Author - T.C. Lane

Making Money with Holiday Decorations

Holiday StorageSome items you find in a storage unit will be popular year-round: electronics, appliances, antiques and collector items. Other items, however, are definitely worth more at certain times of year than others. The best of these are holiday items, which are plentiful in storage facilities and sell very well during the holiday season.

People store their holiday decorations year-round to save space in their house. These items are usually quite pricey to replace new, so the cost of storage is often a worthwhile expense – especially for people who keep really outlandish yard displays for Christmas and Halloween.

If you can manage to find one of these units, you can sell these items for a substantial profit to the right bidder.

The trick to profiting from holiday decorations is to hold onto them until they’re most valuable.

In July, Christmas decorations are the last thing on anyone’s mind. Right around Thanksgiving, though, plenty of shoppers will be on the look-out for deals on used decorations. If you can find the right market and identify when they’ll be ready to buy and how much they’ll be willing to pay, you can start bringing in the dough.

Christmas isn’t the only holiday that can turn out a tidy sum of profits, though. Halloween decorations are becoming increasingly more complex and desirable, and plenty of people are willing to put down a lot of cash for plastic skeletons, fake tombstones and lots of bagged cobwebs – not to mention gently used costumes. Just stop off in the local Halloween store to see how much these things are selling for new and you can get an idea of what kind of profits you can look forward to.

So if you’ve been holding onto a bunch of Halloween decorations picked up in small amounts throughout the year, here are a few steps for maximizing your profits:

  • Figure out where the buyers will be and cater to them. You might consider setting up a yard sale in a public parking lot near the regular Halloween store, if you can legally use the space. Most holiday shops open up near shopping malls or “big box” stores, and shoppers looking for a deal will be sure to spot your display from the road.

  • Put together themed bundles to sell a lot of items at once. Find everything that could possibly go together and create a “kit” out of it. You’ll look more professional, and buyers will be grateful that you’ve done all the work for them.

  • Find hobbyists online and see if there are any forums where you can advertise your goods. Some “yard haunt” artists will be particularly interested in buying items from you in bulk.

  • Sell to local thrift stores. They’re just as eager to make a holiday profit as you are, and most of them will have themed displays. If you want to get rid of things in bulk and don’t care about making a huge profit, this can be an easy way to dispose of your overage. If they don’t buy it, you can always donate it and take the tax write-off.

If you haven’t thought to start picking up holiday items yet, now’s a good time to start. Directly after the holiday, they’ll go back to being essentially worthless, which means that fewer people will want to compete with you for them – leaving you with some very affordable items to choose from.

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Five Tech Products That Have Revolutionized the Storage Industry

Storage TechTechnology is a huge part of our lives, and it affects the way businesses grow and develop over time – even the storage business.

Although self-storage is a pretty low-tech business, a few recent changes in technology have helped change the face of the storage business for renters, facility managers and auction-goers alike.

Here are five recent technologies that have changed the face of self-storage and may have long-lasting effects on the future of auctions:

Self-storage Apps. It seems like there’s an app for everything, and self-storage is no exception. Many storage facilities are taking advantage of apps that their customers can download. Through the app, the renters can pay their bill remotely rather than needing to send in a check or stop off at the facility. Renters can also be alerted when the storage facility runs a special or has any other news to share. The ability to pay remotely may make renting a unit more convenient, which could reduce the number of units that go into default.

Self-service kiosks. These computerized kiosks are located outside of storage facilities and accept credit card payments. Like mobile apps, these kiosks enable renters to pay for their units without needing to make contact with the facility owners. This allows them to make after-hours payments and complete other storage tasks without any management oversight. This, too, might reduce the number of units that go into default, which could affect storage auction numbers.

