You already know that estate sales are where vintage buyers go to find the "good stuff" -- well-priced antiques straight from the homes that housed them. If you're not necessarily into retro collectibles, you may have driven past sales without a second thought. But, estate sales can be a great place to find more everyday items for a super-cheap price.
Some pro tips before you hunt: Make sure to always have cash on-hand, because you're in for a house-sized garage sale. While estate sale organizers may accept credit cards, you can often get the best deal with cash. If you're not one to scour Craigslist, sign up for a site like EstateSales.Net, which can send you a newsletter with fresh listings.
Ready to get started this weekend? Here's what to take a second glance at -- along with what to pass on.
Silverware: The real thing can be pricey when new, but you can often find whole sets for a fraction of the cost. You can also find less-precious (but stylish) sets of everyday flatware for far less than, say, Target prices.
Big Furnishings: Older can be better when it comes to furniture, particularly when we're talking about pieces like bureaus, tables and shelving units. You'll generally find solid wood furniture that's been lovingly kept up at these sales, for what you'd basically pay at IKEA.
Dishware: Whether it's fine china or a fine piece to eat take-out on, you can find dishes at a steal.
Tablecloths (And Other Niceties): If you ever need to pass yourself off as a more civilized person, here's where you find your props.
Glassware: Some of us have never paid more than $1 for glasses (or barware). You can find colorful vintage pieces, or plain old pint glasses.
Bonus Tip For The Ladies: Jewelry!
Though we would never come between anyone and their dream 1960s sofa, there are a few things you should generally skip:
Big Appliances You don't really have a chance to make sure they work properly. And, no warranty means no guarantee.
Upholstered Furnishings One word: Bedbugs. Though we take a more cautious (paranoid) stance on that topic, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Cookware Take a very, very close look before you tote that darling enamelware fondue pot home. If there's even a tiny chip, you run the risk of enamel spoiling your cheese heaven.