Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cheap vs. Thrifty: Shopping Estate Sales

We started shopping estate sales when we bought our house.  We've gotten some pretty great deals and I'm pretty sure shopping at estate sales falls squarely into the "thrifty" side of the cheap vs. thrifty spectrum.

Antique sewing table: $7.50

We bought two Hitchcock-esque chairs for about $10 each at Goodwill.  I really liked them and for the longest time, they were the only real dining room chairs we had (we had some nice folding chairs as a placeholder).  Before buying a house I didn't realize how expensive dining room chairs are (outdoor furniture too) and wasn't quite ready to commit the hundreds of dollars required to buy a quality set.  Then I saw an estate sale with these previewed:

We got 4 actual Hitchcock chairs for $100.  Actually, Kevin's parents bought us these for Christmas, thanks KMC2!

We went back the next day for two Nichols Stone chairs (one is pictured on the left).  The great thing about estate sales is that they are generally half off the second day and you can negotiate any price.  I was tempted to get the two Nichols Stone chairs the first day (they were about $90 total) but was willing to risk them being gone.  I was happy they were still there the next day and ended up getting them for $65.
I actually like how the chairs coordinate but don't match.  We now have 8 dining room chairs and if you are counting along, we got them for a total of $185.  I'm pretty sure we can't get one new Hitchcock chair for that price (they don't list prices online, which is a sign that they are too expensive for me).

The majority of the picture frames in our house have come from estate sales or Goodwill.  You can get really nice picture frames for $1-3, which would run you upwards of $10-20 new.  I also often buy art just for the frames.  Even if I don't love the art, it is often priced well below what even the frame is worth, so I buy it and replace the art.

Although we have gotten some good art that we left as is.  Framed art: $15

Plants in nice pots: $12 (it is an added bonus of being a cat toy).

More plants for $4 each.  They look pretty good along side my one and only art piece in the house.

We've gotten lots of other things that are not pictured, including some outdoor pots for planting, tools (once Kevin got a saw for $10 that was worth $100s), and household odds and ends.  If you have the time, estate sales are definitely worth perusing.  You can find estate sales in your area at and a guide to estate sales here. Happy thrifting!

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