April 28, 2008

Garage Sales vs. Estate Sales

I have long been a fan of garage sales. My first memory of going to one was when I was about 5. I remember what I bought, a cloth Mr. Peanut doll. I wish I had kept him because after all these years, I still think of him fondly. Fast forward 32 years and I find that garage sales are really hit and miss for me. Most of the sales in the suburbs are filled with baby clothes and toys and the same kinds of things I want to get rid of myself. I love the occasional sale in neighborhoods where older people live. That's where the real treasures can be found.
Last fall I went to my first estate sale. So far I've only been to 3, but now I'm hooked. It took me some time to get over the icky factor. I feel a little bad about shouting with glee over a pile of linens that some deceased person left behind as their mourning relatives stand around watching me. I'm working on getting over it. These sales always pay off, as you can see from my $10 collection of shells purchased last week. You really can't take it with you, so I promise I'll take good care of it & appreciate this little piece of your history.


  1. I agree with you 100 percent about garage sales -v- estate sales. Estate sales are the place to find vintage treasures. I, too, feel a little bad about going through someone else's things, but it's the ultimate in recycling, no? (Another thing I think about when I go to them is that someday it might be MY things being sold at an estate sale. How weird is that to think about?)

  2. Hi, Jen, most of my saling is done at garage sales & I have to say, I find plenty of great stuff at them. Estate sales around here are plentiful too, but are a little more pricey. I do agree, that the more treasured vintage things are found at estate sales & older person's homes. Most of the estate sales here are done by a company who comes in so there is hardly ever any interaction with the family members. Lots of great things out there, no matter the "name", at least in my neck of the woods.

    I love those shells & have found many great ones out there too! Just last weekend, I got a really nice white coral specimen for $2, which I posted today. Most of my shells have come from yardsales.

    Happy saling!

  3. Pretty shells! I've never been to an estate sale. But I want to find some to go to this summer cause I don't really find too much at garage sales unless I travel to the next town over.


  4. Any kind of sale where you get cheap stuff is great in my books!!
    I just dragged something sooo cute home from the DUMP today!!

    Love the shells!

  5. I have absolutely learned that older neighborhoods are the only places to garage sale. That and church rummage sales - those are pretty good too. I stay out of the suburbian type of 'hoods. I don't need overpriced used kid clothes from the Gap. They are just as cheap on sale at the Gap thank you very much. Lol. Estate Sales are the way to go often - at least for smaller things. I still find that the side of the road and garage sales are the best bet for cheap furniture...Also, around here the last day of the Estate Sale everything is always 1/2 off. A great bargain if you can wait it out!

  6. Estate sales and moving sales are the best places to find quality items, I completely agree. I also have great luck with house auctions, where they are selling the home and all it's contents. Usually people are there to purchase the property or the furniture (you can also get some great deals if you are in the market for occassional pieces), so all of the small boxed up items are sold at the end of the day, usually bunched together and a treasure trove of goodies! Just one more reason I love spring! And yes there is the guilt factor with these auctions as well, for a lot of time family members are there as well. I agree with Barb -- it is the ultimate in recycling, and you are helping both the earth and that family.

  7. Love your shells on the silver tray! I guess the difference between the two types of sales just depends on what you are looking for. I have been to lots of thrift shops lately looking for the cheapest assemblage materials I can find! I hope to hit some garage sales this weekend if I can find a sitter.

  8. love this post..you did great!

    thanks for posting on my closet blog..i didnt know if anyone was reading..so you dont think that stuff on that chain looked too clunky?? here is the BR shirt... http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/product.do?cid=16814&pid=556392 i'll probably just get the knock off at Target;;)

  9. Jen - I love love love the shells. I need to chat with you about some beach style decorating books.

  10. I too love garage sales and estate sales! Like you estate sales sort of freaked me out at first but I eventually got over it. Now we live in such a rual area that I no longer get to go like I use to and miss those days so much!!!!! Love the silver tray and shells....very pretty and sparkly! Two of my favorite things!
    ~ Des

  11. too funny! Happy Shopping!

  12. I am here for the first time and I think you have a very interesting blog!

    I am a swedish woman living in Singapore:-)

  13. I have a friend who is an estate liquidator, she always gets the best sales. I am a vintage linen addict, among other loves. Its always fun to be able to open a linen closet from the past, perfectly starched and pressed,sitting, waiting to be used. I have sooo many, its kind of embarassing. Hard to believe that family members would pass those things up, especially with the gorgeous monograms or handwork done by their relatives. Oh well, Ill take it!!
    Yep, ultimate recycling- as barb says.

  14. Jen, I just talked with my friend and she found the paint color from her old kitchen. It is Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan. Hope this helps. Happy painting.


  15. I have that same icky feeling at those sales too. You do get some great stuff though.

  16. I used to go to estate sales, but I finally figured out that most of the good stuff gets purchased on the Friday, so by the time I get there on Sat. I'm dealing with stinky old 70's bed comforters and bad Christmas decorations.

    Great find on the shells though. If I ever find a job that lets me have off Friday mornings,I'll be right back in the game!

  17. Hi Jen, I tend to stick to older neighborhoods for garage sales, and I feel the same about estate sales. I love them more than garage sales because you find true treasures there. And, I'd like to think that at least this way others are appreciating those things left behind rather than having them end up in landfills and being of no use to anyone. :) I've only been to a few myself, but only because I live in a very rural area and don't come across them very often. I also love church rummage sales for great vintage treasures!
    ~ Jennifer


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