Subtitle: because pants are the worst.
Estate sales are a BEAT DOWN. I get it. There are “career” estate-sale-ers who already bought all the good stuff before you even got there, it’s always hot somehow, crowded, and there’s aggressive signs everywhere like “NO KIDS!” and “NO WALKING ON THE GRASS!” and “NO PUSHING!” It’s a bad sign when you have to tell people not to use violence. (Get it? Sign? See what I did there?)
So, save your sanity and your Saturday mornings: don’t go to estate sales. Here’s where you can search for vintage on the interwebs, from your (flower) couch.
If you have followed me on Instagram you know that some of my best finds are from shopgoodwill.com. It’s an old website that is in auction format. I actually got this tip a long time ago from Erica Reitman’s blog (http://www.ericareitman.co/blog/ ). She has a lot more online resources in her “online design source shopping list” (which I will not duplicate here but you can check it out for yourself).
Warning: the Goodwill website quality is TERRIBLE. Here’s my strategy:
I go to Catergories>Art and Categories>Antiques and just see what’s ending that day. For whatever reason, the best stuff is on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It’s my BEST source for old portrait paintings!
Go ahead and try the “For the Home” category but you’ll mostly find Willow Tree wall décor and old humidifiers.
I also run an individual search for “rug” or “blanket” or “macramé”.
Everything But the House (www.EBTH.com)
I have found some of the most unique stuff here! It’s an easy to use app that has a collection of estate sales across the country. They pictures are thorough and the items are well-researched. The shipping is horrendous for furniture, so I always search for local sales with a free pick up option. If clothing and jewelry is you thing though, EBTH has TONS of unique vintage and you won’t get killed in shipping prices. Also, since they're search function is so great, it is the prime place to find a high-end and rare vintage item like a specific lane burl wood dresser or a Murano glass chandelier. (Though not necessarily the cheapest place to find them.) Another tip: ALL the prices go up in the last 30 minutes of the auction so don’t be fooled by the low starting prices.
OK I know you already know about Craigslist. But here’s how to get the most out of craigslist:
Use it on an app with better search features. There are several available.
Set up alerts if you’re looking for something specific
But most importantly, don’t search for anything at all. For real! If someone knows that their chair is a Knoll chair, or a Henredon chest, or a Kagan couch, then they know what it is worth, and it will be expensive. You see this amazing chair?
It was $20 and the description of the ad was “ADULT CHAIR” and nothing else. Plus, at least in Dallas, a lot of my cheapest finds are ads in Spanish!
So what do you do instead? I check Craigslist like I check my email: several times a day. I look in the “furniture by owner” category without anything filtered and arrange the listings by newest to oldest. That way if there is something good, I’m surely the first to find it and contact the seller. If you do find something good right after it was posted, make sure you pick it up before the seller gets 100 messages of people who are offering to pay them more money.
The same strategy applies to all the other buy/sell sites. (I also use OfferUp and 5 miles.)
Facebook Yard Sale Pages
Chances are, you have a neighborhood facebook yard sale page. Not all pages are created equal, but check to see what your hood has to offer (or maybe start one of your own!) The best pages are the ones with admins that are very active and with a lot of rules that are enforced.
Ok so I don’t love the Facebook marketplace. The listings are always old and the search function is pretty annoying. That being said, if I have extra time I peruse every once and a while and have actually found one or two unique items as a good price. Plus you can check out the seller’s profile picture and see if they are a serial killer or not.
Duh. Ebay! This lucite bar cart I got on ebay and I’m not even going to tell you what I paid. I have a pretty targeted strategy for ebay shopping, which is quite in depth and I’ll save that for a future post. But one sneak-peak tip: message the seller and haggle! They are almost always willing to lower the price.
Ok to those of you who haven’t stopped reading out of extreme boredom by now, thank you for sticking with me! Email me if you have any other suggestions, comments, or even hate mail. I love it all.
Goodbye for now friends!