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Dec 10

Car boot sales: Turn your trash into cash

MoneyMagpie team 10th Dec 2016 24 Comments

Not only is it a fun day out, a car boot sale’s also great way to make money from all your unwanted items, and you can pretty much sell anything you like! It’s the perfect opportunity to get rid of everything you no longer use and turn it into cash.

People are trying to save money wherever they can which means that car boot sales have had a great swell in popularity. Take advantage of this and get down to a car boot sale to start making some extra cash!


Step-by-step guide

Car boot sale

Step one: Dig deep

You’ll need to raid all your cupboards, drawers and boxes to see what you’ve got stashed away. It really is a great way to de-clutter your house, especially if you’re a hoarder, so check in the attic and trawl through the bedrooms to see if you’ve got any hidden gems. If you find that you don’t have that much to sell, consider sharing a pitch with a friend or neighbour. Just make sure you’re agreed on whether to split the profits or only take money for your own items.

If you’re a bit artsycraftsy then car boot sales are a great place to sell things that you’ve made. If you’re handy with a pair of knitting needles then selling scarves, hats and gloves is a great idea (see our how-to guide on making money from knitting for loads of ideas). The easiest homemade items to sell are cakes, sweets and jams. Have a look at our steps to cake-selling success for more info.

Homemade beauty products are also very popular, especially if what you’re creating is 100% natural. So why not put your kitchen to good use? Make money from soaps and scrubs as well as cakes and sweets to maximise your profits. Read our guide on how to make money from homemade beauty treatments to get you started.

The more adventurous among you might want to try making and selling your own perfumes. It’s actually easier to make than you might think – find out how you can do it here.

10 easy ways to make quick cash.

Step two: Find a place to sell

Use a search site like onlinecarbooty.com, Car Boot Junction or Your Booty to find your nearest car boot sale, or you can check the local papers. Once you’ve organised a place to sell make sure you arrive extra early to get the best pitch. It’s a good idea to phone ahead and get some advice from the organiser.

Step three: Do your homework

Visit your local car boot sales to see how other people sell their goods and what sells well. For bigger items you’re planning to sell look on eBay and Amazon.co.uk to see how much they cost there. This will give you a rough price guide. If you think an item may be collectable then it really is worth having a look at the collectors’ pages on these sites to see if you could sell it for more.

Step four: Be prepared

Bring along a table – a decorating or trestle table is perfect. If you don’t have a table, or need more than just one, see if you can borrow from a friend or double up with them. If you can, take along a chair or stool so you’re not on your feet all day. Also, remember to take lots of loose change and refreshments. You’ll need plenty of both!

Take lots of carrier bags and a few small boxes for buyers to take their goods home in. They may be put off by a larger item that they have to carry in their hands.

Make sure you’re prepared for all kinds of weather. Bring a plastic sheet to cover your table if it starts to rain, and make sure you’ve got something waterproof for yourself as well. Likewise if it’s set to be a hot day remember that you’ll be sitting out in the sun for a long time so take plenty of water and sun cream.

Step five: Keep the pricing really simple

Perhaps choose three amounts and label the smaller items the night before. For example you’ll have things that cost 50p, things that cost £1 and things that cost £5. It keeps it easy and straightforward for both buyers and yourself when trying to remember prices.

If you’ve got anything particularly special you might want to leave them unlabeled, then you can see if you can get a little bit more for them.

Remember, people love haggling and they love a bargain. It might be worthwhile marking items up slightly so that if people want to haggle you’ll feel more inclined to lower the price.

With an item that you know is worth quite a lot then it’s probably worth sticking to your guns, after all you can always sell it on eBay if nobody picks it up. On the other hand if it’s getting towards the end of the day and you just want rid of your things, then it’s a good idea to lower your prices and be more flexible with buyers.

Some dealers may make you an offer early in the day, however only accept it if you’re satisfied with the price they’re offering. If you’re not sure, or think you could get a bit more for it then tell them to come back later – if they’re serious about it then they won’t mind doing this.

Consider copying some supermarket tricks towards the end of the day to get rid of the last items. Try buy-one-get-one-free offers, or drop the price of everything to one pound. It should bring in the last few customers still searching for bargains. Be prepared for major haggling by the end of the day and remember that 20p for an item you no longer need or want is better than leaving it to clutter up your house!

Step six: Presentation

Position your most eye-catching and attractive items at the front of your display. Take the time to make things look as appealing as possible, and try to place similar items together.

Lay everything out on a clean, colourful cloth to attract attention. Items that are less likely to sell can be put into a box at a set price per item – for example 50p. People like a good rummage and if you put toys low down where kids can see them they may be more likely to sell.

