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8 Steps to Navigate an Estate Sale Like a Boss

I love estate sales. I know, hellooooo Captain Obvious.

Since I’ve been through the whole, “I’ve-been-thrifting-since-I-was-12-years-old” story, I will spare you that whale of a tale. I have, however, learned a few things along the way and I do want to share my top 8 tips on how to navigate those Estate a boss. Read on, Grasshopper.

Whether you’re are a Newbie or a Pro these tips are for you:

  1. How do you find them? This may seem like a no-brainer but this is the most frequently asked question that I get – “where do you find them?” baby! You can enter your zip code and it will tell you all of the estate sales that are in your area. They post photos of what’s in the home so you can pre-screen whether or not you want to even make the trek.

  2. Get there early OR get there late. If I see a specific item(s) that I am looking for in the photos, I will get there early on the first day of the sale. If I’m not looking for anything in particular, I like to go on the last day in the last hours of the sale. Everything is 50% off and they are more than willing to negotiate.

  3. Go big, then go small. “Bigs” are furniture and “Smalls” are accessories. I will usually walk through and look for unique furniture pieces first. It’s good to have some post-its to mark an item as sold so you can walk through the rest of the house without having to stand next to an item like a security guard! After I have gone through the house looking for “the bigs”, I go through the house a couple more times looking for “the smalls”.

  4. Look high and low. Once you’re inside, everything is for sale. Sometimes even the kitchen sink! You can find vintage light fixtures so look high. And don’t forget to dig low in the closets and garages. It’s not pretty but it sure is fun!

  5. Cash is king, bring it. A lot of places do accept credit cards now but they ALL prefer cash.

  6. Haggle respectfully. They expect you to negotiate but make sure that you have fun with it. It’s a dance. Put your poker face on, ask for their best price, meet somewhere in the middle and shake hands to seal the deal. A handshake is still like a contract in the estate sale world.

  7. Pull the trigger. I always say, you only regret what you don’t buy. If you see something you like, pull the trigger. I have been haunted by some of the items that I walked away from. I have literally thought about them for days! What’s worse is when you step away to think about something for a minute and someone behind you swoops in and grabs that item. Grab, walk and think if necessary.

  8. What to bring. My must-have’s are, cash (although many companies now accept credit cards), a tape measurer, a pen, post-its, wet wipes and anti-bacterial gel. If you are hunting for furniture, bring a truck and a strapping young lad to help you load it, tie downs and furniture pads. Be ready to do the heavy lifting if you find something you like. Some companies have men there to help you with your items and others don’t.

Now that that’s covered...

You can now purchase my Estate Sale and Flea Market Finds at my new store Etsy Store called Casita Casita. I will be continuing to post items in the coming days and weeks. Here’s a little info about what you can expect to find there. Casita Casita, is truly your one stop shop for vintage décor and modern design solutions. I will offer vintage home décor accessories and furniture that I repaint, repurpose or renew as well as design services.

Here’s what else I’m serving up at the Casita

A la Carte Options: This is my solution to the many design inquiries that I get on a weekly basis. For example, one day, I received 4 different client requests for help with the exact same problem…wall art! When that happened, I realized that I needed to create specific design solutions tailored to some of these pain points. I decided that I wanted to offer a la carte design options. There are so many times that people don’t need a whole redesign, they are just stuck somewhere in the design process. It could be right in the beginning with paint selection or at the end with wall art and accessories. Now you can simply purchase a service through my Etsy Shop and we are off and running!

Something for the Locals. If you live in San Diego and would like some help in your home, you can now purchase consultation time – anywhere from a one-hour consult to a block of 10 hours for larger scale projects. We won’t be tied to one specific room, we can work on sprucing up several spaces based on the numbers of hours you purchase. I can help as little or as much as you would like with your home. We can go over what you would like to accomplish, I can give you an estimate of how many hours I think it will take and then you can purchase those hours conveniently from Casita Casita.

Bridge the Gap: If you are located outside of San Diego but would still like to work together, I now offer E-Design Packages. This is a fun, affordable, collaborative way to get your design projects off the ground. I can start with a blank slate, start with what you own and build on that or help you get your rental looking like you own it! All of those packages are also available for purchase right in my Etsy Store. Click on the Casita Casita Tab at the top of my website to see my new digs!

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