Storage Auctions May Lead to Bounty, or You May Come Up Bust

Storage Wars


Storage Auctions May Lead to Bounty, or You May Come Up Bust

By Michelle Ochsner

Treasure hunting; Mans journey of discovery with high hopes of striking it rich. The excitement of finding priceless items captivates and allures even the most frugal. Storage auctions are Americans latest attempt to get rich quick and these buyers are no different from any other treasure hunter.

A Storage Unit is repossessed by the facility owner in an attempt to recover the debt by auctioning off items found inside. Auctions are publicly listed online with real-time listings and in classified advertisements found in the paper.

Experienced buyers know all too well that the odds of finding that rare life-changing item are slim to none. But the hunt keeps them coming back. However, as exhilarating as it seems, cleaning out a unit is hard and sometimes expensive work.

Winning a bid on a storage locker packed with garbage bags and shabby boxes will almost always cost you money. By the time you pay for the unit, hire people to help clean it out, pay for gas, and dump fees you’ll be in the negative. There are occasions when you’ll find a hidden treasure that pays for the bid and then some; but for the most part, garbage is garbage.

Furniture and appliances are items that will make money. High-end household property with neatly packaged boxes or totes are a buyer’s best bet. The contractor’s tools and scrap metal also pay well. These will bring in the most profit. However, these will also be expensive units because of everyone bids on them.

With TV shows like A&E’s Storage Wars, regular bidders are dramatically impacted. Newbie’s swarm the scene making ridiculously high bids, drive prices way too high. The lure of an event brings more people and higher bids.

Many storage units are untidy and disorganized, so an optical illusion can make items seem to be in far better condition than they actually are. These units will often go for more than $1500.  Upon entry, the buyer discovers that those pieces are damaged beyond repair and it’s off to the dump. These units often fool even the most skilled professionals.

Idaho laws and regulations are strict and with eight years of experience, Meridian storage manager, Diana LaBeau knows the ins and outs. “It’s not like the TV shows. Auctions last about ten minutes and then everyone goes home. State law requires bidders to sign in and no one is allowed to touch the contents until a purchase is confirmed; we can’t even enter. Storage managers go well out of our way to prevent these auctions. It’s definitely a last resort and we don’t enjoy them because some people are losing everything including family heirlooms. Some have lost their jobs while others are destitute. It’s sad.”

Owners usually do not make a profit from auctions.  As a business, it’s necessary to try and make up the loss of revenue and unfortunately this is how it’s done.


Controlling Energy Clip

Ways to Improve Your Home’s Efficiency

By Michelle Ochsner

Heating and cooling your home can impact your energy cost up to 50 percent.  Here are some tips to help reduce those costs and increase comfort.

  • Upgrading or adding insulation will give your home an adequate thermal barrier that most houses lack, depending on the year it was built. Insulation levels are measured by R-Value to determine the heat flow. The higher the value the more resistant. In the Treasure Valley, recommends having R49 in an uninsulated attic, R38 to existing insulation, R20 for wall insulation, and R30 for floor insulation.

Check with the local power company as they may have insulation incentives through certain home improvement programs.

  • Seal all heating and cooling ducts and seams with duct sealant or metal-backed tape to prevent air leaks. Wrap with insulation to greater prevent seepage to stop air from getting through the thin metal walls. This improves energy costs by up 20 percent. If the ducts in your home are difficult to get to, call an HVAC contractor. Compare prices and ask friends or family who might know of a reputable company. Ask for referrals, and call them.  Protect your investment by hiring a contractor who is legit.
  • Upgrade old windows throughout your home. Windows can let the cool air in during the winter and hot air during the summer. The department of energy recommends replacing old windows, skylights, and glass doors with more efficient frameworks to prevent air leaks. Look for National Fenestration Rating Council, NFRC, ratings when selecting a better performing window. Select double pained windows with wood, vinyl, or fiberglass frames that include compressing seals for a more airtight fit.
  • Shading accessories are a great way to help save on energy costs. Thermal drapes that are thick and heavy will not only block out solar heat but also prevent cool air from seeping in. One can also add an insulated lining behind the drapes for an added layer. Place vertical thermal shades or shutters on windows facing east and west. On inside south-facing windows, put up horizontal shades or shutters. Outside your home place overhangs, awnings, or plant trees and shrubs to block out sunlight.



System Kleen Clip

Live better in a clean healthier environment.

System Kleen will improve the quality of your life!

