Estate Sales 101 - PART 2

Welcome to part 2 of Estate Sales 101! Yesterday I ran through some of the basics of estate sales....and today I'm going to share some of the things we've learned over the years.

So here you go...

1. Obviously, the first day of the sale is usually the best. HOWEVER, sellers are less willing to negotiate prices and lines may be long on the first day. But if you do see something you really want, the first day is definitely the day to go...

2. The last day of the sale (most often Saturday) is usually 50% off everything (or at least off items). We love going on Saturdays because we love getting the extra deal. BUT, like I mentioned in #1, there aren't as many items available on the last day.

3. Don't be afraid to dig. I have found the coolest stuff at the bottom of a pile. And the companies hired to run the sale don't always have the time to go through EVERYTHING in EVERY pile.

4. If a price isn't marked, ask. Or offer an amount you think is fair. It never hurts.

5. If you find a bunch of things you love, negotiate with the cashier. Frank Fritz on American Pickers is famous for's called "bundling." If your individual items cost $18.00 all together, offer to pay $15.00 for the lot...I'd be surprised if you don't get it.

6. Don't expect to get something for nothing. Even though the workers are not attached to the items, they are still interested in making money...don't think that you will get a Mid-Century Federal-Style writing desk for $'s not gonna happen.

7. Be nice. The people who run the sales are just people. They have worked really hard to get everything prepared in a neat and orderly way. Sure, other customers can get pushy...but we've rarely found this in our experience.

8. If you see something you want, grab it. It may not be there if you spend a lot of time roaming around the house trying to decide if you should buy it.

9. If you saw something online in a photo, but don't see it in the house, ask a worker. Sometimes things are in remote places that may not be readily visible.

and 10. HAVE FUN! Unless you are a serious collector, don't be upset if you don't get what you want...there will always be another sale. I can't tell you how many times we've been disappointed at one sale only to be pleasantly surprised at the next.

Here are just two of the fantastic deals we've gotten at estate sales...

My sewing table...which included a machine, tons of bobbins, a sewing book & a boat-load of attachments...$10. Yep, TEN DOLLARS! The one knob is missing now, but it was there when we bought it. Eventually I will get around to painting it and it will be perfect. I can't tell you just how invaluable this purchase has been...

Our awesome camera lenses...
When we walked into this sale we saw a whole bunch of SLR camera equipment, both Canon and Minolta. It just so happens that our SONY DSLR can use Minolta BINGO! I did a quick search on my phone just to make sure and then I checked the price on the Minolta stuff. $20. FOR. EVERYTHING. That included these two lenses (A70-210/4 zoom and an 28-85mm 1:3.5 (22) - 4.5...both with macros). awesome. PLUS a camera body, filters on both the lenses, and storage bags. $20 bucks. Doug did a little quick research and found that each of these lenses still go for over $100...score! 

Pretty cool, huh?

So, what do you think? Do you hit estate sales? Or do you think you'll start? And if you already frequent them, what's the best thing you've found?


  1. Wow ... now I'm inspired to go to estate sales! I've been to a couple but I haven't ever found a great deal or something I had to have. I'm inspired by those lenses though!

  2. I shop mostly for antique accessories... Quilts, linens, etc. In my area, the big stuff is usually really overpriced if there is a company doing the sale. If the family is doing it, there are usually much better deals. I am so impressed with your finds!! I want to get my hands on some fun lenses!!

  3. This post caught my eye because I just wrote a blog post that included some info about estate sales to go live on Friday. I love estate sales but only when they are run by the family or individual, not by a company. The companies that are local that run them here are so overpriced and good deals can never be found. Some of the best vintage goodies are hidden treasures at estate sales though.

  4. Great finds!
    I agree with all of your tips. My husband refers to it as "garbage saling". We have found some great stuff too.
    Thanks for the tips

  5. I would love to find some used lenses for cheap!


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