You know you’re a proper country bumpkin when you’re up to 6am on a bank holiday Monday for a car boot sale!
Yeah, that’s how I spent this August long weekend – sitting in the hot sun surrounded by my old junk and Falmouth’s finest collection of hipsters. That makes it sound horrendous, but we had some fun!
Hannah, Jack and I set off from Redruth at 7:30am to make sure we got a good pitch at what I believed would be an insanely busy car boot day, only to find that we were the first ones there looking a little too keen. After some coffee and a mad labelling sesh, we were set up and ready to go by 10am.
From the morning we covered our costs and managed to make a bit of cash too (enough for a Dominos later that evening, I’ll assure you!), but overall it was less than busy. Because of the blazing sun I reckon everyone was at the beach, but at least we tried!
Over the years I’ve learned a few lessons from doing car boots with my mum around Cornwall, yet obviously not enough to realise that a sunny bank hol wouldn’t draw in the crowds of a cloudy day. But anyway, here’s what I have learned that definitely makes life a little easier:
Arrive early if you want a good spot
But not so early that you look like a super-keen tit, evidently.
Maybe gather some research about the car boot you’re going to and see how early people actually get there because some are crazier than others.
Bring a buddy for cover & market research
If you’re alone, who’s gonna watch the stand if you need the loo or when you get a sudden craving for a hideously greasy bacon butty? Take a pal in the passenger seat, or go in a group/convoy like we did – it helps for not going insane and having people to talk to as well.
Use layers to display your stuff
You can get folding tables and wallpapering desks pretty cheaply and they are a great investment if you plan to do car boots often as they are easier for passers by to see your stuff.
Also utilise the boxes you bring your things in as rummaging tools or as display stands when flipped over; it means you can fit more in your designated area!
Label areas rather than individual items
Not only will it take you less time, it’s also easier for punters to see your prices from a distance without having to fondle everything. A bonus for everyone involved really.
Also as we found this time around, once you’ve had a chance to assess how stingy/non-stingy your market is you’ll probably want to adjust your pricing anyway. Some people don’t bother labelling at all for this reason!
Be prepared to be offended by price offers
Some people go to car boots to get bargains, and some people go to car boots see how much they can possibly push people into giving them for £1.50.
Of course you should plan to get haggled down on your prices, but if it gets ridiculous just stand your ground and say soz but no.
Bring a ‘car boot kit’
Other than the obvious things like, y’know, your stuff and a table and some cash for a float, here are some items you may like to bring with you that you may not have thought of:
- Paper, pens and sellotape
For last minute labelling and sticking things down in the wind.
- Bin bags and plastic bags
In case it rains, bin bags can become great protection, while plastic bags are a surefire way to up your customer service ;)
- Suncream (and/or a rain mac)
Because you’ll be standing outside for several hours and ow my back right now feels so raw!
- Water and snacks
Because boredum and hydration, of course.
- A book for the queue
If you’re super keen like us, you’ll be there for 2 hours before anything happens!
- Table cloth
Try a fancy sparkly one like mine to add some sass to your stuff.
Are you a seasoned car boot pro? Let me know in the comments if I’m missing a trick!
(Photos by Jack – I take no credit!)
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