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English Traditional Car Boot Sales, Table Top Sale, Flea Market And Jumble Sale

Updated on April 4, 2012

Car Boot Sales: What English Traditional Activity is This?

This article is about an English traditional pass time. Essentially, that is ‘normal’ and keenly integrated into the English way of life. So, Car booting. What are car boots?

Are they a traditional Wellington boot that this green and pleasant land has been associated with? Our farmers definitely like them!

No, car boot sales are like table top sales, garage sales or fleamarkets. Only, anyone can participate in one! It is where we go to sell our unwanted possessions from literally a car boot.

This is, essentially, the rear of the car. Yes, this has become an English traditional activity! The English used to be avid organisers of the traditional Jumble Sale, but that is a thing of the past.

The Jumble Sale is dead – long live car boot sales!

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An Example of Car Boot Sales

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Local Communities - The Hub of Jumble Sales

A Jumble sale, I hear you ask? Yes… these were donated, no longer wanted possessions collected from the people of local communities. Their unwanted items were sold (typically on a Saturday morning at 10 am) in aid of the organisation that was holding the event. This typically happened at a local community hall or church. Items were sold cheaply – if you could slide your way through the hording masses in an attempt to grab that wonderful jumper that caught your eye!

This jumble sale, or table top sale, for the organisers, was 100% profitable! The items were donated for free, the hall would, generally be gifted freely and the assistants would give of their time without charge. So, as you can see everyone was happy. People were happy to rid themselves of the stuff they no longer wanted – gone was the clutter to the local jumble sale to be seen no more!

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The English Traditional Jumble Sale - A Nice Littler Earner!

The buyers were happy because they got something they could use cheaply and the organisations were happy because they had an additional funding source. The humble jumble sale and table top sale was a nice little earner! However, this English traditional scene of grabbing, queuing and barging is rarely seen now days. Gone are these days and in with the 1980’s came car booting! Car boot sales have now become the English traditional method of buying good pre-owned stuff on the cheap. This is different to a fleamarket, but just as good if you want a rummage.

All you have to do is turn up with a car full of car booting goodies and an appropriate table top – a wallpaper pasting table is popular with car booters! The nearest car booting places, as well as a fleamarket, are advertised in the local papers and may be located in a farmer’s field, undercover in a cattle market shed or in a car park at the local old airfield. The point is they can be held anywhere.

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Rummage the Table Top Sale - See What You Can Find!

English Traditional Jumble Sales are Dead - Long Live an English Traditional Car Booty!

It is easy to organise or participate in a table top sale or car booting event. It can happen pretty much anywhere – as long as you get planning permission first from the local council! I have included, below, two links for car booting directories. These cite lots of sites in the UK where car booting events are held. Just click here and click here for more.

So what happened to the organisations that used to hold a jumble sale or table top sale in the local community halls? Unfortunately, the bad news is these organisations no longer hold jumble sales. The good news is that, to compensate, they hold Car Boot Sales! They also participate in car booting by holding their own table top stall. Sometimes they are more selective and may hold a stall on a fleamarket. It is, therefore, car boot sales that raise them money now. It is as if the humble jumble sale has evolved and car booting has become an extraordinary English traditional event!

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English Traditional Money For Old Rope!

Money For Old Rope? You Bet - at the Car Boot Sale!

Some people call car booting ‘money for old rope’. They no longer need the said item – it has been lying around in the loft for years – so why keep holding it to go mankey? The extra bit of cash could help out too. This table top sale is an extravaganza of fun!

I am a regular at car booting (sorry a fleamarket is not really my thing!). In fact, I used to earn a living at it! I bought items that I knew would sell well online. This was highly profitable. Here is my hub on how to make money on Amazon if you want to do the same – Click Here. In fact, at one point, my car boot items forced me to move stock from my garage to a factory unit! The business flourished further than I had ever dreamed! I had a keen eye for a rarity.

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The Table Top Sale at the Car Boot Sale Spoils Me!

I won’t lie but I must admit car boot sales have spoiled me somewhat. I have absolutely no interest in shopping now. Why bother when you can get a great bargain and a great buzz from the thrill of barter?! The whole house has been decked out on car boot items!

