How to: Shop at Carboot Sales

September 3, 2018

I’ve been going to them before I could walk, it’s official, I LOVE CAR BOOT SALES. 

When I was a child my dad used to wake up us every Sunday morning around 7am and drag us to multiple car boot sales. As a child I didn’t know any different. As a young teen I started to despise them. Multiple thoughts went round in my head. “My friends parents don’t make them do this!” and “people are going to laugh at me, wearing second hands clothes is so embarrassing.”

…Then as a older teen/young adult, I began to really love them. Who doesn’t enjoy treasure hunting and finding a absolute bargain?!

So I’m just going to give you some top tips on how to best use your time while visiting a carboot sale….

Arrival time

Most car boots start at around 7am. I can never be bothered to get there that early on a Sunday morning but that’s when you’ll find the best bargains. A few afternoon booty’s have started popping up which open at around 12 or 1pm – perfect for when you want a lay in. If you’re going to go to a morning one get there before 9am otherwise probably best to stay in bed.

Make a list

I love making lists so this is a fun pre-booty exercise for me. I actually keep one in the notes on my phone and update it when I think of something I want or need. Car boot shopping is a hell of a lot easier when you know what you are looking for. You will come across a lot of rubbish so knowing what you want keeps you focused on finding the treasure. Of course it’s all part of the fun when you find something amazing that you never intended on buying. Like a genuine, designer leather bag for £3!


Decide before you go how much you want to spend. If you’ve got endless amounts of money it can be easily spent on tat. I usually take £20-30 with me. I’m always on the look out for clothes and the rest for any lovely bits of furniture.

Think about it

Do you really need it? Are you going to wear it? Where would you put it? As I’ve already said its easy to come away with ‘tat’ that you don’t need. Especially when you get right into the car boot spirit. (Almost like an E-bay bidding war!). Have a good inspection at what you are thinking buying to see if there is any damage likes holes or tears…. Maybe you could you sell this item on and make a profit? Oh the possibilities.

Try haggling

It’s not for everyone but give it a go – if the seller is asking £5, try offering 3? If someone is selling an item for £1 I wouldn’t try to offer them anything less. Like c’mon guys, it’s a quid!? Be polite and if they say no think about how much you’d pay for it in a shop? You are probably already getting a bargain at the asking price.

Some people selling are there to get rid of their ‘rubbish’ so will generally take peanuts for what you may think is absolute treasure! On the other hand some people are there for a living so are looking to make a profit on everything they have.

These photos were taken at Easter Compton car boot in Bristol and Cheddar car boot. One of the best car boots I have ever been to was in Cheddar, on lovely sunny July morning. It was so busy I didn’t even manage to get round the whole site before spending all of my money and filling my car to the brim. Top tip – make the most of the sunshine and visit car boots when it’s dry and preferably warm. Saying that some are held all year round. As long as its not raining I can guarantee you’ll find something that takes your fancy, even if it’s just a bacon sandwich!

Now get out there and go find some bargains! 🙂


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