If you’re selling clothes try to bring along a mirror with you. People will be much more inclined to buy clothes if they can see what they’ll look like.

Step seven: Get some help!

Rope in your children, partner or friend to help. An extra pair of hands is indispensable and makes the day much more enjoyable, plus it’ll mean that you can wander around to find bargains yourself!


Hot tips for success

car boot sales -

Best sellers

Perfume, smellies, plants, toys and children’s clothes always do well, so take as many of these along with you as you can. Homemade bread, cakes and biscuits always sell really well at car boot sales and they don’t take too much effort or money to make. They’ll draw buyers in and encourage them to have a look at your other items, so it’s well worth doing a spot of baking the night before.

Remember, your perfumes and toiletries don’t have to be unopened. As long as there’s a decent amount left and the packaging is in good condition you can still sell them at a reduced price.

Safety first

Keep expensive items near you at all times. Car boot sales can be magnets for thieves so be careful and always lock your boot after you’ve unloaded your items.

When you first arrive be aware of people trying to view the items before you’ve taken everything out of the car. This is a prime time for quick hands grabbing things without you noticing. Be firm and explain that you’re not ready to sell yet as you’re still setting up. This is where a friend or family member comes in really handy. One of you can unload the car box by box, and the other can stay at the pitch and set up the items.

Know the law

As a one-off car boot sales do not need to be declared as income. However, if it becomes regular, or you start selling items that aren’t your own personal property, it’s very likely that in legal terms you’d be considered a trader. Check out the general advice section on Your Booty to find out a bit more and read our full article on paying tax on extra earnings for more information.


Alternative ways to make cash from your trash

selling your junk on ebay

If the car boot sale doesn’t work out, or you simply don’t have the time, then you can always sell your things on eBay. You’ll need to register as a buyer and there’s a small fee to list items for sale. Read our full article on selling things on eBay here.

Another useful way of getting rid of unwanted items is to post an ad on Gumtree. It’s a free website and really easy to use – simply click on the ‘post an ad’ button to get started. You’ll need to fill in a few basic details (location, price, description etc) and then all you have to do is wait for people to get in touch!

Got an old phone lying about? Then make some easy money from it! Use a reputable comparison site such as Envirophone to get a great price for your obsolete handset.

Find out how to get involved in National Clear Your Clutter Day 2018


Want to make more cash? Then have a look at…


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9 years ago

Boot Sales can be a great way to earn some extra cash, without the hassle of posting items and waiting for payment.

If you need a good way of finding car boot sale locations, checkout this directory, found loads of good sales on it.


9 years ago

This time of year there are not many if any local boot fairs, so now is the time to sell your unwanted items online. You can sell all your unwanted items at online boot fair, which is a classified site and you can list most things for free.


12 years ago

hi is anyone interested in setting up their own business with me in the london area on a market stall kindly drop me a line I can get the merchandise very cheap must be hard working and motivated and committed.
[email protected]

Lisa Salter
Lisa Salter
12 years ago

You could always try and sell your left over car boot items on adsere.com a new free classified ads web site – buy, sell, swap, donate or find what you are looking for locally, nationally and within your own communities! 100% FREE!!!

Mose Stinar
Mose Stinar
12 years ago

That’s sounds interesting. BTW: Did you know that mispelled is one of the mostly common misspelled words? 🙂

12 years ago

I dont care about grammer here, just usefull info about car booting. There is certainly a few good tips, so thanks to the people who gave a valuble contribution. I cant wait for the car boot season to start ….

12 years ago

We would love to see anything left over from your car boot sale listed on our new free classified advertising site adsere.com and let us help you to make a bit extra cash. We are 100% free to use, with no hidden costs!

12 years ago
Reply to  ads'ere

I have wonderful quality ladies clothes & hse hold items for sale but I can not do a car boot fair so I need someone whom will be honest and buy in bulk from me .if their is someone that would come collect at a good price as it is quality but have to de-clutter.
please contact me if you do know anyone?
Thank You
Warm Regards


12 years ago

the best tip i’ve ever had for a successful boot sale is to use bootsalestickers.com

they do make a huge difference !


13 years ago

I have done really well selling my unwanted stuff. I find the best Boot Sale is at Taplow Maidenhead which is open on Sundays or Bank Holiday Mondays. It’s really busy and I found that the kids toys and clothes flew out and some good stuff of mine. Also I got rid of loads of kitchen items that I have replaced. Certainly worthwhile and I am now collecting more stuff from round my house so I feel de-cluttered!

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