Apr 20, 2011

It's Estate Sale Season, Gear Up!

Vintage Advertising Signs by Niftic
It's that time of year that we all adore. Spring! Estate sales, yard sales, garage sales, tag sales and more. Just sales! Vintage is being cleared out, homes are decluttered and estates are settled.

Milk Glass Hobnail Planters by keeky27

As a shopper, you need to be prepared. We all think we are, but there are a few things we all forget from time to time that would have made our shopping trip easier.

1950's Lipstick Red Cocktail Dress by CatseyeVintage

First, the basics. Addresses mapped out, either via paper or GPS. Doing this ahead of time has saved me so much time. Business cards, enough to hand out if necessary. This is especially important at Estate Sales held by the heirs. Most estates hold the high end items back in sales, hoping to find a more profitable avenue to sell them in. If you chat with the heirs and establish a quick connection, hand them your card. Let them know you're interested in either buying other pieces or selling them for them (if you do consignment sales). I do consignment and for high end items it's a great way to offer your customers a wide range.

Vintage Valentines by PaperPicker

Continuing on. Bring water, a snack or two, sunglasses, bags, boxes, bubble wrap, notepad and pen. The snacks will save you from a last minute trip down the lane of fast food regret. The sunglasses will help prevent a headache and wrinkles. The bags, boxes & bubble are for transporting your finds. And the notepad and pen are for keeping records.

Vintage Pig Figurine by VintageInBloom

It's vital that you keep track of what you bought, where you bought it and what you paid. Depending on what state you live in, it's a good idea to keep these records in case you are ever audited. I received a notice a couple of weeks ago stating that since I had claimed business deductions in my 2008 taxes, that the state was assuming I owed more. They assumed that I must have purchased items out of state and avoided state tax. We realized they were fishing and had likely sent this letter out to thousands, hoping for some sort of payload. We went back through my receipts and found some money that was spent via the web out of state. We had to write a check to the state for the tax. (Don't get me started on this-I do believe the Constitution states inter state taxation is illegal)  The point is, keep records. You never know when the law will change and someone will come knocking looking for your data.

Old Out of Service Sign by judygovintage
If you have an iPad, smart phone, or any device that you can hop on the web with, bring it. I've used my iPad for double checking on a piece that I think is the one I saw for $500 and quickly realizing that I was wrong. It's also helped me score great items that I normally wouldn't know about. I never do web searches in front of anyone. Be private. Obviously this won't work in a packed Estate sale. Save it for those slow times.

1960's Offwhite Olympia Typewriter by nerdnest

Bring your camera. Estate Sales are a great way to capture priceless Blog and/or Facebook photos. Your clients want to see what you saw: the treasures, the hunt, the mystery of what's around the next door. Again, do this quietly or get permission. Sometimes people can be squirrelly about photos.

German Drafting Set by HamiltonBay

Most of all, bring a sense of fun. Don't come with a high set of expectations about what you'll find. Just let yourself enjoy it and you'll have a good time even if your dream haul doesn't come through. And don't forget to bring a big enough car!


Suzanne@threepeats said...

Thanks....you reminded me I've got to put more of my business cards in my bag! Can't wait...the search is the biggest part of the fun for me!

Niftic Vintage said...

What fabulous advice! We are looking forward to days of hunting down our beloved treasures and these tips are essential to a good day, some I never thought of, such as bringing my camera and god I'm terrible at logging my mileage and purchases. The notebook will be in tow from now on. Invaluable info! And yes, Just have fun out there, quite frankly it's one of things I live for.

Patricia @ TheOldBarnDoor said...

Great suggestions regarding the tracking. And, business cards..don't know why I don't bring them along automatically. The other two things I always bring - a small measuring tape (which is attached to my key ring) and a magnifying glass (really help with hallmarks and details.
Happy shopping everyone.

Judy said...

Great tips- I think I should enlarge it and post on the wall before I leave the house! Love the season and meeting for the most part even more cool people along the way. (Yes, there are always the pushers/cut the liners, but at the end of the day-there are always more kind and helpful people out there than not.

Vintage Linens said...

Excellent advise. You don't know how many times I wish I had a computer around so I can check on what something is worth.

cindy-the vintage hat shop said...

Thanks for the tips, I think I will turn this into a list to put in my "go-to" bag, too.
I also stick in a small mirror. I can't buy a hat that looks dorky!
Ready, Set, Go!!

YesterdaysSilhouette said...

All great advice. Personally my goal for this season is NOT to buy everything I see. I need to be more selective with my purchases. I'm running out of room in my "shop room" and have so much to list as it is. I'm on the hunt for small and quick to flip treasures for the next few sales.

Catseye Vintage said...

What could be more fun than a great estate sale?

Thank you so much for showing my red dress and for the wonderful advice!

Callooh Callay said...

Great advice, Heidi! I'd also add bring a book and a cup of coffee if you plan on standing in line waiting for numbers to be handed out (I don't always have patience for that) and get as much as you can prepared the night before so you can head out the door early.

leas-lilypad said...

Truly good advice! Also might want to consider a few push ups and deep knee bends to warm up the muscles for a fun filled day :)