Shopping Estate Sales
Tips for serious estate sale shopping.
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Recycling artist Sheryl Olsen points out things to consider before shopping estate sales:
Estate-sale shopping can be an exciting activity. You will meet a number of interesting people and see many interesting things. There are many things to consider before tackling your first estate sale. Here is a list of some of those things:
- First do your homework. Check the newspaper, classified ads or Internet sites the day before. Also, get directions in advance if the sale is in an area with which you are not familiar. Larger estate-sale companies now have e-mail updates to let you know of their upcoming sales.
- Arrive early. "Pre-numbers" are given out several hours in advance. Once you have a pre-number, you are not allowed to leave the site until you get a "real number." This is usually handed out one hour before the sale starts.
- Next, make sure you are prepared. Only a limited number of people are let into the sale at one time, so make sure to bring along coffee, snacks and reading material, in case there is a lot of waiting around. Pack a shopping bag or cardboard box to keeps your hands free and makes it easier to carry around all of your treasures. Also bring along a few tools--A tape measure, screwdrivers, pliers and a hammer--just in case. Know your measurements if you are looking for specific items.
- Don't hesitate. Estate-sale shopping is very competitive. You will be dealing with professional antique dealers and seasoned collectors. If you hesitate, items can disappear right in front of you. The best strategy is to grab now and decide later.
- Don't forget to use your imagination. There will be many unique and interesting items mixed in with a lot of junk. You can virtually find all the items you may need to furnish your home, if you don't mind doing a little digging.
- To expedite the checkout process, you will need to have your items written up by one of the workers before you get into the checkout line. If you are interested in larger items such as furniture or appliances, you will need to flag down a worker as soon as possible, have them write it up and put a sold sign on the item that includes your name. Until this happens, the item is up for grabs.
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