What to Snag at a Tag Sale

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If you’ve ever been to an estate sale, sometimes known as “Tag Sale”, then you know that it’s a lot more than just old baby clothes and yesteryear toaster ovens that you can find at your run-of-the-mill garage or yard sale. Estate sales are when a family or estate needs to completely liquidate their belongings due to circumstances such as divorce, bankruptcy, downsizing, or even death. And although the reasons for having estate sales are most oftentimes unpretty, the items for sale can be very appealing. 

    For vintage-lovers, estate sales are a treasure cove for finding antiques at awesome prices straight from the homes that held them since their original purchase. Some people make entire careers from hunting down estate sales through Craigslist listings or EstateSales.Net email alerts. But, for other folks, you actually can find a lot of really great everyday furnishings, clothing and household items for pennies on the dollar. (But, you also can find a lot of useless stuff, too.)

    Here are some items to keep your eyes peeled for when hitting up your next estate sale, whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced estate sale enthusiast. 


Most estate sales will feature full sets of timeless or irreplaceable dishware. Whether it’s tacky 60’s orange and yellow floral print casserole dishes reminiscent of our own grandmother’s old set or century-old silver serving trays; these items can be worth way more than their ticketed value. At the very least, you bring home an extra set of plates for entertaining those dinner parties you only hold every once in a blue moon without shelfing out a whole lot of cash on something that sits on the shelf 360 days out of the year. 

Large Furniture

Buying new furniture made to look old or buying vintage pieces from upscale consignment stores can be very pricey. When it comes to bookshelves, dressers, tables and items of the like; buying from estate auctions can be the best bang for your buck. After all, you can get high quality items for about the cost of stuff you get at Ikea (and save yourself the agony of having to try to figure out how to put those 9,000 teeny tiny pieces together.) However, upholstered furnishings may be something to skip if you’re paranoid about germs (or if you’re paranoid about bedbugs.)

Barware or glassware

The people I know with the most stunning sets of eclectic barware are people who have acquired them through tag sales. You can get everything from plain drinking glasses to elaborate textured liquor bottles, wine gauntlets, martini mixers and more. Again, for items you may only use a few times a year like for your rare dinner parties; buying these items at auction can really be worth your efforts. 


Whether your motto is that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” or have been dying to start your own Etsy jewelry boutique, finding priceless pieces of jewelry is a huge draw to estate sales. Whether it be a highly valuable 14k gold bangle or costume pieces clearly dated to the disco era, there are certain treasures that you can find within an estate auction that you won’t find in the window of Zales or the display cases at the department store. 


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