Looking for some advice on what to sell this weekend? DVDs, cosmetics and records are always popular
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
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 sale – as 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.
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
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.
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!
You may think you know what sells at the car boot, but how likely is it that you own goods that people will want to buy?
carbooted’s Kate Lloyd checked out her parents’ house to see if she has anything worth taking to the car boot. You can watch the video below to see how she got on.
Music: Miss Emma – Une Glace au Citron. Used via a Creative Commons license.
Here are her top five searching tips:
1. Remember: even if you’re selling second hand never sell anything dirty or broken – the buyers just won’t come back!
2. Don’t forget to look at the top of your wardrobe, underneath your bed and in your back shed for forgotten treasures
3. If you aren’t sure whether to sell it – don’t! You’ll only regret it later.
4. Consider whether you have the means to take large goods to the car boot. It’s alright saying you’re going to sell your garden furniture, but are you going to have to hire an expensive van to get it to the sale?
5. Ask friends, family and neighbours to check their cupboards for you too!
Don’t know what sells? Check out our guide from the experts!
Hackney Homemade, Wood Street Indoor Market, Frock Me, Judy’s kilo sales, and Little Chelsea: in the latest post of our 2012 predictions week, carbooted picks out five London markets you should visit on a bargain hunt.
Image via McMuggins
Every Saturday, Lower Clapton Road, E5, 10am-4pm; Every Sunday, Chatsworth Road, E5, 11am-4pm
The Hackney Homemade markets are back up and running after a well-earned Christmas break. On Saturdays you’ll find them in the garden of St John church in Hackney selling good old-fashioned bric-a-brac alongside vintage clothing and books. There’s also a good choice of world food to fill your belly as you browse. Sundays are the artier days, promising ceramics, toys, and furniture in the courtyard of an independent book shop. As the name suggests, there’s a lovely handmade ethos to the markets, and they’re clearly doing something right as Time Out named founder Jane MacIntyre one of their most influential people of 2011. We love the clear advice that their friendly and welcoming website gives for people wanting to sell their wares at the market, telling you exactly what you need to know before pitching up.
Wood Street, E17
Open Monday – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 10am-5.30pm
We’re really excited to check out the goods here after organisers ran a competition to find 21 brand new shops for empty space in this Walthamstow market. The winners get three months free rent, and there’s a love-themed launch party on February 11 to say a big hello to the new kids in town. There’ll be flowers, homeware, records, costumes, and plenty of vintage to browse as well as performances in the indoor market, which used to be a cinema.
Frock Me: Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, SW3. Next event: Sunday 12 February, 11am-5.30pm
Adams Antique Fairs: Elverton Street, SW1P. Next event: Sunday 5 February, 10am-4.30pm
Matthew Adams runs an antique fair at the Royal Horticultural Hall as well as the fun vintage Frock Me fair in Chelsea. Frock Me is excellent for celeb spotting (Hi Kylie! Hi Kate Moss!), and the prices do get a little steep at times. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do well on a budget as you explore the range of vintage clothing, burlesque items, jewellery and accessories, and there’s a tea room to quench your thirst in retro surroundings. The antiques fair attracts 140 stallholders so you could easily spend your entire Sunday lost among some real gems.
Moves around! Next event: The Rag Factory, Heneage Street, E1, on Saturday 11 February, 11am-4pm
Load up on a kilo of clothing for only £15 – bargain! You’ll need your rummaging arms at the ready for this sale, run by the team behind Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs. As well as finding your new favourite shirt, this one’s a great opportunity to get crafty as you can turn old cloth into new togs, or rework a fantastic fabric into an e-reader cover/purse/neck scarf/pillowcase…
Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, SW3
Next event: Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 March. 3-8pm on Monday, 11am-6pm on Tuesday.
This one calls itself “the affordable antiques fair”, so it’s a great way of making your first steps into antique buying for as little as a tenner. Steer clear of the items they say could cost as much as £30,000 – unless you’ve come into some incredible good fortune – and get haggling in the surrounds of Chelsea’s Old Town Hall. Here’s a long-running fair for furnishings, porcelain, glass… You name it, it’s probably there.
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!