Thursday, June 24, 2010

Estate Saling With Kids--Some Advice & Some Treasures

Friday mornings are made for estate sales.  I don't know how I missed this valuable information all those years I had summers off as a teacher, but I am still rather torn up about it.  When James was a baby, I ventured out to a few, but just never got into a groove.
Again, a sad loss.
I didn't even try with 2.
But then I had 3, and I have found that with more kids comes more courage, or insanity--you decide-- and so now, I hit the estate sales with 3 little ones in tow and people look at me like I have lost my mind.

It isn't easy.  I started about 6-7 months ago.  And even though I was completely exhausted after my first sale, I was also hooked.  Oh the finds!  So I went back for more.  And I got wiser to the whole scene.
Here is what I have learned.
You can't use a stroller.  
So be ready with a big, sturdy bag to hang over one arm and to carry your toddler in the other.
No one is going to be happy to see you taking up so much room in the halls of a small house with 3 kids + yourself.  
So just be ready with a smile and a little bit of sass to push your way through.
The kitchen is a great place for small, light, affordable and often vintage items.
So go there first.
The garage is often a treasure trove of dusty, overlooked beauties.
Don't overlook it.
Don't look at everything just for yourself--think gifts, dress up box, that kitchen tool you don't want to buy new from William's Sonoma.
I have been in need of a citrus reamer--got one for a quarter.  A vintage Fisher Price puzzle will make a great birthday gift--50 cents.  Save money and get creative at the same time.
Keep your kids next to you.
Estate sales are often run by the same people and they won't mind you coming back if you keep an eye on your kids.
Stop for donuts on the way.
I just discovered this trick last week.  We got donuts on the way, and once there, I sat them in the back yard, out of the way, gave them their donuts and dashed in and out of the house looking at things and checking on the kids continuously.  I know that contradicts the previous advice.  But this was a trial run and it worked marvelously.  
*To clarify this point (due to some complaints regarding this advice) my kids were never out of my sight.  I was in the living room, a few steps from them, not in some back room pawing through boxes of old sweaters.  I would never leave my kids in some place full of strangers where I could not see them, or get to them right away.  And I am certainly not advocating that you do so.*

So with those in mind, if you have a spare minute tomorrow, find and estate sale and just look at what you might find!

Vintage green and white cups.  4 for a $1.
Perfect for tea parties on the back porch.

Vintage salad spinner.  I love the orange inside.  The top is brown.  So 70s.
And so much cheaper than buying a new one--which I have been in need of. $3
 Favorite find from the garage--vintage afghan.  
It is just perfect for a little girl who is now sleeping in her very own big girl bed.

This afghan is a match made in heaven for her rickrack pillowcase and her crochet bunny.
And again, much cheaper than buying a new comforter from Target, or IKEA and much, much cheaper than Boodalee.  (although I admit I would love some of their bedding)
And really, isn't it fun to know you found something totally unique and even handmade for a song?  Now she's sleeping in a flower garden!

I hope you get to hit an estate sale, garage sale or tag sale this weekend.  If you can't make it on a Friday, go Saturday.  You're still sure to find a treasure.
Happy hunting!
Love from,

PS.  Any friends who use Blogger out there?  I could use your help.  I switched my post editor to be able to easily make my pictures larger, but now it cuts off the horizontal pictures.  Grrr.  And, when I tried to switch them back down to a smaller size, the will only be left justified.  Double Grrrr.  Anyone with great techie skills have advice for me?  I need it!  Thanks.


Shannon said...

Cute finds! Regarding the Blogger issue...

On your dashboard, click on Design. There will then be a link called "edit HTML" under the design tab. In all that code you see, scroll to "outer-wrapper", "main-wrapper", and side-wrapper". You will see the width measurements under these. Increase your main wrapper number a bit until your pictures are not cut off. The outer wrapper is the width of your main and sidebar combined. So then you will need to adjust the outer wrapper so your sidebar isn't too narrow. Let me know if this confuses you, or if you run into a problem. :)

Shannon said...

Oh, one more thing. Once you have finished adjusting your outer wrapper to a width that works for you, you can then go to the "header-wrapper" section and change the width to the same number you chose for your outer wrapper. That way your heading will line up to the body of your blog. But since you have an image there, if you do want it to be the same width, you may have to re-size your photo to fill the box.

Jennifer said...

I couldn't figure this out either. The above advice looks like it would work. But to me... it looks a bit confusing. Therefore... my lazy solution was to make my borders WHITE. Lame, perhaps. But it worked for me. Perhaps I will bump into you tomorrow. Have fun.

Katie @ minivan diva said...

Oh Greta, we all know from your blog and just in general what a FABULOUS and protective mom you are. You don't have to have a disclaimer about the donuts. We moms know you'd never let your precious kiddos out of your sight.

I love your finds. Thanks for sharing!

Much love,

Heather @ Life Made Lovely said...

i need to try estate sales. i never really think of them because i have my favorite thrift store in the front of my thrifty mind, but i need to change that. i love the hunt!! and i love how much cheaper those prices are. :)

my advice about the blogger stuff...switch to minima stretch. it's the lazy girls version of changing up the html yoursefl. plus it fills the screen better because it allows photos to be much larger, which then gets rid of the wasted space that comes with the minima style.

i'd be happy to help if you need it. just email me, friend.

have a happy night!

Betsi* said...

You are an awesome mom and I would never ever accuse you of being inattentive!!
With that said, here's one of my estate sale rules with my kiddos:
Before we enter the house all littles must show me their hands and then stick them in their pockets. If their hands stay in their pockets the whole time then we can stop at the Dollar Tree afterward for a cheap treat for good behavior!

Christ in the Chaos said...

I'm so inspired! I might just leave the kids behind though or maybe when school starts I'll just go with two.
I need some inspiration for my laundry room