Surviving A Car Boot Sale With Kids

Sale of old fashioned baskets and stuff in an old cart - best car boot sale!

Last weekend there was a big annual car boot sale on the field near our house. Our boys love a car boot sale, so I allowed myself to be nagged/dragged into taking part. I knew it would be a struggle for Cal, so I had to agree (we have some comfy folding chairs for her, so thought she’d survive!).

We moved house at Easter, and had a huge clear out before we moved. We sold some things on Ebay, gave some away via Gumtree, and took a lot to the British Heart Foundation. So much, in fact, that they keep writing to tell us how much they have made from our stuff. Several amounts adding up to over £300!

Yet once we moved, we found we still had excess items to get rid of. How did that happen?! Well, in our defence, the house we are in is rented furnished and equipped with quite a lot, so some of our things were surplus and we had nowhere to put them (except the loft). We don’t want to move on again quickly, so the theory was to get rid of things rather than leave them sitting in the loft for years. It is a bit of a dilemma, as when we move again eventually, we don’t want to replace everything, but we thought we’d get rid of some things anyway.

Hugo also decided, due in part to storage space when he wanted a double bed, that he would part with all of his Action Man toys, including huge tanks and other vehicles. So, our car boot stall was born!

At this point, we turned to some other bloggers for advice about doing car boot sales with kids. I’d only ever done one in my life before, about a hundred years ago!

The first to set up at the car boot sale
The first to set up at the car boot sale

So, here are some of their words of wisdom,

(just in case you are as mad as us and find yourself contemplating a boot sale with kids!)

Claire at Big Family Big Fun: Make sure you take plenty of drinks, snacks (maybe a picnic), sunblock/hat/sunglasses & pocket tissues with you. And don’t label everything. People will be put off by non-negotiable prices.

Elizabeth at The Homemakers Journal: My tips would be: display your items on a wallpapering table, and if you have a clothes rack for the clothes to hang on, all the better (they are under a tenner in Argos). I would put toys on the table, clothes on the rack.

Helena at The Queen Of Collage: If you look like you are friendly/approachable and enjoying it people will be interested.

Helen at My Crazy Family Story: When you get there don’t let the other buyers buy your things they will be trying to rummage before you have emptied the car be patient you will get a better price for it from the public otherwise your things will end up on their stalls for a higher price.

Emma at Bubbablue and Me is an absolute pro at Car Boot sales.  She has posts on her blog about car boot sales as a seller and a buyer. I especially like the section on what sells well and what doesn’t.

Laura at Autumn’s Mummy recently wrote about taking a baby to a boot fair, so if you have really little ones, you might want to see this. I’m not sure which would be harder actually, a baby or children old enough to run off and cause chaos elsewhere!

Nadine at Then I Became Mum: Take some plastic/paper bags. Stops people being put off buying more than one item if they can’t carry them.

Interesting items at a car boot sale
Interesting items at a car boot sale

How about those fabulous tips?

We used almost all of them! We didn’t have a clothes rail, so used a clothes horse (which blew over quite a few times as it was very windy!). I also put children’s’ clothes in Ziploc bags and labelled them with size and brand. So many people said what a good idea this was as they were browsing. Nobody bought them though!!

I did price label everything, as I find it off-putting to not know how much things are at a boot sale. We also had so much stuff, and I wanted the kids to be able to help sell, so didn’t want them shouting “Dad, how much is this?” every five minutes.

Car boot sale essentials kit, including price labels, ziploc bags, tablecloth, plastic cover in case it rains, and good old selotape!
Car boot sale essentials kit

In reality, this was wishful thinking! The boys got bored very quickly, especially Toby, who ran off to play with some friends who arrived, and left his mum worrying that he was running too close to everyone’s stalls who had glassware and china! Hugo was more interested as he was making loads of money from his Action Man toys. He then went off and spent most of it on other stalls! I think what sells well depends on the demographic to be honest. As this sale was a one-off, it was mostly attended by locals from the surrounding villages rather than regular car boot sale shoppers.

