Estate Sales

Photography: Amelia Earhart Luggage at the Red Caboose Motel

by Jamie Sanford on December 21, 2015

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Will really likes trains, so I try and take him to as many interesting train things as I can. This trip was a surprise, and included the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, a train ride, and a stay in the Red Caboose Motel! All images taken with the Sony NEX-6.

I took some photos of one of my top 5 estate sale purchases while we were gone – meet the Amelia Earhart carry-on bag.


Here is the door to our room, cabin #1!

I really appreciated that the wheel there matched one of my all-time favorite estate sale purchases, and one of the best deals ever.

Look at how shiny the zipper is, and the general amazingness of the condition of the faux leather. I found this bag in what is called a “digger” – a house FULL of stuff that makes you work to find treasures. I saw this color peeking out in a pile of bags, and once I realized it was still tagged and unused, I knew I wanted it.

I also paid $2 for this bag. It was crazy. I later found out that this series of luggage branded with her name was produced in the 50s and 60s for the Baltimore Luggage Company. This bag held everything we needed for an overnight stay. (Here’s one in green on Etsy.)

I have another estate sale find that I will feature soon on the blog.

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Estate Sale Survival Kit

by Jamie Sanford on April 22, 2015

It’s been at least 2 years since I started going to estate sales here in New Jersey. I don’t know what it was that led me to, but I fell into the vortex and was quickly hooked. Last year, after my BFF David moved back here from California, we started a weekend ritual of trolling all of the local estate sales for treasures. Will joined in soon enough, and we have had 2 guest sailors who have come to visit and requested to come along with us.

My preferred term is “estate sailing.”

So, in the midst of going to more than 100 estate sales in the course of a year, you start to dial in on the things you need to have with you when you go. And so, I now give you the official Estate Sailing Survival Kit.

1. Hand Sanitizer

You are going into houses that have sometimes not been lived in for some time, and you will inevitably touch a lot of stuff. The first thing we do upon getting in the car is to all use a generous amount of hand sanitizer before we move on. You may just want to go ahead and carry around a travel bottle, because we have had a few circumstances that made us want more immediate access to hand sanitation, such as when there was dank water under the cap of a camera lens.

2. Mini Flashlight

I specify the mini for ease in putting it in your pocket when you don’t need it, but we have run into more than a few homes where we forgot the flashlight and regretted it.

3. Measuring Tape

This is for both measuring items at estate sales, and also for measuring the spot at home that will be the new home of whatever item you are purchasing. You definitely do not want to go through the process of buying and transporting something, only to find out that it does not work in your intended space.

4. Mobile Device or Smartphone

Take your phone! First of all, estate sales make for WONDERFUL Instagram photos, and second, you never know when you will need to research the artist on a painting you are checking out. Before he was coming with us, I would also text Will pictures of things and ask him to research them for me. The phone-a-friend is a good solution, particularly if you aren’t having the best time surfing for information on your phone.

5. Bottled Water and Portable Snacks

We recently went to 7 estate sales in one day, all without stopping for lunch until after we were done. Sometimes we span something like 50 miles in a day, and when sales start at 9 and end at 3, and you have all of that driving to do, it is important to stay hydrated and not be starving. For the summer months, you may want to use a small cooler as well, to avoid drinking hot water and melty snack bars.

There you have it – my Estate Sale Survival Kit. My post on the weekly process of planning your estate sailing is coming up soon!

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