I’m not one of those ‘up my bottom’ types who are ‘much to proud’ to take on someone else’s unwanted items. I would rather my money go onto something much more productive! Like what? MORTGAGE! If it weren’t for car boots, I wouldn’t be mortgage free today! As you can see, this English traditional way of living has helped me lots.

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Beautiful Items - Pay a Fortune from a Shop or Pay Pennies Whilst Carbooting or at a Fleamarket!

Think of this whilst you are shopping… imagine that lovely vase in the highly glossy shop window. It is lovely – it is a lot of money too! The lighting glistens on the sparkle. The presentation and attention to detail is beautiful. You pay an exorbitant amount of money for it. The assistant beautifully packages it with bows and ties – arrrh!

Now imagine this… that same vase on a table top sale pasting table amongst a whole heap of tat! No packaging, just standing there, dusty and needing a clean. How much would you give for it? Would you bother to even give it a second glance? I would!

After giving them 50p, I might eagerly go home, clean it up and put it in pride of place. If I get bored of said item, I might just resell it and get my money back, sometimes more! Actually people who sell at a fleamarket tend to buy from car booters and resell on their own stalls elsewhere. This is taking advantage of an English traditional event, I must say! But hey ho, why not support yourself on someone else’s throwaway item?!

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and from a table top sale too! Someone wanting to rid himself or herself of the ‘trash’ by selling it to someone who will make use of the ‘treasure’ is an absolutely fantastic way for two people to have gainful satisfaction. This certainly is money for old rope!

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Online Booting

Car Booting? Why Not Bag A Bargain Online Too?

I love to bargain hunt and live life cheaply! I even scourer the Internet for bargain bagging. Well if you are the same then you would like this: ‘How To Decipher Amazon’s URL Address Code and Bag the Best Bargains at The Cheapest Prices!

It is Amazon that provided me with a living. Well, I tell you how you can get items for up to 99% off the original price, just by tweaking the URL code. So next time you buy something from Amazon, you might wonder where that item has come from. It might be from a car boot sale where someone has had fun in obtaining it and making it fit for purpose.

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Top Flea Market Secrets:

  • Buy From Car Booting, Sell At Fleamarket.
  • Buy From Car Boot Sales and Fleamarket's, Sell Online!

Car Booty is a Lifestyle, Fashion Statement!

I am often praised for my snazzy look or fashion statement. The beauty of my silver jeweller and the interesting things in my home. All these items I have purchased for pennies! I bought a solid silver thick chain for £1 (it's worth £60), I am wearing a beautiful lapis lazuli and amethyst pendant that I bought for £1.50 (it is sterling silver too) and my whole outfit cost me £2 - Car booting at its best.

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So here you have it! Car booting! It isn’t just a place you can go and bag a bargain, but a place to meet people. Car boot sales has taken over from the English traditional and humble jumble sale. I know it is cheaper than a fleamarket because reseller’s put their mark up on the items. Car boot sales has become a place that all people come to buy and sell anything and everything – all from a pasting table! This, therefore, is a table top sale with a difference! If you get a chance… go car booting today!

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

In Laughter We Find Car Booting!

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    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Wow, Silver Fish, we hardly have Jumble sales here. It is a lost art.

      Thank you for bring forth a piece of cultural diversity!

    • Silver Fish profile image

      Silver Fish 6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Maybe jumble sales are dead in England, but in SCotland they are thriving.

      Perhaps because the weather is not often good enough for an outside event uo here, but there are many jumble sales here which attract thousands of buyers, queues are huge, often up to 400 people waiting in line for an hour before doors open. I am off to two such sales today!

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Thelma - I have a lot to be grateful to car boot sales for :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      Car boot sales is a very interesting form of shopping as I can find precious old things that are not expensive. I love going to those car boot sales when I was in Ireland. Voted up and thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Car Boot Sales 6 years ago

      Feel free to add details of your details of your favourate boot sales, and maybe find some new ones in my directory!

