The weather is improving and boot sale season has started! Spring is also traditionally time for a tidy up and declutter. Put the two together and you can make money selling your unwanted stuff at boot sales.
I love a good declutter. Shoestring Cottage is a strange mix of minimalism and shabby chic. Clutter and too much stuff makes me ratty, but I do like to have a few nice bits around the house. Mr S, on the other hand, is a bit of a hoarder. If I clear stuff out, I have to do it when he’s not looking! When the decluttering bug hits me, I sort items into four piles. One for eBay (my guide to selling on eBay is here), one for the charity shop and one for the boot sale. The forth is for recycling if possible. I only chuck stuff away as a last resort.
Why throw things away when you can make money selling it? I have done a lot of boot sales in my time, and here is my best advice if you are a novice.
Make money selling at boot sales: the basics
Do a bit of research to choose your boot sale. Ask around to see which ones are the most popular. Some of them have their own Facebook pages. I have found it is worth paying a few pounds more for a pitch at a decent boot sale. If you don’t know where to start, check out CarBootJunction.
Pack your car the night before.
Get there really early, preferably a good hour before it opens to the public so that you can get properly set up before the hoards descend. You are also more likely to get a good pitch.
Take back up
Try to go with at least one other person, preferably two. You will find the dealers and resellers jump on you as you are trying to get things out of the car and unfortunately some people will take advantage and steal from you. Three is the best number for setting up. One to guard the car boot, one to take things to and fro and the other to arrange the table. Be firm if you need to and tell them to go away until you are ready.
Wear lots of layers. Even on the nicest day it can be really cold first thing.
Take a flask, water and some food.
Be prepared for the great British weather
Choose a sunny day (obvs). A bank holiday is a great time to make money selling at a boot sale as they get packed. If the forecast is for hot weather have a hat and sun cream with you. However, it’s also worth having a brolly or two and some plastic sheeting to protect your wares – we live in Britain after all!
If you can fit them in your car boot, it is really worth having a couple of deck chairs to sit on.
If you are selling clothes, beg or borrow a sturdy clothes rail. Clothes sell much better when people can see them. Don’t forget the hangers! A tarpaulin is also good for laying out items such as curtains, toys and children’s clothes.
For everything else, a strong folding table will suffice. A pasting table works well.
Be realistic in the prices you ask. People come to a boot sale for a bargain, not to pay charity shop or eBay prices. If something is worth a bit more than a couple of pounds, it can help to label it with the price, but be prepared to haggle – set your prices slightly higher than you ideally want to get for items. Personally, I sell more valuable items on eBay.
Having said that, don’t give into the first silly offer if you know something is worth more. Dealers and resellers particularly will push their luck!
A money belt is a good idea. If you have handbags or any valuables in the car, keep it locked.
Take lots of change with you. It is annoying but there will be a lot of customers first thing who turn up with £20 notes.
It’s worth having a few carrier bags with you. Loads of people seem to forget to take any.
Take a roll of bin bags with you too for when you pack up.
Have a look around and enjoy it at some point, but try not to spend all your earnings (I am the absolute worst for this!).
Most importantly, relax and enjoy the event. You are unlikely to make a huge fortune, but you will clear the clutter and you can make money selling at boot sales. It’s fun to chat to people and is actually quite sociable!
Have you had any luck selling at boot sales? What are your top tips?