Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Day In The Life...Estate Sale Madness

I'm thinking you lovely readers might enjoy a peek into my daily work life.
Something I do a few times a month is go to estate sales. I've learned the hard way that the early bird gets the worm, and by worm I mean the killer vintage goods...

So here I am at 5:50 a.m, in the pouring rain, a couple mornings ago.
You can't tell from the pic, but it's pitch dark out. And pouring rain. Did I mention it was raining?

'Scuze the blurry pic...there was water on the lens! I may look like I was having fun, but I wouldn't say getting up that early is ever fun. I'm actually laughing in the pic because I'm amazed that a fellow dealer was already there and had been there since 5 am!! He's really happy because he's #1 on the list.

What we do is start a list of names, and that list determines who gets to go in first. After scoring that coveted spot on the list, I usually go home for an hour or so (if the sale is close to my house) or go to Denny's, Starbucks or something and wait til the sale starts.
This sale was supposed to start at 10:00am. By this point the rain had tapered off. The estate sale company was nice enough to put up a canopy so that everyone wouldn't be drenched. It's a small crowd because this is a mailing-list only pre-sale day...the sale to the public opened the next day. Pretty much everyone in the photo is a "dealer" of some sort...except one lady who was dying to get a nice set of Brown Jordan Art Deco-style patio furniture. I hope she got it!!
let us in or we'll riot!
Here I am looking ticked off because it was about 10:20 and they still hadn't opened the doors.

This is my usual estate sale-going attire: hat to cover my bedhead, washable dark colored jacket to deflect weather and dirt, small hands-free purse (some estate sale companies won't even let you bring in a purse this have to just carry your wallet in...I hate that) and tucked under my arm is a ginormous shopping bag that folds up really small.

So, what do you get for waking up at the crack of dawn and standing in line in the rain (oh, and a pile of cash)?
If you're lucky, quick, and plan your strategy well, you get a pile o' vintage booty like this!

At this sale I got mostly 60's stuff. A few gorgeous beaded cardigans, some killer gold lame' shoes with rhinestones on the heels, a few fun purses, and lots of other goodies.
I got several beautiful silk cheongsam dresses, which is wonderful because I'm currently reading a book I ordered from Amazon called "In The Mood For Cheongsam".

I also scored a couple of fabulous coats, including this snakeskin-print early 60's raincoat

My February Elle magazine had lots of snakeskin!!
and this fun striped number:

Yowza!!I dare you to have S.A.D. in this!!
Like a lot of my estate sale finds, both coats need mending...the snake coat has a cuff that's dangling off. I'm hoping I can fix it on my sewing machine. The striped coat needs buttons...they're all missing.
All these goodies will make it into my Etsy shop at some point!!


  1. Yay for yard sale photos! Our way is very different here in Australia. We have garage sales which usually start at around 7am, then it's first come first snagged bargains (if any). There are quite often a few fighting stories to laugh over at later!

    1. We have garage/yard here sales, too...not so many this time of year with the rain & winter weather, but in the later Spring & Summer I love to get up early and go garage saling! Estate Sales are rather a different creature. An Estate Sale here in the States is when (usually) a person has passed away and the entire contents of their home is for sale.They're usually conducted by professional companies that specialize in liquidating estates.

  2. My gosh you scored some rather amazing stuff! My favorite has got to be the tapestry bag in the top right. *ohhhh I love it*

    1. Thank you!! I do agree, the tapestry bag's pretty's nice & big, too!

  3. Hello from a new reader!

    Oh my, am I jealous of your amazing estate sale finds! I wish we had those over here in England! I particularly love the handbags you picked up!