Flea Markets, The Savvy Seeker Way

Okay. So, unless you have just tuned in, you have heard me rambling on and on about this upcoming weekend…the Fishersville Antique Expo! I don’t think the word “excited” can fully express how I am feeling right now about this show. It’s more like this:

Okay, maybe not exactly crying…but pretty excited.

So, while I’m thinking about the show, I thought it would be a great time to go over some helpful tips that everyone should know before going to any flea market type event. I’ve been attending flea markets of all kinds since I was a kid, up and down the east coast, with my mother. And she’s a pro. That woman can sniff a deal a mile away, same goes for my mother-in-law! They both swear by these tips and I’ve seen it action! So take note and enjoy!

What To Bring

1. Tape measure
Know your measurements BEFORE you go!!! There is nothing worse, than finding that unique desk or cupboard and then realizing you forgot to measure how much room you have at home for it! OR not knowing the measurements of your car…how will you get it home? For example, I know that I cannot fit anything over 40″ wide in the trunk of my car…that is VERY helpful to know!

Metrolina flea market in Charlotte, NC. Photo: pleasesirblog.blogspot.com

2. Water bottle and granola bar
It’s high noon. You’re hot and tired. The $9 hot dog cart is on the other side of the flea market. But that’s okay, because you’ve brought a bottle of water and a granola bar to tide you over!

3. Cash/Checks
In all the years that I’ve been attending flea markets, I’ve only paid by credit card once. That was last year and the vendor had a really cool credit card machine that hooked up to her mobile phone. But that is rare! Usually the deals happen fast and cash is king! Plus, some dealers will cut you a deal if you’ve got cash in hand!

Some of my favorite flea purchases…english ironstone!

4. A buddy
It’s always nice to have a friend along. Besides a day of bonding, a buddy can come in handy when you need to lift that heavy item into your car. Plus, if you’re not quite sure about a possible purchase, ask your friend? Sometimes they might be knowledgable about a particular kind of object that you don’t know enough about.

Other General Rules…

Most of the below is common sense, but it’s good to get a reminder!

Dress in layers!
Mornings can be damp and cool. Afternoons can be glaringly hot. Do a body good by bringing along that old hooded sweatshirt and maybe keep an umbrella or sunscreen in the car. And most importantly, wear comfortable shoes. I’m not telling you to wear your bedroom slippers folks, but make sure you’ll be able to walk half a mile on gravel or grass in something comfy.

Where it all began for me…the Raleigh, NC fairgrounds.

Dress down
It’s harder to haggle down a price if you’re pimpin’ some expensive name-brand clothing or digging around in your Prada handbag for your wallet. I always make sure I’m dressed comfortably and casual…jeans, tshirt, jacket, sneakers.

Bring a list
Have you ever walked into Target and totally forgotten what you came there for? That happens to me as soon as I see all the pretty little antique objects spread out across the parking lot, just waiting for me to sift through them! It’s very helpful for me to bring a list of my top 5 “wants.” This keeps me focused and gives me plan of action while hunting for treasures.

Be realistic
When looking for a deal…you have to be realistic. Don’t bark a price out at the vendor…ask them something like, “What’s the best price you can do on this?” The vendor has to make some sort of profit…that’s why they are there…so don’t expect them to give their treasures away for nothing. Also, do your homework. If you are hunting for a particular item, know it’s current value and have a ballpark price in your mind.

Enjoy the trip! You never know what you might find…like a giant roller-skate!

Have a great time!
I always try to turn my flea market adventures into a special day trip. Do some research, try traveling to a town you’ve never been to before and make a 24-hour vacation out of it. Hit the flea market in the morning, ask locals for tips on a great spot for lunch, check out the town in the afternoon and enjoy the weather! Making a memorable day out of my “little journeys” is always one of my most favorite things to do!

Got a favorite flea market? If so, tell me about it? What was your biggest flea market score?

Copyright 2012. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

2 thoughts on “Flea Markets, The Savvy Seeker Way

  1. What a great post, Erin! I’ll be going to Washington DC (and maybe New York too) next month, do you happen to know any flea markets I could go to?
    Thanks for all these tips, Erin!
    Have a lovely weekend!

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