Cody and I have lots of adventures! And we love them! Recently we received an email (we are on several email lists for estate sales) for a barn estate sale which we knew would be good treasure hunting. The pictures for this sale looked amazing and I knew we needed to go early (doesn’t always happen with our kiddos). Thus we arranged for a babysitter to come to the house early to help with the girls while Cody and I went to the barn sale. There were 3 estate sales we planned to go to that morning…
Treasure Hunting Follie 1 – Where’s the Babysitter?!
‘A’ was up early that morning so we got her dressed and going with breakfast. ‘E’ was still asleep. The baby sitter was to arrive by 7am. I texted her at 6:30am to give her some directions about the girls for the morning. At 7:05am no sitter. I texted again asking if she was on her way. By 7:10am I was calling and it went straight to voicemail. Cody ran upstairs to wake ‘E’ while I got ‘A’ and I loaded in the truck.
As we pulled out of the driveway, our sitter called and explained that she was on her way and that her phone died overnight as the plugin didn’t work in her new dorm room. I told her I would text her the address and she was to meet us at the estate sale. She did great meeting us there, arriving before we did, and was savvy enough to get us a number for standing in line! Redeemed!
Treasure Hunting Follie 2 – Really, You Couldn’t See We Were Stopped?!
As we were driving to the sale, we were rearended at a stop light. I yelled some profanities and jumped out of the truck to inspect the damage. The person who hit us was in a little car. He hit the hitch of our truck with the bumper and license plate of his car. We both said we were good and I jumped back in the truck telling Cody anxiously to go! At this point, ‘A’ decided to berate me for a mile or so about how I am not to say bad words and that I had to put money in the jar at home. Good kid! Bad mom!
A Pleasant Surprise – Ah, Friends!
Once we arrived at the estate sale and got out, we were greeted by our friend Erin who had a booth next to us at The Vintage Market Days of North Central Colorado. Erin is a new employee for Every Little Thing Estate Sales. As we went to stand in line, we saw some of our other vendor friends who have great stores in the area, Merilan with Mericki’s and Becca’s Country (cute unique clothing and vintage home decor) as well as Mindy with Junk Wonderful (great shabby chic with elegant home decor). It was fun to see both of them and to talk about treasure hunting!
Mayhem – The Craze of Estate Sales
Estate Sales have a craziness to them. It is an hour to two hours of waiting in line, peering over shoulders, whispering, and then the rush in as the doors open! As seasoned estate sale shoppers, we have learned to take stickers with us that say SOLD and have our initials and phone number on them. That way, when you find big items you want, you slap the sticker on and move on. We have also learned to scope out the pictures online first and decide what the highest amount is we are willing to pay for something and what our priorities are. At this sale there were alot of great items like old church pews, an old mantel, stadium seating, trunks, and so much more!
We had a game plan. And as all plans go, sometimes you get detoured. We were number 27 in line which wasn’t bad but not great either. The instructions for this sale were to take the tag off an item if it was too big to carry and then, after you paid for it, you would collect your item. Sounded simple enough. Once we were let in, it was madness and a couple of the items we wanted were already taken or priced higher than we wanted to pay. This is how treasure hunting goes! We had decided to go to the first garage and then head back to the barn.
Treasure Hunting Follie 3 – Where’s Our Stuff?!
Once we got back to the barn, we found some skinny doors and old windows that were long, oval, and beveled.
We also found a corner hutch at a great price and an old butter churn that had staves like a wine barrel.
All of these were bigger than we wanted to carry so we grabbed the tags. We then went and collected some old galvanized buckets and did another walk through. There was a hutch, hoosier cabinet, and the mantel I was interested in but they were more than I wanted to pay. We decided to pass on the church pews as they take up a lot of space in the trailer and can be hit or miss for resale. The wood stadium seats were awesome looking but in rough shape and, while we don’t mind fixing things, these were more work than worth the return.
We decided to call it a day at this sale and move on to the next one. We paid for our items and pulled the truck loaded with kids and a sitter around to the loading area. As we went to get our windows and doors they were GONE!! More profanity under my breath from me! Cody and I split up to look for our items.
Upon an intial sweep we didn’t find them so I went to the owner who was running the check out and said something. I then kept looking and found a lady who had the windows in her stash. I explained to her that they were mine and that I had paid for them. She told me the price, at which point I showed her the tag and said, “I know” and took one of the windows. As I went back to get the other one, a friend of hers was blocking me to get the other one! I walked around her and took my other window.
As I was loading the windows in the truck, I saw Cody in the distance and he said he had found the doors. Thank goodness! Turns out the workers in the barn didn’t get the memo that customers were to pull the tags and were retagging items. We then headed back into the crowded barn and fenagled our butter churn and hutch out. Whew!
Good and Bad Estate Sales
There are good and bad estate sales. Overall I think Every Little Thing Estates does a very nice job. They are newer to this and still working out the kinks. One of our favorites is Nelson’s Closet. The ladies there do such a nice job. We headed to that one next with a short stop at another one on the way. The ‘other one’ was not great so we moved on.
At Nelson’s we found a couple items we were interested in but the price was too high. One of the things I love about Nelson’s is the bid box. You can put in a bid that is higher than 50% off and lower than the asking price. At the end of day one, they will call if you won the bid. We have gotten several items from Nelson’s this way. Cody found a beautiful gossip bench we put a bid on and I found a potting bench. We did buy some small vintage items and then headed home. Later that day we got a call that we had won the bid on both items, yippee!
Treasure Hunting Follie 3 – You Want Me to Give Away My Item?!
‘The next morning while we were gettting the girls ready early to go pick up our couple of bid items, I got a phone call from Nelson’s. They wanted to know if we would be willing to give up the gossip bench to another bidder who was in tears. Turns out it was her aunt’s estate and the only thing she wanted was the gossip bench. I told them I needed to talk to Cody and would call back.
After conferring with Cody and calling my mom, we decided to give up the gossip bench (I have two others stockpiled right now). It was a hard decision. We felt it wasn’t right to ask that of us. Why didn’t she just buy it at the asking price, why didn’t she get it before the sale? BUT we felt that we don’t know each person’s story. It was good karma for us to let the niece have her aunt’s piece. I had to put myself in the niece’s shoes and think about how I would feel about a business saying no and just turning it for profit to some random stranger. I would be heartbroken.
When we arrived, one of the owners of the estate sale business gave me a big hug and said thank you! She explained that isn’t the way they normally operate and she really appreciated it. I appreciate that they are a group of quality women who are honest and do what is morally right. We found a couple more small treasures at 50% off and were on our way.
While there were some follies, it made for one of our more adventurous treasure hunting trips! And I love a good story!
Happy Treasure Hunting!