By Michelle Ochsner

Ozone, dust mites, and mold oh my! Did you know that pollutants inside your home are likely twenty times higher than outside? Your family is exposed to more air pollution and toxins indoors than out. Eliminating harmful particles and pollutants dramatically improve the air quality in your home.

Immunity and overall health is improved once pollen, dust, mold, and bacteria are removed from your home meaning fewer respiratory problems. Say goodbye to those stuffy noses and breathe easier in your home as allergies are greatly reduced. Who wouldn’t want to improve their overall health?

System Kleen is a local cleaning company at the top of the Better Business Bureaus list, striving to excel far above its competitors to serve the Treasure Valley. Owned and operated by Kent Mortensen for 20 years, System Kleen specializes in duct and carpet cleaning for commercial properties and apartments, as well as other services for residential properties utilizing their commercial-grade equipment.

System Kleen operates state of the art equipment to create large amounts of suction to remove more dust and debris than any other cleaning system. Kent’s fleet consists of fifteen vehicles and nearly every technician is certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, IIRC. All vehicles are upgraded accordingly and technician training is continuous to ensure a job above and beyond customer expectations.

Kent and his team of technicians utilize environmentally safe cleaning agents with the equipment to clean and sanitize your home or commercial building. Carpets and upholstery are cleaned with the Butler System cleaning machine, assured to outperform any other system. System Kleen uses Power-Vac trucks to clean furnaces, the entire air duct system, chimneys, dryer vents, and water heaters.

You will be amazed at how your home or office smells after years of debris and bacteria are removed. The air will actually smell clean as fresh air is circulated throughout the duct system while the carpets and furniture are like new again.

Technicians are also certified in water clean-up and restoration in case your carpets get flooded. Water damage happens. System Kleen works promptly and safely so you can be confident about the health of your family. There is not a job too big or too small for this crew.

Kent is a genuinely nice guy accompanied by a team that is respectable with outstanding work ethics. His personnel are individually trained and guaranteed to be dependable and skilled. “We really care and are proud of our workmanship.”

Kent guarantees 100% satisfaction with System Kleen services. Why not let System Kleen help you start living better today? Call to get your free estimate 208-884-3300 or go online to




Senior Living Clip

Senior Services for Meridian Residences

By Michelle Ochsner

With the number of seniors increasing in the Meridian area one can’t help but wonder about the support system the community has. Issues such as social, health, and nutrition are a growing concern for many in the area who are approaching their twilight years.

The quality of relationships Meridian develops with this vastly growing population is vital to their survival. As unhappy as seniors are when their life is disrupted by age, we should be just as distressed when our elderly suffer abandonment.

Here are some resources for the seniors in our community.


1920 North Records Way                                                                                                       Meridian, Idaho 83646

This nonprofit organization has developed a 13,800 square foot facility in Julius M. Kleiner Park off Fairview across from the Meridian Cross Roads. The center offers daily activities such as bingo, and art classes. Transportation is provided to home-bound seniors for lunches served Monday through Friday at noon. On Wednesdays after lunch, seniors can grocery shop at Albertsons on Ten Mile Rd. Please call the reception desk between 8 am and 9:30 am for the transportation schedule.

“Volunteers are also encouraged to contact the center to aid with education, recreation, information and help to seniors, and encourages volunteering and opportunities for life enhancement programs,” Center at the Park.


3499 E Fairview Ave                                                                                                                      Meridian, Idaho 83646                                                                                                                    208-884-0294

The pharmacy will not only fill those scripts in a timely manner, but they will also deliver them to your door or put them in the mail free of charge! Now that’s service the seniors of Meridian can count on.



Delta Dental of Idaho Dental Residency Clinic at ISU-Meridian                                                             1311 E. Central Drive Meridian, Idaho 83642                                                                                                     208-373-1855

ISU Family Dentistry provides dental care for everyone especially those with limited funds.



Provided for adults with no health insurance at various locations throughout the Treasure Valley. Please call for a location nearest you.

Screenings take place from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and patients should plan about an hour. Services included:

  • Basic physical exams (including blood pressure, medication review, & foot care)
  • Oral/Dental evaluation
  • Depression & alcohol screening
  • Flu Shots (Based on availability)
  • Hearing screenings
  • Mammogram referrals
  • On-site testing for blood sugar levels, and HIV


Home Delivery 208-908-4990

Meridian Senior Center 208-888-5555

Volunteer Program 208-489-4886

To help end senior hunger, Meals on Wheels is an organization that’s supported by volunteers. Programs serve meals at locations such as senior centers. Home deliveries are available for those seniors who have limited mobility.

