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The Bonus of Browsing an Estate Sale

Updated on November 24, 2012
LupitaRonquillo profile image

Lupita is the founder of Vegan Health and Yoga and is completing a masters in holistic nutrition. She is also writing a novel.

Beautiful antique oil painting on half off Sunday, $75.00!
Beautiful antique oil painting on half off Sunday, $75.00! | Source
My Carol Rowan art poster is now beautifully displayed with this lemon gold style frame. Cost $3.50!
My Carol Rowan art poster is now beautifully displayed with this lemon gold style frame. Cost $3.50! | Source

Just Tools and Books?

One of the things I love about my husband is his knack for finding things in the newspaper that spark my interest. Whether it be an article he knows I'll read, a one day sale at a department store, or finding some very useful coupons. This Sunday he found an ad in the classifieds for an estate sale. Although for the past month, we have been stopping by at a few yard sales, this was our first time visiting a multi-family estate sale. While he keeps his eye open for tools, I look out for interesting art and search through piles of unwanted used books. Most of the time we end up finding something else of value besides what we came in looking for. This Sunday's estate sale had an amazing variety of household decorations, a rocking chair and bedroom furniture. It was a the last day so everything was 50% off the marked price! Below are a few of the items we picked up including some interesting books for both me and my baby boy. Looks like we're getting our family library built sooner than I hoped afterall!


Vintage Vanity Tray

This gold plated vintage vanity tray was in great condition, even the bottom velvet is clear of any tears or damage. Since the gold showed no signs of fading nor was the glass scratched, it must still be fairly new. I checked online and a new one runs upward of about $20.00. Our cost, $2.00! The versatility is either using it as a perfume tray or a mirror.


Painted Porcelain Tile Frame

Found this glazed and painted porcelain tile made into a frame for $2.50. It brightens up our kitchen with a little bit of needed sunshine! I hope to find more of these but even if we find some that are mismatched, these kind of colors and simple designs will create an ambience of a mini art gallery in our kitchen or anywhere we choose to display them.


Carved Wall Shelf

Wood carved wall shelves can decorate a room with variety over the usual picture frame. This one has a just enough dark color and a gently aged charm. Wood shelves can go almost anywhere in the house, a bedroom, a hallway, a foyer or even the laundry room! We paid only $5.00 for this one at the estate sale!


Studded Jewelry Doll

Jewelry dolls are beautiful! I fell in love with this the second I saw it. Its an artistic way to create a romantic touch in the bedroom without being too frivolous. This elegant vanity display costed only $5.00! Who says a grown lady can't have anymore dolls!


Ceramic Tortilla Warmer

How could we resist this cute corn designed tortilla warmer? The bright yellow color fits in perfectly with our kitchen style and was in great condition. We eat a lot of corn tortillas so now we can set the table in style and be able to serve plenty of warm tortillas for our visitors too. The bonus here? We only paid $3.00!


Wall Curio Cabinet

Our living and dining room is furnished with a decor of dark cherry deep brown colors so we loved finding this reddish colored wall curio cabinet. It matched up perfectly to the color scheme we have at home. These beautiful cases add a touch of class to any room corner and are great for displaying collectibles, heirlooms and souvenirs proudly. New, they can cost well over $100.00 depending on where you shop. The real beauty here is we only paid $15.00.

We only paid .50 cents each for children's books.
We only paid .50 cents each for children's books. | Source
Hard cover books were $1.00 each!
Hard cover books were $1.00 each! | Source

Vintage Books

One of the primary reasons I started browsing through yard and estate sales is for books. Its nice knowing I won't have to buy all of them new, especially if I find them in great condition. The benefit of buying books this way is never knowing what you'll find and stumbling upon classics you would have never thought of getting or been able to find. Even if you knew what out of print or rare book your searching for, its likely you'll pay more to get it re-printed. You can buy a brand new Chicken Little storybook today but the art and illustration and even the shape of a book changes over time. The paper used also has a different feel and quality.

You may ask why bother buying a paper book in our age of e-books. Here are a few points why I suggest we should:

  • It doesn't require batteries to read, only energy and motivation produced by ourselves.
  • Real books have evolved over centuries relatively unchanged but in today's fast moving high-tech age we now find ourselves smacked with yet another "advancement" telling us how we should be reading and learning. The e-book rave has spread so rapidly yet I don't think we should be as rapid to replace all of our reading with an LCD screen.
  • It can last much longer than an e-book... hours vs. hundreds of years!
  • Then most unforgettably, I don't feel quite ready to abandon one of English's most widely used idiom, "Never judge a book by its cover."

Four-shelf wood bookshelf
Four-shelf wood bookshelf | Source

Maple Wood Bookshelf

The original cost of this bookshelf was $18.00, which was still a darn good deal, but with 50% off Sunday, we paid only $9.00! Now we have plenty of space to fill it with books for our boy! A bookshelf like this one has a median price of about $80.00 new, again depending on the retailer. Very happy and so very satisfied with the deals we found!

