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My New Secret Source

Buying Vintage from Everything But The House

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This is an emotionally controversial post, not because it’s against my morals or ethics, but because it’s giving away a vintage source that I’ve come to love and check on a daily basis. But, when Everything But The House (EBTH) approached me to partner on this post I listed the following reasons I should do it: 1. I love their site, 2. I USE their site to purchase for The Flea as well as clients, 3. The more exposure they get the more sales and product there will be and, 4. Companies that truly have great products and services should succeed in this world and perhaps my platform can help them succeed.

What is this secret new source of mine? EBTH is an online bidding auction that sells from over 300 estate sales a month. It’s Ebay (in the sense that you bid) meets Chairish (in the sense that you can choose from just your city and pickup). You get the best of both worlds in the fact that there is the thrill of the auction format paired with the fun of sifting through vintage goods online.

Here’s how it works:

If you have an estate that needs selling (or just a ton of stuff … maybe you are moving, downsizing, etc) then they come and take all of your things and sell them for you. The selling process is so easy – and so much less stressful than actually trying to sell it yourself. Their experts come in for a consultation, you go through everything with them that you are looking to sell, and then they handle the rest (photographing, cataloging, selling, and then within 30 days you get a check for a percentage of what was sold). All the terms are agreed to upfront and they make it so clear for you so you know exactly how it will work and what you can expect from the sale. This is such a nice alternative for those of you that aren’t ready or wanting to have an estate sale with hundreds of strangers cruising around and haggling prices down for your pieces. Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional estate sales, very much, but if they can be online then I can satisfy my shopping addiction after the kids go to bed, not on Saturday mornings away from them.

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As a buyer using EBTH you bid on the items very similar to how you would bid on Ebay: you get notifications when you are the winner or if you got outbid. You can search what is ending the soonest, what is the most popular, by city, or even program in keywords so that when new items come up with those keywords they will send you an alert to go check it out. Yes, they will ship most items and you can calculate shipping costs before you bid but with some items (especially larger or fragile) the shipping can be more expensive than the piece itself. But, that still might be way less than what you’d pay in LA at a vintage store.

So here is what I’ve won recently on the site:

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Some of those are amazing deals, scores that I would have never been able to get at a store in LA, and some are just good. We styled some of these out in vignettes because, well, that’s what we do here. We shot this at my friend Scott’s house because I fear that we’ve really exhausted shooting at our house lately (thank God we are moving, right??)

The collection of blue glass vessels and bowls was a STEAL – $12 for all of that? Insane. They are so pretty and simple and so easy to style with (as seen in some of the below photos).

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I’ll probably keep some of the blue glass and sell some. Now onto those crazy cool wood desk accessories.

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It was a collection of mail openers, paper organizers, bookends and clocks.  I’d say out of the 12 pieces I like 8 of them – there is a clock on a piece of wood shaped like a boat that is questionable. But that’s not a bad ratio. It ended up being on the more expensive side but still a good deal for such unique pieces you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.

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I definitely wouldn’t mind working at that desk and keeping all my fancy paperwork handy in that double tiered paper organizer whilst opening up all my bills with those hand carved letter openers.

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The side table might be my favorite of all of my winnings. It’s a 100% rosewood sewing table with such pretty simple detailing, for $135!!

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After we shot it and Scott saw this pic above he quickly let us know that he wants it. He’s not getting it. But yes, it looks amazing in his house, and was such a good price.

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It’s just so pretty. I haven’t picked up the brass collection yet (most of these things were in LA and you simply make an appointment to pick up) but that painting just arrived a few days ago and it’s so amazing. It was like Christmas morning opening him up.

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He’s going in our new house. I don’t know where, but he’s the perfect bit of ‘old world’ that we need.

Lastly I have a thing with gadget-y necklaces and I found these clock necklaces on the site. I like two of the three a lot:

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That’s the end of my show and tell, but my shopping habits won’t be quelled. If you are also into vintage scores head over to the site and start shopping. They just launched a boutique called Laid Back Living that is more curated for those of you who don’t want to do the deep dive – as that can be overwhelming (but honestly, my favorite part).

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They also just launched a new app so you can do your hoarding from your phone in the middle of the night like I do. It is so easy to scroll and favorite items and there are thousands of items added every day, and I’m hoping for even more. I’m addicted. To get you all started they are being nice enough to give $20 to any new registrant by clicking HERE and signing up. Now excuse me while I go close out a few more of my bids before the sales close up.

