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How To: Scope out Estate Sales

  February 3

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I’ve been asked a few times how to find out about estate sales, most recently by the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons who commented yesterday: “Teach me your ways!!! <3 How do you find out about estate sales? I need much info chica!"

Well, I’m happy to share the wealth! The truth is, there are numerous ways to find out when estate sales are taking place. Many of them are advertised in the newspaper or on Craigslist. For a newspaper, just flip to the Classifieds. For Craigslist, search under the garage sale tab on your Craigslist and type in “Estate Sale” to see if anything is on the books. This is always good to do on a Friday before the weekend starts.

Once you get to an estate sale, you’ll start to recognize the names of companies that hold them. I’ve gone to estate sales many times and liked the company running it so much that I got on their mailing list. I recently just “liked” another estate sale company in Richmond on Facebook, so now I know when their next sale is. I am also on an estate sale e-mail list that the owner of a local consignment shop sends out. So once you know the people, you can get on their list and find out when the sales are. If you’re feeling especially resourceful you can always look up estate sale companies in your area in the phone book or on and call them up and ask to be on their list. Lastly, there is always the drive-around method. I usually do this for garage sales by just driving around in my area on the weekend and looking for signs. Very often, I’ll see an estate sale sign too and go check it out! 

Here are some of my favorite estate sale finds:

And these faux berries that we used to make a wreath this past Christmas:
A couple of things to remember too:

1. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I’ve found amazing stuff in tiny houses and awful, strange items in huge mansions.
2. This could just be my deep south roots, but I rarely return to estate sales run by companies who don’t tell me hi when I walk in the door. A good business person will greet you, talk to you a little bit, bargain with you, and tell you about their next sale. The ones that don’t do these things tend to be kind of lame and the whole point is to have a good time! I have really found this to be true over and over again.
3. If you see something unique, get it. This is a hard one because I definitely don’t advertise collecting tons of things and winding up on Hoarders. But, if you find something you know you will never see again because its old or rare and it’s a little above your price range, I always find it’s best to just get it. Otherwise, you’ll be left worrying about it and you truly won’t see it again. Trust me. Everyone’s price range is different. For me, if it’s $10.00-$20.00 more than I want to spend, then I usually get it. If we’re talking $100.00 out of my price range, then I don’t do it.
4. I always like to go on the last day in the last hours when the sale is liquidating. You can always go in the morning and return later to see what’s left. It’s amazing what people will pass up!

I realize others may have a different approach or other tips and tricks on how to find out about estate sales, so I’d love to hear more input! As always, if you have questions feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]!

9 responses to “How To: Scope out Estate Sales

  1. P gave the thumbs up to an estate sale weekend for one of our weekend dates! whoohooo! Last weekend it was antique shops (holy pricetags batman!!!!) and we’re needing something more affordable to play around with =)

    Thanks lovey!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. I am surprised you did not mention (or know about) This website has been around for many years (I run an estate sale business and have been a gold member since 2004) and all of the companies advertise their sales on this site. You can search by state, city, and even sales near your zip code. It is an invaluable resource for the companies as well as our customers. I would say that about 85% of our customers find us on that site!

    Charlene Macias, Owner
    Timesavers Estate Sales

  3. Thanks for the great tips. I will definitely try those and see if I can’t find some great things for my home using them.

    Thanks again 🙂

  4. Since Brian and I are going to suddenly have to furnish a combined space this summer, I am so glad you posted this! I love putting together beautiful, unique decor, and this is a gem of a way to do it!

  5. does not have all the sales on there, but does. They get all the sale from cragislist and filter out all the garage sales. Plus, companies directly advertise on as well.

  6. Mikey – I just went on and it does not have HALF the sales has….hmmmm, well I guess it pays to look at both if you are searching!

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