Saturday, April 23, 2011

Units 6, 7 and 8: One Big Buy in Leominster

The plastic Jesus was a find from a box in Unit 8 (all the other junk you can see is mine)
Seltzer bottles from Unit 7
The boxes from Unit 7 take up one half of my garage!

Leominster is in central Mass, about 35 minutes from my house. I went to high school nearby and back then there was a billboard on Route 2 (divided highway that runs through Leominster) announcing proudly that Leominster was the "Pioneer Plastic City." Back then, in the early 1970s, we laughed at the name. Why would you want to celebrate your history as a plastics manufacturer? Surprisingly, they had a new and improved billboard up proclaiming their pioner plastic status when I drove down Route 2 to the auction.

I was very much looking forward to this auction because it was at a moving company and about 30 units were expected to go. As I drove up to the building where the auction was, though, I saw that the building was practically falling down, in a state of horrible disrepair. D'oh! Why would anyone store anything there?

Turns out the building was being torn down and the moving company needed to get the storage units cleared out. This wasn't a place for self-storage but, instead, where the moving company would store things for clients whose housing was in transition.

We were looking forward to lots of furniture being on the block here and the first 8 units certainly lived up to that as they were practically all furniture with barely a box in sight. In fact, the vast majority of the 31 lots up for sale contained loads of furniture. I was very interested in 2 of the first 8 and got both of them. As we were walking away from the second unit, another buyer offered to buy the large jewelry display case we'd just bought. RC and I jumped at the offer as we had both been wondering where we'd get rid of it and figured it was going to be heavy and difficult to move (it was at least a dozen feet long).

We bid on some other units but were not able to pick any others up until the 3rd to last unit. It only had a few pieces of furniture and the rest of the unit was all moving boxes. RC was really interested in this unit, so we bid on it. I figured the boxes would hold items of value since they were nice moving company boxes and there'd be a variety of items in them as well. So, we picked this unit up as the last of the day.

After settling up with the auctioneer, RC and I decided to look over the furniture then we'd fill his minivan and trailer and my Element with as many boxes as we could haul. (We'd rent a UHaul trailer for a big move a few days later.) Only a few boxes were in the first two units so most of what we loaded up were boxes from the last unit. Each one was labeled clothes. Ruh-roh! I figured as we got deeper into the unit when we cleaned everything out when we came back with the UHaul, we'd find boxes labeled "living room" and "dining room," etc.

Well, no such luck. Virtually every one of the 50+ boxes from that unit was labeled clothes. Sometimes, the label was "living room clothes" or "dining room clothes." We've been through 7 of these boxes so far and the person who lived in the house these came from was clearly a hoarder. Most of the clothes were still in store bags (unfortunately, Kmart, Target and Sears rather than Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus). Most of them still have tags on them, so they're new and unworn. I've come across 12 unused red handbags and at least 5 red winter coats. About a dozen Jaclyn Smith skirts with tags as well. And so on. Clearly, we'll make money selling the new clothes on eBay, but there will be a lot of work getting them listed.

Bottom line: the furniture wasn't quite as nice as it appeared from a distance (you don't get a close look at anything before bidding) so we won't net as much from the furniture as I'd estimated. The boxes didn't contain as high-value items as I'd expected, but I anticipate we'll make a lot of money from the clothes when all is said and done. It's lucky I have lots of time to get these listing posted!


  1. There seems to be a whole lot more to this spelunking adventure than one at first thinks about. The hours of sorting and the listing on websites for sale, then the packing and shipping. It tires me out just thinking about it. It's more fun to watch Antiques Roadshow! (But one can always hope there's a gem amidst the clutter.)

  2. You are so right. The sorting for Unit 8 has already taken 11 hours and we're not halfway thru. Then there's the listing and shipping when the stuff sells. I imagined we'd find larger items that could be sold for significant $$$ and the rest would go off to Goodwill. Not so true for these kinds of units. Lots of work to make a profit.

  3. Too Cool, can't wait to hear about your first big find! Hope you have fun as well.


  4. Andy - we're definitely having fun. I can't wait for that big find either!