Slideshow: Things you should be selling at the car boot this weekend

Looking for some advice on what to sell this weekend? DVDs, cosmetics and records are always popular

Car boot aficionado and experienced e-Bay seller dressing-2-kill has compiled a car booting bible that is frequently updated to include hints and tips for both buyers and sellers.

The post includes a pretty comprehensive list of things that always sell at car boots, things that never sell and ways to spruce up your stall to invite customers in.

We loved this tip in particular on how to attract buyers:

‘It’s worth considering buying in a few sweets, cans of drinks, tissues and wet-wipes – they’re great to offer at the front of the stall to attract mums with small kids.’

We had a root around at home to see if we could find some of the most popular items to sell and look what we found

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Sophie Tighe


Preview: The Art Car Boot Fair on Brick Lane – May 27 2012

The end of May will see the return of the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair to Brick Lane’s Truman Brewery.

The fair, which costs a bargainous £3 to get in, will see a car boots brimming with arty deals, including works especially commissioned for the event.

Organisers promise works by more than 70 international artists, including Sir Peter Blake, Mat Collishaw, Polly Morgan, Tracey Emin’s Emin International, Keith Tyson, Chantal Joffe, Jessica Albarn and Billy Childish.

There’s also a handbag disco – which sounds absolutely amazing on its own – but you could also come away from the dancefloor with an exclusive designer or celebrity handbag. When the music stops, you grab a cotton bag, and it’s a mystery which bag you’ll find inside! Bags have been donated by celebrities and designers including models Sophie Dahl, Jasmine Guinness, Liberty Ross, Daisy Lowe and designers Lulu Guinness, Balenciaga, Barbara Hulanacki, with many more donors to be announced soon.

Last year, artist Tracey Emin, Blur front man Damon Albarn, and designer Pam Hogg were spotted at the event in what must have been the East End’s glitziest car park.

Best of all, you can indulge your arty side and enjoy a dance while raising money for a good cause. All the proceeds go to the Just for Kids Law charity, which gives legal help to young people in difficulty.

The Art Car Boot Fair

£3, 12-6pm, Sunday May 27 2012

Brick Lane Yard, London, E1

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

My first car boot: a quick fix for when you need to make money

An unexpectedly large household bill through the letterbox can be a nasty surprise when you’re on a tight budget. You have days to find the money, so a trip to the car boot can be the perfect quick fix, as well as a chance to finally deal with your home’s clutter.

Housemates Kate Birch and Toni Cotton, 27-year-old teachers from Leeds, found themselves in this situation when the gas and electric bill arrived after the cold winter.

Luckily for them, they were able to head to a local car boot in Otley, West Yorkshire, to sell their unwanted items. Kate tells carbooted about her first ever trip to a car boot, and how the pair came away nearly £300 richer!

Why did you decide to go to a car boot to make money?

We went to a car boot because using eBay seemed a bit too much like hard work to list and photograph all our items. I wasn’t expecting to get much for my bag of clothes so thought it wouldn’t be worthwhile with the costs of postage and packaging. Also, with our working hours and commutes to school, making trips to the post office just wasn’t going to be convenient.

Why did you choose the Otley car boot sale?

We chose the Otley Sale purely because it started at midday and we weren’t dedicated enough to get up at the crack of dawn! It turned out to be a good choice – there were lots of people buying and selling and it was a sunny day so even more turned out. It was only £12 per car and we didn’t need to pre-book a pitch either. Toni made over £200 and I made £70 so we still made a good profit.

What did you have to do when you arrived on the day?

We got a great spot because my boyfriend was driving and didn’t realise that the last to arrive were supposed to go to the other end of the site – he charmed a granny who let him have her granddaughter’s usual spot as she wasn’t going that day! We arrived at 11.30am, but regular sellers had been there setting up since 10am. We borrowed a pasting table to act as our stall, and Toni brought along a portable clothes rail to make it easier for buyers to browse.

What was it like once the gates were open for buyers to come in?

The main items on sale were clothes, toys and household items and it was a pretty friendly atmosphere. People were generally interested only if things were really cheap  – say £1 for a top or £2 for a pair of jeans – but I’m sure more specialist items might have sold for more.

If you’re just looking for a big clear out of stuff you genuinely don’t need any more then it’s well worth making the trip to your local sale – I’m never planning on going skiing again so I happily waved goodbye to my ski goggles for a couple of quid. It was the sheer volume of clothes that made Toni her £200. I sold some books, jewellery and unopened Paperchase stationery for £3 a time – so for good quality and well-known brands you can get a bit more.

Did you have trouble selling any of your items?

The only thing I didn’t sell was a beaded top I’d bought for £45 and worn once. People wouldn’t pay £10 for it because they wanted everything dirt cheap. One or two sellers helpfully suggested that I sold it on eBay instead – because they knew, in general, the car booters aren’t after clothes that cost too much. I think it’ll be worth auctioning this one item online because it’s still stylish.

What tips would you offer people considering a car boot sale to make a quick bit of cash?

For first timers, I’d say go for it! We were lucky that it was a nice day and had three of us to look after our stall. As you have to pay to get in, you need to make sure you have the volume to make it worthwhile.

After two good hours of selling, it tailed off, so make sure you’re ready to go when the gates open as that’s your best chance of a sale.

Other people will buy your stuff to go on and sell it themselves. Toni sold £70 worth of clothes to a woman in the last 5 minutes – clearly intending to sell it the week after. But Toni needed wardrobe space and cash, so it didn’t really matter.

Will you go again?

Definitely! I’m a fair weather car booter – you wouldn’t catch me braving it in the winter. But the old lady next to us said that they go every week, come rain or shine, to raise cash for a local charity. It did take a lot of will power not to have a good look around the sale so I wasn’t tempted to sell my junk then go home with other people’s, though!

Kate and Toni sold their unwanted goods at:

Wharfedale Farmers Auction Mart
West Yorkshire
LS21 3BD

It’s open every Sunday from 12-4pm for buyers. Sellers can arrive from 10am. It’s £12 for a car, £14 for a van, and £2 for a trailer.

Helen Lawson

Rags to riches: flogging fashion at car boot sales

Car boot sales are a great way to declutter and shift some of your more regrettable fashion faux pas.

Top tips for carbooting in today’s Guardian include doing your research on where to sell, arriving early and (most importantly) being prepared to haggle with buyers.

Read the full article here

Sophie Tighe

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

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