Uh-oh, Mum’s been car booting! This picture is from when we went and sold at the closest car boot sale to us: it’s on the local racecourse, just a mile or so away. In fact it was the first car boot sale I have been to since last autumn, when we made £50 selling at another location – it was after this jaunt that I posted my top tips for any would-be car boot sale sellers.
This time around we made £20 after sellers’ fees, which was okay considering that much of what we were selling was the stuff that didn’t go last time. Also I got away with leaving my husband on the stall for most of the time after the gates opened to buyers. Apart from wandering past occasionally, darting up to him and whispering things like, STOP FOLDING YOUR ARMS AND LOOKING SO GROUCHY. SMILE! I can’t help it: for some reason car boot sales bring out my competitive, showbiz mom side. My husband takes it in good grace, I swear.
I wandered around in tow to Thrifty Baby, who had a wonderful time checking out all the toys. This meant that our progress around the site was slow, but I didn’t mind: usually I rush around at these things, so it was nice to take a little more time and have a good think. I came away with a few goodies and three home truths about car boot sales. If you buy or sell at car boot sales, let me know if you think I’m right…
1. If you are selling, LET GO of the stuff, damn it.
Check out my new tin:
I like it a lot: it’s a fine addition to the collection of royal memorabilia I pick up at these places. It’s an old toffee tin, with pictures of Buck Palace & Windsor Castle on the sides, and I bought it to store spools of cotton next to my sewing machine. I got it for £1.50, towards the end of the car boot sale when people were beginning to pack up, but the lady who sold it was thin-lipped about the final price. She said she really liked the tin, that it was probably valuable (it isn’t), and she had wanted at least a fiver; I was about to walk away when her husband remonstrated with her that it would be one less thing to pack up again.
The thing is, even if you set out your stall at a car boot sale because you are down to brass tacks and need to get cash fast, if you are selling possessions of which you are particularly fond, or think might be valuable, you are going to come away miserable. Car boot buyers negotiate on price – hard. Those 50p pieces are prised out of their hands with pliers. If you want to get a sweet price for an item, a car boot sale is the wrong place to be, especially at the end of the sale when buyers go after the biggest discounts. Take your goods to eBay or a local Facebook selling site instead.
If you are a seller then the aim of the game, as that husband pointed out, is to drive away with as light a boot as possible. It’s STUFF. Just stuff, for which people will give you shiny coins. Detach yourself. Just get what you can – it’s more than you had before! On our stall we were down to the bits and pieces that car boot buyers hadn’t wanted the first time around, and we just wanted rid. After the first flurry of buyers, and as the car boot sale went on, we cut our prices and cut again. We had a steady flow of buyers, a steady flow of coins and by pack-up time, just two carrier bags of stuff left.
2. Don’t buy stuff that won’t fit into your car.
This wasn’t a problem last year when Thrifty Baby and his bargain buys were half the size:
This year, however, I must confess to getting a little overexcited:
I have been after one of these Little Tikes cars for ages. He loves them, but they cost upwards of £50 new. As you can see, this one needs a good scrub but at £4, it was a bargain. The problem came at home time when… yes (blushes), the bloomin’ thing wouldn’t fit in our car. And have you tried taking one of these things apart?
Luckily we were close enough to home that I could walk it back myself – albeit a slow, interminable walk on a hot, sticky day alongside dusty A-roads and B-roads – but this bargain could have turned into a mistake. Don’t do what I did: don’t go to the car boot sale and lose your head. At the very least, hang onto your spatial perception skills!
3. People who go to car boot sales NEVER need to buy children’s items at full price.
Here’s the rest of Thrifty Baby’s haul:
Here is something I have found since reproducing: there is so much kids’ stuff at car boot sales that, if you want something in particular and you’re at a decent-sized car boot, it is extremely likely that you will find it.
I’d been after a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (terrific book!) and found this pristine copy for 50p.
Thrifty Baby is obsessed with the In The Night Garden series and, in particular, the Ninky Nonk (noisy train thing, for the uninitiated). That Ninky Nonk train set costs £9.99 from Argos, which I think is quite a lot for what it is, so I was pleased to pick one up at the car boot sale for £1. The embroidered Iggle Piggle T-shirt was 50p.
So there we are: these were the home truths that I learned at this last car boot sale. I am sure there are plenty more in the trunk though! If you go car booting, what have I missed…?