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Finding & Preparing for a Sale with Lela


Now that you know a bit about estate sales from my previous blogs, let's get ready to go to one … or two … or three! If you're anything like me, you can never go to just one :)

EASY SIGN UP ON ESTATESALES.NET – One of the best sites I have ever found has been this one. They have made it so easy for me to locate estate sales, which I will admit, I am hooked on! I get weekly emails from them showing me the sales in my area which start the following day.  I can honestly say it's the best email subscription I have ever signed up for. Look for the signup box in the upper right corner on the home page.

FINDING ESTATE SALES NEAR YOU – On the home page, click on the state you are interested in.  You should now see a “Search for Your City” box. Here you can type in your zip code or city. This will bring you to a more detailed area map and a listing of sales nearby. Choose some to look at. Hopefully by the descriptions and pictures, which most sites have, you'll be able to choose some to visit.

If you are looking at a site and have noticed there isn't an address for the sale … don't worry … it will appear - usually after 9:00 a.m. the day before the sale. This prevents the “early birds” from showing up too far in advance. The estate sale companies work really hard at organizing and preparing for a sale. The less distractions for them, the better for us shoppers. 

TIP: See something in a picture that you really, really, really want? You can try to figure out by the picture which room it might be in but, it's best to GET TO THE SALE EARLY.  As soon as you see an employee, ask where your item might be. This way when the sale begins, you already know where to go first. Don't assume that perhaps, let's say, a vintage typewriter would be in an office or den. Things get moved around for good reasons by the estate sale companies so it's always best to ask.

Once you've picked some sales to visit and the address is visible, go ahead and print your directions. Call me old fashioned but, even though I have a navigation app on my cell phone, I still print good, old hard copy directions. I actually print all the pages for each sale that I'm going to along with directions. This way if you have someone with you, they can look at the pictures while you drive.

TIPS and more TIPS: Try to bring someone with you. It's more fun and you can help carry each other's things, and … bring cash. Some companies will take a credit card, but always bring cash. 

Below are some other things you may want to consider taking with you before you venture out. Of course, you can make up your own essentials, but this is what I keep in my car trunk at all times.

what to take to an estate sale

                                            MY “ESS KIT” (Estate Sale Survival Kit) 
                                                         Hoosier not included

  •    Hand wipes wrapped individually – for a quick clean up before getting back in the car
  •    Paper Towels – just because
  •    Glass cleaner – I use it for cleaning many things 
  •    Duster – to do a quick clean up on purchases 
  •    Rubber gloves – may want to use in an older basement, garage, shed or attic 
  •    Flashlight – for darker areas like attics or basements (I use a flashlight APP on my cell phone)
  •    Tape Measure – just in case I need to measure a piece of furniture for my home
  •    Tools – screwdrivers, pliers, a hammer. Many homes do not have tools for disassembling things  
  •    Large towel – to wrap fragile items like a mirror 
  •    Plastic grocery bags and larger trash bags – can be used for many reasons
  •    Foldable large tote – to bring into a house for carrying smaller items around while shopping

I keep all of the above in a clear plastic container with a lid. This way I can grab it easily in case I go in a different vehicle. 

TIP: Bring bottled water and maybe some snacks. You may think I'm a bit off my vintage rocker, but I look at it this way: If I bring drinks and snacks, I don't have to stop in between estate sales and I can visit more sales in a day!

Have a wonderful week!

~Lela (aka: TrashFindRedesigned)


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Vickie G. Lackey
7 Years ago
Thanks for the tips ~ very helpful !
Cindy (EstateSales.NET)
7 Years ago
@ Sue: Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for repurposing those estate sale items! We've started some boards to inspire our customers to make their own creations--check it out! Cindy (EstateSales.NET)
7 Years ago
I luv any sale, other peoples trash, just wish I had an imagination!!!
Cindy (EstateSales.NET)
7 Years ago
@ Steve: Can you send an email to with your zip code so we can get you signed up for notifications of sales in your area? Thanks! Cindy (EstateSales.NET)
steve pozaric
7 Years ago
7 Years ago
great info, you addressed many of the situtations I have ran into at est sales. Never occured to me to make up a kit like yours. only thing misssing is a jewelers eye for art. thanks, jp
7 Years ago
I have been to many estate sales, your sales are one of the best!! Extra nice helpers too!!
Lucy G. Harris
7 Years ago
very helpful
7 Years ago
Great tips on what to bring, also I might add a face mask in case you encounter a "dirty dig" , hand sanitizer, a loop and lots of shopping bags!
David Nelson
7 Years ago
Great tips! Thank you.
Cindy (EstateSales.NET)
7 Years ago
@Susan: That's a good question. It depends upon the company running the sale. Sometimes they will have a consignment shop or another way of getting rid of the left over items. Trying to contact them is always an option--you might get lucky and get a second chance! :) -Cindy (EstateSales.NET)
7 Years ago
very informative tips, I will start putting my "ESS KIT" together real soon!
7 Years ago
What happens if later, after the estate sale, you have one of those 'shoulda' moments? I just went to a sale and have regretting not getting something there. What does the estate sales company do with the left over stuff? Can they be contacted about it?
7 Years ago
good ideas
7 Years ago
Great ideas. Lela, I just added a bottle of glass cleaner to my own ESS Kit - thanks for the tip!
Roxie Gioia
7 Years ago
we are avid salers, also belong to estste sales .com.. we also bring, a list of items we have,,,and magnifying glass, along with most things u stated!!!