I'm interrupting my Women in Jazz series to help make a positive change in your life.
I'm going to provide you with some invaluable tips about how to shop at estate sales.
Because when it comes to hitting up estate sales, I'm a fucking genius.
You're probably thinking, "But Jennifer, you're a fucking genius at everything!"
Touché, my friend, touché.
This is my story, take from it what you will. Or don't.
I grew up going to estate sales, because I have a mother who is a bargain-obsessed shopaholic. It wasn't until five or six years ago that I realized estate sales were perfect hunting ground for vintage fashion.
When going to an estate sale, it is imperative that you go on the first day.
If you do not, everything even remotely decent will be gone. All of the poor people, hipsters, vintage resellers, and fashionistas will have ransacked the house, leaving behind nothing but rusted crock pots and ridiculously-priced Victorian couches. Trust me.
Also, it is vital that you hit up estate sales in ritzy neighborhoods. In my city, there are a few parts of town filled with sprawling mansions, home to some of the richest people in America.
In the past five years, I have purchased the following at these high-end estate sales: a vintage Louis Vuitton bag, brand new Kate Spade bag, three Prada skirts, an Hermes scarf, Prada bag, vintage fur coat, emerald and sapphire necklace, emerald ring, and Free People skirt. These items ranged from $5 to $100.
If you see an item you want, but do not want to pay full-price, you must hide it. Because you will be able to go back the next day and get that item for half-off. I suggest discretely slipping the item into the nearest bathroom and placing it underneath the sink, because no one ever looks there. Or, a drawer in the bathroom. Once you start getting the hang of this process, you can be more creative and find even better hiding spots.
I did that last year with an Etro skirt and a fish purse. I ended up getting both for $12 on the 75 percent off day, because I hid them in a floorboard. This is a big deal because moments before, there had been three women fighting over that fish purse. I have only used the fish purse once in the past year, but it was worth every penny knowing that I now own something other women wanted.
If the house seems like the person who lives inside of it is crazy, or mentally unstable, you need to go there immediately. Nine times out of ten, those make the best estate sales, if not merely for entertainment value.
I've been to a sale run by two middle-aged women who were obsessed with Native Americans. Their entire house was filled with ancient arrowheads, decorative spears, and ugly ass paintings of warrior chiefs. It was the creepiest place in the world.
I've been to a sale run by a theater professor who once had Tom Hanks as a student. His entire house was filled with Hollywood memorabilia, which honestly should have been in a museum.
And most importantly HAVE FUN. Take a friend! Estate sale shopping is one of the coolest things on earth. Sometimes you score a deal. Sometimes you find a gem. Sometimes you don't. But the hunt is the best part. Not knowing what you're going to find is what makes it great.
I hope my tips help you!
**Update: Someone asked where to find estate sales. Just check the classified section of your local newspaper!**