Rules of the Game--Estate Sales

I've had a few people ask me lately where my favorite place to treasure hunt is: garage sales, thrifing, etc. Hands down, my answer is estate sales...every time. I love that I'm able to have a glimpse into someone else's life. Not only do you see the items they were living with at the time they left their home, but you also get access to a sort of time-line of their lives.

Large Crewel Piece From An Estate Sale. RustopiaConsulting.com
Vintage Ball Jar, An Estate Sale Find.

The first place I look when I'm at any sale is the basement...that's where all the good stuff is; the items that the homeowners have loved and cherished for years and have felt so inclined to hold onto. The other, more bitter-sweet aspect of estate sales, is that you often see how the people have aged. There is usually some sort of medical equiptment around and, more often than not, it is clear that only one spouse had been still living in the home. Sadly, the master bedroom will be filled only with items clearly belonging to either a man or a woman.

Estate Sale Globe/Globe Lamp.
Blue Vintage Typewriter.
Handmade Antique Metal Orb for Home Decor.

Wow...this post is taking a really sad, serious turn. I don't write this to make you feel bad, but instead to lend some humanity to the act of going to estate sales. I have some personal rules that I take with me when I go and I'd love for you to adopt them as well! 1. Be kind and respectful when you're there, this is someone's house that you're lucky enough to get a peek in. 2.Don't try to haggle too much. If you're buying a lot of items, I think it's ok to deal a little...they want to make the sale, after all. If you're only purchasing a couple of things, pay the price they're asking...the money is going to the family...who has, more than likely, just lost their loved one. 3. Buy something personal. I love paying hommage to a generation gone-by; I always try to pick up something that reflects who they might have been as a person. I've bought small jewelry pieces (my favorite being a souvenier bracelet from a WWII veteran to his bride), pictures, a year book, and even a Pyrex bowl set with the name Lila in tape on the bottom of each bowl. Whatever it is that you can connect with from the sale, buy it...keep that little piece of someone that you didnt know...but share a common thread in this thing called life. 

Estate sale bracelet. It's hard to see, but there are two names inscribed on this bracelet: Bob and Lila. It also has the name of the island where he was stationed in the South Pacific during WWII. It isn't an expensive piece by any means, but it is entirely priceless. 

So the next time you're out adventuring and happen on an estate sale...go in! Take your reuseable bag and find yourself some treasures; you never know what you might find! 

Stay stylish, 

Hilary