Estate Sale Do's and Dont's

  • Do be an early bird. Remember, first come first serve. There is usually only one available of things being sold and there isn't any rainchecks for things no longer owned.
  • Do bring cash.
  • Do ask about the item being sold such as why they are selling it, how old it is, if there are any problems with it or where it was bought at.
  • Do negotiate. If something you have your eye on seems a bit overly priced, ask the seller if they will come down on their price. They usually will meet you somewhere in between, especially at yard sales.
  • Do ask the seller to hold any items you've decided on if your still browsing, otherwise it may end up getting sold before you go back for it.
  • Don't clutter your home. Only buy things your going to use or collect.
  • Don't buy pots, pans, silverware, baby bottles, sheets, pillowcases, undergarments, etc.. Remember hygiene!
  • Don't skip out on inspecting baby items such as carseats, high chairs, strollers, etc. Make sure they are in good working order for baby's safety.


Copyright Lupita Ronquillo (c) 2012
All rights reserved.


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    • LupitaRonquillo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you for that advice! My son has actually been a "climber" even before he started fully walking which is why we never used his crib lol. He's on the tall side and I always had this fear he would flip over. I will talk to my husband about safeguarding the book shelves and will make sure we arrange them safely. How horrible for your friends family to have gone through something so dreadful :((

      Thank you for reading and the share!

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      Hi Lupita, I really enjoyed this hub.

      It is wonderful to see you are collecting books for your son. Here's a tip from a woman who has always had many bookshelves and many years of young children in my home ... Make sure you attach the top of every bookshelf to the wall and put your heaviest books in the bottom shelves.

      When I was a young girl I knew a family who lost a much loved child when he tried to climb up a bookshelf that toppled and crushed him. Attaching the bookshelf to the wall with L-shaped brackets has always been my top priority as soon as I stand a shelf upright.

      Don't mean to bring a downer to your lovely hub, but I noticed the types of books you chose and that a year or more has passed since you wrote it. I'm guessing your son will be a climber pretty soon. :)

      Voted up and sharing to inspire others to head for the sales.

    • LupitaRonquillo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      We have! Some of these sale items are rare too. Whenever we go to one we always go on half off Sundays! You might want to check if the estate sale in your area offer half off days... I posted a link in the article that allows you to search by your zip code for the nearest estate sale. You may be able to check with them.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      5 years ago from USA

      Wow you have found some fantastic buys! I really enjoy finding things at yard sales and auctions - can't say I've found anything cheaply priced at an estate sale though. It is such a great feeling to find just what you need at such a great price.

    • LupitaRonquillo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by Nellieanna and for complimenting my work! Looking forward to reading more of yours!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Not only are you a good writer, Lupita, but your interest in things is 'contagious' and fun!

      You (and your husband, obviously) have a real eye for good 'finds' at yard & estate sales! I love these treasures! Estate sales are especially bountiful! It's surprising what beautiful things with which heirs are willing to part. I have some treasures from one which I'd never want to sell!

    • LupitaRonquillo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you Deborah, appreciate your taking time to read! :)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      this is awesome,, I love the wall curio cabinet and the jewerly studded and the books awesome I love old books.. You did a great job .. my favortie thing to do is go to yards sales... and I have been too a few estate sales. excellent hub.. sharing


    • LupitaRonquillo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you Break of Dawn :D Got a few more hub ideas planned for this month, its been a bit busy as a first time mom taking 2 online writing courses and getting my ducks in order to start a professional writing program at the university! Appreciate your comment and stay tuned for money saving hubs!

    • Break of Dawn profile image

      Break of Dawn 

      6 years ago

      I love yard sales and estate sales. They are so much fun and I always wind up with great treasures for very little money. Thank you for a great read with some excellent tips! Epigramman sent me your way and I am so happy he did.

    • LupitaRonquillo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi again Epigramman, thanks for reading and your comments! At the bottom of my article, there's a link I added to help you find an estate sale in your area online not only for the U.S. but also for Canadians! Might be a little faster than waiting for the newspaper to come out.... here is the link:

      Hope you find amazing bargains! :D

    • epigramman profile image


      6 years ago

      ....this is truly a WOW hub presentation and I am sending some of my friends along to check this one out. Just amazing at what you can find at such an affordable price - life is like one big treasure hunt at times - and the fact you have given us such a detailed and informative look here makes it even more exciting - thank you for your passion and your labor of love - and sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 8:59am

      and I will be checking my local newspaper for the next estate sale - and hopefully come home with the holy grail -lol

    • LupitaRonquillo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you hawaiian, I was the same way... younger and prouder but now older and wiser!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Wonderfully written (by you, Lupita) and vicariously experienced by me. As a young man, I swore up and down that I'd never go to yard and estate sales or thrift shops. Now, I'm older, wiser, and definitely addicted. : )

      You made some great finds at the estate sale, and I can just imagine how your and your husband's adrenaline levels spiked.

      Congratulations on two counts--success at the estate sale and in the drafting of this well-organized and beautifully written article.


    • LupitaRonquillo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks cat, their also fun because you never know what you'll find!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Lupita:) Great tips on shopping estate and yard sales! There are always fun, and I see you've got a really good eye for bargains! Thank you for sharing.


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