Tips for Antique/ Flea Market Shopping
This past weekend, my mother-in-law, myself, and my 2 oldest went to a Antique Show over an hour away from where we live. The forecast for where we live said the temps were suppose to rise to the low 70’s. And it was a little chilly and gloomy that morning. Little did we know, that over an hour drive away, the weather was going to be much colder and there was DEFINITELY rain in the forecast.
Before I left, I grabbed several things and thought it might just be good to have a few extra things with me- just in case. There are things I know from past experience that I always need to remember to take/do when I am going to a show or market.
- Dress appropriately. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to wear your favorite antiquing t-shirt- because that’s a given! But what you need to do is dress in layers. You can always take a layer off, but can never add another layer that you don’t have! I dressed in a layers, and brought a jacket that was good at repelling rain. You also want to wear comfortable shoes. A lot of these shows and markets require lots of walking, sometimes miles and miles! Sometimes you walk on pavement, but a lot of times it’s gravel. You have to be prepared for the worst type of walking (in case you’ve never attended the show/ market before). If it’s a Spring show, you’ll want to be sure to include layers, rain jacket or poncho, hats and gloves, you may even want to wear a comfortable pair of water repelling boots.
2. Accessorize appropriately. Make sure your earrings go with your jacket…. Just kidding! By this I mean that you don’t want to carry your favorite large off white Michael Kors purse. You want to make sure that what ever you have, and what ever you are carrying, can be dropped in the dirt or rubbed up against something rusty. You also want to make sure that if you have to carry it for hours and hours, that it doesn’t become to heavy or burdensome. I brought an umbrella, and I was so glad I did! It’s a large umbrella, and at times all 4 of us were walking under it! When we walked through the buildings though, the umbrella folded up, and wasn’t any hassle. I also wore a purse that I got from an Army surplus store. It’s a brown canvas material, and it can be carried across the body. This saves my shoulders from carrying all the weight, or from it slipping off when I bend down to inspect antiques. You could also bring one of those handy wire baskets on wheels. They usually sell them at flea markets or antique shows just because they are VERY handy to pull around and throw your purchases into (assuming that you didn’t buy a table or rocking chair). Hats are also great for summer days when you want to keep the sun off of your face.
As part of accessories, I will share what I made sure I carried IN my purse. Of course I carried my wallet, but in my wallet, I made sure I had cash. There are some vendors that DO accept credit cards, but most do not. Some may even accept checks, but I wouldn’t count on it. Your best bet is to carry cash. I also carry the following: hand sanitizer, kleenex and/or wipes, Tylenol, a pen and paper or small notebook, a hair tie, sunglasses, sunscreen on summer days, a water bottle, and a few snacks. Also, make sure your phone has been fully charged before you leave the car!
3. Something else to DO while at a show or flea market- don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. Ok, if you go to a store, you most likely will not ask if they will take less for an item on their shelf, but at these shows, most expect you to haggle or negotiate with them. I mean don’t try to offend them, but there’s no reason you can’t ask if they would take a little less. I overheard two gentlemen talking at the show this weekend, and the vendor said to the shopper “well, the prices in my shop would be this amount, but at this show, it is this amount. Next weekend I am going to a different show and the price will be this (higher).” I had a vendor sell me a wooden box for a cheaper price because she said it was dirty! (She had most of her things clean). So, it doesn’t hurt to ask!!
4. Bring the right vehicle! Don’t go to a show looking for deals, and drive a small car! Take a van (that seats can lay down), a truck, or a trailer. It would be a big bummer if you drove a distance and couldn’t buy something you have been wanting forever because your vehicle wasn’t large enough to haul it.
5. Make sure you take care of yourself! Keep hydrated. Keep food in your system. Don’t get too cold or too hot for a prolonged period of time. Add clothing if too cold or remove that jacket or sit in the shade for a bit if you get too hot. If you start to get a headache, knock it out ASAP with that pain reliever that you are carrying in your purse. 😉 If your feet are getting sore, have a seat for a few minutes! You want to enjoy your time, and make the best deals you can by thinking with a clear head.
That’s about all I have! Hopefully you’ve learned something or was reminded of something, and it helps you when you go to that next antique show or flea market.
Going to these places is so much fun, and can be a great time with friends or family. You just need to make sure you are prepared! It’s better to have too much than too little! Have fun on your next outing!
****Anything I forgot? Please share with us any tips or tricks you might have in the comments!