Ok, lords and ladies, this is where it may get weird.
Being the progeny of hoarders, as well as the fortunate inheritor of lots of furniture (and SO many other things), it won’t likely be shocking to hear that I love estate sales. And I do. I super, really do! Not just that they’re a golden opportunity (usually) to find some vintage stuff at (what should be) reasonable/low prices, but because I am a total voyeur and cannot get enough of going into people’s houses. Dead people especially, not because I’m excited about their deaths, particularly, but there is something uniquely special about appreciating the things they left behind.
I even enjoy seeing the things I never want to own; the hideous art that’s usually priced WAY too high that I would totally buy as a joke if it were $5 (I mean you, huge, embroidered tiger/clown/ship!). There’s the usual National Geographic collection, boring non-fiction self help or politico, classical music on vinyl, Christmas décor, random sets of mediocre silverplate flatware, 80s dishes, old lady shoes and sweaters (they all had such tiny feet!), bulky table lamps, porcelain figurines, and on and on forever! (Pst! There’s always more stuff in the garage!)
The floorplans, the way they arranged the furniture (what’s left of it), what’s marked “not for sale,” and what’s left in the closets. These are all things I notice and wonder to myself while walking/shuffling my way through an estate sale. Sometimes there are so many other people, it seems like you’re surrounded by thoughtless vultures who won’t walk any damn faster down the narrow hallway! I’ve never considered myself one of these people since I am not solely there to grab anything I see because it’s cheap. (Theoretically, they could be experiencing the same “estate sale zen” I am, but I doubt it.)
Speaking of which, an unfortunate estate sale trend lately is to price things fairly high in order to sell at 50% on day two or three and still make a profit. Mini rant: This is annoying, considering it’s all “second hand” and should be priced accordingly, but also because it seems like a waste of everyone’s time to price out the people who have taken the trouble to come look at this stuff. It’s not like they’re having to pay overhead for a store front, or that they’ve put effort into a fancy display, OR that anyone in the family wants to keep it. I know I’m likely preaching to the choir on this one, but dammit, pricing (for example) a vintage magazine at anything more than $1 is outrageous, and you should be ashamed of yourself. What are you gonna do with them if I don’t buy them? Set them on fire? Sell them on eBay?? Good luck! I already have too many, anyway. *mic drop*
In any case, Boyfriend and I happened upon an estate sale last weekend, so we stopped in for a look. This was a really good one: everything was priced to sell, there was enough stuff to look at, but it wasn’t overwhelming, and I walked away with some real gems for LESS THAN $5 total! WIN! I didn’t have any cash, so technically my stash was provided by Boyfriend (so thoughtful). I got: a gorgeous purple circular tufted pillow, two pairs of cat earrings and a vintage stainless steel kitchen canister! It is the best! I’ve been looking for one of these (that I could afford/was the right style) for years, and I got this one for $2!
Not only did it make my Saturday amazing, but I felt like I won at life, plus I had “new” things! Estate sales are a great sort of shopping high if you’re lucky, and I absolutely was this time.
Here are just a couple of my past estate sale “wins”:
If you’re in Houston, try Margie Beegle Estate Sales. It’s currently run by her daughter, Jennifer. If you’re in the DFW area, When Pigs Fly Estate Sales and Consignments is an amazing resource! Or, EstateSales.net is a nationwide resource! Always bring cash, wear comfortable shoes, carry in as little as possible, and go to the bathroom before you get there!
How do you feel about estate sales? Creepy? Are you a big fan, but feel guilty about it? (This is how my Dad feels, but it hasn’t stopped him from regular participation.) Do you love it? What’s your favorite part? Any really great finds you’d like to share?