I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone, but I love a good treasure hunt. My searches have taken me all around the world to find new goods to share with you, but recently I have been having so much fun discovering old things with a previous life right in someone else’s home.
Here, I thought it’d be fun to share my experience, sources, tips & tricks on estate sales. I hope you find it useful & like what I find because some of these finds will be eligible to purchase. Otherwise, my husband David thinks I will be on the next Hoarder’s season. (ha!)
First things first: download this app. It literally pulls up a map of estate sales with the details and importantly pictures. I am addicted! New sales are always popping up, and you can usually get an idea of whether it will be worth going to or not from the images.
Let’s also set some ground rules:
- Go early for items you have to have.
- Assess the situation.
- Gather quickly & utilize hold areas.
- Negotiate price.
- Go towards the end for the best deals.
Let’s break it down now y’all.
Go early for items you have to have.
Love spongeware? I do. If I see it, I’m going. Collecting a china pattern? Someone else probably is too. If you’d be heartbroken without it, be there or be square (or be prepared to be upset). The good goods go fast. Know that you may not get best price on these items, and that’s okay if you have to have it.
Assess the situation.
I recently went to a sale where I loved everything. It was so curated, almost like a shop. & it was priced like a shop too. Very expensive, & I left empty handed. Check prices as you look around to see if things seem reasonable. It will help you in later steps.
Also, don’t get lost in a pile of textiles and forget the rest of the house. Forrest for the trees, people! Walk the entire house first. Get into the details second.
(talking to myself)
Gather quickly & utilize hold areas.
People are crazy at these events! If you have any kind of emotional response to an item, pick it up. You can always put it down later. Many sales are put on by companies who have it down to a science, and they will have hold areas. Use them. You don’t want to have to fight Mary off for that 24 piece flatware set you’ve already claimed as a family heirloom.
It never hurts to ask, & you almost always will get something if you do. At the sale from these pictures, I got over 30% of it for free. For FREE. They want to get rid of this stuff, so remember you have leverage. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Go towards the end for the best deals.
The last day will have the best pricing and room to negotiate. Since you have followed my above rules to a T already, save going back for the pieces you like but won’t die without. You’ll be surprised at how low they will go to get rid of things. One (wo)man’s trash, is another one’s treasure.
Estate sales are emotional- and before you think I am crazy, hear me out. Go with your gut when selecting things that you respond to. If you love it, get it. These items have already had a life of their own and may be used in a way that you would not. It is SO fun to reimagine them and give them a second life. It’s redemptive, okay?
Also, also, not to add pressure, but these things are time sensitive. Usually a sale is only a day or two, and once items are gone, they are gone for good. Buyers remorse is bad when you miss a sale on a new good, but when you miss it at an estate sale, its truly one of a kind, and gone for good. I am still mourning to this day a daybed that I almost got for $175 (pictured). I didn’t know where I would use it, and went back twice to see it, but still left it there. Why? I have gone to every Goodwill in the city trying to find it.
Don’t. Let. It. Get. Away.
Love y’all & would love to hear from you. Email me your thoughts on estate sales: email@example.com.