Virtual Storage. An increasingly popular trend in self-storage facilities is to create so-called “virtual storage” for your items. In a traditional storage facility, the customer rents a unit and fills it with items. In a virtual unit, the renter has the items shipped by POD to a climate-controlled warehouse. The renter can then keep track of what items are stored there through a virtual inventorying system. If the renter wants to access a particular item, he can request it through the storage company’s website and have it shipped back to him. If renters have a clear idea of what they have in storage, they may be less willing to lose those items due to unpaid rent. Some companies that use this system are StorageByMail and Cyber Space.

Internet Advertising for Auctions. At one time, all facilities were required to print notices of lien auctions in the newspaper. More recently, some states have begun allowing these notices to be printed online instead. This saves the storage facility money and makes it much easier to find auctions as you no longer have to know what papers to look in for lien auction notices. More states are likely to adopt this legislature in the next few years.

Virtual Storage Auctions. If people can store their items virtually, it only makes sense that they could auction them virtually as well. Virtual storage auctions take advantage of an eBay-like bidding model to put units up for sale to interested buyers. This makes buying storage units much simpler and faster than ever before, and it might just revolutionize the way that storage units are bought and sold. By using the free service at, bidders and sellers alike can participate in auctions without spending any money beyond the cost of the unit.

In the future, as technology continues to improve, new developments may occur that will further change the storage landscape. One thing is clear, though: As long as people have stuff to store, there will be a few tenants who fail to pay their rent and eager buyers ready to make a profit on these items.

So what do you think about these tech products? Have you used one of them and if so, how was your experience? Are there other storage tech products that you think should be added to this list?

Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.

What About Facilities That Don’t Have Public Auctions?

Storage PartnershipIn most states, storage facilities are required to hold public lien auctions. This means that the auction must be advertised and open to the public.

The purpose of this is to provide the tenant with ample opportunity to reclaim his property, and also to ensure that the belongings are disposed of and not simply pocketed by the storage facility.

However, this is not necessarily the case in every state. Moreover, these laws are not always upheld. Because there is little legal oversight of storage auctions, quite a few of the smaller and privately owned facilities opt not to hold public sales at all. Instead, they’ll have a few dedicated buyers who routinely take their items, usually for a preset price.

You’ll often find out about this by cold-calling facilities and asking about their auctions. If they tell you that they don’t hold auctions or have “a guy” who handles their abandoned units for them, then you know that they’re using dedicated buyers. You might also notice that some storage facilities in your area never seem to hold auctions; you can follow up with them to confirm your hunch.

Once you’ve determined that a facility in your area doesn’t hold public auctions, you have a choice. You can either take it off your list and focus on other facilities, or you can try to become “the guy” who handles their delinquent units.

Doing so can be quite profitable as there is no competition. On the other hand, you might also end up with a lot of units that you don’t know what to do with. Since you can’t just walk away from a unit like you could at an auction, you have to be prepared to take home a lot of junk items.

In order to become the go-to person for the storage facility, you might need to build up a relationship with them. It helps to be friendly and courteous, of course, and it may also take some time to form a good business relationship and get them to trust you enough to invite you into the fold. Persistence definitely pays off.

Being a facility’s dedicated buyer can have some benefits, but it can also put a damper on your other auction attendance. It’s also not strictly legal in some states. It’s up to you to decide whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks so you can make the choice that will work for you.

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Online Storage Auctions: A Great Venue for Selling Vehicles, RVs, ATVs, Boats, Trailers and More

Boat RV Storage AuctionOne great benefit of is that it’s not limited to just self-storage lien auctions. This means that you can utilize this free service to sell unwanted vehicles whether you’re a facility owner, manager or a private seller.

Sometimes tenants abandon their vehicles at a storage facility. Others may have fallen behind on rent payments due to financial difficulties, or the vehicle may have been forgotten about by the tenant’s family after a death or incarceration.

Whatever the reason, these abandoned vehicles can take up a lot of space and prove to be a hassle for storage facilities, which may want to auction them off to make up the cost of unpaid rent.

Alternatively, you may be a vehicle owner who wishes to get rid of an unwanted vehicle. You might be keeping your car in boat in storage due to a lack of space at home, but have no real interest in continuing to pay storage fees.

