.

being human small

4. Changing Into a Werewolf: I know. This almost doesn’t count because werewolves aren’t real. (Or are they?!?) But I’m a huge fan of Syfy’s Being Human. If you aren’t watching it, we can no longer be friends.  It’s THE BEST supernatural show since Buffy the Vampire Slayer!  But I digress. Each full moon, resident werewolves and (doomed couple) Josh and Nora get a little hairy, grow fangs, and lock themselves in storage units to make sure they don’t hurt the general population in their wolfy states. As seen in the screen grab, Josh, whose studying to be a doctor also uses his unit as his mad scientist lab as he tries to find a cure for their full moon problem.

5. Man/Woman Cave: Not only is this one of the most common alternative uses for units, but there are luxury storage units that more closely resemble apartments that cater to this specifically. (Mind Blown) I’ll go ahead and bet that most man caves aren’t quite so comfortable. They do offer a great place for a guy to get away and watch sports, work on their cars, play cards with the guys, host fantasy sports leagues, and in general, let it all hang out. But let’s not get hung up on this whole “man” concept. I’m sure many a womancave exists as well. In my vision, there are pink Christmas lights, a super plush couch, a television, internet access, a mini fridge stocked with all the junk food I could eat, a microwave, mud mask kits and every shade of nail polish known to man. A place where I could lounge around in my yoga pants and watch terrible girly television like Drop Dead Diva and call all my girlfriends and gossip for hours- far from the judgy, judgy eye rolling of my better half.

We want to know how you’d use your storage unit. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and let us know!

Image Credits:
honolulumagazine.com
syfy.com
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Finding Concert Posters in a Storage Unit

Posters have long since been an effective method of spreading news of entertainment—they can even be traced back as far as the era of the traveling minstrels in the 1800s. Since then, the world has seen a large array of posters, ranging from music to movies to circuses and everything in between. One of the most beloved types of poster is the concert poster, collected by music aficionados, artists, and appreciators alike. For some enthusiasts, their collections grow so large that some of it needs to be moved into self storage—and you know what that means for you, storage hunters! Storage auction heaven!

Many concert posters can be worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, so they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with. The concert poster, (or rock poster, as many call it) has elaborately evolved since the birth of rock in the 1950s, with posters usually featuring nothing more than bold faced, black and white or simply colored text, and perhaps an image if the musician in question. At this time, posters were more about conveying information than displaying a work of art, so they tended to be pretty simple, maybe even a little bland, depending on your tastes.

Then came the psychedelic art movement of the 60s…and everything changed. Many posters from this era are more art than advertisement, sometimes featuring swirling, hard-to-read text and often not even featuring the likeness of the band anywhere on the poster. Even still, these posters caught a lot of attention. The artfulness of these posters combined with the fact that rock n’ roll was considered by many to be at its prime, posters from this era tend to be incredibly valuable.

Since those days, band posters have seen all sorts of incredible designs, from extreme minimalism, to hyper realism; featuring photography, art, collage, and everything in between. The large variety of art found on rock posters is part of what makes collecting so appealing.

Of course, there are many factors that go into valuating a rock poster. If you’re lucky enough to come across a collection in a storage unit, you should be very wary if you find them in a non-climate controlled unit. Obviously, the previous owner was not too concerned about protecting the posters from the elements, so it could mean that they’re not valuable or they’re already damaged. As with most collectibles, damages such as rips, folds, mold, and discoloration can severely depreciate the value of the piece, so it’s important that you inspect your newly acquired posters.

Original, screen printed posters are usually the most sought after, especially if they were made specifically for one show or tour. If they’re numbered and signed by the artist, this is even better. Limited quantities make posters much more valuable. Mass produced posters, of the likes you’d find at the mall, will probably be worth next to nothing in comparison.

