I think it is well established on this little blog that I love a good estate sale. (little gems have been found here, here and here) But I now believe those were all just to prep me for the real deal because over the past several weeks St. Louis has had the trifecta of estate sales. Two design mavens/shop owners that have been local favorites for decades just had estate sales at their homes. And one of them had another retirement/estate sale at her store as well. It was simply wonderful.

We are talking 40 plus years of accumulated awesomeness. Beautiful old homes, upholstered walls, custom drapes in every room and lights you just can't find anymore. Heavenly.

I would have gotten more pictures, but these sales are crazier than a Justin Bieber concert and I had to keep my game face on lest someone would steal my stash right out from under me. I've seen it happen.

I was luck enough to get two killer bamboo pieces at the first sale - the fire screen I used in my Christmas mantel this year

as well as this bamboo side table. Pennies on the dollar people. They were $10 and $20 I believe.

At the next sale I snatched this slipcovered arm chair for $35 that I shared on Instagram. That is a Lee Industries chair in excellent condition with fabulous down cushions. I pet her each and every day. I've named her Sonja.

I also came home with tons of great trim, fabric, decorating books, teapots, and silver. Good god do I love a great estate sale! So how do I find these and what do I do when I go?

- Estatesales.net.
You can search for sales by zip code and most will show pictures of items and give a laundry list of what to expect. If the sale is in a good neighborhood, go. If you see things on the list that interest you, go.

- Fight or flight.
If you know there is something there that you want, go early and stand in line. Bring your cash, or a check if they'll take one (it will say on estatesales.net) and turn on your tunnel vision, making a b-line for the piece as soon as you walk in the door. If you don't see anything particular but it looks to be a good house or the sale is given by a good company, go an hour or so after the sale starts to avoid the lines. There will still be tons of great things to find and you won't have to stand outside in the rain with the weirdos (me).

- Make friends.
Get to know the people giving the sale(s). Most of them have email lists, Facebook pages or mailing lists that you can join to know about sales that aren't publicized and get early entrance to some. This is how I knew about two of the last sales I went to.

-Sunday is deal day.
Saturday is when the big stuff goes. Quickly. Sometimes you are able to possibly get the price down a bit ("Is this the best you can do?" is my standard line) on Saturday but Sunday is the day to wheel and deal. Typically everything will be 50% off. If you can hold out and want to play the odds on something, go Sunday morning first thing and see what you can do. That is how I got the arm chair. It was still there at the end of the sale on Saturday so I figured my odds were pretty good to get it for 50% off the next day. So I went bright and early (in a snow storm) and laid claim on Sonja. The sales lady told me that several people that had their eye on the chair and were coming after church to get it. I skipped church that day because I'm a heathen chair hoarder.

-Enjoy the view
I've been to many a sale where I walked out empty handed or even knew before I went that there would be nothing for me. But the house. I had to see the house. If you are a house lover/stalker like me, think of it as an open house without having to lie to a real estate agent about why you are there.

-Kiss the frog
As my grandmother said, you've got to kiss a lot of frogs to find that prince. Sales can be a big bust but the more you go to, the more you'll get a feel for the ones that you know will be good. And when you hit a good one, all of those frogs are worth it.

What about you? Do you go to estate sales? Ever found any big scores? Wanna go trolling with me some weekend?


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