Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do you enjoy estate sales?

Do you like to go to Estate Sales? I really don't enjoy them that much for several reasons.

  • It's usually very crowded
  • The stuff is usually priced pretty high
  • It kinda makes me sad some of the time
Even though I like garage sales better, I usually don't miss too many estate sales. This past weekend I went to an estate sale of my aunt. She was married to my dad's brother, who died in the 80's. The story is really aunt died a few days before her daughter, my first cousin. My cousin lost her life to breast cancer after a 4 year battle with the disease. We had reconnected in recent years....mostly through funerals of family members. Also, we talked on the phone during the aftermath of Katrina and emailed occasionally.

My cousin was an only child, and left behind a husband and two grown sons. I have been checking the paper on a regular basis for information on my aunt's estate sale...and the ad finally popped up this weekend. I have tried to email her son-in-law on a couple of occasions, but didn't get a response.

Your probably wondering where I'm going with all this! To be honest, this estate sale made me sad. Pictures of my uncle were out for the public to buy as well as lots of other old pictures. The guy doing the sale said that he had thrown away lots of pictures. It just made me sad that no one wanted these pictures, and of course I wonder if some of our family photos ended up in the trash! I hope that maybe they were overlooked when the family got what they wanted out of the house.

Here are some things of my aunt's that I bought: A vase, some brass book ends, and the pictures.

The guy in charge of the sale basically gave me the pictures since he gave me a package deal on all the stuff. The box of pictures is full of people I don't know. I didn't see any of our family photos in there. I don't know what I'll do with these old pictures....I've been told that people use old black and white photos to decoupage. If you have any ideas...please tell me. I'm not going to throw them in a garbage can!

Oh well, I'm sure I'll go back to the next estate sale. I prefer garage sales, but I guess I'm scared I'll miss something! Like this cute little table......

My cousin Amber, who happens to read this blog, noticed this and bought it at my aunt's sale. It is really cute! I'm surprised it was still there since the sale had been going on for a while before she and her husband came. She got it for a great price too. Maybe after she gets it decorated she'll send me another picture.

Hope you have a great day!


Dawn said...

Years ago I dated someone who went to estate sales all the time. I went to several with him. I haven't been in years and years.

I have photos of my grandmother's that are of people I don't know. I have a hard time getting rid of them because they are special to someone, even if I never know who that is!

I'll bet going to an estate sale of a family member is very hard. I'm sorry you were feeling sad.

take care,

Darlene said...

I have only been to a couple of them...I have found like you said they tend to be priced a little high to me. And yes, the pictures do make me sad know, who are these people?. They were special to someone at sometime. Looks like a nice vase and bookends but I am no help at all with what to do with all the pictures. I know there is some kind of project out there.

Your cousin did get a cute little table....maybe she will show you what she does with it.

Sue said...

I feel the same as you about estate sales being pricey but I still go and hope to find something. My sister-in-law has old pictures displayed in one of her rooms and some are of relatives but there are some that I asked who they were and she said, "I don't know---I just liked them because they were old!" Guess you can just have old pictures!

SmilingSally said...

I've never been to an estate sale, but I've never been to a garage sale either! It would be sad to see family things being tossed aside.

Grandma Faith said...

I know what you mean. I have had tears come to my eyes at estate sales, too. I just try to think of it as helping people out at a hard time in their lives. I know I would be glad if somebody got some good out of my stuff here on earth after I'm in heaven. I'm off to school to sub another day.

Victoria said...

That is so sad about the pictures!

I, like you, don't really like Estate Sales either. It's kinda sad to walk through someone's house and pick over what was near and dear to them. They also seem so overpriced.

Thanks for visiting Christina's & my blog!

Lindsey said...

I'd really like to go to an estate sale, but haven't figured out how people know about them other than the paper (which I don't get). Still, throwing pictures away seems so sad...there should be a website so some of these pictures can go home!

nikkicrumpet said...

It's sad that someone overlooked the photos and they got thrown away. We are losing our heritage every day. I wonder why nobody has a love of their own family history. I'm so glad you saved the pictures that you did. I'm sure those people had some stories to tell!

pammiejo said...

I'm the same way. I try to go to estate sales of friends' parents and buy something just to have a memory. I've gone to the estate sales of my aunt and then an uncle and come home with family treasures that I've used and loved. There is a certain amount of sadness in it - a lifetime of memories gone, just like that! I also don't understand why people don't treasure their parents' "stuff".

Bo said...

I agree with your evaluation of pricey estate sales...and I have wondered about the photographs left behind at these sales...why didn't some family member want them? Auctioneers call these "instant ancestors" when they auction boxes of them off...sad! ;-) Bo

Gretchen said...