We got quite fed up towards the end, as it got very windy and cold. We were probably some of the first to pack up. Such lightweights! There seemed to be a lot of things left over, but never mind. Cal was happy to keep a lot of things, and some will go on Ebay. We made about £50 – not sure if that is good or bad? But I think if I’m honest I’d rather stay home in the warm and list things online!

Car boot sale all set up - the enthusiasm didn't last long!
Car boot sale enthusiasm

Roll up, roll up, come and buy our random tat!

What do you do with your unwanted items? Do you sell them online, take them to a charity shop, or would you have a car boot sale? We’d love to hear your success stories, whatever you do!

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Some great tips from other bloggers about how to survive a car boot sale with kids, and our own experience too...
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19 Replies to “Surviving A Car Boot Sale With Kids”

  1. Lots of amazing tips! I have tried a car boot sale before but this post makes me think that I should try. I just need to print this and take it with me!

    1. I was hoping I’d put people off lol! No really, it’s not that hard. Boring, but not hard!

  2. I’d LOVE to have a car boot sale. They’re not really a thing over here. Such a shame. Great tips there though.
    Sinead ( recently posted…Back-to-School TruthsMy Profile

    1. Oh really? You don’t have car boot sales? What about a table top sale or something? No?

  3. Never get time to do a garage sale as I’d like to. But need to keep clearing out items that aren’t used, especially kids toys that just pile up. So what I normally do is just donate them to charity, I don’t even bother dropping them anywhere because I’m too lazy. I pack it up, set it on my porch and call an agency that will pick it up. Works out pretty well! #fabfridaypost

    1. That’s a great idea! We just took everything left over from ours to the charity shop too.

  4. Great tips. I ,love a rummage at a car boot sale but I don’t think I could cope doing one myself. My son would spend more than we made and we’d leave with more than we arrived with
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…Happy Days: Swans, Cuddles and New StartsMy Profile

    1. I think I prefer to be the shopper than the seller too!

  5. We did a bootsale when my eldest was 23 months and I was a week off my due date with our second. It was hectic to say the least because we have nobody to look after the boys so we take them with us! #blogstravaganza
    Jade – Raw Childhood recently posted…Gro to bed single bed sets reviewMy Profile

    1. Oh no, enough to put you in labour!!

  6. My parents would also have car boot sale to get rid of things they no longer use. I normally put things on eBay but perhaps I should venture into the car boot world! Great tips!
    Kelly-Anne Combes recently posted…HOSTING THE PERFECT GIRLS NIGHT IN…My Profile

    1. I think the markets are different Kelly-Anne. There were things which didn’t sell a the car boot which would do well on Ebay, like designer names, but also things which wouldn’t do well on Ebay because they are difficult to post.

  7. There are some great tips here, I haven’t been to a car boot in years – you’ve inspired to find a local one! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx
    The Tale of Mummyhood recently posted…Xupo Key Finder – Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    1. Good luck if you find one. I think it’s better to be a buyer than a seller!

  8. I keep debating on doing a boot sale but I know my kids would soend more than we make. Sarah #fabfridaypost
    Sarah Stockley recently posted…#ExplorerKids Linky – Week 5My Profile

    1. Yep, that was mine too! Although I was also tempted a few times!!

  9. Fantastic tips! I would absolutely agree to not let people try and buy stuff before you have unloaded! Don’t be pushed around! That would be my number 1 tip! Car boots can be such good fun and are a good way to a get a bit of cash for things you want to get rid of. But you have to be careful because there are people who want something for nothing – so I would say don’t get stressed and hold your own! He he! xx
    Rosie @ Little Fish recently posted…Living Arrows: 34/52 Last Day of Forest SchoolMy Profile

    1. We were first there as the field is next to our house, so we didn’t have that problem. I also knew a few things would sell better on eBay so we didn’t stress about selling them. You’d think we were experts lol!

  10. This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the
    blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information…
    Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!
    Cathleen recently posted…CathleenMy Profile

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