Memoires of an Estate Sale Rookie

So, I think we can all agree that I did pretty well for myself at my first ever estate sale. If you saw my post yesterday, you know that I scored a fabulous new Elte area rug at a ridiculously low price.
I actually had so much fun hitting up the sale on my own, but I learned a few important lessons for next time.

1) If you want to get the good stuff, get there early.
This is probably pretty obvious, but for me, I had no idea how many people show up to these things!
They started handing out tickets at 10am for the noon sale, and I showed up around 11:15.
Plenty early...or so I thought! Little did I know that people came at ten, got their ticket, and left to come back when doors opened. When they announced that they were starting entry at ticket 770, I was shocked to see I was way down at 856!
By the time I got in, most of the key pieces that had drawn me to the sale in the ad were already sold:
faux bamboo tables in brass - SOLD before I got to them
pair of these fab bamboo chairs (wouldn't they have looked great as head chairs with my four simpler bamboo chairs?!) SOLD before I got to 'em.
Gorgeous pie crust table that reminds me of this one from one of my fave rooms ever?:
via Style at Home
You guessed it...SOLD.

The worst thing about all of these things being sold is I couldn't even see the price they were sold at! Maybe they were above my budget, which would have eased my mind, but now I will wonder forever!

I did see the price of this campaign desk as they were switching it for the 'sold' sign. It was a good price but out of my budget, so see, I feel better about it not being mine:
Except when I see a very similar desk in Jessie's bedroom looking fab, then I feel bad all over again:
via 6th Street Design School
I think the only reason my rug didn't get scooped up yet is because there were so many beautiful furniture pieces, people were forgot to look down! I almost did too!

2) Expect Some Competition
I seriously felt a little bit like I was on Storage Wars when I first arrived. While there is no bidding, competition is fierce and there are definitely some pros. People were running through the house, there was some jostling, and I overheard some debates over who saw what first! Also, everyone seemed to know each other! I got called "the new girl" and "fresh competition" and overheard more than one person saying "I haven't seen her before". For the most part though, people were very friendly. A big thanks to the man who guarded my rug while I pulled up my car and then helped me load it!

3) Have a Budget
The sale I went to was professionally organized, meaning that most of the items were photographed in the ad. I wrote down on a piece of paper the things I was interested in and what I was willing to spend on them. I had pre-budgeted $250 for my rug, so $95 was a no-brainer! Bring only as much cash as you want to spend!
 For more great advice, consult this Apartment Therapy Article.
I will definitely be hitting up more sales in the future. Have you ever been to an estate sale?!


(Eileen) a creative day said...[Reply]

Oooh so fun! Great tips and your rug is great :-)

Albertina M. Cisneros said...[Reply]

OMG!!! I love it!! Congrats on an amazing find at a great price. I will keep in mind your tips. There are usually many estate sales in the spring around here....I hope to go to some.

Julia@Cuckoo4Design said...[Reply]

The estate sales in our area are mostly auctions. I like the ticket thing though :)
And I would have loved to buy the end tables and bamboo chairs. I have been looking for something like that for a long time too.

sue smith said...[Reply]

wow! some great pieces at the estate sale.

Sita said...[Reply]

That estate sale had some great items! Your rug was a fabulous score!

Kristen said...[Reply]

You have me pumped! I need to find one to go to!

Hannah said...[Reply]

OMG I had no idea people were so serious about it! Sounds a little scary, because I know I'd probably be one of those people fighting over who saw it first (especially if it was some of those finds!) haha! Hopefully the people who go to estate sales around here have bad taste. Thanks for the great tips love.

Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Great tips! I especially love the budgeting idea because it can be sooo easy to spend more than you wanted. Maybe with these tips people won't know I'm a newbie :)

allergic to vanilla said...[Reply]

I've never been to an estate sale but now I'm itching to go!

xo Carlina
Win a free pair of AG jeans on the blog now!

Natalie said...[Reply]

I've never been to an estate sale but have always wanted to -- great tips!

Patty Day @Pattys Epiphanies said...[Reply]

Great tips!!
You will be an old Pro in no time!

Brooke @ Inside-Out Design said...[Reply]

These are great tips! I've never been to an estate sale but I really want to! they seem so fun- and intimidating! Glad to have read about your experience before venturing out to one myself.

Unknown said...[Reply]

Wow, I've never seen an estate sale with such great pieces! I definitely agree with you on having a budget, I've been to a couple that had some ridiculous prices. Thanks for the tips!

Unknown said...[Reply]

Great advice and I love the rug! Next time take me with you!!!