De-clutter & Make Extra Money: Top Tips for Car Boot Sale Success



We all need to keep on top of de-cluttering our home – in spring, before the summer holidays and of course before Christmas when new toys and gifts will fill the house. But before you start throwing things away, take a look around at all your stuff and think about turning it into cash!

Possessions accumulate over the years, often to great amounts and usually without us realising it. Much of it ends up unused and forgotten about and it is left taking up space which is in precious little supply as it is – especially with growing families!

The good news is that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, and it is precisely because of this that car boot sales are so popular. Why throw your unwanted belongings away when you can make a little – or even quite a lot – of money out of them?

Preparing for a car boot sale is something that the whole family can get involved with. Children in particular can be quite ruthless with their old toys and books once they realise that there is an earning opportunity in it for them. It’s also a great way to introduce the concept of work and business to them, as well as practising good old money management and arithmetic. What do they have to sell and how much do they think it is worth? Explain how cleaning something up can make it more appealing to potential buyers.  Is there something in particular that they are saving up for? Encourage them to gather their old, unwanted or unused belongings and wash, label and price them up ready for selling. Give them their own area of the stall to work on and sell their goods from.

While the children are busy preparing their own sale, it’s time for you to get de-cluttering too. If something is in good shape, it is likely to find a new home somewhere. Even pennies earned from old belongings soon add up to larger amounts, and every single item which is re-homed is saved from landfill too.

However, it can be overwhelming when you have a whole houseful of clutter to get through. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your car boot sale:

You might be faced with a feeling of doom and not know where to begin. Keep in mind that you don’t have to tackle the whole house at once – you just need to start. If it feels too overwhelming, you might want to consider a cleaning service to help you get organised and get your clutter tidied. Set aside a few days, or even weeks if that’s what you need, and work through one room at a time. It’s better to take your time and be thorough than to speed through each room missing out on things you can sell on or, even worse, mistakenly throwing out that treasured heirloom you never wanted to be parted from!

The most popular and therefore busiest car boot sales either require queuing up early on the day or pre booking in advance. There are car boot sales all over the country, so do your research before deciding where to go – you don’t want to stand around twiddling your thumbs waiting for a buyer to wander by. Call and ask about the buyer to seller ratio at your local boot sale, it might be worth travelling a bit to a better boot sale with a higher footfall.

Label several boxes in which you can store your possessions as you go. For example, use a box for clothes, one for ornaments, another for books and so on, so that you can add items as you sort. This will save you more time than piling everything in a heap and having to re-sort through it.

A good habit to get into after the initial big sort out has been dealt with, is to have a lidded storage box situated somewhere in the house that is easy to get at, e.g. under the stairs, under a bed, on the landing. You can then just drop random unwanted things into it as you come across them through the year. Once a box is filled move it to storage, or stack it and start a new one. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll accumulate enough unwanted stuff to do a boot sale again, without the extra work of doing a big ‘sort out’. It also helps to keep the home free from all that unwanted, un-used clutter.

Make sure the things you are selling are clean. Wipe off any grime or dirt, and wash any clothes you’re planning on selling. You’ll get more interest and more sales by making things look appealing.

Use a portable clothing rail to hang clothes if possible. It makes it easier for people to sift through and look at things at a glance, rather than having to rifle through piles of clothes. It gives a better impression too.

Make sure items are clearly marked but be prepared to be haggled down in price. Take along a fresh supply of labels and a pen, in order to mark down unsold items as the car boot sale draws to a close. Make a decision to return home with as little stuff but as much money as possible.

Keep a float of small change with you. It’s a simple piece of advice but easily overlooked and forgotten!

Take your own flask of tea and snacks. Many car boot sales do have refreshment booths available but why spend your hard-earned money on tea which costs next to nothing to make and take along yourself?

Arrive early and make a day of it. Many eager buyers will be out in force early on so make sure you are set up and ready for them.


You can also find more tips, tricks and general car boot sale information on Battersea Car Boot’s Facebook page, which will provide you with advice and encouragement on running your first car boot sale. Who knows, you may end up holding many more!

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