Every piece of furniture in my house has come from an estate sale, thrift store, or antique store. Or Craigslist. Really, buying new furniture in Cleveland isn’t the smartest choice, considering you can get really great quality vintage/antique stuff for so much less than buying new from even cheapy furniture stores like Ikea and World Market.
So, the art of the estate sale. Most sales open Thursday or Friday. If there’s a sale I find that has amazing stuff, I will try to flex my time at work and go on the first day. When a sale says “numbers at 9, opens at 10″ or something like that, it means you go pick up a number and that is the order in which you will go. It makes much more sense for you to wake up early and get a good number (most house sales will let 15 or 20 people in at a time, depending on the size of the house) then go when it opens and be stuck with number 112 and wait two hours. Alex and I spotted this Danish modern chair we NEEDED for our living room. We went to the sale ridiculously early (like left our house at 8am when numbers were given at 9:30), got number 2 and 3, and discovered number 4 also wanted the chair. Alex scoped the house out while we waited, knew where the chair was, and grabbed it. Had we not arrived so early, number 4 would have had our chair.
The downside, however, is that most estate sales attract a number of dealers who stock the resale vintage shops all over the city. They will be there extremely early for good sales (sales with lots of mid century, shabby chic, high end, digouts) and you can basically forget about getting the good stuff if you aren’t.
So where do you find out about these estate sales? Most companies list on this website and some are listed on Craigslist, particularly sales that are ran by a family member rather than a hired company. By the way, those sales are often AWESOME because the family member doesn’t know how to price stuff and often has no idea what they have. They’re risky, though, because they don’t really have pictures of the stuff so you don’t know what you’re getting into until you get there. Also, they almost always take cash only (not even checks) and I always find myself running short on the cash I need. Most professional estate sale companies will at least take personal checks and many take credit cards but charge an additional fee.
Happy hunting, peeps.