Selling a vehicle privately can be a real hassle, and you may not have the time to meet with individual buyers who just want to kick tires without committing to anything. It would be much easier to simply sell the car, boat or RV to an interested buyer without all of the intermediary steps.

In either case, whether you’re a storage facility owner or a private seller, using an online storage auction service can save you a lot of time and money.

If you’re a storage facility manager or owner, you’ll want to follow the necessary lien sale procedures in your state’s lien laws. Once you’ve confirmed that there are no lien holders or criminal investigations to worry about, you can begin the sales process.

If you’re a private seller and you hold a clean title to the vehicle, you’re ready to begin as well. First, you’ll need to take a few detailed photographs. The more details you can include in these pictures, the more likely you’ll be to pique the interests of potential buyers.

You’ll then post these photographs on the website along with a description of the vehicle’s year, make, model, condition and any other important information that would help pique the interest of a buyer.

From there, the vehicle will go up for auction, where a network of interested buyers can begin bidding on the unit. Each of our auctions is advertised widely through multiple channels to help pique buyer interest; you can also advertise the auction in local newspapers and other media outlets to increase the number of bidders.

After the bidding has been completed, you will be provided with the winning bidder’s information. At that point, you can work out the details of payment with that bidder.

If for some reason the winner doesn’t come forward to claim the vehicle, you can contact the next-highest bidder and so forth until the vehicle is effectively sold.

This whole system is provided free of charge for storage facility owners and private sellers. doesn’t take any sales fees or commission, and all transactions are completed in cash between the buyer and seller. We simply facilitate the sale so that you can get your unwanted RV, boat, car, trailer or ATV sold with minimal hassles.

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Updates on the Michigan Man Who Was Arrested for Child Porn Found in a Storage Unit

Child Pornography Storage UnitLast week, we mentioned a case in Detroit where a man who found child pornography in a storage unit was subsequently arrested for impeding a criminal investigation. More details have been uncovered in this case, including the man’s own arrest history and the arrest of the original tenant of the storage unit.

On July 20th, 30-year-old Tyreek Wilkerson and his fiance Shavon Henry, both residents of Southfield, Michigan, decided to attend a storage auction in hopes of finding some items for resale. After purchasing a unit, they began to go through the items inside. There were several bins holding items like jewelry, but there were also very disturbing materials – including pornographic photos of preteen girls and bins full of child-size panties.

As it turns out, the original renter of the unit had been using it as an impromptu pornography studio. He set up a wall to block off view from the door, and behind it had set up lights and cameras for pornography production. The facility manager of the Ypsilanti-based National Storage Center had no idea what was kept in the bins or stored behind the wall, sources say.

Once Wilkerson and Henry figured out what was inside, they threw away the material they had found and alerted the facility manager about the situation. They did not, however, immediately notify the police. Instead, they brought home the rest of the bins from the unit to sort through them at home. Unfortunately for them, this turned out to be the wrong decision.

Ypsilanti police, having been notified by the facility manger, soon arrived at Wilkerson’s door. According to Henry, who was present during the arrest, the couple were awoken at night and drug from their beds by the police, who proceeded to raid the home. The police removed several more items found in the storage unit, including cameras and a binder filled with pornographic images, before arresting Wilkerson on charges of possession and obstructing a police investigation.

Research into Wilkerson’s past suggests why he may have been reluctant to approach the police right away: He has a criminal record of his own. A glimpse at his background shows criminal charges for marijuana possession, receiving stolen property and criminal gun ownership. He had a detainer from an agency in Wayne county, suggesting that there had been a problem with a parole violation or outstanding warrant. All of which certainly explains why he may have been less than eager to approach the police immediately, but does little to excuse the destruction of evidence in this case.

There is at least a small silver lining to all of this. Thanks to the evidence police managed to retrieve from the storage facility’s dumpsters and Wilkerson’s home, coupled with information from the storage facility manager, the previous tenant and original owner of the pornography has been found and arrested. Details on his identity have yet to be released, but sources confirm that he is a 53-year-old Ypsilanti Township resident. The identify of the young girls shown in the pornography has yet to be determined, so it’s not yet known whether he had a relationship with them.

