Got boxes of old 'stuff' taking up valuable space in your garage or spare room and want to make some extra cash? Why not get up early one weekend, load the car up and get rid of it down at your local flea market. If you've never thought about it or if you have but didn't know where to start, here are my top 5 tips to running a successful (and profitable) market stall guaranteed to get your junk off your hands and some cash in your pocket.
1. People will buy ANYTHING – Now I don't say this in a negative way, but in the past I have taken things to the markets that I thought were only good for the bin and they were often the items that sold first. People go to the flea markets for all sorts of reasons, some to look for bargains, some to find kitschy clothing items for a dress up party, and some to find old items in bad repair to tinker on in their shed. At the end of the day, the things you take to the market are not your prized possessions so take it and have a go.
2. Cut all ties to your trinkets – This is where most people go wrong when they first go to sell things at the markets. They take their junk along and as they begin to unload the boxes of 'stuff' that's clogged their passage ways and blocked their doors for the past year, they revert back into hoarder mode and can't part with their items. This is where you must become a little ruthless with your junk. If it hasn't left the box in over a year, then there's a good chance it's not needed in your life, so don't be sucked in by the loving smile of your old teddy as he sits on the side of the market table.
3. Be ready from the word go – When you arrive at the market, there's a good chance it will be in the wee hours of the morning (most markets open their doors to the public at around 6am). In my experience though, bargain hunters start early and will often be up front enough to rummage through your car boot while you're still setting things up. The most important thing to do is not get flustered. When there are people going through all of your boxes before you've had a chance to set yourself up, then you're bound to give things away for less than their worth to give yourself the space to think. Stand your ground, be calm and take it one sale at a time (dragging your partner or friend out of bed to help is often a good idea as well).
4. Haggle – Often when I walk around flea markets I will see something that catches my eye and will be turned off because the price is too high and the seller won't budge. Remember tip #2, this stuff is your junk, you're either going to dump it or donate it on the way home so don't lose sleep over selling Aunty Mavis' hand painted vase for $2. If it's pushing on past breakfast time and things aren't moving, they're probably overpriced, so reassess your asking price and always be prepared to go lower. I sell most items for no more than $5 and the majority for less than $1. Just maintain the mantra 'this is my junk' and you will survive.
5. Relax and have some fun – The best and most successful stalls I have set up have been the one's where I've just gone with the flow. Once your set up, allow your customers to rummage through your items and try things out, try things on and play around with your 'stuff'. Don't get too upset if people are standing on the clothes or linen you have laid out, or if every child that walks past begins playing with the toys you want to sell but their parents never buy. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the markets and just relax knowing that you will have a few extra dollars in the pocket for a few hours of your morning and you will have the functional use of your garage or spare room back.
There are many more tips you will learn when you first have a go (such as always bring plastic bags and a permanent marker), but the main thing is to have a go. Get up early, have some fun, buy a breaky burger and a coffee and watch your life go from cluttered to cashed up in one short morning.
I love this article Tristan. It is spot on. I have so much stuff to 'dis' and have had many a market stall and the early callers that rumage through my boxes of items before I have set up can be quite intimidating so good on you for offering a fresh perspective. It is a great little money spinner and why waste precious space, time and energy looking at items sitting around. Keep up the good articles. Jules
Good article but I hope you will follow with which markets to go to, where one can just go and set up their own stall or car boot. Because I am having a lot of trouble finding these, and maybe also how to organize your own market? Thanks.
by Leanne Sampson-Bowden (score: 1|92) 1743 days ago
I de-cluttered the home and the husband, best thing I have done for myself.
I have no home, no furniture very little of anything else and I pet and home sit so I always have a roof over my head and my surroundings are for ever changing. Without painting and renovating, a bliss.
Hi, thanks for the comment. I found out the info I needed by googling the markets that I wanted to set up a stall at. On the website there was a contact number and one call to them got me going.
As far as setting up your own markets I really don't know where to start. Maybe by approaching a school to use their oval or approaching the local council to enquire about using a public space like a park might be a good start? Hope this helps!!
Great article. Honest, refreshing and so true about keeping things in perspective. You covered every angle and made me think of how angry I was when we were offloading my mums stuff after she died. Was grieving though so a different story. It is though really all just STUFF.