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Suppliers - Thank you for that great link - this will be helpful to lots of people. Yes, I live my life for car boot sales, often purchasing unusual items that I wouldn't have normally got - fancy prices and packaging! lol. Thanks for stopping by and having a read :)

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      i buy all my books at car boot sales, saves a fortune

    • profile image

      Car Boot Sales 7 years ago

      If you love Boot Sales, you are all most welcome to join my Car Boot Sale Forum.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Hyno... you sure know how to share the loooove! *wink*

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 8 years ago from Italy

      Great hub Shaz, I love fleamarkets, rated and stumbled.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      gramarye - a lot of the time you can find a diamond amongst the glass, so to speak. I like them, personally, but it might not be everyone's thing. Thanks for your comment:)

    • gramarye profile image

      gramarye 8 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      I like this very much. Wish I could be there. Our boot sales are not very interesting - usually just lots of junk clothes and stuff.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      billyaustin... you always find 'something' that you are delighted with!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 8 years ago

      Bargains to be had!

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      yensid... well, car booting is fun - fancy a rummage? hehehe

    • yensid profile image

      yensid 8 years ago

      What a fun (and informative) hub! I didn't realize car booting was the term.

      And now I can't get car booty out of my head.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      There is nothing better than a rummage Pamela. You need to try it sometime! Thanks for visiting:)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      Interesting article and looks like a fun day.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Faybe... Looks like I have to get the idea copywrited for the USA. Good luck with it though... it really is a boom here in England!:)

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 8 years ago from Florida

      I may have to start Car Boot Sales here in the US! It sounds fantastic, and we could all use a bargain, as well as some extra cash! Here the flea markets rule.

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Some good points Paul. All the left over stuff I dont want ends up at the charity shop or I keep it until the next car boot sale - depends on how I feel.

      I can always remember being trampled on at the Jumble Sale, as the fragile elderly somehow managed to find the strength of Hercules to get to that much desired item - haha.

      Well, the early bird always gets the worm but I do agree that it can be frantic sometimes. All the good stuff tends to go within half an hour of the booty starting. Most of the dealers are also just trying to make a living, keep off of benefits - profit has to be made also to cover expenses. I guess desperate times mean desperate measures!

      Thanks for your comments:)

    • paul_gibsons profile image

      paul_gibsons 8 years ago from Gibsons, BC, Canada

      the big difference between a jumble sale and a car boot sale was that you could leave your unsold junk which NOBODY wanted for the organizers to clear up, which was also its biggest draw back. No such chance with a car boot sale: you arrive with a boot full and you leave with whatever is left to dispose of yourself.

      There is another difference: a jumble sale opened its doors at a particular time and everybody had the same chance of picking something up. In a car boot sale the first arrivals are always the professional dealers who, as cars arrive, quickly graze through the stuff as it is being unloaded and displayed and buy up the most "valuable" items (cheaply). So if you want the chance to get something really "valuable" you have to be early and quick.

      The one exception to all this was the annual holiday of a large hassidic jews group from London who came every year for two weeks to the seaside village where I lived ten years ago, Greatstone-on-Sea. They were invariably amongst the early buyers, hang around all morning and during the last hour of the sale would buy more or less up anything that was left for a few pennies and take it back to London at the end of their holidays. When they were in town was the best time for your boot sale: you may not have made a lot of money but no junk left to take home and wondering what to do with it! Wonder whether that still goes on....

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      LOL @ Green! Priceless.... how much would you give me for a great little hub on car booty? Come on.. roll up! All reasonable offers not refused! *wink*

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Hmrjmr... I used to live in Clacton, but don't remember visiting that car booty. It is fun though, isn't it? Nothing better than a rummage around the toot to get the heart going boom de la boom! Glad you enjoyed it.:)

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Your Hub is "priceless" and so is the Little Britain clip - one of my favorite series. Thanks!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Shaz - Snetterton Market in E Anglia was one of the most fun dates I had with my Zena when I was courting her. Cheap at twice the Price!! We had a grand time. Great Hub!!

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Carbooting is a brilliant pass time! Come on down Breakfastpop - the price is right! :)

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 8 years ago from Great Britain

      @Mordechai... only if you marry one! LOL

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      This sounds like so much fun!

    • MordechaiZoltan profile image

      MordechaiZoltan 8 years ago

      Can I convert to being English?


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