Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flea Market Shopping Tips

As an organizer, I know I'm supposed to discourage my readers from shopping at flea markets. But in this economy, if you absolutely need a piece of furniture, a gift for someone or are creative in any aspect, you should shop at flea markets. I've been a fan for over 20 years and am fortunate to live about 1/2 mile from one of the biggest in Southern California.

So, in that vein, I'm going to post some tips for flea market shopping that will make your experience that much nicer.

First of all, wear comfortable shoes. I can't emphasize this enough. I know some of us like to dress to look hip when shopping at the fleas, but at the end of the day, if you can no longer walk and have severe blister issues, you're not going to care how hip you looked all day.

Second, arrive early and get a good parking spot. This will really be important if you purchase larger items and need to make multiple trips to your car to drop things off. The other benefit to arriving early, is you won't miss out on some of the bigger furniture items which, if they are in great condition and are a bargain, will be gone by late morning.

Or, if you're just looking for bargains, arrive late in the day - an hour or two before the end of the show. Dealers will be getting ready to call it a day and may discount items rather than pack them back up into their trucks. It's your call.

Next, wear sunscreen. You can get a pretty nasty sunburn even on cloudy days. Wear a hat to shield your head and face from the sun. This will keep you cooler as will wearing light colors and lightweight fabrics.

Bring cash not checks or credit cards. Most dealers prefer cash and may even give a discount if you pay with cash.

Carry plenty of water and healthy snacks to eat during the day. Most flea market food consists of the fast food/junk food/hot dog variety. You'll have more energy if you eat healthy. Take yourself out for lunch or dinner when you're finished and get a real meal later on.

If you see something you really like for a good price, buy it. Don't think it will be there when you come back in an hour or so. If it's a good deal, someone else will get it and you'll be disappointed.

Carry your own reusable shopping bags to avoid having to bring home more plastic.

Lastly, have fun.

Click here for a website which has listings for flea markets all across the U.S.

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