The Most-Wanted Items To Look Out For At Estate Sales In 2024

As the general population becomes more focused on saving money and making more sustainable choices, secondhand shopping at vintage stores, on resale websites, or at estate sales has had a major boom in popularity. According to 2023 data from Statista, 60% of American respondents reported that they had made a secondhand purchase in the past year, while only 49% of people answered yes to this question in 2019. It's clear that the tides are shifting in favor of rehoming items that are already in circulation, but it can be hard to determine if what you're looking at is desirable or simply someone else's trash. This is especially true as you're wading through narrow hallways chock-full of secondhand merchandise at an estate sale.

Luckily, however, there are clear trends that emerge at estate sales that can give you a better idea of what's a good deal, what's good quality, and what you might even be able to resell for a profit down the line. Regardless of if you're planning to clear out your own estate, casually invest in a few pieces, or start up a full-on reselling business based on your savvy secondhand shopping, it's a smart idea to know what items to keep an eye out for and why they're so popular. After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure! You could score the deal of a lifetime with a properly-trained pair of eyes.


Your home might feel empty without it, but artwork isn't a necessity like a mattress or pots and pans. Despite this, many new pieces of art, even if they are just prints, are quite expensive and don't exactly fit into the budget of a young renter or first-time homeowner. Sourcing these items from estate sales, vintage shops, and secondhand stores can give people the chance to own these decorative pieces without the hefty price tag. Check out the selection of wall décor during your next estate sale visit, and keep a special eye out for large framed pieces and original, handmade works.


To many, vinyl might feel like an outdated technological remnant, but to collectors, there's a new renaissance that's just beginning. Physical music sales have been on the decline since streaming took off, but to those who enjoy the nostalgia of something physical, records are dominating the market. These items can be kept for your own collection if you like having physical copies of your music, but there are also plenty of different ways you can upcycle vinyl records into home décor. These ideas are especially great if you stumble across records that are scratched or warped, as sellers are likely to sell them for next to nothing.

Leather goods

Thanks to the ongoing debate over whether faux or real leather is more ethical to purchase, many people have strayed away from buying new leather and leather-looking pieces altogether. Instead, they're shopping from the booming secondhand market of leather furniture and décor pieces. When it's properly cared for and maintained, leather can last for decades, only improving and becoming more supple with age. These pieces can fetch big bucks at estate sales, but it's important to ensure items you buy don't show any signs of dry rot, peeling, or mold as these pieces will almost certainly fall apart after a short amount of time.


Books are one of the most common things to find at estate sales and, more than often not, they're also one of the cheapest things you can buy. If you're looking to declutter your home, it's likely a good idea to skip past this section, but secondhand books can have major decorative potential if you're trying to fill some empty space. Mix interesting-looking vintage covers into your existing collection to give it a more traditional library feel, use them to craft your own charming side table, or stack them on a bar cart to create more visual interest and play around with different heights.

Vintage lamps

Lamps are one of those items that can get unexpectedly expensive, but shopping secondhand at estate sales can help you find some truly-unique pieces for a low price. Simple, well-made designs can ensure you're left with a quality piece that you'll still enjoy for years to come, but things can really get interesting when you start looking into more out-there styles. Handmade glass lamps, intricate designs, and mid-century modern pieces can fetch a pretty penny if you were to decide to resell your items. Just make sure everything is functional before buying — nothing is worse than bringing a piece home only to find that it's broken.


The term "silverware" has become synonymous with cutlery in recent years, but looking out for items made of actual silver at estate sales can earn you some major finds. Complete sets, especially those in good condition, can be worth quite a bit of money, and it's common for people to not know the value of the items that they have. If you're willing to put in some work, pieces that have tarnished or look a bit dingy could be bought for an even lower price. After polishing your silver, however, you should find that you're left with a set that looks brand new.


Most mirrors that are available to buy new today, especially for a fairly-low price, are quite minimalistic in design and a bit flimsy across the board. Because of this, if you're looking to decorate with mirrors and prefer something that's more ornate, secondhand is the way to go. When you find a style or shape you like at an estate sale, it's important to make sure it's in good condition if you plan to actually use it for its intended purpose. Check for any warping in the glass, inconsistencies in the coating, and damage to the frame that you can't easily patch up or conceal.


