Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Estate Sale Shopping Tips

 [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]


  1. thanks for posting these tips! i definitely plan on putting them to use.

  2. i didn't even know what an estate sale was until i read your blog... i'm going to one on Saturday! So excited!

  3. Thanks for the tips!! I have never been to an estate sale, but I can't wait to find one ASAP!!

  4. @Kenda @Pameela @Hillerie Camille; Have fun and happy shopping!!! They are addicting!

  5. Thank you so much for the tips. I was just talking to my mom about going to one next weekend.

  6. Hi Nicole, I'm the lady that lives in Westlake Village and commented on how the city and the suburbs are good at different points in your life...I guess I should subscribe and get a tag name....Anyway, I too am an Estate Sales shopper and do you know about That site has great listings of estate sales all around California (you pick your area) and they have pics of featured items. I haven't been to any in a while because I had to lay off of them (starting to collect too many things) BUT when I start back again if I see you at one I will introduce myself and say hello. And yes all the tips you gave are great. The best one is: Go early. Be in line with your coffee or tea waiting for the door to open. Go early the first day and really late the last day. Keep up the good work you are doing with yourself. You are a beautiful girl.

  7. @Anonymous; awwweee man do I ever?? I have open in a tab right now [].

    Please do introduce yourself if we happen to be at the same sale! And you are right, early on the first day and really late on the last day; I can see you are a pro at this! LOL

  8. Westlake Village 40May 27, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    Ok. so I subscribed and gave myself a handle. "Westlake Village 40". Thanks for all the inspiration, wonderful ideas, and delicious recipes. You are a very nice person to share all the things you do with the world. Keep up the good work you are doing with yourself. Enjoy your blessed life to the fullest.

  9. @Westlake Village 40; Thank you very much for the kind words :-) I appreciate it more than you know!

  10. I wish I knew how to find estate sales in England. The vintage shops here are ridiculously expensive. I end up getting most of my vintage stuff from ebay US and it still works out cheaper.

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