Here is a home business to do as a second income or side hustle that most of the family can do together. Have you ever watched the television show, Storage Wars? Well, that is what this is in real life with more details of how it all works from finding the auction all the way to reselling the contents. Our family took a gamble in 2013 and started buying abandoned storage units and selling the items within to make money and now you can too! You can learn how this business works so you can succeed and not lose money on your next storage auction purchase.
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Buying Abandoned Storage Units
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This business works great as a part-time job. There are auctions during weekdays and weekends to accommodate your free time to work it. In our family, Dad works a full-time day job and some of the older children work part-time jobs. Dad and a child attend the auction while I am at home with my little ones (we have eight children). If a unit is purchased, Dad and his helper will load what they can into the vehicle or trailer and bring it to our home. The other older children help unload and sometimes bring in a box of toys for the little ones to discover new treasures (what stays has to be approved by Mom and fit into our toy storage containers – sometimes old toys need to go).
While the little ones are happily engaged with the new toys, at our large dining room table that seats 10, Mom starts to go through totes and boxes throwing away the garbage and finds the resell-able items and makes decisions on what items to keep in our home.
A child brings boxes in to Mom and takes trash out. Another child helps the “littles” sort through the toys. We love it when we find Lego Ninjago or Breyer model horses as our children collect them. Dad and a different child will go get more and clean out the unit. When we are all home, we all have a job to do until everything is sorted and organized. We will make a trip to the dump with the trash. Then, we make sure all items are listed online or are ready to take on trips during the week to trade for money. Some items go on eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, to online auction sites, pawn shops, etc. We plan our trips, and get the money!
You can't go in the unit, so you are bidding on what you see from the door. We have learned to have laser focus so we can zoom in on what is valuable and see things that our competitors may not be watching for.
There is so much to learn! We need to consider the costs of startup, find the storage auctions, auction etiquette when buying storage rooms or lockers, what happens at an auction, how to store the items from storage units, how to wisely go through the items and sort them, what to do with photographs, how to sell each type of item, what to do with items that won't sell and how to keep track of business income and expenses for tax purposes.
Don't worry, I have been there and can help you learn all about this. Keep in mind that our auctions are in Wisconsin and Minnesota because they are all within a few hours of where we live. Your auction experience may be different from ours. You may not have to stand outside in freezing weather and snow to attend your auction in January!
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