Inspiration for car boot presentation – three great ideas from the Battersea Boot Sale

It’s all very well taking your stuff to the car boot to sell, but it might be difficult to attract buyers to your amazing selection of goods if they can’t see what’s on show.

At Sunday’s Battersea Car Boot saleas recommended to us by car booting expert Guy Roberts – we spotted three great ways of presenting your stall:

– Record boxes divided by genre and type of vinyl make it easy for music fans to flick through:

– Pictures on show as if they’re in a gallery let the buyer envisage how the frame will look in their own home:

– Crockery neatly displayed in matching sets shows off your great collection, and the buyer can do the mixing and matching themselves:

We also overheard a seller proudly telling a customer that the children’s clothes she had for sale were arranged by age group – a simple but effective way of making it easy for your buyers to browse.

Overall, the Battersea Boot Sale is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, with friendly sellers. The organisers let you re-enter if you get your hand stamped, and there were lots of well-behaved dogs enjoying a saunter around the stalls, too. The midday opening means it’s fab for lovers of lazy Sunday mornings.  It was difficult to resist the old-fashioned cook books at many different stalls, from publishers such as Vogue and Good Housekeeping, because good cooking never goes out of fashion. My favourite buy of the day? We picked up these 1960s Brands Hatch programmes – complete with results written in pencil from the race itself – for 50p apiece.

Helen Lawson


Bernie Ecclestone goes bargain-hunting with new fiancée

So it turns out Bernie Ecclestone is a part time bargain hunter…

He may be a billionaire but, according to this article in the Daily Mail, the 81-year-old Formula One magnate and his 32-year-old fiancée, Fabiana Flosi, were “spotted bargain-hunting at the Lots Road house clearance auctions in Fulham just recently.”

Flosi may have given up her job with Hungarian business man Rohonyi Tamas after meeting Ecclestone ­but it’s unlikely the couple are having money problems. In fact, Lots Road Auctions isn’t exactly cheap, with items advertised on its website for thousands of pounds.

But house clearance sales can be good places for picking up bargains to either keep or sell at the car boot. In 2010 a family found a £43m Chinese vase at a house clearance in Ruislip.

Tom Allsop

The Apprentice goes to the car boot

On BBC One’s The Apprentice, the task this week was to buy second hand furniture and sell it in Brick Lane. Or as one succinct young hopeful put it: “get as much crap as we can and sell it for next to nothing.”

Carbooted regulars will not need to be told that car boots are a haven for anyone looking for vintage and collectible furniture. So surely, only a bunch of idiots could fail to find anything worth buying?

“Here we are – an enormous car boot sale full of everything you can imagine,” says Alan Sugar’s aide, Nick Hewer, following one team around a car boot sale as they hunt out bargains. All the contestants have to do is pick up some choice pieces and take them Brick Lane “home to the young trendy with the gelled hair,” says Hewer.

But soon Hewer is despairing of their inability to choose anything at all.  “They’ve only bought a few items – it’s nuts!” he says.

Later on Jade Adam and Steven are seen storming round the Battersea Boot having a bit more luck. They deliberate over one item for so long that the stall holder shouts in desperation, “have it for a pound as long as you promise you’ll go away.”

For tips on what goes down well at the car boot from someone who knows what they’re talking about, watch this video.

Tom Allsop

What’s the most essential item to take with you to a car boot sale?

The checklist of stuff to take with you to a car boot sale could easily be endless: warm clothing, a shopping list, or a list of prices you want to sell your stuff for, etc…

So what do we think is the most important thing to take with you?

For eager shoppers, we reckon you most need bags. And preferably, bags that can roll up and hide away in your pocket or handbag – then a seller can’t try and fob you off with a higher price because they know you really want to be buying! We recommend cool and environmentally-friendly tote bags – though supermarket plastic bags are just as efficient and usually around the house.

For sellers, we think you need to take care of yourself on what can be a long day. Take a thermos! Whether it’s hot soup or warm tea or coffee, you’ll be glad of a bit of comfort on a cold day. If it happens to be hot and sunny – not always guaranteed in rainy Britain – then pop a bottle of water or juice in the freezer the night before your car boot sale. It’ll be a block of ice when you take it out in the morning, but will keep you cool throughout the day as it defrosts.

For sellers and shoppers alike, take lots of change! Coins are your friend at a car boot sale – you won’t be popular if you try to pay your 50p entry with a £20 note!

Helen Lawson


Five mistakes carbooters make when trying to stop fragile collectibles from getting damaged

It doesn’t matter whether you’re lugging fragile collectibles to a car boot or taking them back home – you don’t want them getting damaged. There’s more to keeping them safe than just shoving them in yesterday’s Daily Mail.

Here are the top five mistakes people make when trying to protect their purchases.

1.       Wrapping valuables with newspaper

The dye used to print newspapers can stain glass and china. Paper towel and brown paper are cheap alternatives and won’t leave a trace.

2.       Wrapping fragile articles too tightly or too loosely

You want to your object to be secure in its wrapper but loose enough so that the wrapper is acting as a buffer. A good way to do this is to wrap the object once tightly and then a second time with a little give.

3.       Not stuffing the inside of glasses or vases

If an object has a large hole – fill it! It will help support the object walls when they are put under pressure. Tissue paper does the job, as does bubble wrap.

4.       Not bringing a sturdy shopping bag

The day you don’t take a “bag for life” to a car boot is the day you end up buying a 100 piece collection of figurines! A good sturdy shopping bag will allow you to transport purchases securely around the car boot without fear of it splitting. Line your bag with a towel for extra safety.

5.       Leaving too much space in boxes

You may think you’re being careful by leaving 10cm between each item when you box up your belongings, but as soon as you start moving the objects will start moving and crashing into each other. Pack them as tightly as you can and let friction keep them safe for you!

Kate Lloyd

Poll: What kind of carbooter are you?

bargain, deal, cheap, gold

We car boot fans have lots in common; we all love a bargain, a good deal or a great sale. We all, however, have different reasons for heading down the car boot.

carbooted have identified the three ‘booting  cliques – which one are you in?

1.       The professional carbooters

Attending more than one car boot a week, at various different sites, the serious professional is out for a profit. They buy at the car boot, but usually only to sell on. They’re the first at the ‘boot in the morning, trying to bag a bargain for resale, and usually have a well organised and pre-priced stall and focus on selling one type of good.

Professionals should be very aware of consumer law and should also try to get involved with fun aspects of the car boot community.

2.       The hobby carbooters

Tending to stick to one weekly patch (be it their local or the best ‘boot they know about), carbooting at the weekends in their free time, the hobby carbooter loves to buy to collect and keeps things a while before selling them on. They’re great at pricing, knowing their stuff, but their stalls tend to be a mishmash of all sorts of bits and pieces. They’re out to break even, but aren’t too concerned about profits and love being a part of the car boot community.

Hobby carbooters should remember that they have the knowledge and the stock to make a profit, so shouldn’t sell themselves short.

3.       The necessity carbooters

Usually only down the car boot once in a blue moon, the necessity ‘booter tends to pop by to sell off unwanted household goods after a clear out or when cash flow’s short. Usually they’re only selling, but they’ll come down to browse and pick up a bargain sometimes. Often unaware of which ‘boots are the best they’ll head to their local and won’t be sure of the value of their goods. It’s unlikely they’ll make a profit.

Necessity carbooters can easily get taken advantage of by those more experienced at ‘booting. They should make sure they follow the lead of the hobby ‘booters and professionals, getting involved with the community and doing their research.

Kate Lloyd