Estate Sales


There’s the yard sale: the humble middle class event of opening the garage, dragging unused items out onto the lawn, and praying someone buys that awful vase your significant other’s mother-in-law bought you, before they realize you’re trying to hawk it for $5. People use their children to wave in customers; the first half goes well, but by the final hour the children are lackluster and whiny. For drivers passing through it is a good excuse to stretch the legs, feign bartering skills, and pick up little knick-knacks and vases that your significant other will shake his or her head at.

And then, my readers, there is the estate sale: the unfortunate passing or retirement home move that forces weekend mansion owners and their families to sell the belongings out of the house. In Stowe you know one is happening by the watermelon colored sandwich board—don’t get it confused with a Lily Pulitzer sales sign—that leads the way through town and up steep, dirt hills, where you have to squish your car next to an unsightly Hummer who is taking up four, precious parking spots on an already tiny driveway.

The higher up the dirt road, the nicer the house and view, and if you can get there early enough a person could procure some very high end times (key term: weekend mansion) for do-able prices. There are always a plethora of books, especially travel reads, and if you need rusty tools you’ll find hefty ones in the garage, and for the sewing inclined the misses always have fabulously vintage dresses. Just be prepared to take the waist out, as it seems that people were tinier back in those days.

Just like visiting a thrift store, there are rude people ready to crowd your space. Hold your ground, even if out of spite, because good deals shouldn’t kill manners. Be prepared to take your time shifting through items. Go to the bathroom beforehand. Don’t grab anything to personal, too apt to retain any evil spirits or demons. Plastic cards hold no power: bring cash.

My estate sale finds: of course people can come away with big paintings, hutches, and rugs but as a young apartment dweller, I go for the little items.

I eat two eggs every day for breakfast. I always get them at brunch. I was so naive in my beliefs of what can and should be enveloped in the folds of an omelet. I must think outside the yoke.



I’ve heard of Animal Farm, but it wasn’t one of the books I read in high school. I figure that for $1 I can spare the time to become a satirically-informed citizen on totalitarianism, Stalin, and dystopian societies.



They don’t make dictionaries and cookware like they used it. Even though the pages are a little musty, and the handles on the baking dish are a bit stained, they’re both from an era where the word “planned obsolescece” was laughable, and your items could really take a beating.



For 50 cents each I became the unknowing owner of 2 crystal champagne glasses. My roommate revealed this to me when she made them sing majestically. I kicked myself for not buying the whole box and throwing a Gatsby party.

The champagne is also quite good!

The champagne is also quite good, though not to be confused with Cristal, as explicitly stated on the label.




2 thoughts on “Estate Sales

  1. great finds! I am an estate sale addict. The only problem is not getting there early enough (and in my area, if it’s a good estate sale, that would be like the day before, lol) and all the people in front of you buy everything in the house just to go and flip it on ebay or craigslist the next day. That makes me a little ill.

    • Selling stuff on Ebay used to bug me at Goodwill as well. Once I got a pair of Frye Campus boots for $5 (I kid you not!) and they were wayyy to tight so I did turn around and sell them for $120, but I so wanted to keep them. At the bigger estate sales people do apparently show up at 3am if they know there is really good art in the houses.

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