10 Tips For Selling at Car Boot Sales
Have you ever looked around your house and thought wow, I have a ton of garbage here?! Well you are not alone. One of the best ways of getting rid of the aforementioned ‘garbage’ is a car boot sale. Even when you think you may not actually have anything you could sell, when you start going through your things you can find clothes to get rid of, kitchen appliances, kids clothes and toys. Have any of you got attics or garages full of things?
Don’t forget that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.
There are LOADS of car boot sales going on every weekend, some are better than others so it’s worth checking them out first before just turning up at one. The best ones are obviously the busiest ones – the more foot traffic – the more people who will buy your things. It’s worth noting though that people will not want spend a lot of money at car boot sales, they are there for the bargain so don’t take really expensive items that you want to get a lot of money for – they are best sold on sites like eBay or Gumtree.
Some car boot tips I have are:
- When going through your things beforehand, be REALLY vigilant with what you can get rid of. It’s easy to place emotional attachments on things or think that you’ll use it one day.
- Check out your local car boots before to see which are the most popular. I am lucky to have one down the road from me which is really busy every week.
- Organise all of your items beforehand. Use cardboard boxes, carrier bags to separate items. This is especially important for kids clothing in various sizes.
- Work out prices beforehand. Be prepared that 9 times out of 10 people will want to haggle with you. So if you bump your price up by a little bit, and they haggle you down to the price you are happy with, you both leave feeling happy.
- Rope someone in with you to give you a hand. Not only is it much nicer to have a friend with you there, but it’s handy to have someone keep an eye on the stall, let you have a walk around, go to the toilet etc.
- Take a table with you. Very important for laying your items out – most people use a wallpaper pasting table from what I’ve seen. Also a blanket to lay on the ground for any items you put there.
- Take food and drink with you. You can be out there for hours so it’s handy to have some drinks and snacks in your car.
- Carrier bags. You will most definitely be asked for a carrier bag to put the items the sellers have bought off you in. Take lots!
- Keep the more expensive items inside the car until you have got the rest of the stuff out. That way you can keep an eye on it so no-one can swipe it when your back is turned! This is also an advantage of having a friend go with you. Keep it further back on the table when you have put it out as well.
- Take a decent float with you. Lots and lots of change – you will probably get at least one person pay you with a £20 note for a 50p item! Keep this in a safe place on your person.
Has anyone else done a car boot sale before or want to do one? I’ve done loads in the past and did one today – I made £86! Really happy with that as it will go on a debt repayment, all from things that I don’t need, with the added bonus of de-cluttering the house and garage. So a really happy and positive day – I got to make some money to pay off debt and spend it with one of my lovely friends too.
I went to the opticians after for a check-up and she asked if I was alright because I looked a little flushed – nope just sunburnt from the car boot sale – forgot to put suncream on! Annoyingly someone stole a poster that we were selling, I thought we were doing a good job at keeping an eye on everything but it must have been when we first got there as we were absolutely swamped with people.
I think I must be the oddest person around because I’ve only ever been to one boot sale (as my son’s fiancée wanted to go) and I had a mooch around but didn’t see anything I wanted. OK, this was just one boot sale, others might be better. But unlike what I must suppose is the vast majority of people, I don’t have things I don’t wish to keep because I don’t buy things for the house with the exception of useable items, such as iron, toaster, cushions, throws, flowers … therefore, I don’t have loads of things to dispose of. I’m not attracted at all the knick-knackery in charity shops – I do buy necklaces and scarves sometimes, and I give any books I no longer want to charity – but that doesn’t mean I don’t have many things in our house! Quite the opposite: I have paintings, and cut glass, and ceramics, and photos in frames, and treen, and japanned tables, and loads of table lamps, and cushions, and books (oh, the books …) but having said all that (sorry, cliché!) your advice is EXCELLENT, especially in keeping the most expensive items in the car until bringing them out last.
Thank you. It’s worth having a look round them 🙂 it’s generally clothes that sell really well at them, especially kids clothes. Books…toys…toiletries always sell well too. They are great! Some sell nice plants and fruit/veg too, the one I go to does – got some lovely strawberries last time!
If I saw a boot fair I might be tempted to have a look-see for plants … but I’d not get up at the crack of dawn to visit one as so many people do. But then, a lot make it a business, searching for things and then selling them. And good luck to ’em, I say. I do love an antiques centre, though, and there’s a lovely one that we visit about two or three times a year in Topsham (The Quay Antiques Centre). I’ve bought lovely things there, including five cut-glass tumblers, ideal for G&T, for £15 … just think of all the work which went into producing a cut glass tumbler and to get it for a fiver; also a cut glass jug ideal for fruit juice for £15, and a few years ago, a fine bone chine tea service with the most beautiful violet design for £40. Yes, £40 might seem a lot to some for six cups, saucers, side plates and bread & butter plate, but I thought it was worth it. We’ve also bought fine lawn gentlemen’s handkerchiefs with a proper hem. I don’t mind 2nd hand hankies, they can always have a hot wash. I also bought a pair of Exeter silver tea spoons to give to dear friends emigrating to Australia, to remind them of Devon. Not quite boot fair things, but still lovely to find and at not exorbitant prices, either. But I don’t buy ornaments, per se, although I’m always on the lookout for good books (i.e. bearing in mind the three Cs of book collectors: content (it must be what interests you); condition (always buy the best example you can afford) and completeness (volume one useless without the others in a series; or make sure that all colour plates are present and correct.)
My maths aren’t what they should be: five cut glass tumblers for £15 makes them £3 each. Sorry!
They sound good! There are always lots of books at car boot sales. Yes I agree – the one near me starts at 11am which is reasonable!
Some people get rid of some amazing things, worth a look I think 🙂
I had a garage sale a few years ago and I actually have mixed feelings. After the garage sale my wife sold over a hundred things on eBay, and honestly it was a bit easier because you could go at your own pace and not set up for a big sale. But there’s no doubt that you can sell a lot of things at a garage sale (or car boot sale).
I know what you mean – I always try to sell on eBay or Gumtree first and then whatever is left goes on the car boot sale! I sold a lot of my little girls old clothes, which wouldn’t sell well on eBay. Well done on selling that many things on eBay too!!
Great job getting a few extra pounds with the car boot sale! And fantastic blog. I’m sure you hear it from US visitors regularly, but it’s refreshing to hear personal finance topics spoken about from someone in the UK. The terms and lingo used makes for a fun read. Keep up the great writing and I look forward to seeing more in the future.
Thanks Rob – haha I’m wondering what I said now! That’s very kind of you – thank you!
What is a car boot fair? Is it kind of like a flea market or garage sale?
Do you not have them in the US? Basically everyone who is selling drives in their car full of stuff and all get a spot on a field. The name comes from selling out of the car boot but what is done generally is setting up a table in front of the car with all of your items on it.
We do have something similar but it’s not called car boot sales. It would be more flea market I think but it just depends. They definitely would have tables set up though or even blankets on the ground for clothes and toys and such, but no body selling out of their actual car.
I’m always amazed at what sells at a car boot. The stuff I think is utter rubbish sells really well, yet the quality stuff I usually go home with!
Yes it’s funny isn’t it! I find that people tend to go mad over clothes