Shop Like A Pro: Estate Sale Shopping Tips

Rae Jean Carter has been coming to Queen B Organizing estate sales since she moved to Corvallis in 2014.  

“I made friends with the owner and then I met these people,” Carter says, pointing to her two friends. “Now it’s a thing.”

When she says it’s a thing, she’s referring to their regular meetups at the sales. Carter and other “Regulars” make the sales as much about community as they do shopping. 

“I’ve met some nice people and we’ve become friends,” says Sharon, another regular who didn’t give her last name. 

In addition to visiting with her friends, Ann Leen comes for the sale. “[The prices] are very fair and the sales are very organized,” she says.

Regular Charlie Pebenito echos this sentiment. He says “they are more organized than a thrift store or rummage sale.”

If you are new to estate sale shopping, check out these tips from Queen B Organizing and the Regulars. These tips apply to all estate sales, however we also include details particular to our sales.

Photo Credit: Oregon Media Group

Plan Ahead & Go Early

Look at photos before going to get a sense of what is for sale. Remember which rooms your favorite items are in and start in those areas. Other people may want the same items, so get in line early to increase your chances of being the first to pick it up.

“Focus on one thing at first. Don’t get overwhelmed about all the options,” said Pebenito.

Queen B puts a list of items on the website by Wednesday and photos on Craigslist, Facebook and Instagram on Thursdays.


Be respectful of the neighbors by not parking in front of driveways, mailboxes and garbage cans. Be prepared to park down the street or around the corner and walk to the house if it’s a busy time of day.

Measure Ahead

If you are looking for furniture, it helps to measure your space before leaving home. Also know your vehicle’s dimensions. Bring a tape measure so you can quickly figure out if the item will fit in your vehicle or if you need to come back with a bigger one.

Ask About Deals

Ask if there are any discount days, layaways or auctions. Each estate sale company has a different process. At Queen B estate sales, items $45 or less are half price on the last day. There is a bidding process, too. Talk to the employees at the cash register to learn about the process and submit a bid.


Find out in advance what type of payments are accepted. You don’t want to leave that treasure behind because you didn’t take cash out of the bank. Queen B accepts cash, check and credit card with a 4% fee.

Estate sales are a great place to find collectibles. Photo credit: Queen B Organizing

Enjoy Yourself

Most importantly, enjoy the experience. You will find many practical things, such as small kitchen appliances, linens and clothing. However make sure you have time and cash for the unexpected items. You might find something from childhood that you wish your parents never gave away or maybe you will find pieces you are missing from a collection. 

“I look for children’s vintage and antique books. I like the treasure hunt,” Sharon said.

In addition to finding something that makes you smile, you might make new friends. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check out our webpage for upcoming sale dates and locations.