Yesterday my hub and I took the opportunity to drive down to the Golden Nugget flea market in Lambertville, NJ. It’s an activity the both of us enjoy on a nice weekend morning, and now that the weather’s getting nicer we’ll do it at least once a month. The nugget specializes in vintage/antique goods. There’s some other stuff like local farmstuffs/foodmakers and some non-vintage goods, but for the most part it’s quite on target. If you’ve never gone to a vintage-oriented flea market I highly recommend! It can be a great and cheap way to pass a sunny morning.
There are a few tips I’d like to give on having a successful trip to a flea market.
1. The reason you are there should be because you’re getting out, getting exercise, and having a good time. Finding “just the right thing” or searching for bargains should be a distant second. With this mindset you’ll be more likely to enjoy your time and not be disappointed if you don’t find anything.
2. Go early! The show’s over around 11:30am, if you go late the sellers will be packed up and gone! Flea marketing is definitely an early bird catches the worm activity. I try to target 9-10 for getting there, which isn’t too early for a weekend morning and there’s still plenty of goodies to look at.
3. Have something in mind that you want, a short list of a few items is a good approach. Currently I’m searching for a larger cast iron griddle for making pancakes, and a statue of the Buddha in a particular pose. While I may look at other things briefly, since they’re on my list I probably won’t give them much thought. The raw silk yardage for sale on one table was definitely tempting, but I knew I could do without and it wasn’t on my list.
4. Keep moving! in keeping with the exercise reason, you don’t have to shuffle at a snail’s pace and constantly stop. keep your feet moving and your eyes flitting quickly over everything on the tables as you pass. Only if something is truly remarkable or on your list should you stop.
5. Don’t go home with something you really don’t need, regardless of the bargain. If you already have something and what you’re looking at isn’t vastly superior, you don’t need it. Be picky. Your wallet and your less-cluttered house will thank you.
6. Know your budget and stick to it. I’m starting April as a “month of no spending” so my budget is pretty darn low (the $18 in my wallet). I saw 3 buddha statues in the pose and size I wanted, but the prices were $45-65 so I decided to put it off. While haggling is most certainly an option, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get them to discount that far and I understand that they’re there to make a living too. The new versions of that statue I’ve seen were about $300, so I’m certainly willing to pay $50 for the more eco-friendly pre-owned version. Since there were 3 there I think I’ll be able to find one again next month. My total spend for the trip (not including gas) was a $1 donation to the greyhound rescue table. I can never pass up a grey in need.
7. Don’t be afraid to keep moving and come back. There may be a better, cheaper version of the same thing in a table further on. If you don’t find it and come back and the original one was sold, it just wasn’t your day to have it. We’ve won out on this gamble many times, and lost next to none.
8. Make it a game. Have everyone point out all the vases (or some other item) that they see, and see who can spot the most. My hub and I like to point out to eachother the most attrociously ugly/tasteless items we see. Some horrors just need to be shared. 🙂
So, do you flea? Any tips you use for not cluttering up your home with “finds”?