Judy Hagey

Freelance Editor - Writer

You say Estate Sale, I say…

Better Half (BH) and I had ten minutes to kill before the store opened. We could spend it in the parking lot, waiting, or, on a lark follow the sign to the Estate Sale.

“Not that we need anything,” we agreed. “Just looking.”

I imagined a beautiful, stately home with high-quality furnishings. Because that’s what an estate sale is in my mind. People of means disposing of goods of some value.

What we found was more flea market or garage sale, or if you prefer, yard sale. The sale included a few older pieces of furniture that qualify as antiques—and in decent shape. The rest was dated kitsch—of little value.

Technically, estate sale was the proper term—assuming this was indeed an effort to dispose of a deceased person’s belongings. Whether the items are in or out of the house is not the point.

A more accurate description, in my opinion, would have been tag sale. Tag sale says to me everything’s for sale, come in look around, but we’re not high class.

A garage or yard sale, on the other hand, communicates—we’ve Marie Kondoed. These items no longer give us joy, but we’d be most happy to sell them to you with the expectation that you will find some pleasure in owning them. Come have a look, but please, limit your looking to the garage and/or driveway.

Words have meaning—and connotation. Estate Sale connoted certain images to me. Garage sale and flea market connote different images. Deciding which word to use is often a matter of the feeling or emotion you want to convey. Click To Tweet

Choose your words carefully.

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