My first car boot: a big clear out at Stoneleigh Park, Warwick

Inheriting items from a relative can often mean that you simply run out of room to look after them all. And if you’re the recipient, the gift(s) might not necessarily to your taste, but a car boot sale is a surefire way to find a loving home for them.

PR professional Olivia White, 26, took her mum to CJ’s car boot sale at Stoneleigh Park in Warwick after a big clear out to try to make some cash. She tells carbooted about her first time at a car boot.

What made you decide to go to a car boot?

We had lots of stuff from my late Granny’s house that Mum had been storing for years so we decided we would try and get rid of it to make some space. We thought all the ornaments and pictures would do quite well at a car boot but weren’t good enough for an antiques shop. Plus it was something different to do at the weekend!

Why did you choose the Stoneleigh Park car boot? How much did it cost for seller’s entry?

It was close to Mum’s house and mainly undercover, and cost £10 to get in as a seller.

How and what did you choose to sell? How did you get these items ready for selling?

It was mainly vases, ornaments, plates and pictures. We cleaned them up a bit and removed anything that was damaged.

On the day itself, was it sunny/soggy? What time did you have to get up and be there ready to sell?

It was very cold but dry. Gates opened at 6am. We got there at 5.45am and it was already very busy. Some people arrived at 6am and there was no space for them.

As first time car booters, how did you find the buyers?

There were definitely professional buyers there. As soon they realised we were selling ‘antiques’ we had four people rummaging though our boxes asking for prices. We hadn’t pre-priced anything so did a lot of guessing but we had already decided that the main aim was to sell, not necessarily make lots of money, so we were happy for the interest.

After that there were lots of leisure buyers – some were very friendly and fair with prices while others were very pushy for a low price.

How long did it take to sell your stuff? What tactics did you adopt to sell unpopular items?

After the first rush, we had a steady flow for a few hours – there were lots of people that obviously spend many weekends looking for bargains and we heard lots of nice stories. One lady had spent the last month at various sales looking for odd cup and saucers for her daughter’s shabby-chic wedding.

By about 10am we were cutting prices, especially if people were returning after looking at an item once or if they were nice and friendly.

We still had quite a lot of stuff left, but sold about half of it.

How much money did you make on the day? Do you regret selling any of your items?

About £140. We were just happy to get rid of the stuff and some of it was pretty hideous so were happy it sold.

From looking around what was on sale, did you get any inspiration for stuff to sell in the future? What seemed to be popular at your car boot?

We had lots of animal statues which sold really quickly. We hadn’t really cleaned things up very well – other stalls that were selling similar items had spent time making their items look more expensive (not sure if this worked). On the other hand there were people selling half-full bottles of cosmetics and really tatty children’s toys in a heap that always seemed busy.

The atmosphere was good and there was a huge variety of car booters. Our stall was next to some other first time booters who were very friendly. Others were obviously more professional trades-people who had set prices and wouldn’t budge.

What tips would you give first time sellers, based on your own experiences?

Don’t expect too much and be prepared to move on your prices.

Did you buy anything from the other sellers?

We bought cupcakes!

Olivia and her mum sold their unwanted goods at the Stoneleigh Park car boot, which has temporarily moved to Leamington Rugby Club until September 2012.

Leamington Rugby Club
Kenilworth Road  
Leamington Spa,
CV32 6RG

It’s open every Sunday from 6am. It’s £10 for a single pitch, £15 for a double pitch or a vehicle and trailer. Tables are included, which is a great bonus, and it’s only 30p entry per buyer or free for the under 16s.

Helen Lawson


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