[a few quick snaps of part of my lil collection]
1.Check your local PennySaver for Estate Sale Listings - Craigslist is also a good source to check.
2.Estate Sales usually last for 3 days [Friday, Sat & Sun] or 2 days [Friday & Saturday]
3.Pricing is FIRM on the first day [unless you are buying a lot; and I do mean a lot] - The staff is usually open to negotiating on the last day of the sale.
4.True Estate/Probate sales usually occur in the unfortunate event that someone has passed, or moved on to a retirement home - In those cases EVERYTHING must go. If you want the cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink; those are for sale [no kidding; there is a regular estate digger that attends just for the cleaning supplies and tools].
5.Show up early if you are looking for antiques or fine jewelry, as dealers will often be the first in line.
Moving sales are NOT estate sales; understand that people will call it that in order to get tons of people to come out!
6.If you hear words such as "contemporary", "ethan allen" "new" in the listing, it is safe to say they aren't selling vintage clothing, or antiquities.
7.Don't ask for a price on a single item; bring ALL of your items to the front; you will get a discount FOR SURE. If all else fails, you can put things back. - The staff that runs the estate sale will more than likely always quote a "outrageous" price when you hold up one item. Your bargaining power increases greatly if you have 5+ items.
8.Check the armpits [I hate that word] of clothing in search of ripped seams. Also check for moth holes, that dress is no good if the moths got to it before you did. Check the hem of dresses as well.
9.Grab first, ponder later. I learned this the hard way. I was staring at a vintage 1920's flapper dress, and watched in horror as a dealer snatched it right under my sight. - Now, I grab anything that looks REMOTELY interesting, and keep looking for others. I make my final decisions upon checkout.
10.Hand wash all items that say MACHINE WASHABLE in Dreft or Woolite. If in doubt; or there is no care tag, take items to the cleaners!
11. Take good care of your vintage pieces; after-all you worked hard sourcing them. Use wooden or padded hangers, buy cedar to keep the moths at bay. And invest in garment bags. A lot of my things are stored together on garment racks [as pictured above]. - My jackets, furs, and delicate dresses are stored in a closet [with tons of lavender scented moth balls and cedar]