Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lets really talk about trash!

Alright, now we are really going to talk trash and what you should really try to stay away from.

I have been buying and selling for over 30 years now and even after all of that time I still occasionally make a really big mistake. This is one of those mistakes.

I started attending storage unit sales several years ago as a way to purchase large quantities of items at one time. It is a very simple process. The storage companies put the entire contents of the storage units up for public auction due to non payment of rental fees. The manager cuts the lock on the storage unit door and the auctioneer calls for bids on the entire contents of the unit. It is pretty much a toss of the dice for the buyers because the only previewing allowed occurs when the door is opened. You are not allowed to go inside or open any boxes to see what is in them. These types of sales can give you huge rewards but they also come with huge risk.

I purchased this unit because upon looking in the door it looked like it had great potential. The unit measured 10x20 and was completely full. Everything looked very old. There was a triple curved glass china cabinet in the front of the unit and I thought this is going to be a great one! Oops...it wasn't.

What I found for my $500 was a $350 curved glass cabinet and 10 (yes ten) trailers full of trash. I will barley be able to break even on this one. Count in the time to sort through and then throw away all of the unusable items and it nets out to be a gigantic loss, both monetarily and time wise.

I spent 2 full days painstakingly going through bag after bag of old clothing and papers in the hope that something great would turn up. What I found was $225 worth of change (90% of it in pennies), the curved glass cabinet and what you see remaining in these photos. Out the items in the photos two small tables were eventually filled. The remainder, 9 more 55 gallon contractor bags, went into the trash dumpster.

High risk / high reward purchases like this can be great when they hit. When they don't hit, the pain of working endless hours on something that will only get your money back ( at best ) can be very depressing.

Learn from your mistakes. I still haven't. I will be attending more unit sales starting next week.

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