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Yard Sales Tag Sales Fleamarkets

Updated on August 16, 2008
photo by Marija jure. at
photo by Marija jure. at
photo by LPartridge at
photo by LPartridge at

Yard sales, tag sales, fleamarkets, estate sales, I love them all. Some of the nicest things I own were haggled for, bargained for, and surprisingly, sometimes 'free'.

It's been said by many of my friends/family that when they come to my home they feel 'comfortable', that I create a 'cozy, inviting' atmosphere. Others will say, 'too much stuff'. To each his own, I say :)

Back in the 90s, I spent 2 or 3 summers working the fleamarket. I enjoyed every minute of it, however, quite often I found myself coming home with more than I went with LOL,,,

There were those purchases, that, after a month or so, I'd see the item, and think, WHAT possessed me to buy that? By the same token, there are some things I will never part with.

The Fleamarket

But, getting back to working the fleamarket, there are a few guidelines I'd like to share:

1. Do NOT insult the seller. If they have an item you like listed for say, $20, do NOT offer $1. It is tasteless and rude. One seller I will not forget, who must have had several bad experiences, had a sign made for her table, that went something like, 'I got in my car, paid for the gas, went in search of the item, brought it home, cleaned/repaired it, packed it, loaded it into my car and unpacked it to put on this table. If that is not worth more than $1, please keep walking'. She and I had a good laugh over it, but she had a point.

2. A kind way to approach a seller, because, let's face it, we're all out for a bargain, or with the hope that we'll stumble upon that mis-marked treasure that we KNOW is worth a fortune, lol, is to simply admire it, examine it, and ask, is this price the best you can do? Let's say the price is $40. If they say no, you need to decide if you still want it bad enough. If they come back with 'I'll go $35, you can then say, how about $33? Get the idea? Just try to meet somewhere in the middle.

3. Sellers, when setting up your table, make sure all items are marked, this way, if you have a crowd around your table, the customer doesn't have to do a dance to get your attention for a price. There are those sellers who do not mark their items, and that obviously also works too, because you might not be quite sure what you want for it till someone expresses an interest in it, so it's kind of a 'seat of the pants' approach. You will find what works best for you.

4. Also, there are those people who put out lovely, pristine things, or, old, vintage things cleaned up very nicely. My own preference is no tags, no cleaning, unless the item is absolutely disgusting lol,,, Different approaches for different clientele. There are the shoppers who look for nothing but new, and those who love nothing better than to dig thru boxes. I am one of the latter.

5. Above all, be honest. If the item doesn't work, say so. If you cannot let an item go for less than what you are asking, say so, and give a reason why. The customer will appreciate it. I cannot tell you how many times I have been deceived, when, after getting the item home, something went unnoticed and unmentioned. I have learned to examine things very closely.

Also, do NOT mark an item for more than you really want for it, so that you end up with what you wanted to begin with. That is deceitful and very bad business.

6. Customers, ask questions. What is the age? maker? has it been repaired? does it need repair? if so, any idea what that might cost? Then you can determine if you want to spend your hard-earned money on the item.

I personally have a flair for 'rescuing' lamps, old, crusty, lamps. I am fortunate to have a lamp man right at the fleamarket I sell at. He has repaired all my lamps, and I buy my beautiful new shades and vintage finials (if the lamp is without) from him. He has told me on many occasions, that I have a good eye for lamps. One in particular that I purchased was $3, no harp, shade or finial. He said it was a Cordey lamp, worth about $75 new, about 50 yrs ago, so I had a pretty good investment for $3 :)

Yard Sales, Tag Sales

I have found that some of the best, cheapest items can be had at these types of sales, although the fleamarket runs closely behind.

Estate Sales

Perfect if you are looking for a particular item, or a very high-end item. If you are tasked with running one, I can't help you there :)

One more tip: Sellers and buyers, be sure to have plenty of singles on hand, and more than enough. Nothing worse than either the seller or buyer not having the enough money to make change, or enough money for a purchase.

Lastly, (cause if I don't stop here, I could just go on and on), go out and search for that missing piece, that treasure you've always longed for, and please, have fun doing it!!

photo by
photo by

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