Looking for hidden treasures on a budget? Look no further! A flea market may be just the answer for you, whether you're seeking to freshen up that home, spruce up those accessories or simply have a fun day searching for some gems.
According to Jennifer Melnick Carota of TheGiftTherapist.com, there are a few tricks to getting the best fleamarket deals.
As for the first one? Get your game on! "Before you leave the house," she says, "be sure to dress comfortably, eat a hearty breakfast, and psych yourself up for a shopping marathon. Go early to find the best selection, and stay late to barter for the best bargains. Plan on making a day of it!"
Here are a few more tips:
Break up the Benjamins
Carry small bills in your wallet to bargain for your wares effectively. Jennifer notes, "If you see something that is priced for $15, pull out a $10 bill and say, 'This is all I have to work with.' It's much harder to barter if the seller sees you with a stack of large bills."
If you buy in multiples, you may be able to save. "If you buy two or more items from the same seller, ask them if they will give you a discount. For example, if your total comes to $12, ask if they will take $10. Don't be afraid to haggle! It's part of the game and they expect it," explains Jennifer.
Chicago-based interior designer Stephanie Wohlner always asks, "What is your best price? Can you do better?" Don't be afraid of haggling for a lower price, she advises.
Scoping out the finds
Window shop! Jennifer recommends doing a lap of all the sellers to see what they're hawking and then go back to the sellers with the best deals. Of course, if you're worried that one particular item won't be there when you go back, by all means go for it -- but remember the fleamarket mentality of "no returns."
For example, Stephanie says sometimes things just pop out that are right for a space she's designing, so she's always ready to pounce. "I always buy it when I see it. If you think too long, it will be gone. If I don't use it, a client will. I would suggest keeping in mind color and texture. Work with the colors in your home."
Good ol' fashioned soul
Above all, fleamarket finds add a certain twist to your collection of anything -- interior décor, accessories, shoes -- that you simply cannot find in a typical store. Stephanie adds, "Fleamarkets are the best places for finding Box's glassware, unusual objects from different types and styles of architecture, antique books, frames, etc... All these and many more are great for any home, whether contemporary or traditional. These are the items give a home a sense of history and help create its soul."
More on flea markets and thrift stores: