The In’s & Out’s of Estate Sale Shopping

There’s something magical about stepping into an estate sale. It’s like wandering through a personal museum exhibit, except everything on display is for sale. These sales offer a glimpse into the past lives of the previous owners, and for those who are lucky, they can find unique treasures that speak to their hearts. Estate sales are not only the perfect way to find one-of-a-kind items, but they’re also a sustainable way to shop. However, for those who have never shopped at an estate sale before, it can be daunting. Fear not, for we’ve talked to six estate-sale specialists and compiled some tips to make your shopping experience a successful one.

Unlike thrift and consignment stores, estate sales offer a unique shopping experience. They contain all the items that the previous owner held onto their entire lives, so you can expect to find an eclectic collection of items. Tricia Benitez Beanum of Pop Up Home says it best: “The great thing about estate sales is that you are walking through someone’s private collection.” Not only can you find hidden treasures, but you can also get a sense of how the previous owner curated their home’s design. And because estate sales typically take place in someone’s home rather than outside in a random lot, you can really get a feel for the items’ original placement.

The first step in finding estate sales is to check websites such as This website is a valuable resource for estate-sale shopping, as it features professional companies that always post hundreds of pictures of the items available. Although you’ll find many estate sales in major cities, some of the best finds (and the best prices) are often outside of urban areas. Therefore, if you’re planning a road trip, it’s always a good idea to check your route for any upcoming estate sales. Some people shop estate sales to then put their treasures on Facebook Marketplace or other online sites to make a tidy sum – this could be something lucrative for you to consider as well!

Once you’ve found the estate sale you want to attend, it’s time to decide when to go. Most estate sales take place over a couple of days, typically on the weekend. As scarcity drives buyers’ urgency, experts recommend getting there early to have the best chance of snagging unique items. Cristy Tongate, the owner of Retro Betties Estate Sales, advises, “Grab your coffee to go and be one of the first people in line! It’s always a fun time talking to all of the interesting people. Remember, if you want something, then there will be many others that want it too. Be the early bird!”

Many other estate-sale specialists also agree that going early is the best approach, particularly if you have your eye on a specific item listed on She recommends getting there at least two hours before the sale starts to put your name on the sign-up sheet. However, if you’re just looking for a bargain, Macy recommends waiting until the last day of the sale, when prices are often discounted. It’s also helpful to have cash on hand to improve your chances of bartering.

To wrap it up, estate sales offer a unique shopping experience that’s hard to replicate. They can be a treasure trove of life’s curiosities – and the chance to snag a unique item that speaks to you is a feeling like no other. This is also a good way to think about your own estate sale! By following these tips, you’re sure to have a successful estate-sale shopping spree that’s both sustainable and fulfilling.