4 tips on estate sales & my latest finds

Today I thought I'd show you what an estate sale adventure is like from start to finish. I know a lot of you are unsure when and where the sales are held in your town and what exactly to look for once you get there so today I'm offering some tips that should help you become more familiar with how exactly estate sales work.

1st up and most important you need to find out what companies (or people) are holding estate sales regularly in your area. In my town that includes Roy Dudley Estate Sales, Sales By Nancy, Sales By Anna, and Estate Sales By Katherine. It's almost a guarantee that at least one of these people will be hosting an estate sale each weekend, all you gotta do is find out where their sales are. Start by looking in the classified ads under yard sales and garage sales, and after a few weeks the names will become more familiar. Once you've started visiting the sales you should keep your eyes open for any sort of business card, these will aide you in finding out how to join their email list. Now that your on the mailing list you should receive an email anytime a sale is happening.

Here's an example of the latest email I've received:

Estate Sale by Katherine
The Estate of Virgina Sadler
5108 Crest

Pine Bluff, AR
January 21, 22 & 23
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
MasterCard, VISA & Discover Accepted!

Lovely home completely packed! Sale includes several very nice bedroom suits, very nice mahogany blanket chest with Queen Anne legs, antique sectional lawyers bookcase by Globe-Wernicke and several other nice bookcases, mahogany china cabinet, large oak sideboard, oak china cabinet, George Steck upright piano, corner cabinet, mission style harvest dining room table and chairs, large functional server, Eastlake dresser, wonderful chandelier, several nice arm chairs including needlepoint chair, secretary/china cabinet, several end tables, coffee table, sofa, loveseat, recliners, grandfather clock, outside pole clock, advertising clock, several other antique shelf clocks, mirrors, lamps, pocket watches, pocket knife collection, old cameras and projectors, antique medical bags with antique surgical instruments and old medicine and old physicians call lists, old toys including old Monopoly game and board, Geronimo in box, Custer and Johnny West with accessories, antique toy Singer sewing machine, Uncle Sams Dime Register bank, Hot Wheels, coins including Indian Head, stamps, J.C. Higgins Model 583 .16 12 guage, Winchester Model 550-1 .22 with scope, confederate money, old wooden boxes, old dolls, old medicine bottles, antique powder horn, old Indian wool rug, 1940's Arsenal badge, Yamaha PF 2000 keyboard, Yamaha PSR - 180 keyboard, lots of sheetmusic and music books, 2 nice desks, lots and lots of nice china and glassware including a 99 piece china service and a 51 piece china service, lots and lots of stemware and crystal, pressed and cut glass, sterling and plate, Bavarian china, several nice German vases, several nice oriental accent pieces, Fostoria, punch bowl, Niloak swirl 10" vase and Niloak swirl bowl, depression glass, Nippon, Kewpie dolls, lots and lots of lovely linens including quilts, vintage table linens, bed and bath, lots of costume jewelry, 14k jewelry, lots of ladies clothing sizes 10 - 14, some petite, vintage lingerie and evening bags, old steamer strunk, sewing machine, old buttons, some craft items, cross stitch books, lots of books, old books, cook books, old childrens books including Raggedy Ann and Andy and Little Colonel series, TV's, VCR, Stereo, turntable, speakers, computer, printer, doll houses and doll house furniture, old eyeglasses, picture frames, old pennants, boy scout items, posters, old sword in scabbard, musical bell collection by Lennox and Steiff, lots of Christmas items, Shirley Temple pitcher, model planes, old paper items, old military leggings, KITCHEN IS PACKED ----- small appliances, Pyrex, pots, pans, dishes, flatware, utensils, refrigerator, washer and dryer, GARAGE IS PACKED ----- Homelite LR 4400 8 HP generator, ladders, wheelbarrow, Kawasaki GD 700 A generator, yard tools, hand tools, metal shelves, work table, Craftsman 6.75 lawnmower, battery charger, shop fans, lots of shop items, leaf blowers, metal buildings, patio set, concrete statues, benches, vices, old records, old iron tea cart and much, much more!

Directions: From LR - South on 530 to Pine Bluff, take old Warren Road exit (exit 41), turn right on old Warren road. Take next immediate left on Bobo, then right on Crest. Follow signs.

You see how exciting these emails can be! They actually help to determine wether the sale is worth your time or not.

2nd on the list is figuring out which day to go. Generally the sales run from Thursday to Sunday, but sometimes they end on Saturday's. On the first day they're packed and things are sorta expensive (for an estate sale), but by the second day prices have dropped to 20% off and by the last day they're usually down to 50%, the hosts just need the stuff to go. Sometimes it's a tough decision. On one hand you want to see all the incredible first day stuff, and on the other you want all the amazing deals, so I guess it just depends on how curious you are!

