Congratulations on winning a storage auction! Now that you have cleaned out your unit, you need a place to bring the remaining items to so they can sit and wait to be sorted, sold and taken to the right places. Here are some tips on storing your storage auction purchase.
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Storing Your Storage Auction Purchase
If your items you purchased at an abandoned storage unit auction were loose or in bags, you will want to put them in an 18 gallon storage tote for storage until you can sort them. Take each container to your storage area.
Storage Area Ideas
We have purchased high quality storage tents, that stay up all year even with cold and snow 6 months of the year. They are pictured in the photo above. In the photo, they had been in use for two years in Wisconsin, USA with our terrible winters! We anchored them down to the ground and put sandbags in the corners because we lived in a place that was very windy. They went through a storm a few months before this photo was taken that took some siding off our house and some shingles off our roof and blew yard toys and chairs and garbage cans everywhere. They still look great! But if you do happen to get rips in it for some reason, you can purchase replacement covers. Double check to be sure it's okay to have these tents where you live, some neighborhood associations do not allow it. You could do a combination of storage places. We recommend having a wooden pallet on your floor to keep items off the ground so the totes do not get muddy.
Other ideas for storage areas are sections of a garage, shed, barn, basement or porch.
The ideal storage area for these totes is to have four sections: “incoming”, “outgoing”, “re-sorting” and “big sale.”
“Incoming” items are those that are just coming from a storage unit you purchased and have not been sorted yet. Place totes, boxes, luggage, bags and containers toward the back and furniture and large items toward the front. You want the furniture and large items in front so that they are easier to get to if someone comes to see them from your ad. Leave yourself a path to get back to the smaller containers. Make sure that path is wide enough to carry containers out with you for sorting.
The “outgoing” section is for items that have already been sorted. They will be in labeled 18 gallon plastic storage totes (sometimes larger – use what you get from units, don't buy any, you will have more than you need soon enough!). You will label these with the places you will take them too. We write the store names on them as well as our name so we know which are ours when we come back to pick them up after the store worker has had time to sort them. Store these totes with the labels facing out so you can see them. Also organize them within that area. For example, stack four “Plato's Closet” totes on top of each other. To the right of that, you may have only two “Once Upon A Child” totes stacked. To the right, you may have eight “Style Encore” totes. To the right of that, only one “Play It Again Sports” tote, and to the right of that three “Pawn Store” totes. In your space, you need a walking path down the middle and have these totes stacked to the right and left with the labels facing the aisle. You will also be storing items for auction here too, so you may want to label some, “Online Auction”.
We hate to have a “re-sorting” section. This would be our smallest area. This is for the items that are rejected (or, our “no thank yous”, as one local consignment store calls them) or items that come back unsold. A person could just take these items to donate and trash and not have to store them. We like to get money in every possible way before giving up. You have to have a place to put them because life gets busy. When you get them home, you may have to take a child to a sporting, school, or club event. Or, it may be someone's birthday, etc. When you have time to get back to this section to deal with these items, you could sort these items into separate totes in lots and mark them “Online Auction” and put them in the “outgoing” section. Or, price them for a rummage sale or huge consignment sale accordingly and move them to the “big sale” section.
The last section is the “big sale” section. Here is where you would keep items for a rummage sale, swap meet, flea market, or group consignment sale. Price your items according to the rules for each sale and label totes. In this section, we keep books and educational items marked “Homeschool Sale”. The local sale we take them to is only once per year. They require us to put our last name and price on the items and we sell them at our own table (which we pay a small fee to use). We recommend using blue painter's tape on books and DVDs for pricing as it removes without damaging the items.
Another type of item in our “big sale” section is “Kids Sale” items. These are large children's consignment sales that have hundreds of consignors bringing items to sell in a great big building. It may be held in a dry indoor ice hockey arena, an indoor soccer field, concert center, fairgrounds exhibitor building, etc. Some examples are Just Between Friends (JBF), Munchkin Markets, Here We Grow Again, and Green Whimsy.
The kids sale company puts up racks for clothing with sizes marked and tables with labels such as “infant toys”, “toddler toys”, “blocks”, “cars/trucks”, “breastfeeding items”, “diaper bags”, “shoes”, etc. You, the consignor, would register to sell at the sale, pay a small fee for your portion of their advertising, price the items according to their website rules (usually with a bar code tag that you print from your printer when you are on their website), you bring your items at the drop off time indicated, they are inspected by a sale volunteer, you take the accepted items to the proper racks or tables and set them out for sale. They sell them for you all weekend.
During the sale you can see what sold on the website under your account and you come back and pick up your items at the designated pick up time. You receive a check within two weeks for 60 to 70% of the sale price. Sadly, we have to drive from one to three hours to get to one of these sales as there is not one closer to us. Usually, you can save unsold items for the next sale. There are often two sales per year at each location. Sometimes they only take spring items at the “Spring Sale” and fall items at the “Fall Sale”. If you have enough locations around you, you could do a sale every weekend for about four months out of the year.
We also keep rummage sale items in the “big sale” section. After we have tried to sell in other ways, our last resort is the rummage sale. We take the time and price the items, then put them in a tote marked “Yard Sale”. Then we leave it in that section until sale week. Then we take them all out and set up for the sale. It is a good idea to keep tables, doors, boards (whatever you use for tables), clothing racks, paper or plastic bags for customer purchases, signs and a chair or two in this section. (Don't buy them, you may find all of these in units!) We advertise our sale on many Facebook sale groups, homeschool websites, Craigslist, local newspaper, signs hanging in the library and restaurants. The last few hours of our sale, we offer a certain price for as many items as they can fit in the bag. That has been very successful in helping us clean up the sale!
Donate or Trash
What's left after the sale, we donate or trash. Get creative and look for other group sales to sell at. Maybe you love Matchbox cars or Legos or Trains and you could find a local sale for those items. We chose children's items to be our niche because we have seven children that we need clothing for and we always seem to find these items in almost every unit.
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