We Brake for Estate Sales

Guide to finding great deals at estate sales

Megan, Kendal, and I went to an estate sale the other day.  We absolutely love estate sales, but they’re not all created equal.  Our favorites have antiques and lots of cool old stuff.  Megan saw online that this one had old quilts and linens, so she was sold.  To me, part of the fun of estate sales is going through the house.  I like to see the “blueprint” of a family’s home and the life they lived there.  It’s a very personal experience.  If one of their belongings call my name, I am only too happy to purchase it and give it a good home.

estate sale sign

We were like kids in a candy store, taking everything in.  But I couldn’t stop thinking about the family who lived there, probably for many years.  The house was beautiful, large, and traditional in style.  Looking at the family’s belongings, it was obvious that they liked to cook, entertain, and read.  They had a few different sets of china.  There was a Royal Dalton service for 12 that took my breath away.  Before I was married, I would have thought I needed to have it.  Now I’m more of a paper plate girl. There were several tables of silver, beautiful but needing polished.  The house was full of furniture (our favorite thing to buy if it’s antique), pictures, dishes, pewter, games, holiday decorations, and a whole lot more.  There were women’s clothes and some fur stoles (gasp!  how glamorous!).  Looking at the woman’s clothes, she must have been petite and well-dressed.  This may sound crazy, but I wish I had known her.

Megan and I love books and particularly have a fetish for really old books.  Not to read, but to decorate with them.  We each bought several.  I found a cute collection of Jane Austen novels and a volume of Tennyson’s poems.  I also bought the 1952 edition of My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier.  It’s not that it’s famous, but there’s a movie out based on this book and I’ve been wanting to see it.  So I started reading the book, but the musty smell just about knocks my socks off!  Kendal bought doll house furniture and an antique enamel-topped table that Megan pointed out to her.  On the way home, Megan was not so sure she should have pointed it out to her dear sister….maybe she should have bought it herself.  But every time Megan and I bring home another piece of antique furniture, our husbands cringe.  We’re running out of space.  Oh, well.

antique bed from estate sale
Fynn’s antique bed was a great deal ($30) at an estate sale!

Upstairs in the hall, there were four painted portraits of children.  I’m assuming they were the children who grew up in the house because the portraits were signed and dated 1969.  The children in the portraits were beautiful, two girls and two boys.  They were priced at $70.00 each.  I felt sad and outraged at the same time.  Why on earth hadn’t the children, now grown up, taken the portrait of themselves?  Someone in the family had to have wanted them.  At least, I know I would have.  What a treasure to have a painted portrait of a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, etc.  I had the absurd thought to take them and give them a good home, if only to save them from the dump.  I did have a picture of a stranger hung in my home for awhile because I loved the frame.  It was of a mustached man, probably over a hundred years ago.  I got the creeps every time I looked at “him” so I kept only the frame and put our family picture in it.  I hope that mustached man doesn’t come back and haunt me for putting his picture in the garbage.

antique book from estate sale
The antique book “The Heroic Life of George Washington” (copyright 1902) displayed on this bench is an estate sale find. I think I paid $3!

There were two immigrant trunks that fascinated us.  They were beautiful and one was Scandinavian in origin.  If only we had more room for such treasures.  I know that the Bible says to store up treasure for yourself in heaven, not on earth.  But God?  Can I please just take my antique bench with me to heaven?  I just love it, and my kids won’t want it.  I’ve already told my kids that I will come back and haunt them if they get rid of all my favorite things.

Do you ever go to estate sales?  What kinds of things do you look for?  If you haven’t been, you are missing out!  We have made some of our best purchases at estate sales.  Here are a few tips if you are a newbie:

1. Look online for sales in your area.  You can usually tell if there is anything you might be interested in by the description and items listed of a particular sale.

2.  Go with someone…it’s just safer if you aren’t familiar with the neighborhood, and you might need help carrying large items out, since you are expected to remove anything you buy yourself.

