Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY STACI HAWLEY

I’ve had good intentions of mustering up my piles of clutter and schlepping them down to the local flea market.  And I have even gone as far to check out a site on getting prepared here. I just never manage to physically get it all together. Every time I think of organizing myself to do it- I get freaked out. So, this post is dedicated to all of you out there who have had the courage to brave the crowds. The fortitude to get up at 5 am. The sheer dedication to reduce the clutter in your life. Help make the process easier for all of us. Tell us how you do it, and more importantly was the painful process worth the cold cash?

Do you organize tables by price?

Do you color code tags?

Do you just dump it all out and let people forage for themselves?

Is your stuff of pretty good quality?

What advice would you give a weary flea marketer vendor?

Approximately how much did you make?

Do you recommend a specific location/ or time of year?

Was it worth it?

Other recommendations for the timid are appreciated.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve done Foster a few times; Chibana is closer to my home, but with 2 babies, the hour is difficult. I agree with above posts re: “pre” selling and people in your face. These are not the local nationals, but other sellers. It’s frustrating and annoying, but threes nothing to be done about that. Also, at the Foster Flea, several times I’ve had things stolen. Just, taken. I price all clothing at $1 or Y100, but still–people steal. Be aware, and don’t take it personally. Most of the times it’s happened to me, it as prior to the open gates.
    The “Pros” are pros for a reason.

  2. Well I have to say is that the flea market is totally ridiculous. I went yesterday at the Courtney one and I feel totally abused. Not only did they start ransacking my things while I was unloading. And what I mean by that is they were dumping my things onto the dirty wet ground. It pissed me off but what put me over the edge was the fact that the locals were stealing from me and because they were coming in swarms I never saw it until they were gone. They stole clothes and the shampoo bottle that I was selling. Also a lot of the Super Mario things that I was selling in all those items could have been sold as little as 40 and high as 60. I am very upset about this and am sad to say I will never do that again.

    My advise bring people to just watch your stuff and have a way to keep people out while you unload.

  3. You know I have to comment as I’m the queen of the flea market fanatics!! I really hate the vendors who hoard and haggle over your stuff early on and then turn around and sell it for a profit at their booth! Let’s remember that the purpose of the flea markets is to help those of us PCSIng in and out of Okinawa. It is not to try and profit off of other people’s stuff. If people try and lowball you while you’re unpacking you can always let them know that you won’t sell until you are completely unpacked and ready. Watch out too for people who toss a bunch of stuff in one bag and ask for 1 cheap price. Make them take out everything so you can see that they haven’t tried to “steal” some expensive stuff at the bottom of that bag. Finally, I never price things ahead of time. You never know what sells at what price and you start cutting prices dramatically if it doesn’t sell in the first hour or so.
    For those who buy at the flea markets check out my Okinawa hai post here: http://www.okinawahai.com/2007/02/flea-markets-th.html

  4. I have done it twice at Foster. One time I was very stern about prices – I did not sell as much but made about $500. (I had a lot of kids clothes with the tags still on them – I ended up selling on ebay.)

    The other time I just wanted it all to go away – what I could not sell I gave away. I made $200.

    Most people want to pay Y100 for everything. Watch out for thieves – I had a 65+ local woman have things over her arm and try to walk away. She is ALWAYS there and is very neat and clean looking. I couldn’t believe it at first. I called her out and she acted like it was all a mistake…

    I do sell some items early (people looking for name brands to resell) but I ask much more – Y500 or so…

    In the end the flea market is great if you want to get rid of it – if you want to make any money (and if the items are decent) ebay is best.

  5. Thanks for all the advice. It seems there is a method to prevent madness. I shall start uncluttering this weekend-
    Thanks readers!

  6. Also, once you drive up and open the back of the van be prepared to have total strangers trying to take your things out and ALREADY trying to buy them before you set up and before the gates open. This is the only part that FREAKS me out, even though I know it is going to happen, it makes me flustered and feel like people are in my personal space (which they are).

    I’ve done it about 4-5 times and have brought home atleast $100 each time. Name brand items no matter how ugly seem to sell fast: nike, etc. AND you can’t believe how clothes sell. Stuff you couldn’t give away in the states let alone sell for 25 cents gets snapped up. The crazy thing is you can sell half-used lotion, perfume, candels, cleaning items, etc. I think it is the fact that they are from “America” makes them so appealing. So don’t throw that stuff away, just bring it with you.

  7. I don’t do Chibana, even though I know it is a very popular flea market. I just don’t like having to buy a pass in advance. I will do Foster on cool days and Courtney in the summer because Foster is 12-3pm and it can be very hot in the summer time and Courtney is 7-10am and it can be dark in the winter time…

    I always have yen change as almost all of my sales are in yen. I always have plastic bags. I never price anything (seems to scare away sales). I use 18 gallon Rubbermaid totes with like items thrown in. It is easy for me to load, sell and reload the car. I always have a tarp or mat so that overflow from the totes doesn’t get dirty or grassy. I always have something to drink/eat and a book if I don’t have a friend with me.

    I recommend knowing how to say numbers (100, 200, etc…) in Japanese…and some pleasantries are nice too.

    I don’t like to presale, especially if I know it is going to be resold unless I get the price I want.

    Anything I really want to get good money for, because I either paid a lot for it or it is in really good condition, I consign at the Thrift Store on KAB, because it is hard to get anyone to pay much more than 300 yen for something unless it is really expensive to start with.

  8. Price tags? Organization? Hah!
    When those gates open it’s time to haggle and hauck!
    Organize like things in piles or groupings. You can try to fold clothes but they will get tossed around. Lay stuff out on tarps. Sell as much as you can within the first 60-90 minutes…unless you make a habbit of going weekly or monthly. Some stuff you’ll get “what you want” others you are left giving away.
    We do it twice a year as a squadron fundraiser, plus I’ll do it for our family semi-annually.

    MUST HAVES:
    plastic commissary bags, Y3000 change (as the $ has dropped I have seen more people paying with that), coffee, and one or two people to talk and laugh with and can help you throw out prices to interested buyers.

    CHIBANA 7-10am, you will sell the most but people want it for CHEAP! If you are emotionally attached to a $60 pair of jeans you will never fit ino again be prepared to let them go at Y300…max.

    FOSTER (12-3), can be hot and more succeptible to bad weather, but people are willing to pay more. Not as much foot traffic so you won’t sell as many items. Above mentioned jeans for Y900-Y500.

    BEST ADVICE, BRING IT ALL! YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT’LL GO IN THE FIRST 10 MINUTES!
    ALSO
    people take flea marketing seriously here, do it twice and you’ll know exactly who the regulars are. They will buy your stuff and turn around and sell it again. I don’t care as long as it is out of my house, but if all your good stuff is gone before the gates open you could be out $$$.

  9. 1. tables are organized by theme and price
    2. no color coding
    3. I don’t let folks touch my stuff unless they are interested in buying it
    4. decent quality
    5. it’s a good way to get rid of clutter and stress
    6. usually about $300
    7. Raleigh north carolina in the summer

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