3rd is knowing what to look for once you get there. When I get to a sale I'm usually pretty excited. With so many rooms and tables set up it seems overwhelming at first, you just have to break things up into sections. I start by going to the room with the clothes! I see if there are any vintage pieces (be sure to check for stains or holes!), and then I head to the other rooms. I pretty much do one lap around the whole place to make sure there isn't something really exquisite lying around, and then I make a second trip. On my second trip I go real slow making sure to look at dresser tops, floors, beds... anywhere where things are sitting; you never know what you could find if you take your time and look real good. I look for clothes, hats, collars, belts, camera equipment, pillows, blankets, sheets, posters, frames and photos before finishing up with the costume jewelry. There's usually a ton of jewelry baggied up in plastic tubs which is why I save it for last. I sit down and sort through each tub individually looking for cameos, charms, necklaces, and rings, and lately I've been looking for more broaches to pin on my headbands.

4th and final, you pay and leave with all your found treasures. To show an example of things you could find and the prices that your looking at, here's just a few things I picked up from the sale in the email.


I actually purchased a couple dresses too, but for the most part this is everything I got. My total before the 20% discount was nearly $80 and after was $63. I know some of that camera equipment is worth more than $63 alone, so I'm satisfied with what I spent for this sale, and I know I couldn't have found any of it at a retail store.

I hope this advice can help you make the most of the estate sales in your town!


Delightfully Tacky said...

I wish we had estate sales up here. We don't really have many "estates."

Lara said...

I really have to spend more time at estate sales. We have them all the time in my area but I never go. I think it is because I am just too shy to go on my own. :(

Aya Smith said...

What great tips, thank you for sharing! ^-^

Aya (strawberrykoi.blogspot.com)

Louise said...

What a great haul ... well done!

vipxo said...

wow, what an amazing idea! you've got some lovely things!

la fille dans la forĂȘt said...

Great finds! I've been trying to find estate sales around here, but have had no luck.

M. said...

i need to start going to estate sales asap now, everything you found was amazing!

lovelove, M.

Bree said...

great guide! I'm dying to go to an estate sale. You really found some beautiful things.

D. said...

I'm glad you posted this. I've been curious about estate sales for a while now.

Ashlee said...

i just went to an estate sale last saturday.
i went the second day, and sadly all of the clothes and accessories had already been sold.
but i did score an amazing handmade quilt for 10 bucks!

Rosie said...

Awesome tips, I'm going to have to start going to some of these!

LyddieGal said...

Fabulous finds! I'm in love with the lace dress and the beaded collar. I wish there were more estate sales in my area!

Miss Tofu said...

Makes me wish we had estate sales down here, particularly when my parents have bought a beautiful new home and I'm currently helping them decorate.

The lace dress and locket are so, so beautiful.

Super jealous! ^_^

<3 from pretty-preoccupied.blogspot.com

Rachel said...

Ahhh I'm so jealous of everything you found, especially the lace dress! I go to Estate sales fairly often & I think your tips are pretty spot on. I love going because of the awesome stuff, obviously, but also I'm fascinated with seeing how other people live, so just going into old houses is part of the fun for me. Lovely post! xx

My Passport to Style said...

Hi Starr,what fabulous finds!I would like to personally invite you to my Tea Dance, over @ My Passport to Style today, I do hope you will come! Sharon( UK) xox

Lara said...

The conference itself is only $129 but there is a code to get 1/2 off through Chictopia. Of course, the expensive part is flying and a hotel. When I priced it out, the whole event would be almost $500. Eek! I really want to go. I dont think I'll win the contest. i did make a valiant plea for beauty to be represented but I doubt they will pick me!

mel said...

i love sales! p.s: amazing turban

tess said...

I am writing to tell you that I had to shut down my old blog due to personal reasons, but I have started a new one, posting under the new link above and under the name "tess."

please stop by!


Leproust Vintage said...

Yowzer!! I can't believe you found a turban! That is amazing!! I always want to go to estate sales in a more rural area....I got to at least one a week, but there are so many vintage stores and sellers in Nashville that it is so competitive and crazy!!

Violet Folklore said...

Wow thank you for this (& all the other ridiculously practical and helpful blogs you post!). This is definitely information I can use.

stephanie renee said...

such a great post, I have always been initimidated by estate sales and now I think it is time I start looking for them. You found so many lovely things, especially that pink turban!

betz said...

oh my, these are great finds! this is such a great post! thank you so much for sharing these tips. now i'm itching to experience shopping in estate sales.


Valencia Lia said...

I want to say I love you so so much!! Thanks for sharing this with us. Even though I'm so far away and we don't have estate sales here,but its really good tips and information to know of.

And I love all the things you got at the sales. Especially the lace dress and the vintage turban! So gorgeous<3

Annie, Time Enough for Drums said...

Such a great post! I've been to a couple estate sales, but only when I saw a sign on the road and stopped in. Now I know how to find them regularly, and I WILL go! Annie.

Cassy said...

Ha! Your a wonderful inspiration, I'm itching to go thrifting now. :)

Cassy <3