March 19, 2010

Lessons Learned: Estate Sales

This weekend was my first time at an estate sale, something that I've wanted to do for a while just to check it out and see if I could find a diamond in the rough... but it's not what I expected. When my grandparents downsized, I vauglely remember my parents and their siblings going through everything they had collected through the years, hauling it to an auction site and then having a bidding auction. Maybe that's how they do things in smaller towns, but apparently not in a city (which is a good thing, I don't think I'd be very successful bidding on items).
An estate sale in KC is pretty much a glorified garage sale, where you walk through the home and everything has a price on it. Furniture, sheets, toys, canned goods, spices, etc. It's a little weird. Somehow I feel bad about it, this is where a person lived and now there's a crowd of bargain shoppers looking to score a sweet deal. Weird.

Here are some lesson's I learned:
1. Get there early.
2. Prices are as marked on Friday, Saturday most things go for half price.
3. Try to haggle (especially on the 2nd day and at the end of the day)
4. Don't buy a cloth item from a stinky house. I bought a cute clutch from a house that smelled terrible and now I'm having a terrible time getting that funk out. Any suggestions?
5. It's the thrill of the hunt, sometimes you leave with a couple great finds, other times nothing. Don't buy just because you haven't found something you loved.

Also, I've realized sometimes a new piece of furniture or artwork is all it takes to make the world right again. I have a great living situation, a great roommate, a great apartment complex, great apartment facilities, and a great shared rent price. But I've still been itching to get out on my own. I've never lived on my own and now would be the time to get that experience. I've done cost analysis and created spreadsheets all to prove to myself living with a roommate and staying put is a good financial decision, but it still doesn't fulfill that desire to be on my own.
It really all comes down to the fact that I want to design and decorate my own space, with my own personal flair and style. With my new china hutch in place, I feel like our living room is much more put together, much more me, much more adult... it just feels better. Also, with the shelving unit in my bedroom, I now have space for the letterpress posters that I've wanted to hang, but didn't have the space for previously. It's crazy how this one piece (turned into two) can completely change my outlook on my living situation into something I love again. Although, I would love to see the new china hutch in front of a bright navy wall...


KleinsteMotte said...

Few people are leaving comments. I will try to get to you. Would you return the favour. Blogging is more fun when readers are there for support. Looking forward to more from you.

Amy M said...

I feel the exact same way about having my own space. I will this June, for the first time in my life, have a 3 bedroom apartment ALL TO MYSELF. I absolutely cannot wait! And I spend a minimum of 62% of my free time every day either shopping, blogging, or thinking about the design for my new place.

The hutch looks amazing, and sprucing up what you've got is always fun!

If you are in Iowa City next year, call me up, and I'll happily serve you something delicious to eat and drink in my new apartment!

Amy Maltry