Historical paintings, gold shimmering brooches, amounts of old, dusty books, white lace doilies or wooden boxes full of old black and white photographs – the first steps on the flea market feel like entering a different world, like entering the past.
A brief glimpse into past decades, into the life of yesterdays.
Die deutsche Version des Beitrags findest du hier: Schatzsuche in der Vergangenheit – Die besten Flohmarkt Tipps.
I love to root up old objects at antiques markets. Objects that hide a story and are quite unusual nowadays. When taking a closer look I wonder what they experienced in their former lives. Who used them, who watched them, who gave them away, photographed or painted them, admired, bought or sold them?
And now they are standing here, left or rejected by their former owners, to start their second life. And that maybe even with you or me.
Flea markets are special places – from many points of view. For a short time they help us to escape the rush, noise and hectiness of our everyday lives and to delve into a world that seems to stand still. They awaken our spirit of discovery, let us be creative and start treasure hunting.
When we visit such a market we do not know what to expect and what objects will be coming home with us. It is not a typical supermarket, where we can tally our every day shopping lists. A flea market is kind of a giant lucky bag.
What do we have to consider when planning a trip to the flea market, how can we achieve the best prices, and how do we care about our new antiquities? In this post I will give you some useful flea market tips for your big treasure hunt.
Flea Market Tips for an effective shopping day
Time is crucial
The best deals are found very early or short before the end of the market. When you arrive early in the morning you can be sure to find the most beautiful and unique objects before anybody else does.
The last hour before the end of the market is a perfect time to shop as well. The vendors are looking to offload and selling their remaining pieces at low costs.
Don’t come with too big expectations to the market. It is very difficult to find exactly the one object that you are looking for and this can be disappointing. Simply keep your eyes open, take a pot luck, and then you will surprisingly find things that you did not expect at all.
If you are receptive to larger objects or furniture, I do recommend to arrive by car. Include some old blankets to guarantee a gentle transport for your new treasures.
It is also helpful to take a friend with you. He or she can help you at the negotiation with the vendor, can be a good standby in judging objects and temporarily stake your claim to desirable objects.
Furthermore you should always bring enough cash. One can hardly pay by card at the flea market. If you show the vendor exactly how much money you have left and that you like to spend it for his object, you can possibly be successful as well. Carry small notes only. A deal is difficult to make if you have to ask the vendor to make a change for a 100 Euro note.
But if you like to take home some new old pieces, you first need to be successful with your negotiation!
I found this beautiful early 20th century secretary on a flea market in Leipzig, which is one of the biggest in Germany, as well as this beautiful Danish 1930s phone. The old photographs show my great grandparents.
Go to stalls with lower visibility
Vendors in the prominent parts of the flea market – like the fronts, the entrances or the sunny places, are usually demanding the highest prices. It is best to go to the stalls with lower visibility away from the edges and main entrances.
Less foot traffic brings down the prices and makes vendors more flexible in negotiations.
Don’t forget to haggle
Don’t buy anything without haggling. It is part of flea market life. The vendors always tell you a much higher price than they expect in the end.
When proposing a price you should start low, maybe about 20% to 25% below the ask. Then you can start to approach from both sides to finally find a good compromise making both of you happy with the deal. When you plan to buy larger pieces, such as furniture, you can take a look online before shopping what similar objects do cost. So you can be sure not to pay too much.
Don’t show too much enthusiasm. The vendor knows at once that you absolutely wish to get an object and he will ask for a higher price. A kind pokerface and a calm, relaxed attitude are good conditions for haggling.
If you wish to buy more pieces from one vendor, you can suggest a package price. This can make you save even more on the single objects.
Those have been only a few inspirations, on how to make your day at the flea market a successful one. The former owners of the antiques would be extremely happy if they knew, that their old possessions entered such a loving home.
Do you maybe also have some flea market tips or experience about this theme that you would like to share with us?