I'll be honest with you, even though secondhand is our go-to for absolutely everything - cars, clothes, books, furniture and household appliances, and although I'll happily mooch around junk shops, secondhand book shops and charity shops for hours, the thought of a car boot sale used to make me feel a little faint.
Maybe it's the sheer overwhelm of row after row of stuff or the depressing sight of all those planet-killing cars. Perhaps it's the prospect of haggling (which I'm useless at) or the stressful Sunday morning Son and I once had, directing cars at a huge car boot sale as a fundraiser for Cubs (some people became very grumpy and rude if they couldn't park their cars right near the entrance or in the space reserved for disabled drivers).
But spurred on by other frugal bloggers' buying and selling successes, and with the aim of getting nearer Daughter's fundraising target for her Iceland expedition next year, we finally plucked up courage and took ourselves and a car full of tat that we had been accumulating over the summer, to the local car boot. We had procrastinated long enough and there are not going to be many more fair weather Sundays this year, so it was now or never.
|How much for the grumpy old man in the woolly hat?|
Here's what we learnt.
- Get there early for a good spot. We arrived at 7am.
- Doing a car boot sale in October is chilly business. I wished I'd taken a coat and gloves, and we were both thankful for the flask of coffee we had thrown together at 6.30am.
- We had been told that the dealers will try to rummage through your stuff as soon as you arrive, and indeed they do. One guy was even shining a torch into the back of our car to check out our
- It's oh-so-true that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Things that we thought would never sell, did, to our surprise. There will always be a place in somebody's heart for a mug with cats on it or an ugly little bedside lamp. I also hadn't expected that I'd be able to sell Husband. One lady thought his woolly hat/shorts/wellies combo rocked, and was disappointed when, after some consideration, I decided I wouldn't let him go for less than a fiver. Maybe I'll pop a Santa hat on him and stick him in a Christmas raffle.
- Selling at a car boot is actually very sociable. We met people we hadn't seen for ages, and lots of buyers wanted to have a good chat and tell us why they were buying their selected items.
- Things that sold well were kids' books, small bric a brac items, toiletries, shoes and boots. We had a lot of clothing that I thought would sell well, but didn't.
- We have better self control than we thought - we barely spent any of the takings - just £2 on a ream of recycled printer paper, which we needed anyway, and I blew a whole 10p on three good writing pens.
I have no idea what constitutes good takings but considering we didn't have any big ticket items, we were glad to go home £40 richer, especially as we didn't stay until the bitter end.
Now we've done one, I would definitely feel more confident about selling stuff there again, and I would also feel happier to go and hunt for bargains. Although the nature of car boot sales encourages car use, obviously, if stuff is being kept in circulation and out of land fill then that's got to be a good thing hasn't it?
If you're a car boot enthusiast with any top tips I'd love to hear them! Or are car boot sales really not your thing?