28 July 2012

Learning the Ropes ...Estate Sale Style

Well, I did it - I messed up big time!  Made a cardinal mistake, and may I learn from it, because I'm really annoyed with myself...

I tried to insert a page break on this original post, and didn't save the post before working on the html, and lost the post.  The whole post.  So, with apologies, I will try to recreate it from memory, to some degree.  Here goes...

I'm fairly new at this estate sale "game" and finding out as I go that there are rules to this game.  Unwritten but very evident.  And, because I know, as the saying goes, "you have to be in it to win it", I'm here to play and learn the ropes as I go.

For some, this is serious business.  Not for your everyday junk sale enthusiast that may be doing the Saturday morning run of local sales to pick up a chipped Hummel figurine, used crock pot, or wicker basket.  Serious for those who scour Craig's List and estate sale websites to compare and evaluate the worth of  the week's venue of sales.  Serious for those who are willing to forsake that second cup of coffee on Friday morning and drive for sometimes long distances to get a low "number" for admittance.  And serious for those who don't mind crawling around musty basements, digging their way through piles of attic boxes, and climbing over equipment in poorly lit garages to unearth "treasures" for their personal collections or to be sold for (hopefully!) profit, online or in a shop.  These are the regulars, the "pickers" ... the real junk junkies.  Like me.

The rules may not be immediately obvious.  I broke one quite recently.  Armed with my mini flashlight and large blue Ikea bag (see!  I am learning.), I arrived early at a local sale on a Friday morning and secured my admitting number from the mailbox at the top of the driveway.  Rather than just stand in line until the opening time, I decided to scope out the boxes in front of the garage, near the front of the waiting line.  Not so!  As I approached the boxes, I heard a few "hey, where are you going???"  Honest, I didn't know you couldn't even look before the sale.  Humbled  Embarrassed, I retreated to my place in line.
The wait was worth it.  Almost two hours later, dirty but delighted, I packed my car and home I went to further evaluate my new treasures - and, to me, they were!

An old birdhouse, with an unusual hole ... square, and on the top of the roof!  I wonder what the builder was thinking?  A great shade of muted aqua though...

I love zinc - one of my favorite metals.  This vintage box is a military container, stamped U.S.Q.M.C. 53 on the lid, is in really nice shape, and substantial.  I found one on EBay when I got home - in rougher shape, and asking $125.00.  SCORE!!!

Handmade mini picket fences.  Four sections.  Two end gates.  Cute!  I may have a hard time parting with these - great for a holiday display, I think.
Large size, great handle.  Just the right amount of rustiness to make it look good!

An early 1900's dictionary with a nicely worn cover.  Nice font and illustrations on the pages.  Love those old books!

Nice old farmhouse style bowl.
Can never have enough old cigar boxes!   They have such character.  Graphic.  Colorful.  Functional.  And people use them so creatively:

great storage!  from: Just Something I Made

Make a purse - whodda thought!!??  From:  TabbyandTassels, an Etsy shop  - really cute-yes?

These are old window screens - sporting great patina from years of weather and then abandonment in the attic.  I bought about a dozen!  I've got plans for these ...

And, in the last but not least department, the piece de resistance for me.  I have wanted one of these for years, it seems.  Seriously.  Years.

And this one, ornate, but not overly.  Substantial in weight.  GREAT finish.  

I'm swooning!  OK, a little dramatic but, if you could only see it in person, you'd get it.

Vintage Crib.  Victorian.  Very Special.  Very Mine!
I immediately placed the springs on a wall in my studio.  Can't wait to fill it up.  Play with its potential. 

I'm determined to further study the estate sale unwritten rule book, and become a really good "picker".  Those of you who are "regulars" will, I'm sure, attest to the "rush" that comes with finding something cool, something coveted.  I'm already scoping out next week's sales...

Till next visit, hope you're enjoying a fab weekend!  Do leave a comment and let me know you've paid a visit....


  1. Your trailer or other carring vehicle must have elastic sides or maybe you're an ace packer? Did you handle all of these yourself, or was help on hand?

    Have been missing from the blogging scene for a couple of months: husband died May 26, then 6 days after I returned home on June 21, daughter - where the event too place fell while walking new dog. Result - broken leg, so Mum was needed to walk said animal and house-keep. Just returned July 25 and blogged for the first time yesterday at www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com.

    Hope to see you there again soon. Meanwhile enjoy resurrecting all these pieces!

    1. Isobel - I've paid a visit to your blog and left a comment. It's nice to have you back!

      I must admit to being a good packer - lots of experience! It's amazing what one can cram into a small space ... determination is key.

      Do take care. Karen

  2. Well done!! You scored some fabulous finds!

  3. Hi Sandi - Thanks for visiting! Yes, I was quite pleased. Every once in a while a sale just hits the mark, and it's a high!

    I see you're from Endicott - I went to SUNY Oneonta and spent some time in your home town. My college roommate grew up there.

    Do drop by again! Karen


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