I’ve never really gotten anything cool, but my house is filled with about 95% estate sale furniture. Around here, I’ve learned which neighborhoods to shop, and which estate sale companies to deal with. I might use some place names that are meaningless to most people, but in case locals read them, they’ll know where to go.
West Bloomfield is a gold mine for furniture. These are mostly higher-end homes with older folks (that have died) who value really good furniture. These are usually professions such as doctors, dentists, high-level managers, etc. Lots of golf stuff, but I don’t know golf, so I can’t judge quality. Furniture is top notch. Kitchen stuff, surprisingly, is usually garbage. I assume they cook with what their parents cooked with, and don’t know anything about quality kitchenware. Seriously, K-Mart knives are usually what I find. Lots of high-end china and crystal, though – they know what to serve people. Pretty much all of my furniture is from here. Surprising amount of Christmas stuff given the reputation of being a largely Jewish part of town.
Grosse Pointes are disappointing. They have a reputation for high end, but the housing stock is small, old, and the stuff for sale is generally something that a frugal person bought in 1960 and kept until his death. Way too much junky Christmas stuff.
Plymouth (where I live) is also disappointing. Regarded as affluent, it’s a mix between youngish (Gen-X and Millennials) and boomers. The Boomers bought huge houses cheap in the 1970’s and early 80’s, before the area was expensive, not nearly as affluent as West Bloomfield. Of course, the affluent folk that are here now haven’t died off yet, so most of the estate sales are of lower quality.
Dearborn and Livonia are hit and miss. Both have been affluent but are in states of decline.
South Lyon can be good, because that’s where a lot of the affluent Livonia people escaped to when black people started moving west of Telegraph Rd. They’re silly, but the good thing is, they took all of their good stuff with them before they died.
Oh, avoid “private sales”; if they’re not run by an estate sales company, they’re usually garbage.
While not a cool find, my best find is my dining room set. It’s an approximately $10,000 set that I picked up on a half-off Sunday for a cool $1200. With two extra leaves, it extends from the dining room into the parlour and seats 14 people on those special occasions that demand it.
I hope my kid can get $1200 for it when we die.