If you enjoy mixing cocktails at home or are working on styling a home bar, glassware is an absolute essential. It's usually a better deal to source these items secondhand, and estate sales can give you a particular advantage. This is because you're more likely to stumble upon a full collection than you would at a thrift store. More simplistic wine and cocktail glasses are great if you're just looking to build a functional collection on a budget, but keep an eye out for pieces that include color or have cut glass detailing if you're planning on curating a more eclectic vibe.

China and dish sets

China sets are one of those things that everyone seems to have but nobody seems to use. Because of this, it's likely that the sets you'll find at estate sales were only brought out occasionally and are still in fantastic condition. Some of these sets can fetch big bucks if you decide to resell, but they can also make for a very classy alternative to everyday dishware if you're searching for a bit more luxury in your daily routine. If you don't want to bring home a full set, individual pieces like saucers and small bowls can also be repurposed around the house as organizational dishes.

Collector's items

Collecting is an incredibly popular hobby to have, so it's not uncommon to find large collections of a particular item that the owner has amassed over the years at estate sales. This is an absolute jackpot if you're a collector of the same thing, but it can also present a very unique opportunity if you're looking for a new hobby or want to resell items for a profit. If you're willing to do the research, you'll find that rare collector's items that might look mundane to the average viewer can be worth a pretty penny, whether it's Pokémon cards, old coins, or vintage stamps.

Real wood furniture

It's not impossible to find modern furniture that's built to last, but it is a struggle to find it on a budget. Pieces from big box stores might look nice in the short term, but it's unlikely that something made of particle board, plastic, and laminate will hold up over several years or during the course of several moves. If you want a piece that's good quality but can't afford luxury pricing, estate sales are a great place to look. Even if they're not your exact style, real wood pieces in fairly-good shape can be re-stained or painted to better fit your personal taste.


The idea of buying textiles secondhand might deter some consumers, but there's no reason to pass on a high-quality rug if it's in good condition, especially if it comes from a pet- and smoke-free home. Take a look at what a similar rug would cost online if you were to purchase it new, then mentally add on the cost of a professional cleaning (or the predicted personal effort if you have your own steam cleaner) to determine if it is worth your investment. You could find yourself with an absolute steal on your hands, especially if you happen upon a genuine Persian or Oriental rug.

Mid-century modern pieces

To the untrained eye, genuine mid-century modern items might just look like the kind of minimalistic pieces commonly sold at stores like IKEA or West Elm, but they carry much more value. Keep a look out for pieces with sleek lines and geometric shapes, then dig deeper if you see an item that piques your interest. Take a look at the piece's construction and materials used to determine if it's high quality and, if it is, search for any markings that identify the brand, designer, or year. Finally, look up whatever you find online to get a better idea of how much an item could be worth.


A lot of the pots, pans, and serving dishes you'll find at estate sales aren't worth all that much, but specific pieces can carry unexpected value. More costly brands like Le Creuset and All-Clad are great secondhand finds, especially if you've been looking to invest in one but haven't been able to justify the hefty price tag, and rarer materials like copper can also present a solid deal. Additionally, some cookware brands have developed their own loyal army of collectors, so keep an eye out for vintage items from brands like CorningWare and Pyrex if you want to turn a profit by reselling certain valuable pieces.

Outdoor furniture

Despite the fact that outdoor furniture is typically used less often than indoor furniture and more likely to deteriorate as it's constantly being exposed to the elements, it's often just as expensive as typical indoor pieces. Because of this, buying these items secondhand can be a fantastic strategy. If you're spending less on an outdoor piece that's still in good condition, it will be significantly less heartbreaking when it inevitably begins to rust, chip, or break down with time. Just make sure that what you purchase still has some life left — it's not worth the effort if it starts to fall apart the second you bring it home.


It doesn't matter if your wall décor was purchased from a college bookstore or cut out from a magazine — if you put it in a frame, it will instantly look leaps and bounds more professional. Unfortunately, high-quality frames can cost quite a lot, so it's smart to attempt to source them secondhand when available. If you're browsing an estate sale and you find that you like a frame but not the print inside, you can easily replace it with something that better aligns with your taste. The result will be a polished-looking piece of décor that makes much more of an impact than something hung with a pushpin.