Estate sale bargains: Some deals are better than others


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Nearly every community or town has one or two estate sales every weekend, sometimes even more.

Estate sales are sometimes referred to as “tag sales” because everything that’s for sale is tagged with a price. Some estate sale deals are better than others.


Furniture is at the top of the list for deals.

Whether you’re furnishing an entire house or just a guest room, frequenting estate sales is one way to get good furniture cheap. But be choosy.

Look for signs of quality like solid wood construction and dovetail joints.

One word of caution: Never buy upholstered furniture without first giving it a smell test — a nose-to-the-fabric sniff. for cigarette, mold and pet odors.


A couple of generations ago, folks fixed things instead of replacing them.

To keep everything in tip-top shape, homeowners had a small stockpile of tools.

They can be purchased for a bargain at estate sales where there might be a basement workshop filled with essential tools.

Some may need a bit of cleaning, but vintage pieces by Craftsman and Stanley are well-made and likely have years of faithful service left in them.


Ever notice that new towels don’t absorb as well as vintage ones? Their material just doesn’t have the same “thirsty” quality that older towels have.

Some older folks reserved their “good” towels for visitors or never used them. My mom was like that.

Not only are some big bath and hand towels perfectly preserved, they’ll last forever and can be had for pennies on the dollar.

So at estate sales make a beeline to the linen closets and bathrooms.


Flatware or silverware – whether you’re looking for stainless steel, silver plate or sterling, estate sales are the perfect place to find cutlery.

Stainless steel sets from the 1960s and ’70s typically were made of heavier gauge metal and have more interesting designs than contemporary options.

Cleaning supplies

Since many estate sales are wholesale liquidations of everything that’s in a home, you can score great deals on practical items like cleaning supplies at estate sales.

Brooms, buckets, window cleaner, disinfectant, and squeegees when these types of items are donated to thrift stores, they usually don’t make it onto the shelves they’re so popular and a real bargain.

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