Saturday, July 02, 2011

Estate Sale Pro Tips and Finds

Those who know me well or follow me on twitter know that I am a bit of an estate saler. I love going and looking at all the stuff. Props to good friend Auvrey for introducing me to this sport years ago!

A lot of people seem interested in estate saling, but many have questions, so I thought I'd give you some of my tips and tricks for the estate sale world.

Tip one- Good fuel

Ok this isn't necessary, but my Saturday morning routine involves getting a treat from Prairie Thunder Baking Company. My current faves are the chocolate croissant and the blueberry peach danish.

Okay but for real.

Where do you find out where estate sales are?

You might find this hard to believe, but long ago and far away, there were these things called newspapers that had classified ads. That's still where I look- the online version.

If you're in OKC, I'll even link you to it! The Oklahoman Classified- Estate Sales. They only list per the actual day it is.

Types of estate sales

There are a few types of estate sales. These are my own classification, nothing official. The bottom line difference between a garage sale and an estate sale is that the estate sale items are charged tax.

Estate sales are daunting for the family. I've never been through it myself, but I have seen enough that I think it's safe to say.

Because of this, some people bring in professional firms to hold their estate sales. They price the items, advertise, run the sale the actual days, and handle the tax stuff. If you are a shopper, these types of sales have pros and cons. PRO- no traumatized family members to deal with, items are usually priced to move, overall a better experience. CONS- Many times items are slightly overpriced because they have a better understanding of what items are worth, but they're still not retail prices.

Sometimes, families hold their own estate sales. I think this is a good idea if you have someone in the family who can emotionally disconnect from the experience and has a good idea of the end goal. Do you want to get rid of everything? Do you want to make a lot of money? Those two questions are important and can drastically change pricing. Some of the WORST estate sales I've been to have been family run. Sometimes the children are too emotionally connected to the items. Sometimes the person is there themselves, and that makes it even worse. One sale I went to, the entire family was wearing shirts with pictures of the deceased on it. Not a good idea.


Let me give you some major tips. If you ever need kitchen items, go to an estate sale. Cheap and easy. Same for tools, books, linens (although I do not use used linens to sleep on or bathe with). You can really stock up.

On Sundays, estate sales are slashing prices by at least half, usually. They want to get rid of stuff. Granted, the selection is lower, but the prices are drastically lower.

If you like DIY projects, estate sales give you great materials to work with.

Bargain! Bundle items (ex, get more than $10 worth of stuff and ask if you can have it all for $10)


A lot of people find the concept of estate sales creepy. I've often heard it called "dead people stuff." Okay, so here's my take. One, a lot of estate sales are not actually for deceased people. Many times they're for people downsizing or moving into assisted living.

Beyond that, I just got over it. I will admit the first couple of months I went, I'd get pretty sad going through peoples' houses. But then I decided I was giving their items new life, and helping the family out by buying it. It's an odd type of recycling, in a way.


Okay, here are some of my favorite finds from the past few weeks.

This coat is beautiful! Lovely embroidery all over it, and only $4. It's not an every day, all year long item, but I think will look rockin' in the fall.

I have a weakness for old suitcases. This one is beautiful, although in damaged condition. I love the fabric on the inside. I have some ideas for making it into an end table. $1

I found these bead strands for $.25 each, and the pin (from ~1900) was $4. I put them together and they're a beautiful summer accessory.

One of my favorite books, with the beautiful original artwork. I think $.50

I just thought this was funny. It's worth clicking on the 2nd image and reading the description of the suggested game. :) Maybe $1?

This is actually from Habitat for Humanity's Renovation Station. I also like to go there every few weeks. They have great spare parts like this window, which are just ripe for DIY (do it yourself) project ideas. In fact, I have 2 of these and have some fun ideas in mind...

Well there ya go! If you have any more questions, let me know!

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