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Estate Sales… the older more sophisticated (and temperature-controlled) sister of yard sales

March 9, 2011

Did you know that I love estate sales?

I do! I am certain I inherited this from my dad. I love hearing the stories on my weekly call to Ponchatoula about how my mom and dad made an early morning jaunt to New Orleans to go to an estate sale in the Garden District thanks to the classified section of the Times Picayune. Usually Dad will find lawn equipment, art, or kitchen tools.

I knew of his success when I started looking in the Nashville paper and online a few years ago. I was annoyed with yard sales… they felt like too much work. I was always sweaty out in the sun of someone’s front yard and spent more money on gas driving around than on goods found. Then one day, I saw a road sign for a company-run estate sale, went inside the home and was… sold.

If you’ve never gone into an estate sale, imagine this: you pull up to a home in a nice neighborhood — usually a fancy older house for an elderly couple. You walk into an open front door, and there are several folding tables displayed throughout. Cabinets and shelves are emptied onto tables, and everything in that house is for sale. And, it’s organized: kitchen items are in the kitchen, lawn equipment in the garage, and clothes and linens in the bedroom. So, you are both taking a tour of the home while also looking for items you want to buy.

At my first experience with Patterson Estate Sales here in Nashville, I ended up buying a can opener, electrical switch timers and some Mason jars… all for $1!

Now, I get an email every time they have a sale. The message tells you when, where and a description with pictures (!) of the sale goods.

After going to about four or five of these sales through Patterson, I have a personal strategy. The sales are on Fridays and Saturdays only. If you are a professional antique dealer or are eyeing a particular item you see in the email, you should go and wait in line first thing on Friday. But, if you’re like me and just curious, go late-morning/early afternoon… right before it closes. Everything is already half off. And like I have done recently, I’ll grab an armful of items, put them on the sale table, and the Patterson employee will give me a price much lower than half off. I’m always caught off guard, but I love it.

For example, that pile of stuff in the picture above? Half off, it was $10. When I got to the sale table, she said, “How about $6?” Um, yes.

It may not be your thing, but estate sales can be fun, especially if you’re looking for something specific or you just need creative inspiration. Yes, I am the youngest person at the sales (although I had to explain to the Patterson folks what a French press was!), and I usually go in yoga clothes after my Saturday class… but it’s an interesting way to see local homes and get a bunch of items in a climate-controlled setting.

Nashville friends, here’s the link to the Patterson Estate Sales so you can sign up to get the emails. For my Louisiana friends, my dad says the H&H Estate Sales are the best, but I have Googled H&H to death and cannot find a website or an email group. Anyone?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim permalink
    March 9, 2011 10:13 pm

    Your dad reports that, sadly, H&H still uses the “index card system” at 6:00 am Friday morning. Don’t waste any more time looking for them online. You can use the old Pancake Pantry system too by giving a college kid $10 to get a low numbered index card at 6:00 am, and then meet them at a nearby coffee shop at 7:45, then go into the estate sale with the low number at 8:00 am. Oh, this man is just like his daughter!!! He should write a blog.

  2. kevin permalink
    April 16, 2012 12:36 pm

    I went to a H&H estate sale this weekend and they were unprepared, very quickly overwhelmed, and then got rude. There are no bargains… these prices were retail or higher. i am avoiding them at all cost and suggest you do too… in NOLA, check out Estate Treasures and they will do you right

  3. Stu permalink
    April 17, 2012 5:52 pm

    Hello, Kevin.

    What is the title of your position with Estate Treasures?


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