You guys are always asking me what I buy at estate sales. Or even, where to find them. I find estate sales and rummage sales the best places to get stuff like art supplies (lace, books, maps, etc.) but as you know I’m also a fan of the furniture makeover. Hello DIYers out there!
Here are some strategies for making the most out of your estate sale shopping experience.
Worst Things to Buy at an Estate Sale
Before we talk about what to buy, let’s take a look at things you should skip. First, any “soft” item you can’t completely clean or refurbish is usually a bad idea to buy used. Think twice before buying things like:
- Stuffed animals
- Couches that you can’t recover
This is especially important if you have allergies. While you can use a product like Febreze to remove cigarette or musty smells, you won’t be able to get out pet dander or stains. Consider picking up these types of products only if you can throw it in the washer or it looks incredibly clean and unused.
Perhaps the best thing you can buy at estate or rummage sales is furniture. Things like wooden table and chairs, dressers, side tables, and more. You can use a product like Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean old wood tables, bookcases, and the like.
Look for things you can easily incorporate into your home based on the level of rework you’re willing to put in. Little fixes like recovering chair cushions or giving a piece of new coat of paint can help you get things at a very reasonable price.
Paintings and Artwork
No matter if you’re looking for high-end art pieces or cheap prints to decorate your walls, estate sales are a great way to get them at a reduced price. Prints can range anywhere from a few cents up to $20 depending on where you go.
If someone is selling an entire estate, chances are you’ll find at least one or two quality art pieces as well. It’s not unusual to see sculptures or limited edition prints or original paintings go for a greatly reduced price at an estate sale.
Don’t be shy about picking up lamps or chandeliers at rummage or estate sales. If you love the look of a certain lamp, for example, you can always buy a light kit at the hardware store if it doesn’t work, or give it a new coat of paint to fit perfectly into your home.
Virtually any type of collectible, from dishware to trinkets and everything in between, can be picked up cheaply at an estate sale. Signing up for a site like Estatesales.org or keeping your eye on the estate sale listings on Craigslist (go to “garage sales” and type “estate” into the search box) can help you spot a collection you’ve been waiting for.