5 Tips for Estate Sales

(photo source)

Although I talk about it a lot, I'm still pretty new to estate saleing. It wasn't until recently that I even knew what it was. I thought it was just a fancy name for a yard sale. However, a few months ago, my friend Brooke (who has frequented estate sales for years) asked me to join her one morning. We drove around the nicer area of town looking for signs. The first one we came upon was in a more historic part of town. I was a little confused at first. At a normal yard sale, you'll see tables set outside piled with junk and hidden treasures, and people wondering and haggling. Not this time. Brooke led me right inside the front door. That's when i realized what we had stumbled upon. Everything in the home was for sale, and everything was vintage. 

Since I had no idea what to expect during my first experience, I thought i'd share with you a few tips I've picked up along the way. 

I usually just do it the old-fashioned way, driving around the nicer parts of town looking for signs. There are also websites and apps that you can sign up for that will send you listings by email. You just put in the zip code of the area you'd like to check out. This is a great one i would recommend. 

There will usually be price tags on each item. If you like it, grab it. You can carry it around with you as you continue shopping and check out with everything together. If there is a larger item that you have to have, they can put a sold sign on it until you are ready to take it away. If there are no price tags, ask them how they handle transactions. Some sales will charge you less the more you buy. I once walked out of a sale with two handbags, a pashmina and a flower pot for $12. Still be sure you have plenty of cash on hand.

You don't want to hit up a sale if you are on a tight schedule. Since you are going through the whole house, there is much too see, and much to miss out on if you are rushing through. I even go through the whole house twice just to make sure I didn't miss a hidden treasure.

I have a running list of things that i'm searching for, and I try to stick to that list. It can be a little overwhelming if you don't know what you are looking for. You can end up taking home an item that you didn't really need or weren't in love with just because it was a good deal. Of course, if you find something not on your list that you know you'll obsess about if you leave it behind, snatch it up!

You can find the most amazing vintage furniture at estate sales. I once found a mid-century dining room set in pristeen conditon for $500. This included the table (which the daughter said has not been used without a table cloth for the last 50 years), 6 chairs and a kitchen hutch. This kind of set could sell for upwards of a couple grand if you found this at a vintage shop. Older also means better quality that will last. You also want to keep on the look out for sets of china, silverware and glassware. You can find some gorgeous pieces for a fraction of the cost that you would if you bought new.

If you have any tips of your own, I would LOVE to hear them in the comments below. 

Photo Sources: 1|2|3|4|5


  1. great tips! My mother in law has started going to estate sales and really enjoys them! I want to make a venture to one soon and experience how the sale is like


  2. Great ideas! I have always wanted a little guidance in finding great pieces.. but I'm afraid I might not have the patience!



  3. Love these tips! Great information!
    (ps - I nominated you for an award on my blog!) :)

    1. awe..thank you so much for the nomination, hannah! i have been nominated for this award before, but thank you for recommending my blog. made my day :)

  4. i've heard of these sales, but have never been to one. i did assume, however, that they were more expensive (rich people selling their things, lol??) thanks for the tips!

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    1. sometimes that is what you come across, but not that often. it's usually the belongings of someone who has passed, which is really sad and took me a little bit of time to put out of my mind. glad you enjoyed the tips and hope you give it a try!

  5. The states sales looks amazing! I've never heard about it and must be really fun make it! Very interesting tip !

  6. I loved this post! Estate Sales are a rare event here. I remember going to one when I was young, and I fell in love with the jewelry box the old man was selling. He was going to a nursing home, and couldn't take everything with him. The jewelry box had belonged to his late wife... . I still have it, and am still very much in love with it. and that vintage Pyrex collection: GIMMEEEE ♥

    1. yes! currently in the process of collecting vintage pyrex in pink!

  7. Great tips girl!! I've never been to a state sale before but looks like its something I should try soon!
    xo TJ


  8. Totally just signed up for the newsletter alert, haha. I have been wanting to go to one of these for the longest time but never knew how to find them. SO THANK YOU for this! Also, I can't believe you got a whole dining room for only $500. Now I REALLY want to go to one. Imagine the dresses. Swoonswoonswoondie.

    xo marlen
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  9. I'm still at school, however this sounds like it's of real help. My dad moved house and it was such hassle! x

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  10. Great tips!!!
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  11. Thanks for the tips! They really are useful. I wish I could stumble upon homes that looked like that. The ones I have been to have not been pretty. Your table sounds like a great score!


  12. i would love to see a post on things you have gotten !
    Simply Sutter


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