Wilkerson’s first hearing is scheduled for 8:30 AM on August 1.

Use Online Storage Auctions to Avoid Daycare Costs

Virtual Auction DaycareFor a long time, storage auctions were always frequented by the same type of people, primarily men in their middle age, often those who were either retired or reselling full-time.

After storage auctions became more well-known, though, a wider variety of people have started to attend auctions. Now it’s not uncommon to see college students, young couples, women, businesspeople and others trying their luck with auctions.

Some of these are hobbyists, others are looking for a side income or new career, but all of them are bumping shoulders at auctions.

While this new variety at auctions is great in many ways, it does introduce one factor that many auction-goers find very annoying: Children at storage auctions. Parents often bring their kids to auctions, and it’s rarely a good way to get into the good graces of your peers.

Storage auctions really are not a very good family activity. You spend a lot of time standing outside in the heat, and the units themselves are dirty and sometimes filled with sharp objects, bugs, trash and occasionally unmentionables that you wouldn’t want your kids to see.

Small children tend to get bored and cranky at a three-hour-long auction, and bored kids become disruptive. For your family’s safety and the sanity of everyone at the auction, it’s a good idea to leave the kids at home.

Unfortunately, that’s not always an option for all auction hunters. Leaving the kids with friends or family isn’t always possible, and day care can get expensive. If you plan to hit auctions frequently, you can quickly lose money trying to pay for babysitters. This is one situation where online storage auctions can save you a lot of trouble.

Since you’ll be bidding online, you don’t have to worry about keeping the kids in line at a long auction. You can keep an eye on the bidding while you attend to other things at home.

Once you win a unit, you can schedule a time to clean it out that will fit better with your schedule. This keeps you from accidentally aggravating fellow auction-hunters without losing out on auctions and the ability to make a good income from reselling.

Suddenly, auction hunting becomes a viable business option for single parents, stay-at-home moms and others who might not have an easy time of traveling to live auctions every day of the week.

Please leave your insightful opinions in the comment box below.

Easiest Items to Resell for a Profit

Easy to ResellNearly anything can be sold if you can find the right buyer. Some items have more interested buyers than others, however, and recognizing these items will save you a lot of time and hassles when it comes to reselling. Any time you look at a storage unit, you’ll want to keep an eye out for these easy-to-sell items:

    • New, high-quality electronics including flat-screen televisions, gaming systems and good computers. You need to be fairly well-versed in technology in order to identify the high-quality new items from those that are outdated, however. A recent, high-powered computer can be resold for several hundred dollars. A computer that’s a couple of years old might be worth less than $50, and an old-fashioned rear-projection TV is pretty much worthless.


    • Collectible items. This almost goes without saying since it’s the bread and butter of all the storage auction TV shows, but it’s true: If you can find a bona fide collector’s item in a storage unit, you can probably sell it for a decent profit if you can find the right collector. Not all collectibles are worth the same amount, though, and some can be a bit obscure. Obvious collections that were cared for by their previous owner will be easier to sell for a profit than assorted bits and pieces.


    • Exercise and sporting equipment. A lot of people buy exercise equipment only to decide they won’t use it, which means a lot of this equipment ends up in storage units. Fortunately, they tend to resell quite well as long as you have the ability to haul and store it. Things like treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes all sell quite well on Craigslist, especially around the beginning of the year when people are making New Years resolutions. Bicycles can also be worth quite a bit of money and tend to hold their value if they’re well made.


Depending on how patient you are, you can also make a decent profit off selling small items that other resellers aren’t as interested in. When bidders see a unit full of clothes, small appliances, dishes and other household wares, they often overlook the units entirely because they’re just not very flashy.

If you can secure one of these units for a cheap price, though, you can often make a profit selling these small items individually through yard sales; over time, the profits really do add up.

