Friday, 22 April 2011

Car Booting With Minimum Mouse!

Car booting - the epitome of Englishness
Always a chance to stock up on Cliff Richard vinyl
 We were very excited mice today - we visited our first car boot sale of the season! It was a nice little bank holiday treat and with glorious sunshine it would have been rude not to go and do a spot of rummaging. We love a good car boot, it is where we have found a lot of the great vintage that we have sold over the years, and is where we get lots of stuff for ourselves! Today we visited Coleshill car boot (near Birmingham, just off the M42) which is on every Tuesday and Friday. We hadn't tried this one before so we didn't know if it was going to be any good, but we were pleasantly surprised - the good weather and bank holiday had brought out a good crowd and lots of sellers had some nice little knick knacks and oddities to look at.

We came away with some nice goodies too - I got a couple of cute wicker handbags, a giant tomato ice bucket, a lovely stripy satin dress and James found some nice retro sportswear and a couple of vintage suits.
Don't let a mound of stuff like this put you off - have a good old rummage!
 For the next few months we will most likely be at car boots at every opportunity! And you should be too, they are the finest way to find some great stuff on a budget. In fact, I don't think there is much that you won't find at a car boot sale!
 So, with this in mind, we have a few top tips for booting...
  • Go early! A lot of car boots kick off at around 6 or 7am, which is an excruciating time to get up at the weekend, but if you are looking for the pick of the crop, you need to be there with the dealers who get in early before the more casual shoppers arrive. Alternatively, if this sounds too much like work...
  • Go late! Some of the best car booting we have done has been when we have nipped along late for the dying moments of the car boot sale. When people are starting to pack and go home they are more likely to give you a good price on stuff, after all, they are not looking forward to packing it all up and lugging it all home - if they can offload it, they won't have to pack it!
  • Don't be afraid to bargain a bit - you may be shy to, I was at first, but it is always worth asking if you can get a discount. Start by asking the price of an item, if something is 20p then I tend to think you should just pay that (I would feel really awful asking for money off something so cheap!), but for more expensive items then go for it. Tell them what you would like to pay and see if they'll accept your price or perhaps meet you in the middle. Always be polite and the worst that can happen is that they say no!
  • Bulk buying - another way to drive a bargain is to buy a few things from the same stall and see what discount they will give you for the lot. Of course there is no point doing this unless you genuinely want the items, but don't forget to ask for a deal when buying more than one thing!
  • Don't let a multitude of stalls selling cheap toliet rolls and knock off dvds put you off, it's always worth having a quick scout around a sale even if it looks disappointing, you never know when you will spot an amazing gem!
To find out about car boots and jumble sales in your are check out the local newspapers and also Car Boot Junction, which lists car boots in the UK by county (though many car boots organisers don't seem that internet savvy, so there will be lots more that you won't find on here). In the midlands, Dunworkin is a good source of car boot info.

Have fun and happy bargain hunting!

    You'll often find the odd vintage gem on an unpromising clothes rail..

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