02 Oct 2013

What’s Your Treasure?

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Lorie and I were very excited to be included as community contributors for the Solon Life magazine’s October issue. Unfortunately they do not have an online presence just yet, so we thought we would put the unedited version of our article in our blog.

Enjoy! And we would love to hear your thoughts and tips on shopping at estate sales!!

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Crazy for kitschy? Love shabby chic? Mad for mid-century modern? These are just a few of the great reasons to shop estate sales! Estate sales are not just for grandma any more. You can find just about anything at these sales. You name it; you’ll find it (as long as it’s legal). Half of the fun is the hunt itself!

What exactly is an estate sale? Glad you asked! Estate sales (also called tag sales) usually involve selling the entire contents (or almost) of a home and are held at the home. People have estate sales for many reasons including a death in the family or simply downsizing and selling what they no longer need or want. In any case, this can be a daunting project so most people hire an estate sale/liquidation company (like us!) to do all the work with set up, pricing and running the sale.

Estate sales are fast paced, a lot of fun and any one can go. It’s fun to see what homes look like in other neighborhoods and the treasures you may find. Shopping estate sales is also very eco-friendly. You are doing your part to keep useful and interesting items from ending up in a landfill. Reuse and repurpose is the estate sale motto. Like the lines on an old ladder back chair but it’s missing a seat? Stick a potted plant in the middle and viola, you have an interesting plant stand. Paint it an interesting color and your friends will ask where you got it!

Here’s the inside scoop on shopping a sale. Check out the local papers, the internet and local estate sale company websites for upcoming sales. Sales are typically held on Thursdays through Sundays. Ads for sales are located in the Classified Ad section of newspapers. If you have access to a computer, the best way to check for sales is on www.estatesales.net. Just go to the website, put in your zip code and all of the sales in your area will come up. This website also provides photos of what is at the sale so you can pre-shop to see if anything interests you (and save gas)! Most estate sale company websites have photos as well. Any of these resources will give you all the important info like address, sale times, etc.

Found a sale that sounds amazing? Great! Here are some tips for having a fun estate sale adventure:

1) There may be large crowds in the morning. Most estate sales have a door number


2) Only bring a small purse and leave large shopping bags in your car. Most estate sales provide some type of shopping bag for you to carry your treasures home.

3) Cash is king when making a purchase but several estate sale companies accept personal checks and credit cards. Check before you go.

4) Wear comfortable shoes! You never know where your estate sale adventure will lead you (like a barn, outdoor area, shed, etc.)!

5) Be prepared to move heavy items yourself or have a go-to person you can call to move them. Most estate sale companies do not provide manpower for lifting heavy things and there is usually a short deadline to remove the purchased item from the home. Always ask how long you have to pick up the large item and make sure you have a way of getting it home BEFORE you purchase it.

6) Like something but not sure you want to pay the asking price? Ask if you can make a bid on it.

7) The best deals are on Saturdays and Sundays when prices become negotiable or slashed (but you may miss the good stuff!).

8) Bathrooms are usually off limits!

Most importantly, bring a friend, a sense of adventure and a sense of humor! You just never know what you will find at a sale. Whatever your passion, be it vintage jewelry, designer bags, funky furniture, gadgets, tools, penguin figurines, Mickey Mouse, pottery, bells (yes, really!), you can find it at an estate sale.

So what’s your collection passion or treasure? Let us know what you treasure. We’d love to hear from you! In the meantime, happy estate sale-ing!