Obviously, the bands features on the poster have a substantial effect on the price. If you’ve got an original poster with Jimi Hendrix as the headliner, that’s most likely a sure sign that you can make some good money off of it. If it’s a band that’s not well known, it’s going to be harder to sell. In the end, it all comes down to supply and demand. People want to collect things that they love, and for many rock poster collectors, it comes down to the nostalgia aspect.

Of course, as with any collectibles, we’d recommend that you get it appraised by an expert. Counterfeits run rampant in the rock poster world, and the last thing you want is to get your hopes up over nothing.

Image Credits:

http://www.elvisblog.net/2011/01/02/the-most-significant-month-in-elvis-history/

http://www.classicposters.com/Jimi_Hendrix_Experience/poster/Other_California/SCF.1969.05.23

http://www.billboardlists.50webs.com/billboard-25-best-rock-posters-of-all-time.html

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Storage Hunting Against the Odds and Against the Elements

So you’ve finally beaten the odds and you’re attending storage auctions in hopes of going full time. Congratulations, and welcome aboard! If you’re still in the spring or summer of your storage hunting career, you probably haven’t had much time to think about the impending autumn and winter–literally. But with the leaves already beginning to change, and the cold winter months just around the corner, you need to have a plan for when things start getting a bit icy. 

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Snow isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when traveling to storage auctions: rain can be just as dangerous as its frozen counterpart, especially in autumn when fallen leaves make the roadways super slippery. When planning around a huge storm, you have to make a decision: is this auction really worth it? Sure, a light sprinkling of rain is nothing to bat an eyelash at–in fact, it might work to your advantage by dissuading the looky-loos. But a potential blizzard with hail and ice? You should probably sit this one out, relax in your PJs, make a cup of hot chocolate, and spend the day on eBay. Ahh, sounds like a great day to me.

If you do decide to brave the harsh weather, there are two things you need to do to prepare: the first thing is to call the facility to make sure the auction hasn’t been cancelled due to inclement weather, or any other reason, for that matter. The second thing you should do is leave early! You should always drive cautiously in severe weather conditions. Also take into consideration that there may be delays on the road due to car accidents or otherwise treacherous driving conditions.

Dress Appropriately

Always, always be prepared. The forecast said no rain? That’s funny, because now it’s pouring and you’re the only one at the facility with out an umbrella. The regulars will probably scoff and look at you like you have “newbie” written on your forehead in bright red ink. Always keep an emergency weather kit in the back of your car. A lightweight rain poncho would be a fantastic (and relatively cheap) investment; they can easily be folded to fit in your pocket, purse, or toolbox.

For even colder weather, equip yourself with a big old puffy jacket, a hat, a scarf, and some thick gloves. It’s best to come over prepared instead of under-prepared; you can always take layers off, but you can’t put more on if you don’t have them. You’re going to be standing relatively still for a great deal of the time bidding is occurring, so you’ll need a way to keep warm…and the auctioneer probably won’t take too kindly to you doing jumping jacks in the bidding crowd to get the blood pumping.

Drive Safely…and Logically

Let’s be logical: if you don’t have a truck or a moving van, and you’re in the middle of a torrential downpour, just stay home. Imagine making five trips in the pouring rain, in order to transport the loads and loads of junk from the facility to your home….using your Toyota Prius. Sounds like an awful idea, doesn’t it?

Moving vans or trucks are ultimately your best bet, and you’re even better off if you can get one with four-wheel drive. Many people hear the term “four wheel drive” and immediately equate it to “I can drive 50 mph in 3 feet of snow”. Please don’t assume that. Especially if you have a trunk filled with storage auction spoils, you need to take it easy. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say!

The colder months don’t necessarily mean you need to give up auctions. Play it safe and bundle up, and you’ll be able to make some great purchases when other auction hunters simply decided to sleep in under the warm blankets. If you can survive the winter months, you’ll be looking ahead to a beautiful and prosperous new season. 

 

Photo Credits:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pennyland/3270513042/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mccun934/5262033742/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowpeak/3762193048/

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