(Photo borrowed from Pinterest)
There are two distinct types of flea markets: the antique flea market and the tube sock flea market. Antique flea markets are the best if you look hard enough to find the bargains. That’s where the thrill of the hunt begins. Tube sock flea markets specialize in new and cheap dollar store merchandise, and while there are many bargains to be found, it’s doubtful any of them are worth having. You are looking for that diamond in the rough. The piece that is a bit rough around that edges but oozing with vintage charm. To me the once loved pieces are the best because they come with a story and a soul. Start at the back of the market to avoid crowds and to first dibs at goodies that may otherwise be gone by the time you get there. I love a good outdoor market with a vast variety, lots of room for browsing and good lighting for better inspection.
Estate sales are a different animal all together. There is the young tidy grandmother type sale, your upper crust, don’t touch unless you plan on buying type of sale and then you have your eclectic maybe even hoarder type of sale. The later is where the bargains hide and the hunt becomes exciting. There’s nothing better than unearthing a treasure after a good dig through rusty patina and chippy paint. I am an avid reader and subscriber to estate sales.net where I plug in my zip code and the distance I want to travel which generates a list that I carefully scan in hopes of finding a sale where the hunting is good and there are plenty of treasures to unearth. You want to arrive early to get a shot at the juicey stuff and good deals. The second and sometimes third day of the sale is when the mark downs begin but usually the really good stuff is gone by then.
So how do you know if you’re getting a good deal? My motto is this if you love it and you can afford it-then it’s a good deal. Of course you could do your homework before going to a sale and check prices of the types of items listed on eBay and etsy. This method won’t tell you the actual value but you can get an idea of what people are asking for certain items. As for me I don’t do any homework. I just feel that items are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. Although I am a bit impulsive, fall in love at first sight and tend to pay too much I know what I like and rarely ever regret a purchase.
I get in the groove for a good day of hunting by slipping on my favorite pair of old clogs, a worn-out denim shirt, and a chunky turquoise necklace. As silly as this sounds it works for me, somehow I feel more productive in my quirky vintage garb. Most importantly dress comfortably and for the weather, you never know when you’ll get stuck waiting in a long line that wraps around the corner. If there is a specific item you have your eye on then you’ll want to be sure to one of the first to arrive to the sale. Trust me when I say the good sales usually have long lines waiting to get in and if you like an item chances are you aren’t alone. I have many a funny stories about some of the competition that ensues at these sales. For a good example check out my story about bungalow Betty here.
Start out slow and eventually you’ll find your style. Before you know it you’ll be hooked and maybe even plan your next vacation around the big hunt. Sounds a little crazy doesn’t it? Be careful flea market style and collecting are contagious, I promise!
For lesson one of this story click here for a previous post