I love vintage furniture but it can be expensive unless you know where to look. In the search of items for my home, I am more likely to stop at an estate sale than a garage sale or thrift store. I have found the "finds" at an estate sale to be more consistent. If you are wanting to find some interesting decor and stylish vintage pieces make a stop at a local estate sale. Here are 10 common things you will more than likely find there.
1. Vintage Rugs. If they are there, they are always expensive on the first day. The good news for you is the usual high motivation to get everything out the door by the end of the sale. Most sales decrease in price each day with the last day decreasing 50% or more. At estate sale you have negotiating power and the opportunity to get a great rug at a better price than the online options. You also get an added bonus of getting to see it in person before you buy.
2. Small furniture items. The amount of items in an estate sale is your friend. The larger items usually will have the bigger price tag, and these little guys get lost in the hoards of stuff. I don't think I spent more than $10 on any of these chairs.
3. Large furniture. The larger items can be pricey (and sometimes worth it) but if it's still there on the last day, you might hit the jackpot. On another note I have found that dressers are the most affordable large item. You could find 3-4 at one sale and usually for great prices. I really believe its because they are heavy and the owners/estate sale company doesn't want to move them after the sale.
4. Art. I found all of these pieces rolled up and tucked away, unnoticed by many. They were not all from the same sale yet I paid less than a dollar for each.
5. Light fixtures and shades. I have a light fixture fetish. I admit I have a serious problem of saying "no" when I see one. Please help me by buying them before I do. Your statement light fixture is waiting for you at your neighbor's sale. Go get it. The bell shaped vintage shade (top photo) was $2...much better than paying this for a reproduction.
6. Desks. Desks are very common finds at estate sales. I don't know why a desk like this makes it to the last day for only $40. Maybe its because everyone already has a desk and no one needs them. I always see one or two each time I go.
7. Vintage books. Go the last day and get them for pocket change. Take them home and style your bookcase.
8. Twin Beds. If you have a kiddo, you are in luck because estate sales are full of twin beds. Queen and King-sized beds are pricier and go quick but twin-sized beds are usually there for cheap. More often than not, you will find them in pairs. I guess more kids shared rooms 20-30 years ago.
9. Glassware. Vintage, colorful, crystal glassware is plentiful at estate sales. I saw these and these online and thought of all the full sets I have seen at estate sales less than half the price of the set of four online.
10. Your home. What? Okay, so you shouldn't "always" buy the house at the estate sale, but most houses are already on the market or are going to be soon. Ever wonder how "flippers" get houses for so cheap? Buying at estate sales is one of their tricks. Get over there and beat them to it. If you have zoned in on an neighborhood where you want to live and see an estate sale there, go and ask.
Where do you find estate sales? There are sites like this website that can send you notifications, but the best place is still just to check your local paper's classifieds or Craigslist. If you are familiar with the homes in your city you will start to know what to expect from the sale when you see the sign. Have fun and happy estate sale hunting!