Now, when I say estate sales, I am excluding yard/garage sales. I love those, too, but that's another post. We usually hear of estate sales through the classifieds of our local newspaper, via Facebook resale groups, or driving around town and seeing a sign.
Around here estate sales literally mean almost nearly anything you'd find in a home is for sale, and they usually involve going into a home and getting to go room-by-room to browse. This has been the case for 8 out of 10 estate sales I've ever been to.
So, why do I love them so much? Here's why.
1.) You find really unique things that you can't find anymore, anywhere else. Stuff is mass produced for the most part in stores, so it's great to find pieces for your home that no one else is likely to have.
Estate sales are great for tableware/dinnerware pieces, heirloom quality furniture, and sometimes even vintage holiday decor. The quality of older pieces of furniture is phenomenal when compared to the average MDF/particle board stuff we see nowadays.
I picked up a pair of these candlesticks for $25. A dust cloth and some Windex shined those crystals right up. I can't wait to use them to create an epic tablescape.
2.) The quality and assortment of the items is usually far better than a yard/garage sale. There are estate sale companies that put these sales on for a living, so they make the most of each sale and they tend to be clean, well organized and feature items worth buying. A lamp at a yard sale may not even work, while a lamp at an estate sale will likely be in better shape. I'm not knocking yard sales, but we'll all been to that yard sale that's trying to sell a broken lamp for $20. Oy!
Speaking of lamps, I picked up this HUGE glass lamp with all the crystals intact for $20. It works, it's beefy, and with a little rub n' buff on the base and a new shade, it'll look good as new. I may remove the crystals to give it a sleeker silhouette. What do you think?
3.) The prices are always negotiable. As mentioned above, estate sales are designed to do one thing: sell off an estate's worth of stuff. If you go on day 1, the prices may not be as flexible, but by day 2 or 3, the sellers just want to get rid of it.
Around here, usually day 1 is full price or about 10% off if you haggle (I always do!), 25% off the next day, and 50%+ the final day. The more you buy, the more power you have to negotiate. Remember to take cash (including small bills!)
You can sometimes snag real wood, heirloom quality furniture for $100 that's in great condition.
4.) It's fun! Daniel and I make a fun morning of estate sale hopping. We get up early, have breakfast and then head out to see what we can find. Sometimes we don't buy anything, but we always have fun looking at the items and the houses. You get to go inside someone's house and shop, and many times the homes are older/vintage, so take a look around. I love looking at houses!
And a bonus tip...
Before you rush off with your item, make sure to really inspect it. Some things I look for are to ensure it's not chipped/broken, that it works (if it's electronic), that it's truly vintage (if that's important to me for that item), etc. I also try to only pick things I will absolutely LOVE for awhile (and not buy something purely because it's cheap) so as not to become a hoarder. #saynotohoarding
But overall, I shop estate sales for small items that give my home character. Almost all estate sale finds that I've brought home really add a bit of unexpected flair to my home. These lace edged napkins make my store bought dinnerware look even fancier.
I did buy something at HomeGoods this weekend to add to my chinoiserie inspired decor for the dining room makeover. I love this jar! Looks great with that lamp.
Are estate sales common in your area? Do you like them more than yard sales? I'll be honest...I like them a lot since they're inside and it is hotter than hell around here lately. Stay cool, my friends. xo.