Friends, today has been a very challenging day. Not only did I visit my local flea market, as I often do on weekend mornings, but my apartment building complex (ten high rises) held its annual flea market today as well. As you know, despite my decluttering victories, I remain at very high risk of recluttering setbacks!
What works for me -- most of the time -- is to shop with specific strategies, and I thought I would share them with you today.
1) Budget before you go. I generally am unwilling to spend more than $20-25 total. To some of you this may sound like very little money, to others quite a bit. But unless I stumble upon something extraordinary -- and even then -- I think it's best to limit how much money I can spend. At the Chelsea Flea Market, $20 can go a long way. Obviously it won't buy you diamonds or Singer Featherweights, but you'd be surprised how many things you can buy that are beautiful, fascinating, valuable, or all three!
2) Know your dealers. At my flea market, there are dealers I always visit. Their stuff is interesting to me, is reasonably priced, and moves quickly. I hate going to dealers' tables and seeing the exact same stuff from the previous week (unless it's selling for a lot less than before): it's boring and not what a flea market is supposed to be about. That said, I remind myself that these dealers aren't out there all day just so I can get a steal. They have ever-rising expenses -- gas, set-up costs, etc. -- and they deserve to make a living. I'll bargain on a high-ticket item but if the price seems right on something cheap, I don't haggle. (Of course, the more you buy, the better the deal.)
3) Remember some simple shopping truths and commit them to memory:
- The world is full of stuff. There will always be beautiful things you'll want to own but just because they're beautiful doesn't mean you have to own them. How will they serve you? I find a photograph is often enough (Ask the dealer first before snapping!); I don't have to own everything I like. I'm not furnishing a house or building collections -- in fact, I'm trying to do just the opposite. That said, if I decide something is truly going to give me pleasure and if we're talking just a few dollars, I might indulge.
- It's OK to let someone else enjoy a good deal once in a while. Only last week, I could have picked up a Featherweight for $100. I already own two and I wasn't interested in cluttering my life with any more sewing machines. Someone else must have purchased it because it was gone today, and they got a good deal.
- There will always be something better down the line, or if not, something just as good. If you spend all your money today, you're not going to have it available to you tomorrow. Unless it's something truly necessary -- the exact pair of opera-length gloves you need for your vintage photo shoot, in precisely the right size and color -- let it pass.
- It may be old, but that doesn't mean it's rare. Many fun things -- old movie magazines, vintage costume jewelry, beat up Barbie dolls, old Singer sewing machines -- are extremely abundant to this day. Can't it be fun enough to simply admire them at the flea market? Must they move in with you? You'll always find another and it may cost less.
And now on to today's finds! I spent $22 today -- a little more than I'd have liked -- but I found some great stuff. And this has been a rough week.
I love this vintage Thirties Mondaine makeup compact, complete with original lip creme, rouge and powder. It's not in perfect condition, but so what?
Cathy can always use vintage wedge shoes, especially in the summer, though the uncomfortably snug (but seemingly unworn) brown ones may end up as an MPB giveaway. Who's a size 8?
Love these glamorous vintage cat-eye sunglasses!
I usually pass on photos, but how about these glossy 4" x 5" movie star photo originals -- $1 each! Luscious Lana...
Lovely Liz with pet chipmunk...and more!
PLUS, three rolls of "Hug Snug" rayon seam binding!
Sadly (or happily, as the case may be), my building's flea market was a bit of a bust, though I find the crap being sold there -- Shakespeare next to Suzanne Somers, drip coffee makers by the dozen, the contents of people's clothes closets dumped on the street -- fascinating. I think this is how the economy of tomorrow is going to look, just like in the former Soviet Union: barter.
Thankfully I bought nothing, but I took a ton of photos which you can view here -- along with more pics of today's Chelsea flea market finds. I'll bet most of you will recognize this stuff if you don't actually own some of it yourselves. Fess up!
So who's up for a visit to the Salvation Army?