Flea market shopping has become quite popular in the last few years mostly due to tv shows, internet and general popularity among the hipster community. However, Carly and I have been big fans of flea market shopping way before it became popular and have had some serious practice over the years. We have found some really amazing flea markets all over the world, but sometimes you just have to look in your back yard. About five years ago, we found one of our personal favorites that is only about 30 minutes from Cincinnati across the river, and we have become serious regulars at the Burlington Flea! The flea starts in April and goes until October every 3rd Sunday of the month, meaning this Sunday, May 17th is the big day! We try to go to as much as possible and without fail we come home with a car filled to the max. Honestly, I'm still not sure how we do it, but the whole day at the flea is one of my favorite things! However, there are some key factors to making it a successful trip both in finding treasure & fun, so we have put together a few tips & tricks for you to try out at this upcoming flea!
Tips & Tricks
- There are two strategies when you should get to the flea...
- Truly embracing the phrase - early bird gets the worm, get to the flea as soon as you possibly can! This is the technique Carly and I always take and have been VERY successful and exhausted! The Burlington Flea opens at 6:00 am for the early birds at the high price of $5 or you can arrive at a slightly normal hour at 8:00 am for only $3.
- Show up later in the day hoping that you can score really great prices, because vendors really don't want to schlep anything home. I am sure you can score some serious deals, but we never want to miss out on anything so we are there bright & early!
- Before you even get there make sure to grab a cup of coffee to go! Cold or hot will make the perfect sidekick as you make your rounds through the flea.
- Make sure to bring snacks! Often times there are some great food trucks and stands that you can grab a bite to eat, but sometimes you might be there much longer than you think so make sure to pack some nuts, breakfast bars and water!
- Bring a light weight bag that you can throw in all those smaller items that you just can't resist. I usually bring my silver leather bag that has a ton of room and expands way more than you think it would!
- Speaking of bags, make sure you DON'T bring some giant purse. Either throw a few things in your big bag or use a small crossover bag so that you have your hands free! You will want to touch everything, so make sure you can!
- Have a list
- With no walls or ceilings at the flea, sizing can be quite deceiving so make sure you bring a tape measure! It doesn't need to be a huge one, but make sure to bring something you can measure with. Don't worry vendors won't be upset when you measure their pieces. They want you to be happy with what you purchase, and making sure it is perfect for your space is just part of the deal!
- Not only is it important to bring a tape measure, but make sure you have dimensions of your apartment/house so wherever you have in mind of putting a big piece you know your restrictions!
- ALWAYS bring cash or check. Vendors will take a check, but keep in mind if you have cash you may get a better deal! Be wary, other fleas may have an ATM machine on site, but Burlington Flea does NOT which means that if you need some cash you have to leave site and come back. If this does happen don't worry, put some money down on whatever you have your eye on and come back with more money!
- You never know what kind of weather you are going to get, so make sure to check the weather report before you head out. Whether it is super sunny or raining make sure to bring the proper gear. You can leave it in your car, but make sure you have what you need so that you don't have to shorten the trip! The past trip Carly and I made, it started raining quite a bit, but we had rain boots, socks, umbrellas & jackets in the car.
- It doesn't matter if you get the most amazing deals if you don't have a way to cart it all home. Make sure you bring a good size vehicle, personally Carly and I bring an SUV and without fail we always fill it to the brim! Also, don't forget to bring a few blankets or other protective material so that you can wrap up furniture pieces and make sure everything is protected for the ride home.
- Also remember that you don't have to haul everything around while you are looking. It is perfectly okay to leave all the big items around the flea and go back and gather your finds with your vehicle. Obviously the more little things you can carry to your car the better, but just enjoy the flea and gather later!
- Last, but definitely not the least is that you need to bring your bargaining skills, which honestly can be the most exciting part of the day. It never hurts to ask for a better price, but keep in mind that you don't want to go so low that it is an insult. I always have a number in my head for the absolute highest I will go and then I make an offer 5-10 below that number. I am either happily surprised when they take my first offer or I end up with my highest number. Either way, ALWAYS make a lower offer!
Hope these tips & tricks will help you be equally successful as we have been over the years! Just remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there are so many things that can go from trash to treasure. And if you see us there, be sure to say hi!
Do you have any favorite fleas?
-a & c.