To Market, To Market: 5 Tips for Making the Most of a Flea Market Trip

8.06.2013

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A few weekends ago, my friend B and I ventured to well known flea market in Lambertville. We had been planning to go for a few months and were so excited to finally coordinate an early Saturday trip up to the scenic New Jersey town.

We had a blast scouting for hidden treasures, and each left with an armful of goods (let's just say the trunk of her car was full). There is something really satisfying about sifting through tables of stuff and finding something unique, that likely isn't available anywhere else. Yes, there are tons of odds and ends ... things that have probably been sitting there for the past five years, but the feeling of coming across that one hidden gem – you can't beat it. The best part? We only spent about $40 each.

While this wasn't my first flea market, I definitely learned a few things along the way that I thought would helpful to share, in case any of you have plans to head to market anytime soon :)

Five things I wish I knew before my first trip to the flea market:

1. Don't be afraid to bargain. Chances are the seller has priced high in anticipation of striking a deal. (Side note: being nice helps!)
2. Bring a canvas or reusable tote that you're not worried about getting dirty to carry your newfound (but probably dusty) treasures.
3. Pay attention to the details. Have your eye on something? Pick it up, touch it, and make sure to look for imperfections as well as things like holes and cracks that may not be fixable. Yes, vintage goods have been used, but you don't want to end up with a beautiful piece of junk that can't be salvaged.
4. Go early ... and when you're there, come up with a plan of attack. Many markets open early in the morning (think 5 AM), which is according to a "pro," when the best things sell. (We ended up getting there around 8 or 8:30, which worked perfectly for us.)
5. If you really want it, buy it then and there. Chances are it won't be there when you decide to go back for it.

My favorite find? This vintage easel from the 40s ... but this blue and white Wedgwood china is a close runner up!


Have you been to a flea market? What was your favorite find? Any "pro" tips? Do tell!


5 comments

  1. Very good advice! I go to flea markets with my friends every now and then, and it's always a blast! :)

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  2. I love this! I want to go to the flea market soon. Very soon! And I'll take your tips with me.

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    1. I'm glad these were helpful!! Happy hunting :)

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  3. These are great tips! We have an amazing flea market that comes around a few times a year, and my husband and I always make it a point to go. I've gotten some fun stuff, and Robert always loves hunting for vintage barware. That easel is gorgeous though! I would have bought it right then and there too :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm still so in love with it. I kept my eye out for some vintage barware (flea markets really are the best for that!), but didn't have any luck. Next time, I guess :)

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