I feel so much passion streaming through my fingertips right now as I start this ode to estate sales. I've been attending these with my mom since I can remember.
Estate sales are when a home is opened up to the public and all (or most) of the items inside are for sale. Typically a professional runs the show because of their skill at appraising and also the emotional energy it takes for a person to value and part with the items in their home or the home of a loved one. People often have these sales when a family member has moved into assisted living, a major life event has happened like a divorce or a long-distance move, or when someone has passed away. That said, it's appropriate to have a certain reverence when attending a sale. This is someone's collected life.
That said, this is why an estate sale is such an amazing shopping opportunity. Estate sales are museums of our human ways–how we gather, select, arrange, and engage with our most personal space. The very best estate sales reflect a life well and fully lived–interesting artwork, cool dishes, eclectic furnishings. My favorite sales have been the ones I leave wishing I could be dear friends with the homeowners.
I went to a sale once where the wife's closet was large, wallpapered in green houndstooth, and full of deliciously patterned scarves and worn leather purses. Another one full of brass animals, another with tons of cat books (Dare I say thousands?), another with so much gold everything (I got a gilded purse that I loved to pieces from this sale.), another from a former TU art professor full of art supplies and baskets and earthy tones, and my very favorite home I ever went to an estate sale in was a 1920s craftsman that got updated in the 1960s...updated with a giant solarium complete with pool, bar, and absurd amounts of plants. Oh my! Can I be this lady's best friend?
Sales often start early in the weekday with everything priced, then each subsequent day a certain percentage is taken off the total. You get better deals at the end, but waiting for the discount risks losing what you want to a more eager buyer. It's a gamble. Because of the set lowering of prices by days, there are typically zero negotiations. However, some estate sales allow you to leave bids on certain items to try to get it for less than its current price. Overall though, it's love it or leave it folks!
While most estate sales feature vintage furniture and home goods, you will also find more current household items and newer pieces. If you check out the estate sale business's website, newsletter, or facebook page, they typically post images of the home, so you can see if it's a sale likely to have things you would like to peruse.
Tulsa has a lot of estate sale businesses in town. Here are our favorite estate sale hosts:
Lottie Stevens Liquidates and Estate Sales Professional and knowledgeable, these ladies are having a great time. You'll enjoy their staff immensely!
Estate Sales by Allen Allen has been in the biz for a long time; estate sale-goers often get to his sales early and wait in line. It's strangely exciting to be in line with a lot of other people who like vintage shopping like you do.
CS Estate Sales Another great team who Daly has known for a while.
A few other folks to check out–House of Used, Estate Sales by Cat, Estate Sales Plus.
Who does your favorite estate sales in Tulsa? What is the best thing you have ever purchased at an estate sale?
We don't work for people, we work with them. And together we make their house the home they've always wanted.