A few years ago I stepped inside my first estate sale and within an instant a whole new world opened up for me. That first estate sale launched my career into the vintage fashion business. Up until that point I didn’t even know estate sales existed. I thought they were auctions…something aggressive and scary and not at all suited for someone like me. Was I ever wrong.

I walked across the threshold and into that person’s basement where the motherload of vintage clothing lay strewn across the floor. Piles and piles of 1960s clothing…from scooter skirts to cute mod dresses and petal pushers to shift dresses. I sat down on that dirty basement floor, surrounded by my heaven, and thought I’d better text my husband to tell him I’m never coming home. This. Was. Awesome.

I spent the next couple of hours sorting through those clothes. They were dirty. They were musty. The basement was barely lit. And I loved every minute of it.  I walked away with bags and bags of vintage clothes that day. And into my shop they went. I finally had some great inventory!

 

Vintage clothing

A picture from a recent haul. I was so excited to have found so many awesome vintage baby and toddler clothes!

Since that day I’ve been to tons of estate sales. I check estatesales.net every week to see what sales are in my area. I pour over the pictures to see which sales are likely to be most beneficial to me. Then I make a list and hit those sales. Since I’ve been to so many sales I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are some tips:

1. Let’s start with what an estate sale is. An estate sale is like a garage sale but it’s INSIDE a home. The owner has likely either passed away or is moving and they need to sell most of their homes’ contents. If you’re a vintage hunter like me, estate sales are goldmines…as long as you do your research and find the right seller.

2. Get there early and on the first day of the sale. I’ve been to some sales where people have started lining up THE DAY BEFORE the sale. This is crazy to me and not something I’m willing to do, but I have gotten to sales before the sale has started so I can get my name on a list. Most companies will start a list of names based on who has gotten there first so when the doors do open those that got there first get in first. Which brings me to my next tip…

3. You will likely have to wait in line. Most houses are not big enough to hold everyone at the same time. So you wait. In line. For a long time sometimes. I’ve waited in line for hours waiting to get into a sale. In the snow. Without a coat. Good times. Be prepared to wait so you don’t turn into one of those crazies who yell at the door man. Wear a coat, bring water, kill time by checking Twitter and Facebook obsessively.

4. If you’re not concerned with getting one specific item, go on the last day of the sale. Most estate sale companies offer 50% off all items on the last day of the sale. They want to clear out the house so this is their last chance to move everything out. If they don’t offer posted discounts you’re likely going to be able to negotiate on the last day of the sale.

5. Hit up the ATM. Most estate sale companies only take cash. The listing on estatesales.net will tell you what they take. Some take credit cards, but likely it’ll only be on purchases over $50.

6. You will be the most normal person there. Estate sales notoriously attract the strangest people, so there will be all kinds of characters there. If you’re stuck standing outside waiting to get in, you have two options; interact with the crazy for fun or keep your head down and stay focused so as not to attract their attention. I choose the latter.

7. Bring tissue and hand sanitizer. I’ve walked out of sales with so much dirt and dust that after blowing my nose, the tissue was black. And some of these sales are pretty sketchy. I’ve been to sales where the owners were hoarders. I didn’t know what kind of gross was living on all the items I had been digging though. Best to coat your hands with a some hand sanitizer once you leave a sale like that.

8. If you’re a serious vintage hunter, try to mentally map out the house based on the pictures provided. That way you can make a bee line for the items you’re hoping to get. For instance, if I’m on the hunt for some dresses I saw pictured I try to figure out what room they are in. Look at the backgrounds of the pictures. Is it a bedroom? A basement? Are they on racks? Are they in a closet? In a box? A few minutes of savings here can mean the difference between leaving empty handed and leaving the winner of a rockin’ vintage dress.

9. Dress appropriately. This is not the time to try to upstage Kim Kardashian. Wear flat shoes, jeans, and a comfortable shirt. These sales can be dirty. You could be digging through dusty boxes. You could be on the floor of musty basement for hours (if you’re lucky!).

Hope these tips help! I love estate sale shopping. It’s like a treasure hunt. You never know what kind of awesome lies behind that front door!

<3

Christy

Here’s a dress I recently found at an estate sale. Be sure to check out my shop for more great vintage pieces like this!

Vintage 1960s wiggle dress

Vintage 1960s wiggle dress

I was perusing through my inventory and noticed some of my items have been in the shop for a very long time! They are lonely a need a good home.

