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Estate sales are the one place where the saying “One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure” holds true. These sales offer the chance to find valuable items with interesting histories and affordable prices. Each item has a story and an opportunity for a fresh start.

Estate sales cater to collectors and thrift shoppers alike. You can find antique furniture to add character to your home or vintage clothing from past eras. You may even get lucky and come across rare collectibles and cherished heirlooms with monetary and sentimental value.

That said, let’s look at some of the best Estate Sale finds that are always worth buying.

thrifted chest books and chair
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

1. Furniture

Nowadays, a lot of furniture lacks quality as they’re often made with cheap particle board and require assembly, which can be time-consuming. Unfortunately, many of these pieces don’t stand the test of time. However, at an estate sale, it’s easy to come across used furniture like dressers, dining room tables, coffee tables, and nightstands in various design styles.

Even if the furniture appears a bit dated, try not to judge it by its surface alone. Many furniture pieces can be revitalized by refinishing, painting, or stripping. Personally, I prefer solid wood dressers because they last forever. Just keep an eye out for signs of quality, like solid wood construction and dovetail joints, when purchasing cheap furniture.

old furniture
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

2. Lamp

Lamps are an easy find at an estate sale. They make a great addition to any room, offering a simple way to accessorize and decorate the space. Whether placed on a nightstand or an office desk, they can add character to your surroundings. Lamps come in various shapes and sizes, including tabletop and standing options, as well as wide or slim designs.

If you come across stained or damaged lamps, don’t let that deter you from considering them. Getting them rewired or adding a new shade can easily transform them into a personalized piece for your home.

3. Books

Estate sales offer a variety of old books that reflect the owner’s interests, including rare editions that may be hard to find elsewhere. These books are usually priced below retail, making it a great chance to grow your collection.

Additionally, books can also serve as decorative pieces, adding personality and style to your space. I enjoy adding new books to my bookshelves and pairing them with lovely art pieces, vases, picture frames, or figurines.

painted bookshelf

4. Artwork and Prints

Artwork and prints can be valuable finds at estate sales. You can find a range of artwork, including paintings, prints, and sculptures. Sometimes, these pieces can be of high value based on the artist and condition. Look for any signatures or markings that reveal the artist’s name or the piece’s origin to unlock the piece’s potential value.

In addition, having original paintings can enhance the atmosphere of your living space. While browsing artwork at estate sales, take the time to appreciate each piece. Who knows, you might discover a masterpiece at an estate sale near you.

5. Electronics

Estate sales offer a good opportunity to come across hidden electronics like vintage cameras, record players, and gaming consoles. When buying electronics at estate sales, make sure to thoroughly test them to ensure they are in proper working condition.

6. Vintage Clothing

Estate sales are the place for vintage fashion finds, and they make great buys. Estate sales often have closets filled with retro and cocktail dresses, timeless handbags, and unique jewelry pieces. These pieces are usually in incredible condition since they’ve only been worn a few times in most cases.

When you’re shopping for clothing and accessories at estate sales, it’s important to carefully check the items for any damage or signs of wear. Vintage clothing can be delicate, so handle the pieces with care. Estate sales offer a great chance to discover unique pieces that can add a special touch to your wardrobe.

jeans in thrift store

7. Vintage Jackets

Vintage jackets, like leather coats, fur, and other retro-style jackets, are worth considering when shopping at an estate sale.

When looking for vintage jackets, focus on quality, condition, and rarity. Pieces from renowned designers or specific eras can be particularly appealing to fashion enthusiasts.

8. Picture Frames

Picture frames can be found in abundance at estate sales. Prices typically range from $.50 and up. I have discovered high-quality frames at these events that have held up for years. 

9. Vases

Vases are incredibly versatile and can be used to store fresh flowers. You can even display it as an accent piece or upcycle and turn it into a terracotta piece. They are usually plentiful at estate sales.

10. Storage Baskets

Baskets are great for storage, and they also make great decorative statement pieces for any room. You can leave it in the hallway or the foyer to store shoes and blankets.

11. Collectibles and Memorabilia

Collectibles and memorabilia are also quite sought after at estate sales. If you’re into sports, movies, or vintage toys, you’ll likely find various items to pique your interest. Estate sales can offer collectors a treasure trove of goodies, including signed jerseys, autographed posters, rare comic books, and vintage action figures – a real delight for enthusiasts.

These sales present a great chance to come across valuable and rare collectibles without paying their full retail price. It’s a wonderful opportunity for collectors to add unique pieces to their collections.

12. Candle Holders

Don’t forget to check out the candle holders at an estate sale. Buying candle holders at estate sales can be a cost-effective way to add ambiance and character to any room. Candlesticks come in metal, wood, silver, or glass, so you can choose what suits your taste and decor.

13. Cookware

When you’re at an estate sale, keep an eye out for cookware like cutlery, cast iron pans, drinking glasses, Pyrex containers, plates, bowls, and other pots and pans. You might find a complete kitchen set without having to pay the full retail price.

14. Tools

Tools are a staple for many homeowners, and at most estate sales, you’ll likely come across a basement workshop or garage stocked with practical tools. Though they might need a bit of attention, these vintage pieces can still serve you well for years to come.

The real bonus is that you can get your hands on these tools at estate sales for just a fraction of the cost of buying them brand new.

15. Toys and Games

When browsing through estate sales, be on the lookout for classic board games and nostalgic toys. These sales often hold a mix of forgotten gems that can prompt special memories and add a touch of nostalgia.

You might stumble upon timeless board games that bring family and friends together or toys that carry the charm of childhood innocence.

16. Jewelry

There’s no need to overspend on jewelry when you can find them in abundance at estate sales.

17. Vinyl Records

Finding new additions to your vinyl record collection becomes effortless when you explore estate sales. You may stumble upon a hidden box of old records tucked away. It’s like embarking on a musical journey through time, uncovering forgotten melodies.

Estate sales offer a unique opportunity to unearth vinyl gems and expand your music collection with timeless classics and rare finds.

18. Kitchen Appliances

Don’t be surprised by the appliances you will find at estate sales. From reliable crockpots to efficient coffee pots and toaster ovens, estate sales offer a diverse range of kitchen appliances.

19. Vintage China

This goes without saying, but estate sales are the place to be for fine china and vintage silverware sets, perfect for those occasional formal dinners. If you get lucky, you’ll stumble upon dozens of stunning formal china pieces and intricately designed silverware sets that ooze timeless charm.

Keep an eye out for those special holiday place settings. These cherished items have stood the test of time for a reason, and their enduring appeal ensures they will continue to impact your table settings.

21. Outdoor Furniture

Estate sales present a fantastic opportunity to purchase outdoor furniture to help you transform your outdoor space. From charming patio sets and sturdy garden benches to stylish lounge chairs and rustic picnic tables, estate sales offer a wide variety of outdoor furniture finds.

You can discover vintage pieces with timeless appeal, durable materials built to withstand the elements, and even unique and one-of-a-kind designs that add character to your outdoor oasis.

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In summary, estate sales open the door to a world of unique finds for savvy shoppers seeking reasonably priced finds through secondhand shopping. Whether it’s vintage clothing or enduring furniture, collectibles, artwork, or outdoor furniture, estate sales offer an eclectic assortment of hidden treasures. Overall, this way of shopping allows us to curate a personal and sustainable environment.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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