If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. Napoleon Hill
Some of my best treasures have been found at Estate Sales. But if you have ever been to one, you will know that there are many others looking for the best treasures as well. So how can YOU get the best deals that everyone wants? I'll list them here, but first it helps to know what you are looking for and what Estate Sales to pursue. When you are looking for vintage and antique items the best sales are those where the owner has been a collector and/or dealer and is looking to downsize or retire and has LOTS to sell. I know that might seem obvious but if you are going to take the time to shop Estate Sales you will want to look for these first and foremost. You will usually find the best deals at the best prices at these sales and you won't be disappointed. Some sales will have only a handful of vintage or antique items and unless you see there is something you really want, you will spend a lot of time and effort with very little to show for it. So you need to find those Estate Sales that have what you are looking for... in abundance. So here are...
7 Tips For Shopping Estate Sales
1) Find out the sales details of the Estate Sale you are attending. Some sales have you sign up the night before, some give out numbers the morning of the sale, and a few just have you come with the " first come, first served" motto. But most will have a time listed for you to get a number or sign up so be sure and find out what each sale would have you do.
2) Get to the sale a MINIMUM of an hour before the suggested time of signing up or getting numbers. Some get there an hour and a half before the suggested time! If numbers are given out, in some cases they let you get a number and then leave and come back. Others may require you to stay on the premises. But whatever the way the sale is run, EARLY is the name of the game. Remember! The early bird gets the worm, or in this case the best treasures of the day.
3) Check out the photos of the event beforehand. Whether on Craigslist or the website ( estatesales.net is one site ) where you found the information of the sale, there are usually photos of many of the items to be sold. Look closely at even the items in the background of the photos for things you want to buy. List them ahead of time so you can remember some special items you are looking for. Pick out the things that are most important for you to purchase. Don't forget to take your list with you to the sale.
4) Have an idea of where the item might be in the house. It helps to know where to begin looking for that item you really want. When looking at the photos, check out details of the room. You can often discern if it is in the garage or basement or kitchen. Check out the flooring. Is the room carpeted or does it have hardwood floors? Then once you get there go straight to the room where the item that you want the most is located. Sometimes items may be moved from the original picture. If that seems to be the case, go to the person in charge and ask where the item is located. But most of the time I have found the item I want right where it was pictured on the site.
5) Bring a large plastic bag. Some sales will have baskets to hold your small items but most will not. So bringing your own bag to carry those little items will help you to carry more while looking. Bring some paper to separate glass items so nothing breaks.
6) Don't act competitive. Be patient. This is a sale not a "Roller Derby". You don't have to fight your way to the deals. Yes, maybe someone reached an item you wanted before you did. Be happy for them. You won't be able to get to everything you want FIRST. I usually find that most people are friendly and polite. So help keep the experience upbeat and fun.
7) Bring lots of cash! I sometimes go to sales thinking I won't buy anything "big". Then I go to the sale and find a sweet treasure that I want but had not seen in photos and I don't have enough money. They are not going to hold the item for you while you run to the nearest ATM... in most cases. So be prepared, just in case.
And finally, for those of you who don't have the time or patience to go to Estate Sales, let those of us who DO, do the shopping FOR you. Yup, we do all of this and more to bring you the best stuff and more. We Hob Nobbers will go through all of this just for YOU. You can even tell us what you are looking for and we will do the searching!
Estate Sales are lots of fun but you do need time and patience. So get out there with your list and your bag and get those treasures!
Warning: It can be addicting!