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  1. Pretty cool site – you gotta dig, and some of the shipping is really high (two cast iron gardening urns bidding around $100 were $450 to ship to me). Seeing the “every day” items (i.e., coffee maker, sunglasses) made me a bit sad….the motions of living each day are gone for whoever once used to brew the coffee, or wear the sunglasses.

    1. Hi KM, Maggie from EBTH here! We’re working hard to lower our shipping costs, so don’t worry! It can be sad to see “every day” items, but it’s part of the auction business. Just remember, every item we sell on EBTH was loved by someone and we’re hoping to find new happy homes for everything! -Maggie@EBTH

      1. Yes, the shipping is out of control!
        $434.00 for a small cart, I’ve shipped similar items via Greyhound for $60.00

        1. …found another good/bad example, $1,000.00 just to ship a lamp that sells, with shipping, for under $300 new.

  2. I’ve been addicted to this site for about six months. Now helping a friend of mine furnish her house. So fun! But seriously, shhh!! 😉

  3. EBTH is a daily obsession for me too. We’ve been slowly filling our house with great, affordable, original artwork through EBTH auctions. The city closest to us have very few auctions, but there are two other metro areas an hour away in opposite directions with fairly regular sales, so it’s not too bad to pick up there. I do wish they had more reasonable shipping for non-furniture items, but it is what it is. I love going to the warehouse to pick stuff up and wander around the sale previews.

  4. Completely love EBTH, I’ve been buying from them for the last year, and yes there are some amazing gems to be had. For example I won a pristine pair of Arthur Umanoff swivel bar stools for a song, among many other vintage and one of a kind items.

    However like KM says, sometimes the shipping can be outrageously expensive in comparison to what the final purchase price is. I live in Miami, and even items in Naples, FL can cost hundreds of dollars to ship. Furthermore they usually ship USPS or UPS and my bar stools each came in massive boxes completely filled with packing peanuts. It literally took me 2 full hours to unpack the stools, clean up and dispose of all of the packing peanuts and materials. I think if the site improves the shipping process, offering alternative shipping options, and reputable white glove shipping agencies that would be fantastic. As another example, I won a pair of caned bamboo-barrel back chairs in July and am STILL waiting for them from an Atlanta shipping company that has been less than responsive in contacting me and coordinating shipping. I did finally get a hold of them this week and hopefully I’ll have the chairs next week.

    Another thing that they don’t do and wish they did, is offer an option to ask a question to the auctioneer about any pieces, so make sure you look extremely carefully at each picture to see if there’s any damage. I have also gotten a few things that were definitely from a smoker’s household that required airing out, as well as some damage to pieces that was not pictured.

    Things that are fantastic: The option to put in a keyword search. You get one email a day from them and they filter your keyword alerts which is amazing. Obviously, the no reserve bidding is plainly amazing. No auction lasting longer than 6 days is also fantastic, because attention span. Also, once you bid and enter your highest bid it always lets you know that you’re winning, or if you’ve been outbid. However the best is that if you win, you only pay the incremental amount over the other bidders highest bid. Also, even though the shipping can be steep, you can check a real-time shipping quote for that item.

    All in all, I recommend checking it out, but be careful, because it can become seriously addicting! Happy hunting!

    1. Hi Molly, Maggie from EBTH here!

      Shipping has been our biggest focus in 2016 and we’ve gotten the price down 33%! We’re working hard to improve the process! I’m sorry you’re frustrated with your chairs. Have you been in touch with our customer service team? They’d be happy to help!

      You can also always get in touch with us at contact@ebth.com or 888.862.8750 if you have questions about an item. The customer service team is great and they can reach out to the team who worked on any item for an answer!

      We’re so glad to hear you’re excited otherwise! We love to connect great pieces with great buyers! Happy bidding!

      -Maggie@EBTH

      1. Maggie,

        Thank you so much for your response! Thrilled to hear that the EBTH team is working on the shipping, as by reading the comments, I’m not alone. However, yes, I am otherwise a huge fan of the site.

        I will definitely be in touch with the customer service department if I don’t hear from the shippers regarding my chairs.

        Thank you again!

  5. I couldn’t help but notice the side of your mantel and it’s Halloween decor. Could you please do a post on stylish ways to incorporate Halloween decor? I have kids so I want to decorate but I find most of the stuff hideous looking. Thanks!

