Emi’s top tips for Car Boot Sale success!

Car Boot Sales are a great way to make an extra bit of cash. We first mentioned this in one of our original posts – A Box of Junk. For those looking for a bit of extra income, a car boot sale can start your savings. It’s a great way to just get out for the day whilst clearing out any clutter that no longer gives you that spark of joy.

#1 – Ask yourself..

Do you have the time (or energy!) to work what is effectively an 8 hour shift on a Sunday?

When we do a car boot sale it often means preparation the day or night before depending on how much stock we have. On the day we are up from 4.30am to leave at 5.15am. We get to the car boot sale for 5.30am and leave at approximately 1pm. It’s knackering, but with these few tips it should make it a smoother experience. It’s better if there are two of you there, so when you are unpacking, one can tend to potential buyers and keep an eye on stock whilst the other unpacks. In our experience it is seldom that someone will steal, but it is not unheard of.

#2 – What are you going to bring?

Have you got something in mind? Perhaps you could do a spring tidy around the house and remove any objects that are no longer wanted or needed – Think of the decluttering expert Marie Kondo’s philosophy on items that no longer spark joy.

What about having a clear out of wardrobe items? Clothes are a big seller at Boot sales and decent clothes can command fair prices.

Are your children growing up and have toys that they no longer want or need? Would they like to save up for something? You could task them with having a tidy out of their bedroom – 3 boxes are great:


Clothes that still fit

Toys I still play with


This may be ragged around the edges, but if I can get 20p for it then great! It’s 20p I didn’t have before, and it will be of use to somebody!



This is for items worth more than £20.

Collectable items (do check on Ebay for some games. For example, The Legend of Zelda games can fetch a surprising amount on Ebay)


Go through each room in your house, I have found that kitchen utensils and crockery sells surprisingly well! Do you have pots and pans that are gathering dust? Bear in mind there are restrictions on what you can sell (for example, knives) So please check with the organisers first if you are in doubt.


#3 – Pricing and money.

Think about how much you want for your possessions. What are you happy with? If you think you can get more on Ebay – sell it on Ebay. If you want the convenience of selling it there and then, be prepared to take a low (sometimes very low) offers. Don’t always take the first offer.

Consider these questions to ask yourself:

Am I happy to take this home with me?
Will I try again at another bootsale?
How much haggling am I prepared to do? (More on this later)
Are you going to label up any items? This isn’t something I have done individually, but I have had a 20p, or £1 box for example.

With regards to books, in my experience these don’t sell well, unless they are popular (cooking books, Slimming World etc) Children’s books do okay, but prepared to sell for 10p, 20p. It’s also worth thinking about selling books and games to websites like www.webuybooks.co.uk.

Clothes, again check on Ebay for some items but be prepared to sell low at a car boot sale. A designer item in very good condition you could ask £3 to £5 for. Anything else, £1 or less.

Electronics – There will be collectors and professional buyers going around. They offer good prices, but not always. Have a price in your head on what you will sell for. This goes on to my next part…

HAGGLE. Be ready to haggle! Ask a little more than what you want. If someone wants it that much you will get a price you are happy with! Remember, you are in control of this! I have surprised Terence on a few occasions, asking £4 for something and actually getting it!

Remember to take into consideration how much your stall will cost. A rough guide is for a car £10, for a van £15. Also bring a float of coins! You will not believe how many people would pay for a 20p item with a note! We bag up coins – coppers, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 to the values of around £30 – £40 We do our very best not to give away £1 coins. Have a few notes on you, just in case. Keep your money close by. If you have a bumbag – even better.


#4 – Pack the day before.

Most recently we have found that large shopper bags are best to get more in the car. Whilst boxes are great, the plastic ones near enough always break – and they hurt if you get your finger trapped in!! If you are going to use boxes I recommend using the large Amazon cardboard delivery type ones. You could be extra organised and label them, but when it’s time to go home – you will just want to pack in any old way and it may be a waste of your time!

I drive a Vauxhall Meriva and get a fair amount in. Enough to stock one pasting table (6ft) and a small fold out table (2ft). Our pitch is roughly 2 cars length.

Pack your display tables last. You can get them out first, and set up quickly.

What to take:

Float – bring enough change, with some notes to the value of around £30 – £40
Food & drink – do yourself a favour, and take a breakfast and a sandwich with you.
Warm clothing – 5am even in the middle of Summer can be pretty cold in Britain so do take something to keep you warm for the first couple of hours, and suitable footwear. I wear my trainers, and pack a pair of flip flops.
Bumbag – I love my bumbag! I can keep my car keys, mobile phone and change inside. I keep my most of my money locked in my car behind me for extra security.
Wetwipes and antibac gel – Wetwipes double up as a quick clean up for dusty items, and antibac.. well – you are using portaloos and handling money.
Fold out chair – your feet and legs will thank you!
Suncream – you may be surprised how easily you can get burnt so early in the day.


#5 – Display.

Try to keep things on a table at eye height. Items on the floor (best for larger things, children’s toys etc) need to be on a waterproof surface, or at least on an old bed sheet. If they are placed directly on the grass, they will get damp and buyers will assume you want a lower price as it looks like you don’t really care about them.

Keep the most expensive, collectable items closest to you on the table so you can see where they are at all times.

If you are selling clothes it is beneficial that they are on a clothes rail or a display so that people can gain access to them easily. Some clothes you can lay out on a tarpaulin on the ground to catch the eye.

We use two tables, then either side have items laid out on the ground. Remember, you can also hang things off of your car!

Try to clean off items before you pack, this is when those wetwipes come in handy. Use these to clear off any dust from your goods before you display them. Good presentation brings the buyers in.


Last of all..

Enjoy the experience. Have a look around too, but remember that you are there to make some money!


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