Flea Market and Estate Sale Survival Guide – Top 10 Things to Pack


As soon as the temperatures start rising you know it’s Garage/Estate/Flea Sale Season! It’s my favorite time of year to find great buys on fantastic vintage clothing, costume jewelry, and antiques for the house.

Besides lots of rest the night before, here is what I bring with me to Flea Markets and other sales:

  1. List – Sales can be overwhelming, so having a list of items that you are looking for will help you keep focus and your spending in check. There are great apps like Wunderlist to keep track of what you are looking for. And, as always, the old pen and pad does just fine.
  2. Sunscreen – Most likely you’ll be spending time in the sun and you don’t want to worry about getting a burn since all your energy will be focused on getting the best deal on that fab 50s purse! Try Alba’s mineral block (no icky chemicals get absorbed into your skin).
  3. Water – I always have water or a large iced tea in the car. It is normally a pain to carry with you to the open-air markets, but if you are going to be walking around for a while, it is a must.
  4. Cash – Some sales only take cash, so it’s best to hit the bank on the way
  5. Reusable Bag – Ecobags are my favorite for markets. They are small and fit in your purse and you can bring a bunch incase you find the mother load of deals. Other handmade or store resusable bags are great options and allow you to carry more than a flimsy plastic bag which can break with the weight.
  6. Business Cards – I always keep cards on hand because you never know who you are going to meet. Cards are also good to give a vendor who doesn’t have what you are looking for at the moment, but might get it in stock shortly. Try Moo’s line of minicards, they really stand out from the crowd!
  7. Market Layout Map – Some of the larger Flea Markets and Rummage Sales now have snazzy maps. They are great so you can find what you want and not waste time in tents or areas filled with items that aren’t your fancy.
  8. GPS – The best sales are often not in your local area or big city. Make sure to have a GPS on hand to navigate to the out of the way sales that can have the best finds!
  9. Measuring Tape – I’m new to the measuring tape band wagon, but it’s really helpful for making sure that furniture will fit in your house and clothing will fit without giving everyone a show.
  10. Phone / Camera Phone – Markets and sales are a great idea for inspiration. I always have something to take pictures with on hand so I can reference it later.

Happy bargain hunting!

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