3.  Have a little idea of what you are looking for, but keep an open mind!

4.  Arrive early for the best selection, but don’t hesitate to go on later or even on the second or third day.  The prices are usually reduced by a third or half on those days.

5.  If you see something you are seriously interested in, grab it or it will probably be gone!

6.  If the sale had an awesome selection, definitely plan on going back the second or third day for even better deals, although I usually find the prices pretty reasonable the first day of the sale.

For a more detailed list, read this guide from The Weathered Door for some great tips.  We hope you are inspired to find your next great bargain at an estate sale!  Good luck and happy hunting!

Mardi

Two Liberty Belles’ Guide to Shipshewana

Hello friends!  Just thought I’d give you all a not-so-little summary of a girls’ getaway that we recently took.  Mardi and I, along with our mom and sister and good friend Suellen, took a 2 1/2 hour drive to Shipshewana, Indiana to do some antiquing and shopping. My sisters and I had never been there despite how close it is, so it was past time to check it out. We spent two nights, which was really perfect. Although, if the flea market would have been open, it may not have been enough time, since I could see myself spending a whole day there easily!

If you are looking for antiques, home décor, or fabric, or a baked good, this is your place! Unfortunately, our trip didn’t fall on a day that the flea market was open, but we found plenty of fun stores to visit, and we all came home with some goodies! And best of all, we had a great time laughing and shopping and talking together, even if it was freezing for May!

Probably our favorite store hands down was the Cherry Pickers salvage. It was a pickers’ dream! It was pretty messy for the most part, with treasures piled on treasures, but it had some really fun stuff. A big sign out front stating “Shiplap Sold Here” is sure to catch pretty much anybody’s attention. I mean, who doesn’t love shiplap? Especially the kind salvaged from an old building? Mardi bought a cute little corner shelf here, and I came away with a neat piece of wood that I haven’t figured out what I am going to do with yet.

The owner of the shop, Mark, is a wonderful guy. Our little shopping party all felt like we were old friends by the time we left. Not only was he friendly and helpful, he shared his testimony of how God led him and his wife to open their shop. What a wonderful story he had…we were all about in tears as he gave God the glory for bringing his family so far. So if you ever make it to the store, tell him we said hi!

We also really liked the Old Tin Rooster. The store only opened a few months ago, and it carries several pieces of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia line. It was like Farmhouse Heaven. The store itself was styled to perfection, and the owner commented that Mark from Cherry Pickers had done a lot of the woodwork from reclaimed pieces. They also carried some antiques that were very reasonably priced. I bought two of the cutest little vintage British loving cups from the 1960’s, an enamelware bowl, an ironstone dish, and a pair of vintage stirrups…and I could have easily bought more! My sister Kendal actually has to go back because she bought an awesome trunk and little antique washstand. I’m thinking I might have to ride down with her to pick them up!

Here are the stirrups I bought…just in time for the Kentucky Derby!
The little loving cups are displayed on piano for now.

I also really enjoyed the fabric shop in Yoder Department Store. They had an awesome selection of the best fabric lines, and I particularly liked all of the toweling by the yard they offered. I bought a couple yards of feedsack style toweling to make a runner or pillows with. Mardi bought an awesome vintage rodeo print tablecloth by Moda for Marek’s western-themed graduation party.

And one more can’t miss stop if you are planning to head to Shipshewana is the E and S Sales bulk foods store. Let’s just say we all left with some candy and leave it at that.  Okay, okay…a LOT of candy.

Well, I’m sure I’ve given you waaaaay more details than you really wanted! But now you need to go to check out these fun places for yourself. And hopefully it won’t be 45 degrees and raining when you go!

(Oh, and if you need a place to stay, we really liked the Blue Gate Garden Inn.  It was really clean, right in town, and had an awesome free breakfast!)

What are some of your favorite little towns to visit?  Let us know!

Megan