Vintage 1960s pleated floral garden party dress

Vintage 1960s pleated floral garden party dress

Vintage 1960s kimono style shift dress

Vintage 1960s kimono style shift dress

 

Vintage baby sleep sack

Vintage Baby Sleep Sack in Pink Gingham Print

Vintage Christmas baby sleeper

Vintage Christmas baby sleeper

Vintage 1975 Cross Stitch

Vintage 1975 Cross Stitch

Vintage 1960s toddler outfit

Vintage 1960s toddler outfit

 

Vintage pink baby sweater

Vintage pink baby sweater

 

 

Vintage 1960s men's fedora

Vintage 1960s men’s fedora

 

Vintage baby book in the sign of cancer

Vintage baby book

 

 All images are linked.

<3

Christy

 

 

 

Whenever I think of 4th of July I always picture a day set in 1960. Not sure why. I was an 80s baby. Maybe it’s all The Wonder Years I watched as a kid. Regardless, there’s something so wholesome about the middle of summer. Backyard BBQs, kids playing outside, fireworks in every neighborhood. I picture pool parties and people in sandals. And everything looks like it has an iPhone vintage filter on it. That’s what plays in my head. Probably not in yours.

Either way, I love listing red, white and blue themed clothes in my shop right around this time every year. With 4th of July right around the corner, now is THE time to pick up some awesome vintage patriotic frocks to rock. Here are some I’ve recently listed.

 

Vintage 1960s girls mod dress

Vintage 1960s girls’ drop waist sailor dress

Vintage baby sailor shirt

Vintage 1960s baby nautical sailor shirt

Vintage 1960s girls mod dress

Vintage 1960s girls’ drop waist denim dress

 

Vintage 1950s baby romper

Vinage 1950s baby romper

Vintage 1960s girls mod dress

Vintage 1960s girls’ mod dress

Vintage 1950s girls red, white and blue dress

Vintage 1950s girls’ dress with matching vest

 

Vintage 1970s blue and white maxi dress

Vintage 1970s maxi dress

 

Happy 4th of July!

<3

Christy

 

 

 

 

 

Today I visited a small estate sale that had a handful of really beautiful 1950s and 1960s dresses. I walked away with these 3 beauties! All of them are available in the shop now. Don’t they just make you want to step back in time? Women dressed so elegantly back then.

Vintage 1950s Blue Dress

Vintage 1950s blue dress

 

Vintage 1950s pink dress

Vintage 1950s pink chiffon dress

 

Vintage 1950s Dress

Vintage 1950s silk teal and black dress

All images are linked. Visit the shop to see these and many others!

Have a great weekend!

<3

Christy

 

I recently came across this article from the vintage fashion blog, Debutante Clothing, and found it to be a really valuable read.

I feel I price the vintage clothing I sell in my shop really fairly. As a self-described mild shop-a-holic I think pricing is everything. Even a dollar or two can be the deciding factor in whether someone decides to purchase from you. I know it is for me. I recently went to a kids’ clothing pop-up resale shop and, while the clothes were all under $10, I still felt they were overpriced. Pieces that should have cost $3 were priced at $6, and so I didn’t buy them. I easily could have walked away with an armload of goodies, but instead I left with a couple items. Merely a few dollars difference meant a lost sale.

With that said I think this article eloquently points out the amount of work that does go into buying and selling vintage from a shop owner’s perspective, and that should be taken into consideration when buying vintage. As a shop owner, I scour estate sale listings weekly looking for the sales where I will get the most bang for my buck. I  also spend hours washing, drying, and pressing the clothing, hours taking and editing pictures, and hours drafting listings. I do love every single second of it, but it is time consuming.

So take a second and give the article a read. I hope you enjoy it!

<3

Christy

 

Here are some items I’ve recently listed in the shop!

Vintage baby clothes

Vintage 1950s sheer green baby dress

 

Vintage 1950s baby sleeveless blouse

 

Vintage 1960s girls mod pleated dress

 

Vintage 1950s baby dress

 

Vintage 1950s baby romper

 

Vintage 1950s baby romper

 

Vintage 1970s sundress

Vintage 1970s sundress

 

Vintage 1970s Pink Dress

Vintage 1970s pink disco dress

 

Vintage 1970s yellow sundress

Vintage 1970s sunny yellow sundress

 

All images are linked.

<3

Christy