Monday, March 2, 2015

Inspiration: Estate Sales

Looking for an economical source of materials?

Check out estate sales.

You never know what you'll find for sure.  But, once you get a feel for the different estate agents in your area, you'll learn which dealers set up reliable sales, for reasonable prices.  And yes, some agents are better than others - with pricing, with organization, with pictures.

And preview pictures are key.

Late February sale in Kalamazoo area.  Check out those textiles.  And paintings.
This is the kind of stuff that gets me out of bed at 7 a.m. on a Friday morning.  To go stand in line in the cold/rain/sun.  

I love how this listing agent sets up their sales.  Interesting stuff is mixed in with furniture.  I love the bureau above.  And the velvet wrap.  And the tin of buttons.

I've gotten great deals on thread and buttons and lace at estate sales.  Usually, people are looking for the bigger ticket items early in a sale, stuff that can be easily turned around.  But I always follow this rule: if you see it and like it, pick it up.  Even when you're not sure that you want to keep it.

What's really cool is when a display gives you design ideas.  The one above makes me think of Paris.  Which makes me think of layers.  And subdued colors, And bits and pieces that don't really make sense used together in a way that does make sense.  Of old mixed with new.

These paintings are just scrumptious.  I love how they are all beaten up and weather-worn.  Wouldn't they be cool sales booth props?

That dusty mirror!  Hard to tell if this is another bureau.  Or if that's another mirror frame in front of the mirror.  And that lamp?  How fun!  I can see that hanging in a cheerful kitchen nook.

And then, at another sale, which I will miss because I'll be out of town, there's the headline "Biggest collection of jewelry we've ever seen!"  Followed by about a dozen pictures of boxes and trays and dressers full of jewelry - bits and pieces and vintage and junk.

And then, bins.  Unopened, unexplored bins of jewelry.


Sigh again.  Even though I ALREADY HAVE THIS MUCH JEWELRY.  More than I will realistically ever use in one lifetime.  

But,one of these, I do need:

And vintage clothes.  C'mon, can you ever have enough vintage clothes?  Which I admit, I shamelessly cut up and repurpose.

So, estate sales shopping.  Put this on your calendar!  It definitely fits into even the most restricted budgets.


  1. you had me at hello! I love snooping around in vintage .... and ooooh do I need a dress form. but they are all so expensive!

  2. I know! I'm hoping to get a dress form from a friend whose store is closing. And I did buy one a few years ago from a craft store. But shopping estate sales = so much fun!