Estate-sale treasures worth hunting, Part I

Estate-sale season is upon us, and I could not be more excited. Nothing makes my heart race like a good estate sale. Remember, estate sales are superior to garage sales because an estate sale liquidates a homeowner’s good stuff, while a garage sale features someone’s throwaways. No garage sales for me.

Having said that, this week I’m sharing three things I’ll be searching out at estate sales this spring, and next week I’ll share three more.

Small clocks. I’ve got a good little collection going, and a sweet, classic clock looks good anywhere. Group five or seven together, and now we’re REALLY talking. You should be able to find small clocks for $10 or less, whether they work or not. And if they’re cute, I don’t care if they work anyway because I buy them for their looks (but have better luck negotiating about the price).

Midcentury furniture. Generally speaking, members of the “greatest generation,” or those who lived through World War II, do not know the treasure they have in their midcentury stuff. Use that to your advantage and go find some beautiful dressers for cheap! I have two in my home that cost hardly anything. And remember, old furniture is often made of wood. I always check drawers to see if they’ve got dovetail joints or if they’re made of particle board. If the latter is present, I usually pass. Then again, if the piece has lasted since the ’60s, you might be okay. Also note that laminate is much more difficult to paint than wood. Many midcentury pieces have wood veneer or laminate that doesn’t take paint as readily, so if you can find furniture in a finish you like and in good condition, buy it immediately. Midcentury pieces play well with lots of furniture styles.

Amateur art. I am obsessed with original art, and I’ve been surprised by how many beautiful pieces I’ve found at estate sales, sometimes for only a couple bucks. I’m telling you, friends, buy them all! Especially if they’re large scale and come with a frame. Original art makes a home feel unique because nobody’s going to have the same art hanging on their walls.

Have a happy weekend! •

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