Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Say Estate Sale, You Say Tag Sale - 10 tips for Attending

But whatever we say, this is so much fun.  I have been doing this for oh about almost 50 years now.  Some of the things I have gotten, you could not pry from my #colddeadfingers.  See on Instagram.  Below are some of the buys I have gotten in recent months/years. People who just don't get it, ask me what I might need?  Are they kidding?

How about a dozen Irish linen napkins still in the box.  Brand new.  $5.00.

Swingin' 60's retro floor lamp, chrome. This was at about 11:00 a.m.  Nobody wanted this poor baby.  It's iconic!  $5


Majolica Elephant Garden Stool $75 - yes, needed.  There were a pair, but the other one was cracked.  Had to wrestle for this one.  But it was fun.

Pair of lamps  that I spied on a television show set after I bought them...$30.00  Mirror $10 and table $75 from the Nanny's room for napkins and stuff. Gold tray $3.
Vintage linen hand towels $1.00 a piece.  Yes I use them and iron them.  Stack them and use them.  Make yourself and your guests feel special.  PS even if the monogram isn't yours..  Leaf through any soft  goods and watch for stains and rips.  Don't think I need to say leave those there.

You need planters or decorative garden pots?  Always, always available.  Dirt cheap.  No pun.

Antique foxed gold leaf mirror - asking $100, bought day two for $50  An aside, I heard buyers saying they didn't have room for this.  Really? My house was minuscule and I did.  It became my centerpiece.  They also scowled at the foxing.  Earth to buyers, foxing makes a piece valuable.

Not only is this a treasure hunt that keeps me busy on a Saturday morning, but it's a study in humanity.  You can't help but note how people live, lived, died, brought their families up.  And wonder where some went to have left so many of their things behind.

Sales have changed radically in the last decade, with the internet acting as marketer.  Now buyers receive an email noting which sales are happening in their area.  Most of these emails have photos, and I can usually tell from the photos whether I like the sellers taste or not.  But when I do, get out of my way!

Anyway some guidelines:

1.  Sign up for a Estate sale newsletter like this. or

Chestnut Hill Estate Sale

2.  Say you are on your way to an address and see a sign.  Go.  Although some are drive bys.  Don't be shy.  Just drive on by...

3.  Oh, best neighborhoods only please.  I will leave that to your discretion.  And you might be surprised that they are not so crowded...the neighbors might feel toooooooooo....hmmmm whatever.  Just went to one in Darien, Ct. like that.

4.  Pretty much bring cash, although more and more are taking credit cards.  Be safe though or at the very least a checkbook.

5.  Go early, or better yet go late, or the second day.

6.  Day 2 is a day I have gotten my best stuff..  The prices I would not have paid on day one have gotten a lot more interesting. 50% off anyone?

7.  Sorry, but in New England, the sales are pretty much not during the winter.  But!  In New England you pretty much get some awesome stuff.  I'd say it's one of the best areas for this activity.  Massachusetts/Connecticut/New York.  And I've been around the block. (I'd say California would be very very good too.

8.  Are you looking for baby/kid stuff.  Sellers will note that in the ad.

9.  Tag sale, Estate sale, Yard sale.  If I see Moving sale, I am there.  Capital T.  It means they want to unload at pretty much any price.  See I really am a bottom feeder.  Fine by me.

10.  People pretty much used to advertise in the newspaper want ads.  Now they market on, or have it professionally managed. (see #1)  When it is professionally managed, the company I believe takes 30% which makes them anxious to get a high price.  More money in their pocket.  When it's the homeowner themselves they are much more amenable to dealing.  But you never can tell.  Try to deal.  Usually the first half day of the sale, things go pretty much for the price labeled.  Unless you bundle.  Gather a few things and make an offer.

Lastly if you want a piece from Target go ahead, but if you want something in your house that stands out, is creative and interesting, take up this hobby.   Glad I did when I was 18 and never looked back.  It's been a whole lot of fun!  You can change up your house, much more than if you had invested your life savings..and resell your stuff...Ebay, consignment shops etc.  Re purpose!

Part 2 is coming soon.  There is just too much.