Today's title says it all really – when scouring boot sales and charity shops for things to sell, what should you look out for? Personally, I'm not into antiques, so I don't even bother trying to understand them or waste money purchasing them. In the famous words of the High School Musical Cast: ‘stick to the stuff you know'.
I've debated quite some time about this blog post, but in the end I decided that it really won't harm me if I share some ideas of what to look out for at car boot sales or charity shops. I've been buying things to sell for years and have a keen eye for things that will make me money – definitely a theme with me. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules with this. I'd stick with not spending more than you can afford to lose alongside having more than one selling platform (eBay, Facebook, Amazon, etc). Also having a smartphone is great because you can search eBay for completed listings whilst you are shopping to see whether you will make a profit or not.
Having a gamer boyfriend helps. He informs me that there are a few games that are super duper hard to get hold of due to not being released in this country; being limited edition or for some other gaming reason. I have no idea about games so he keeps an eye on those whilst I look for games such as Sims 3 – which I recently picked up in a charity shop for £1.50 and sold on eBay for £15. I also look for something out of the ordinary – I live close to a military air base and I attended an interview in the area. One of the charity shops there had been given a ton of US games that were quite old (OS Windows 98!) but they were brand new and only £1 each. I quickly checked eBay and they were going for £40+ each. I bought 10. Old consoles might also be worth a punt!
Before the postage increase I did rather well selling on clothes, these days, not so much. But there's still profit to be had. I often pick up clothes for 20p or 50p at boot sales. I look out for anything brand new with a label (not Primark unless it is size 18 or 20) and anything size 18+. Clothes for 20p or 50p are usually put on the floor for a rummage at boot sales and if they're cheap enough I will also look out for Bonmarche, Next, Dorothy Perkins and Topshop clothes. Clothes are easy for me because I read women's magazines and shop, so I have somewhat of an idea of what to look out for. Just this weekend I sold a dress for £10 that I picked up for 50p – I'd never heard of the brand but it had a tag on for £46 so I knew I was on to something.
Another great find was a charity shop having a ‘fill a bag for £5' day. I managed to grab about 6 bags and made a fortune on the vintage dresses in there, as well as plus size dresses. I added international bidding to my auctions and they skyrocketed.
Alongside clothes I also look for Irregular Choice and Clarks shoes.
Most people car booting, such as families, know the value of lego, but sometimes you find a house clearance guy selling bags cheaply. I often snap them up for a discount – I spent £10 on some lego that sold on Facebook for £35. Be wary of buying the more expensive lego sets from boot sales – we recently spent £40 on a set that was selling on eBay for £90+ (thanks eBay app), assured that it was perfectly intact and had only been dismantled the night before, only to discover it had a ton of pieces missing. I should have followed my gut, as the seller told us that she had other sets on eBay – so she must have seen how much this set was going for complete, and knew she couldn't get that much. I still kick myself today about that mistake.
Make up and cosmetics:
I keep an eye out for the decent stuff like MAC, Philosophy, Benefit, Lush, Nails Inc and OPI. You need to take great care, especially with MAC, that it isn't fake. 99% of all the MAC I've seen at car boot sales has been fake, but I did manage to grab something this weekend, brand new in the box, for £1. It has an RRP of £16 so should easily fetch me £8 or so. I've also picked up a Philosophy shower gel, still sealed, for 50p when the RRP is £19 (and later sold on eBay for £10).
Wallpaper – look for a brand such as Laura Ashley, or something still sealed that looks kitcshy.
Warhammer models – I leave Tony to find these, but it has been known to happen!
Ink cartridges – if they're genuine and around the 50p-£1 mark then chances are they will sell for a lot more on eBay.
Badge it makers – I pick them up for anything from 50p-£2 and make around £10-£15 on them.
Another great find was a bag full of Sizzix die cuts for card making at a boot sale. I asked if they'd sell the whole bag to me, they said yes, for £3. I paid before they could realise anything. The items in the page were all new and priced between £200-£300 individually!
And finally, some general buying at car boot sale tips:
- Haggle, but don't be ridiculous. If you're happy with a price then just pay it!
- Check over items carefully – don't get sucked into the hype because this 50p item is selling for £20+ on eBay – make sure it isn't damaged!
- Keep your buying ‘float' separate from your normal spending money.
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