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Question DetailsAsked on 11/12/2015

I am looking for service to help empty my storage unit and sell items from it.

I have a storage unit full of very nice things that we don't want, need, or use. I would like to find a service that helps us sort it out for sale, donation, or tossing.

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3 Answers

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There are individuals who prepare and run garage sales and such, but being in a locker that would mean transporting it to your or their garage first. Search the List category would be Organizers - which will bring up both that thype of person and also California Closet and garage storage provider type vendors.


Probably the easiest, unless you are into a lot of sorting out yourself (in which case you would not have posted the question probably) would be Auctioneers. They will pack up the usable stuff and haul it off to their regular auction house/barn to sell at their regularly scheduled auctions (or a special auction if really valauble stuff), and depending on your agreement either leave the rest for you to have disposed of (or for you to hire a Hauler to haul it away to trash), or if included in their contract they will dispose of unsaleable stuff in reasonable quantity. Generally they put everything except actual trash up for sale, with the relatively unsaleable stuff being sold in "cleanup lots" - larger batches of boxes of miscellaneous that are sold as a lot - sometimes to individuals, but commonly to people who run thrift shops (like boxes of clothing or kitchenware or cleaning supplies), or sometimes to people who run regular garage sales who go around and pay a small amount to get the final items that no one bid on or went unclaimed after the auction. Depending on value of items and how much trouble it is to sort through and get to their auction barn, their take can run from 10-20% for high-value collections and antiques to as much as 50% or so for accumulted junk piles where a fair amount of it barely covers the cost of collecting and sorting it and moving it to the auction house and auctioning it.

If you want to just get rid of it - though you said there were nice things so you presumably want something out of it - thrift shops and non-profits who run thrift stores will sometimes (for free) take on a locker full if an eyeball inspection and sniff indicates it is not mildewy and has enough good looking stuff that they figure it is worth the trouble. Lockers being cleared out after a death frequently fall in this category because they commonly have decent old furniture, toys, period clothes, and collectibles mixed in with them.

Bear in mind if you want to sort through it first to select items you want to keep, then the thrift stores/non-profits/auctioneers are not the one for you till done with that process, because they want all or nothing, not the leavings after high-grading. If that is the case, you want an organizer person, who for this would work by the hour. And be careful about employee relationship - make sure there is a contract, that they have a business license and at least nominal liabilitiy insurance at a bare minimum, and that it states they are a contractor performing this service for you, with you just directing which items are to be held out for you - otherwise you get into an employee situation with them and become respoinsible for insurance, tax collection and reporting, worker's compensation and disability and possibly other insurance requirements, etc.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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I am also looking for someone? I met an elderly lady sometime ago; she is a widower, her husband had alzhiemers and took care of the bills, she was served a forclosure notice and only had a few days to move and get all her belonging out of the house before it closed. She hired a few men to move the stuff and didnt know where they moved it too. She found out the moved it to two strage facilities, 1st rented two store units, the 2nd with four. She doesnt know what is in what storage, and they are all filled from floor to roof, she does not want to pull everything out again, knowing she might not get everything back in, she says some things are antiques, butr doesnt know where oor what storage unit their in? Can you suggest a way to go about selling or auctioning each storage unit? Thanks, -Joe

Answered 8 months ago by ruizjj

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Ruizjj / Joe: Obviously the linked question you posted onto applies as a starting point. Here are a couple of other related links with more answers to that issue:

http://answers.angieslist.com/I-find-...

http://answers.angieslist.com/I-servi...

http://answers.angieslist.com/I-servi...

http://answers.angieslist.com/I-servi...

Sounds like she could have used some lawyer help - because an initial foreclosure notice, in at least most states, requires minimum 30 days and, if a personal home (not apartment) typically 90 days advance notice of moveout date - but that is neither here nor there, though if she had equity in the house she will need legal help in recouping that from foreclosure sale (if possible) and possibly in even stopping the sale (generally a foreclosed property can be reclaimed if she is able to pay off the loan balance and foreclosure costs before the foreclosure sale date).

Also legal help will undoubtedly be need for Powers of Attorney, Living Will, Will, and Tax prep help and such, to take over the financial duties her husband used to take care of, to prepare for taking over total responsibility for him and his care, and likely to clean up other items in arrears.

She also needs to stay on top of the monthly bills from these many units, so none of THEM go delinquent and end up going to auction to pay the rent. Also should change the locks if the movers put them on - to eliminate the risk one of them kept the combination or a key and might come back to clean it out.

If she intends to sell basically everything, an Auctioneer would be the Search the List category - to pull everything out and inventory it and take to their auction barn/auction house to sell. In preparing the auction contract it is possible to exclude certain items which should be set aside for her as they come across them - typically cash, jewelry, family photos, financial records and personal letters, etc. Obviously, the auction company does not want to have a significant amount of saleable items liek heirlooms or antiques or furniture held out, and generally once the contract is signed then for anything not specifically listed on the exclusion list, any item taken out of the auction by the owner during the sorting out process results in the owner having to pay the auctioneer the contract $ (plus buyer's premium usually) which he would have gotten had it been sold at normal auction value, so generally sorting out has to be done first BEFORE getting the auctioneer involved.

Some auction companies also have staff or affiliated people who will help go through household possessions and sort out the keep and donate and sell stuff up front - on an hourly rate. Of course, this would require she or family member be present to identify which items are going where.

If much is going to be saved, like moving into a new house or an apartment or such, then an Organization - Garage and Home person would be the way to go - ideally waiting till the new place is available to move selected items into, or if that is not imminent, then by renting another unit close to the existing ones (in the same storage complex) and then as stuff is pulled out of one unit putting the saver stuff into the new vacant one, leaving one (or divide into sections) for that stuff to be auctioned, etc - releasing units as they are emptied.

With the several units maybe the thing to do would be to rent one larger unit and a box truck, then go through the units (assuming she has the energy to to that, with hired help to do the actual moving around of items) one by one, taking out the smaller quantity category (keep or sell) items to truck to the "vacant" locker, leave the others in one or more of the lockers till ready to moe/dispose of, and hauling the donate stuff to Salvation Army or wherever periodically as a pile builds up.

If the donate stuff is significant or valuable, basically if over $250 per donation, needs a legal tax appraisal if she wants/needs the tax deduction for the donation - see instructions for IRS FOrm 1040 Schedule A, Charitable Donation section.

Answered 4 months ago by LCD




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