How to shop for your kids at flea markets
Fleas are a thrifty mom’s saviour. Buying stuff for your children at flea markets is a no-brainer. Here’s what to look out for, and what to avoid when shopping for your little ones.
Before you go
When it comes to bagging bargains, it pays to be prepared. Don’t let anything get in the way of your market mission. First, make a list, so you know what you’re looking for. Then do your research. Knowledge is power.
Chances are you’ll be on your feet a while, and outdoors at least some of the time, so dress appropriately and comfortably. That goes for the kids too. Take water and snacks to satisfy hungry bellies.
If you can get there early, do. But wait until the end of the day to haggle – this is when you are going to get the best deals. To save yourself from exhaustion, take a folding cart along with you.
What to look out for
The following finds are what will be worth your while. Snap them up where you can.
- Clothes can be bought very cheaply at flea markets. Chances are, you’ll find some pieces that are a little bit different. Hats, gloves and scarves are all easily acquired. Just be sure to give everything a wash before use.
- Furniture will be everywhere. Look out for good quality pieces with some weight to them, and the potential to be fixed up and customised. Desks, chairs, cabinets and bookshelves are all useful.
- Books will cost you mere pennies. Be sure to browse the collection for bedtime stories.
- Decor. If you’re looking to spruce up a bedroom or playroom you might find some interesting inspiration here. Items like wicker baskets, knitted blankets and cushions are very popular – and much cheaper from a market.
- Toys – this goes without saying. You won’t need to look for them, as the kids will find them for you. There are some beautiful vintage toys going around at flea markets, not to mention board games. Just be mindful of their safety based on the age of your children.
What to steer clear of
Some things are just better off new. Don’t waste your time and money on the following:
- Intimates, like underwear and bathing suits. You don’t know where they’ve been. Unless offered in the original packaging, avoid.
- Safety precautions, such as car seats and bike helmets. Don’t scrimp on safety. If they have been knocked or dented in an accident before, they won’t be effective. Buy new.
- Cribs and baby slings are best left for the store. The advice and regulations about what makes them safe is constantly updating. Though vintage cribs have a certain visual appeal, modern offers peace of mind.
- Tat. Use your shopping trip to seek out quality items, not rubbish. Stay mindful and consult your list, and don’t allow yourself to be pressured into impulse purchases.
Pickpocketing can sometimes be an issue at flea markets, as people are carrying cash. So keep your money where you can see it. Make sure that you thoroughly inspect items before agreeing to buy them, and don’t let any vendors rush you into making a decision.
Finally, have fun! Turn it into a day out, and enjoy exploring a treasure trove of unusual wares.
Find your favourite local flea market here.
What are your tips for shopping at flea markets? Share your thoughts in the comments.