Flea Markets. I have come to understand that there are basically three different people on the flea market stance: you love them, you hate them, or you know nothing about them. Wherever you are on the flea market spectrum, here are 7 reasons why you must go this summer!
I grew up walking the aisles of the miscellaneous goods at different flea markets with my family. I had a favorite aunt who loved a bargain, my mother loved the fresh produce and flowers, and my grandfather loved the dusty old books. This was my introduction to the world of second-hand treasures and forgotten what-nots.
Reason #1: It’s A Cheap Outing
Okay, so this is an easy example. Most flea markets only charge $1-$2 per carload to enter. Not a big deal, but if you are bored and looking for a new experience for the family, this is a cheap option. No one is pressuring you to make any purchases so even if you don’t find anything that suits your fancy, you have only invested a couple of bucks. Not terrible.
Reason #2: Its Unpredictable
The Flea Market is like a box of chocolates—no wait. It’s more like, “The Flea Market is like an unopened attic – you never know what you’re going to get.” Which is way better than chocolate anyway. There are SO. MANY. DIFFERENT. ITEMS. For a teeny, tiny, blip of an example what you may find: antiques, produce, flowers, furniture, decor, clothing (new and old), dry grocery goods, and so so much more.
Reason #3: It’s Totally in Style
I have always tended to want to refurbish before purchasing new. I was raised to purchase real wood before resulting to the particle board pieces. Which is great, but who can always afford the high end pieces? Not this girl. So, I scoured flea markets and thrift stores, and guess what? It is AWESOME. Not only is it awesome, but I am in good company. There are television shows, websites, and articles galore that will teach you what to look for, and how to use various second-hand pieces. There is no shame in the rehab game. In fact, it’s pretty fabulous.
Reason #4: The Pickin’ Is Good
Excuse my southern drawl, but y’all it is fun! Vendors come from all over the map to bring their goodies to sell for pennies. Many clean out old barns, old factories, estate sales and overstock factories and just want to get rid of their extras. Over time, I have made friends with regular vendors and they know what I look for particularly! For example, I love old baskets, card catalogs, vintage cameras and vintage signs. If I find a booth piled high with boxes of vintage pyrex bowls or Kodak cameras, I can’t help but stop.
Reason #5: Good Stuff Cheap
I rarely spend any serious kind of money when I attend a weekend market. Some of the nicer antiques top out at $100, sometimes they can run a little higher depending on the piece. However, if you look in some of the high-end catalogs of design magazines, you will see apothecary cabinets, or card catalog cabinets being used for media stands and bar tops. These can sell for thousands online! I always find this hysterical, because you can find the real thing at your weekend flea market and the pieces are SO. MUCH. COOLER. I have a few pieces branded with dates and the original manufacturer, none of which were made in China or after the year 1950.
Reason #6: Good People
I have made countless friends with the vendors at the market. Over the years I have received marriage advice, parenting advice, compliments on my finds, compliments on my children, and more laughable moments than I can count. Some vendors know my children and offer up little trinkets for them to play with while I shop around. Sometimes I feel like the big world can be scary, and dark, but when you look in a small community of great diversity like the market, people are often honest and gracious and kind.
Reason #7: Memories
This. So much this. The flea market is not just about how much dusty loot I can shove into my car. It’s also about the memories we are making as a family. My husband’s father passed away when my husband was a little boy, but he has memories of going to different flea markets weekly with his dad. I have memories of going with my family and enjoying every minute of it. Now, when I bring my kids, we usually grab a snack or little goody while we are walking. We also really try to engage with them in conversations about all of the different items we see. It is also such a great opportunity for kids to learn about money, historical artifacts, and diversity.
So the next time you find yourself bored on a Saturday morning and want to get out of the house, I really hope you give a flea market a try. You just never know what you will find in a dusty old box, or who you will bump into along the way.