  6. Wow, this is a seriously awesome site. I can truly understand your reticence to share this! Was just browsing really funky hand thrown pottery. Brutalist metal. So fascinating to see the curious, ordinary, and remarkable objects in an estate sale. I know I will find something special.

    And estate sales always have that tinge of poignancy, but when I wander through one, it can be a touching human experience that is a worthwhile reminder of mortality and how our stuff tells a story about us.

    1. Hi Amy Madeline, Maggie from EBTH here!

      We’re totally sure you’ll find something special on EBTH! We have thousands of unique pieces from all over the country! Happy bidding!

      -Maggie@EBTH

  7. Are you in my brain? I swear every time I look at your blog… you’re posting about my current obsession or writing the motivation I need to “just start”,

    Thanks for all you do without knowing !

  8. Okay… I just clicked for fun and found at 4 active sales and 11 futures ones in my city! I love estate sales and auctions. I have a couple of huge deadlines at work and now I have no idea how I can concentrate now! I am so excited! Thanks Emily!

  9. How are Seattle and Portland missing from this site?! I’ll have to just look for very small pieces for now.

  10. Love finding new sources for great finds at good prices. This site is EPIC! Can’t wait to start bidding, already found a handful of items that I want. Thanks for the great content

  11. I love EBTH, and am so extremely jealous of your new finds! Can’t wait to see what else you scored that ends up on the flea.

  12. Love those desk accessories that you picked up, please tell me they will be on the flea sometime soon! I am loving EBTH and all the good sales they have. Can’t wait to see the new stuff pop up in my city and use the code!

  13. I’d seen this advertised on Instagram and I’ve wanted to check it out for awhile. I’m glad it gets your stamp of approval. Now I won’t be stressed about whether or not this site is a gimmick.

  14. I live in Ohio where EBTH started and have been obsessed with them for a couple of years! I have to admit my heart sank a little when I saw this post because like you I kind of wanted it to be my little secret! We’re bought so many good things from this site and are lucky to be local to several of their sites because their shipping truly is outrageous.

  15. Woah. Ya, freight is INSANE. I ship items across the country all the time, and this is clearly how they are making a profit. That’s just now how much ground shipping costs. Not really worth it unless you’re able to pick it up locally.

    Shipping a bed from Florida to Oregon, yes. that would be expensive, but $12,000?! Holy Crap!

    And a basket from Cali to Oregon, $50?!

    Fingers crossed they come to the Portland / Seattle area soon!! There’s some AWESOME treasures on there!

    1. Hi Kiki, Maggie from EBTH here!

      We’re working on improving our shipping experience for our buyers! Don’t worry! Though, $12,000 does seem higher than normal. Did you have a customer service rep look into it? They can!

      As for new cities, stay vigilant! We open new markets regularly! You may see us in the Pacific Northwest in the future!

      So glad you love us! Thanks for sticking with us!

      -Maggie@EBTH

    2. I love EBTH….BUT…yes to a closer west coast hub, other than LA. If one were in Portland, SAC or SF. I would be loading up the truck every couple of months!

  16. LOVE this idea. HATE the cost of shipping for some items. It’s just absurd what they charge to ship certain things! I wish there was a SF or Sacramento hub.

  17. This may be slightly off topic, but then not really. In furnishing my apartment over the last year, I’ve been very hesitant to buy used items because of the bedbug problem in Southern California. Before moving into my own apartment, I rented furnished rooms in two different houses. One had a bedbug problem resolved before I moved in and the other had a bedbug problem after I moved out, so I’ve never had to deal with the problem myself but live in fear of somehow bringing bedbugs home. There are documented cases of people bringing home bedbugs from buses and movie theaters here in Southern California.

    So I’ve settled for buying new items on sale. I have one side table that I bought at Goodwill.

    My question is this: are bedbugs the dirty little secret of vintage and upcycling? Or am I worrying over nothing? I cringe when I read on blogs about people finding things on the side of the road or in dumpsters, or even at the Rose bowl flea. Have you or your team run into this problem? Or any of your readers?

  18. Oh geez! I’m not going to get any work done for the rest of the day, and maybe into this weekend. Thanks for the new source!

  19. I love this site so much. I bought a set of 6 small watercolor flags (the 6 flags of Texas) a few months ago. I just got them back from the framer yesterday and They. Look. Awesome. Framing ain’t cheap, but really all in it was such a great price for 6 pieces of original artwork. If I get them up on the wall this weekend, I will tag #EHDweekendmakeover!

