How to Pack the Perfect Flea Market Caddy for Handling Restocking/Repricing Trips to your Booth
After many trips hauling items home from garage sales to my own garage, then watching them clutter my garage while I waited to price, so I could “eventually” take the item to my fleamarket booth, I developed a new system for pricing items for my fleamarket booth.
Instead of bringing things home, I started the taking things directly to my fleamarket booth to price there. (Sometimes bringing things home is unavoidable, like for cleaning or painting), but just cutting down on the number of things traipsing through my garage helped streamline my fleamarket business and boost profits.
Over time and many trips, I began to cultivate a kit that had everything I’d need when I arrived at my flea market booth to reorganize, restock, and reprice. Below I’ve itemized the contents of my kit and why these items made my life as a flea market seller much easier and far more profitable:
TIP: keep this kit in your vehicle so you can move items straight from a garage sale trip or recycling center run into your flea market booth without the extra step of taking them home to price.
NOTE: This article is written particularly for flea market booths in flea market facilities that are staffed and open during regular business hours, however, if you run a weekend flea market where you are present with your items this method still works. You probably have a dedicated place, such as a cargo trailer, where you store items between weekend sales. Just keep this kit in your trailer and move things directly from your post-shopping-trip haul into the trailer of inventory.
This kit includes all the items you might need to price a variety of items for your flea market booth. I recommend keeping this kit in a case or easy-to-carry tool caddy. After awhile of keeping it in a caddy, I now use the vintage train case shown because it latches shut securely and is easy to carry in the back of my SUV where I usually price things and into my flea market booth where it is often necessary to replace missing price tags or add markdowns on items that have not sold. A basic, lightweight toolbox is a more durable option for packing your kit.
Contents of My Flea Market Booth Kit
1. String or jute.
In this case, I’m using a decorative bakers twine which can be used to bind together items or attach price tags.
If you plan to sell art, postcards, magazines, children’s books, vintage ephemera, or any other flat and somewhat fragile items, bulldog clips are well worth the investment. These clips look stylish and the prepunched holes hook neatly on small nails or larger screws. Hanging art with clips means your pieces are visible and won’t be damaged by shopped flipping through a bin or box of paper items. If your booth is unattended, you may find the clips disappear with the items as they sell, but at 30¢ – 50¢ each, if they prevent loss/damage of even one or two pieces every few months, they’ll pay for themselves. To prevent lots, just use drywall screws to secure them directly into a large board that is mounted on the wall of your booth, ensuring that the clips don’t get sold with your inventory.
Card stock makes excellent price tags. These card stock strips to price books in a highly visual way to reduce the amount of handling the books receive. Similarly, whenever I have particularly expensive or fragile items in my booth I use an index card as an extra large price tag. If prices are visually really clear, customers are less likely to handle the item unless they are not serious about purchasing. Colored card stock can be used to color-code sale tags.
This has proved invaluable in my kit. This is mostly for trips to my booth where I might need to move a shelf or add or remove heavy duty hanging planter hooks (LINK) which I use to display chandeliers or other heavy hanging items.
5. Price tags.
Your kit should stay stocked with multiple kinds of price tags. When I took this photo I was out of hanging tags, but my kit typically includes both blank sticker tags and string tags of varying sizes.
pricetag – hang-tag style price tags
– I buy the medium/small 1.092 x .75 inch tags to save a little money, but they require an extra-fine-tip pen to get booth number, a good description, and price fit legibly on the tag. (The Pilot G2 in ultra-fine .38 mm tip is my go-to pen for tags, journaling, and basically all writing- and works fabulously for tags)
pricetags – blank round stickers – I like big round stickers for pricing as the round stickers draw the eye better, especially on broad flat surfaces. My advice for price stickers is to go BIG. Stickers with well-marked prices, visible from shelf or surface, mean less people handling them items, jostling nearby items, rearranging the display, etc.
6-1. Pens and A Box Knife.
Keep hands of various sizes on hand. Fine tip pens work well for when lots of information needs to be put on the price tag and Sharpies (double tip) – are helpful for making the oversized tags for high-value items. Keeping a snap off box knife in your kit is also super handy for various reasons, including cutting string.
6-2 Clean rags.
I got distracted while making the image, so there are two 6’s 🙂 Always keep rags handy in your kit, often things the dusted before pricing and you may need it to tidy up your booth when repricing.
If you are allowed to screw into your backdrop this is essential for hanging and rehanging various items. Drywall screws are my go-to screw, these will screw in without pre-drilled holes into most surfaces and hold tight in drywall, plywood, lumber, or peg board. (Just be smart about weights, and always use studs for heavy loads!) I keep 10-12 in the bottom of my flea market tote, the ability to add an extra hook is priceless when refreshing my booth.
See above. Basically, I recommend keeping a couple kinds of string and jute in your case. Jute is more helpful for us together while while string is great for hanging price tags.
Keep a small roll of packing tape handy. Don’t go for the cheap stuff here, especially in a booth you don’t maintain often- the name-brand heavy duty tape works well for several purposes: 1. reattaching price stickers that aren’t staying attached (weak adhesive on some stickers doesn’t work well with some vintage surfaces like wood, fabric, or rusted metal.) 2. Sealing and resealing clear bags semi-permanently. 3. Hanging signs.
10. Rubber Bands.
Always essential, and you’ll never know when you need them, you probably don’t need a box, but keep a bundle in your kit.
11. Golf towel hooks or Shower Curtain Hooks.
These are actually just lightweight versions of shower curtain hooks, but for some reason I’ve been able to find them priced a bit cheaper when they are labeled as golf towel hooks. I love having these hooks in my booth because they are a fraction of the price of peghooks and work for a number of purposes. They can collect items together and a lot such as hardware any group of things that have holes, but they also work well for hanging linens or for piercing through a plastic bag to hang, and hanging framed art. The hang well from screws, peghooks, or, bent quickly from a C shape to an S shape, directly on pegboard.
NOT PICTURED (but dang important)
A good pair of scissors is a must have for repricing, cutting new tags, removing string tags, etc.
At around $10 for a tagging gun and 1200 fasteners, a tagging gun is the best investment I ever made in my flea market booth (worth noting if you are also a crafter- tagging guns make the basting part of a sewing project 80% faster).
Using squares of cardstock, a tagging gun can simultaneously punch a hole in the cardstock and attach it securely to items that are fabric/textile, have cardboard packaging, or that have eyelets or small holes.
Keep a compact stapler in your caddy for repricing. I recommend stapling a new pricetag over an old pricetag when lowering prices on items that haven’t sold. This method is faster and allows the customer to still see the old price tag- letting them feel like they are getting a great deal.
15. peg hooks
– Most flea markets sell these up front, for vendors, but don’t get stuck with their high prices. Order in advance more than you think you’ll need, and always keep 6-8 extras in your caddy.
For a flea market booth where most items are different (as opposed to a regular store that stocks many identical items), I think shorter 2″ peg hooks work best.
With this basic you can reduce your time spent pricing items for your fleamarket booth and increase profit. I’d love to hear how this simple list works for you, or what items you find are essential in your own fleamarket pricing toolkit.