Idaho Care Line

Dial 211

For other services in the area offered to seniors.

Proof Eyewear

Local Company, Global Vision

“Proof Eyewear Does Good Around The World”

By Michelle Ochsner

Every so often we come across people so extraordinary, so inspiring that it’s impossible not to tell their story. The Dame family gives the term “pay it forward,” a whole new meaning.

Brooks, Tanner, and Taylor Dame launched a business in a garage with good old fashion elbow grease just like their Grandpa Bud and their father, Kelly, who is now President and CEO of Woodgrain Millwork. These three brothers jumped into an entrepreneurship venture with both feet and haven’t looked back since.

With genuine ethical principles and sawdust in their blood, this third generation wanted to keep the family tradition of working with wood. From bamboo to Canadian maple, imagination and ingenuity are limitless. With the support of their family, these three men take a simple product and make the world a better place with it.

The Dame brothers built a company that manufactures the world’s finest sustainable wood eyewear, eye-glass cases, knives, and wallets since 2010. With a give back more than you’ve gotten motto, their product is an internationally recognized brand that is environmentally safe as well as unique, and has proven that being good does not mean boring.

Tanner came aboard bringing marketing and sale skills. He’s always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to reinvent and sell wood products. “It’s nice to see where the company is going. We now have our flagship store in downtown Boise which is a great fit for us.”

The new store’s site is 439 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID between W Myrtle and W Broad. Taylor, Tanner, and Brooks encourage customers to drop in and check it out. Tanner claims much of their success is because they’re surrounded by good people who encourage and support them to do something different. “We are pioneers in sustainable and environmentally safe eyewear with strong family roots. Proof delivers a consistent good product.”

Taylor finds creative ways to sell and advertise. In November he promoted Proof with the companies insignia on a trampoline used for cliff diving at Laie Point in Laie, HI. As Devin Graham filmed the jumps for YouTube, the world watched thrill-seekers jump off the point and on to the trampoline that promoted the brand.

The wood used is sustainable and eco-friendly. Some sunglasses are made from recycled skateboards and Proof is the first to offer a sunglass recycle program. The brothers also donate their time and a percentage of Proof Eyewear revenue to charities worldwide. As sales from around the world add to their capital, Taylor, Brooks, and Tanner also succeed by giving back to those in need.

Tanner says when on a mission in India, he experienced firsthand the lack of basic medical care in the rural areas. “We want to give back. It’s important to care for others and the environment. This year we invested $25,000 to help Aravind open a clinic in southern India. The center tends to rural patients who can’t afford basic eye care or surgery. We are always in search of different charities.”

The India Project is a non-profit fundraiser in association with Aravind Eyecare Systems to end needless blindness in rural India. One-fourth of the world’s blind population lives in India. Seventy percent of India’s population has little to no access to professional eye care and the government does not have the resources to help.

Aravind’s mission is to end treatable blindness and is committed to building one hundred clinics in rural India by 2015. These facilities will be equipped to perform cataracts surgeries and offer eye care treatment to the poorest communities.

The Dame brothers committed to raising funds and open an eye care clinic in Pathamadai, India. In June 2013 they announced The India Project; a limited release of sixty custom pairs of wood sunglasses and sixty wood wallets with one hundred percent of profits paid to the charity. Not only did this contribution break ground on building this facility, within two years the Proof Eye Clinic will be self-sustaining and will give permanent treatment and surgeries for a poor rural community and its surrounding villages.

Brooks also holds a seat on the board of HELP; an international volunteer and internship placement organization that sends people to impoverished communities across seven countries.  The volunteers determine projects that will educate that community to become self-sufficient.

In college, one year after of being added to the bone marrow registry as a donor, he received a call advising that he was a match. A married man with children battling leukemia desperately needed Brooks’ help. With his family by his side, he decided to step up and help a stranger fight for his life.

The Dame’s don’t believe in luck. If you want it bad enough, than just do it. It’s unknown what the future holds for these brothers or their company. One thing is for certain, it’ll be extraordinary!



If you think you have a good idea or project that Proof can help get involved with please email us and let us know:


HELP International

The Mission of HELP International is to empower people to fight global poverty through sustainable, life-changing development programs.