  20. What a fun auction site! Word of advice to auction newbies: STOP bidding things up days before the auction ends; bidding wars are economic suicide for buyers. Always wait until the last hour or two to bid.

    1. YES! Thank you of saying this! That’s the absolute worst, as it’s not doing anyone any favors.

  21. I’ve known about this site for a while (I think I saw it on another blog?) but this just got me to bid on a few items!

    Off topic: YOUR LEGS, HOW?!?! they are so nice. Also I love that top on you and your whole outfit in general.

  22. WOW…nice scores!! I, like you, am usually buying for clients or to furnish my Etsy vintage shop so it’s tough to get excited about other online/auction sites unless the deals are killer or the pieces are just that unique. These are incredible…what a great resource.

    THANK YOU for sharing this lovely secret!

  23. Emily, NOOOOOO!!
    I have been so afraid you would do this post. I was a very early adopter of EBTH. I am from cincinnati where the company was founded. Half our house and our best stuff is EBTH. We had it shipped to NYC and then more stuff to SF when we moved and have never been disappointed. We asked for EBTH gift certificates for our wedding instead of registry!! Prices have gone way as up as more people discovered the site. But I am happy for these Cincy entrepreneurs. It’s a great company.

  24. Emily! I’m obsessed with the wood wall hanging in Scott’s bedroom. Any chance you can give me more info? I need!
    Thank you!

  25. Thanks for sharing the site with us – I definitely appreciate the tip. Just checked out the site and it’s great!! Appreciate the post (and insider knowledge :))

  26. I love this EBTH! I’ve gotten some great art & unique furniture. Some of the local staff have even started to recognize me when I pick things up…never too much of a good thing right?! We bought a Queen Anne victorian house this year, and there’s still a lot to furnish – I love mixing in the vintage with our existing modern apartment decor for a fun, eclectic but classic look!

    I check the site daily, so I wish there was a way to view items by the newest available. I used to do this with my saved keyword search results but seems they changed the format a few weeks ago. Still a great resource though!

  27. I love that site! I’m amazed at how cheap some stuff goes for! Like,I’ll search for sofas and some go for under $100. If you actually pick it up…what a score! And some sofas stay at $1 (If you bid $1, and no one else does, do you really get the piece?!). The closest to me is 3 hours away in Nashville but for the right piece I’d make the drive. Or I guess pay shipping for an epic $1 sofa! ha.

    I love that painting!

  28. The music cabinet is not from EBTH it was purchased from my shop in Pasadena.

  29. I just won something. Woot! but yeah the shipping is steep. Its not even traveling that far. Indiana to Ohio. They need to work on the shipping. Maybe switch to another shipping company.

  30. A bit off topic, but what is that beautiful marbled book in the bedside table picture? I can’t make out the publisher or author names. Sadly, the “Collected” title alone is un-googleable. And boy, did I waste an hour of work trying.

    Thanks for the auction tip!

  31. What’s the name of the wall color in the bottom photo? LOVELOVELOVE

    1. I also would love to know what that blue wall color is, pretty please! Love it. Perhaps it’s Stiffkey Blue by Farrow and Ball…?

  32. Thanks ! You share very nice information.!
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  33. I like that a awesome blog and say thanks for that amazing blog
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  34. superb vintage collection for house nice to see.

  35. Emily your post always In-trusting. Really Good Emily….

  36. Emily Your Blog Awesome. And This one is too good…

  37. Emily – This Blog is really good.

  38. I will never buy from this site again. Just bid on and received a painting. The description said it was 20 x 16 acrylic painting. I was willing to bid higher because of the size of the piece. Then I received it and the measurement was of the matting – not the painting. This is not the way art is measured and sold.

    After looking on their site they seem to not distinguish at all between mat size, frame size and art size. Learn from my mistake!!!!!!!!!

  39. Your blog is cool. Enjoyed going through the post. The images are very beautiful.

  40. Completely love EBTH, I’ve been buying from them for the last year, and yes there are some amazing gems to be had. For example I won a pristine pair of Arthur Umanoff swivel bar stools for a song, among many other vintage and one of a kind items.

  41. Hi – I’m a newbie to your site and plan to visit often – love , love, love everything! Question about bedding from the post- could you share where it came from! Many thanks dane

  42. Another thing that they don’t do and wish they did, is offer an option to ask a question to the auctioneer about any pieces, so make sure you look extremely carefully at each picture to see if there’s any damage. I have also gotten a few things that were definitely from a smoker’s household that required airing out, as well as some damage to pieces that was not pictured.