How to Hunt for Flea Market Finds

I have two gallery walls in the parlor of 139 Maplewood Avenue. I often get asked where I found the art that created them. They are nothing fancy, in most cases, each piece cost less then $50, some as low as $5.  I found these pieces from a variety of places, Pennsylvania and New Jersey flea markets, independent sellers on Ebay and Etsy,, and Perch Home in Maplewood NJ.  Most important, I had a goal and it was such fun seeing it unfold on the walls in front of me.

Flea market finds

My tips for a successful Flea Market Run 

Go in with a plan. Why? Simply put, you need a strategy. When you visit a flea market, knowing exactly what you are looking for and how much you want to spend will give you focus. Otherwise, if you are like me, you can get overwhelmed and the experience ceases to be fun.

Go first thing in the morning or on the first day of sale. if you are looking for a wide variety of items and love choice, that’s when you’ll find the most stuff and the first look at the vendor’s wares.

Go on the second or third day. If you are looking to score a deal, that’s when you’ll find the best deals as dealers want to move their stuff.

Haggle or negotiate. Nicely. Ask how much an item is and after the dealer responds, ask, “Is that firm?” But before you do any of that, establish in your mind what you would pay of the item. What is your walkaway number?

A flea market in Pennsylvania.

Start a relationship with a dealer or shop owner who frequents flea markets. This is particularly helpful when you are in search for something specific. These folks often visit many more shops and markets than you ever will. If they have your shopping list with them, you’ll get your piece much sooner!

Be a follower. Joining a dealer or shop owner’s newsletter mailing list or liking them on Facebook or Instagram will give you insights into what they are seeing in the field, so to speak. If he or she posts something you love, tell him or her to hold it for you.

And one more thing…you can use a few of these tips at your local garage sale. You may not find antiques a la Antiques Roadshow treasures, but you’ll find some great stuff to decorate your home with – like books for a classic book vignette.

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