Boot Sales R Us!

With so much discussion on how to save money, or indeed make money, can boot sales help? And can they help get rid of the endless clutter in our houses? We think they can, here’s why.

Boot sale

Primarily in an effort to expel some of the clutter in our house we recently took the plunge, got up at an unearthly early hour on a Sunday morning, and headed off to our local boot sale near Chelmsford, Essex.

Step 1 – Preparation – What to Sell?

First off, we spent much of the day before sorting through items to sell.

We decided to focus on children’s toys in the main. With the children fast growing up, their cupboards remained stubbornly overflowing with toys they’d had since birth. No longer do they play with Thomas Tank, cash registers or indeed can they fit into age 4 clothes or size 11 football boots!

The incentive for the children to declutter was that any money they made selling items they could have to buy new items. Brilliant, they were highly motivated and bags of goodies were packed up.

We had some electrical items to go too, including an almost new condition steamer, a TV, a DVD player, some PC speakers, a colour printer and even a hairdryer.

We had numerous books, from fiction to recipe books, along with Family History magazines.

The car boot was jam packed full.

Step 2 – Set Up our Stall

We arrived at the car boot sale at about 7AM, later than those ‘early birds catching the worm’. Having paid the £12 for tour pitch (wow, that’s a way to make money from a field!) we set about unloading the car.

We had to first determine where we put our for sale items – behind the car, alongside it or bot? After a quick look around we decided alongside it seemed most popular so, not to be different, that’s what we did.

Step 3 – Get stuck into the Selling

As we started to unpack we were instantly surrounded by car boot ‘experts’ asking if we had electrical items, jewellery or computer games. We quickly sold the TV, DVD player and printer.

After the initial rush we settled into a steady flow of visitors to our pitch.

The children really got stuck into selling their items and were quickly adding cash to their pockets.

The place was packed. Everyone going up and down the rows of cars looking for a bargain. I had a wander and I was rather surprised at the range of items on sale. To be honest some of them I wouldn’t have thought you could give away, let alone sell. How wrong I was!!

There were some rather different and quite interesting stalls too, selling wind charms for example, made up Airfix models, mountains of fruit and all the small tools you could ever want.

We stayed until about mid-day. We kept ourselves fed with some Quality Street sweets I’d brought, plus visited the nearest takeaway counter for the delights of sugary doughnuts and hot dogs (selling food, another sure money spinner)

Step 5 – Assess how we did at our first family boot sale

We managed to sell around 75% of what we took – the boot was decidedly emptier on the return journey. The books were the worst seller -perhaps people don’t read or cook anymore?

Electrical items, children’s outdoor toys, Barbie type dolls and dressing up items were the easiest items to sell.

All in all we made a profit of just over £150. (In case you’re wondering, according to the HMRC website as we were ‘just selling some unwanted items that have been lying around’ we’re not liable for tax on these sales – see the HMRC website for more about the rules on this).

Most importantly though we did get rid of some of the clutter in the house, and didn’t get tempted to buy much other stuff to replace it – just a few DVD’s.

Another point though, it was a great thing to do as a family. We all worked together and thoroughly enjoyed the day – a family day out for very little cost and the opportunity to earn.

The children also picked up a little on the commercial realities of life, getting more understanding that money doesn’t just  ‘grow on trees’,  that you have to work for it – and within reason you can turn what you don’t want into something you do want!

Roll on the next boot sale day – we can’t wait!!

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