Please leave your thoughtful opinions in the comment box below.

Use Mobile Phone Card Readers

Mobile-Card-ReaderIt’s become more and more uncommon for people to carry cash in their pockets.

In general, most people use their bank’s check card or a credit card to make their purchases.

Some people don’t even have banks, opting instead to use a prepaid card or spend money directly from Paypal.

With so much cash being replaced with plastic, it’s important to give your buyers a convenient payment option whenever possible.

Traditionally, most garage sale and flea market sales are paid in cash, and most regular buyers will bring a bit of cash with them.

But how do you reach the people who may have spent the money in their pockets but could still be interested in your items?

Or the people who came just to browse, but found something they really want to buy?

If you can accept credit card payments, you’re one step closer to making a sale that otherwise would not have happened.

Luckily, it’s easier than ever to take credit card payments.

You just need to buy an extension and the corresponding app for your smart phone or tablet.

You can use the card reader on an iPhone, Android or iPad. The funds will deposit directly into your bank or Paypal account, depending on how you set up your account.

There are several different apps and extensions available, so you’ll want to shop around to find the right fit. The best will give you a low interest rate on purchases, so you can retain the most money per swipe. You’ll also want something with a low initial investment and no monthly payments.

The best part of using a mobile card reader for your resale business is that your smart phone or tablet is already a vital part of your business.

  • Use the Internet on it to research items.
  • Map the way to auctions or markets with a GPS.
  • Keep in contact with buyers and sellers through phone calls and emails.

By adding a simple extension, you create a mobile business that can go anywhere; and by offering flexible payment options to your buyers, you can get a leg-up on the competition.

Once your buyers realize how much more convenient it is to buy an item from you than run to the ATM, you can begin securing more sales than ever.

Please leave your creative thoughts on mobile readers in the comment box below.

The Benefits of Online Storage Auctions

Benefits Online Storage AuctionsConsidering the rising popularity of storage unit auctions, it’s hardly surprising that technology has found new ways of bringing units and bidders together.

Online storage auctions are quickly gaining traction due to their convenience, and they offer benefits to storage facilities and bidders alike.

By understanding how these auctions work and why they are so much more effective than traditional auctions, you can gain insight into the future of the industry.

Until recently, online storage auctions were not a feasible option for people in the business.

Some state lien laws require auctions to be held at the facility or a reasonably near public place, and it’s not clear to many storage facilities whether the Internet can truly qualify. Additionally, until recently there was not enough virtual infrastructure to truly promote these auctions and secure bidders.

All of that has changed, however, thanks to the growing popularity of storage auctions. New auction-goers are more tech-savvy than ever, and they’re already accustomed to spending time online searching for auctions and researching units. By placing real units for sale within their grasp, a storage facility can pique buyer interest and secure more thoughtful bids. This is one reason why virtual storage auctions earn as much as twice the amount of traditional auctions. is a great choice for bidders; serious bidders no longer need to waste time and gas traveling to multiple auctions in a day. Instead, they can bid from the comfort of home or while attending to their own businesses, which maximizes their efficiency. They also have more time to research units and budget for their bids. Overall, serious resellers can benefit tremendously by taking advantage of online auctions.

Storage facilities can also benefit from these auctions. The presence of large crowds causes logistical nightmares for many facility managers, from problems with parking to the increase in liability risks. By trimming the number of people visiting the storage facility while keeping the earnings from auctions high, virtual storage auctions present the ideal solution to facility managers.

In order to side-step the legal issues of “at the storage facility or reasonably near public place,” storage facilities can begin running their auctions concurrently. Once the units are listed online, be sure to mention the URL of the online storage auction service you’re using in your legal notice.

This encourages bidders to search for it online first and make their initial bids. When the traditional auction starts, the bids gathered online can be the starting bids offered. As local auction-goers in the area become savvy to this technique, they will focus more attention on the Internet, which allows facility managers to earn the highest possible bid without an overwhelming crowd at the facility.

Please leave your insightful opinions in the comment box below.