I went to an estate sale not long ago and it really did make me sad. I bought cookbooks and they had little notes to the ladys daughter inside. I just wanted to cry that her daughter didn't even keep the.


Anonymous said...

Diane, I so understand your feelings about estate sales. I have had similar experiences with family estate sales. The sadness of strangers looking through personal items and having no connection that a person once loved and treasured those items. sigh. I am glad you picked up some items for a memory. In my experience the old photos have to be special to be of interest to anyone. Such as; weddings,old cars, beach or vacation outings, vintage things like old bikes, carriages and babies or small children. Maybe that will help you decide what to do.

Hugs, Jeanne

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Estate sales always make me sad when I go to them . I love your vase you got.

Alexandra MacVean said...

I love estate sales, although it's been awhile since I've been to one. I love the vase you found. :)

CIELO said...

Estate sales made me sad. They made me think about life as an everlastingly closing stage. The thought made me sad. Instead of seeing an opportunity for a great buy, I merely see the passing of a life, like a story fading in the dust; forgotten for ever. I tent to see what lay behind every object, rather than the object I'm buying... who were the owners, did they leave a meaningful live, were they happy, unhappy? I'm too sentimental I guess--That's why I never go. :)

Have a blessed day...


Marie said...

Oh this post makes me so sad! I'm sorry about your family photos. I've only been to one estate sale. They didn't have a lot left once we got there... I felt weird like we were joining in on the ransacking of someone's house. I know a lot of people enjoy them, but I'm with you on this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Diane
Yes, I think estate sales are sad as are auction sales for estates. All those worldly possessions and they don't mean a thing to other people...and I guess thats just how it is. I would feel saddened too if it were members of my family.
I'm glad you picked up some pretty things.

Have a lovely day..

Jean said...

I love estate/ household sales because they seem to have more of the older things that I like. I do understand the sadness tho. I bought a handmade christening dress years ago because it broke my heart that no one in the family wanted it. Jean

Steve Buser said...

I like to go near the end of the sale, when they have come back to reality about the worth of their treasures.

Anonymous said...

I've only been to a couple of our family's estate sales. Those were poignant times. We have family photos from J's mother and a few from my mother.

Only one other estate sale comes to mind. Although we've been to several auctions when folks were selling the farm and belongings and moving to a smaller home. Sometimes, those are sad, too.

Nola said...

So sad about those photos. I once went to a sale and bought a lady's photos, I just couldn't stand the thought that her photos were for sale and nobody wanted them. I also got some other neat stuff, and I displayed it with her photos. Someone should care enough to remember her, even if it is only me!

bloggin' Chrystal said...

I like that table too! think she wants to sell it? LOL!

Blogger said...

I love estate sales!

You know what is funny? The lady across the street from us in our old house...well, she died (not funny), but at her estate sale was a small wallet sized frame with a Xmas photo of my family in it! She must have framed it from the card I gave her! Too funny!

I can't believe no one in the family wanted the pics...I am glad you got alot of them :)


Nancy Rosalina said...

Diane, I am the same way when it comes to estate sales! It's so sad that someone collects all those items over the years...they use them to decorate or entertain and they love those things now, that person has left this world and all that STUFF means nothing to them...I have never been to a personal family member estate sale..that would be too hard.

Picket said...

Hello...hello....hello! Oh I have missed you girl....I have never been to an estate would be too sad for me...I am so sorry about your aunt..seems like it has been a sad week for alot of folks...I do so thank you girl for praying & lifting me & my family up this week..may God richly bless you girl...Hope you have a great Friday!

Nicole said...

I do enjoy estate sales, but I can totally see where you are coming from. I am alway surprised when I see old historic family picture, it surprises me that family members dont' want them. I guess there isn't always family members around though. I always wonder how the original owners of this property would feel.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post, I appreciate reading the thoughts of a family member about their experience of estate sales...

I have been conducting estate sales in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 13 years.

I have witnessed the reactions that you and your readers have had many times at the estate sales I have managed.

I have several ways that I look at the photographs.

Each commemorates an event in time.

Some events seem to be more memorable than others to surviving family members.

There is a certain amount of photo duplication in families - in other words many of the photos that you find at estate sales have duplicates in the collections of other family members.

Black and white photos are more interesting to estate sale shoppers than color photos.

It is surprising to me how many recent photos find there way into estate sales.

We almost never include recent or color photos in our estate sales.

Some photos have a monetary value that contributes income to the estate. Some estates actually need this income.

One of the things that is clear to me is that a lot of the sadness that you and your readers experience at estate sales can in part be mitigated by hiring a competent and professional estate liquidator - who will make sure to always stage, and arrange all estate sale items neatly.

Thank You