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Why You Should Go to a Car Boot Sale

On the last Sunday of my Easter break, my mates and I all wanted to do something different. One of them suggested a car boot sale. As we had no alternative ideas, we gave it a go.

Greg Devine


a Car Boot sign handing off a green railing

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It’s fair to say I was pleasantly surprised.

the word RECYCLE in wooden blocks assembled together

There are plenty of good reasons why you should give one a go. First of all, the vast majority of things sold at car boot sales are second-hand. This is a great opportunity to be more eco-conscious and recycle some unwanted items. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and, at least concerning some things, that’s true. My friend is a big fan of vintage items to decorate his shelves. He found an old camera, which was the perfect thing for his display. There were plenty of vintage objects and clothes that might be of no use to their owner, but which could be perfect for someone else. 

The gentleman selling the cameras wasn’t out to make a lot of money. He’d recently lost his mother and just wanted to offload some of her belongings. My friend only paid £3 for the camera. We may not know if it works, but as a little knick-knack, it’s ideal.

Man looking at Secondhand Items at a local Car Boot Sale

Tradesmen may find a visit to a car boot worthwhile. There were plenty of tools for sale at great prices. And not just tools, but also consumables, from saw blades to screws. One stall was solely selling second-hand lawnmowers, which would be perfect for someone with a gardening business. Another stall sold nothing but garden hoses; I thought this might be a bit niche, but it was one of the busier stalls.

What I believe may be the most interesting part of a car boot sale in the current economic climate is the cheap day-to-day items being sold. During this cost-of-living crisis, everyone is struggling, and we need all the help we can get. Items like kitchen and toilet rolls were being sold at prices supermarkets can’t compete with. Big bottles of pop were going cheap. For less than a pound you could buy two-litre bottles of cola and lemonade. Although you can get cheap alternatives at Aldi, they’re not branded; these were.

There was also a large butcher’s stall. Whilst, generally, its prices weren’t competitive with supermarkets for most things, there were some deals to be had. For those more conscious about where their food comes from, buying directly from a butcher may be something they consider. It doesn’t bother me personally, as I’m usually looking for the cheapest option, but I can understand why this might appeal to others.

Perhaps one of the most fun parts of a car boot is the negotiation. Prices aren’t final; you can always try and haggle. This is something I quite enjoyed—often, I wasn’t hugely interested in an item after hearing its price, but sometimes, people just want to get rid of their unwanted things, so the price isn’t much of an issue. You can get some huge bargains, but it really is a lottery. One week, there might be plenty of items you would consider purchasing; another week. there might not be any at all. It’s just down to luck, in terms of what’s going to be for sale that weekend.

Family at Car Boot sale sitting and waiting for customers

We visited a car boot at Doncaster, at the city’s football stadium. It was easy to get to and the parking was only £2. Other car boot sales can be more challenging to reach, as they tend to be in the middle of nowhere—usually, in a farmer’s field. This one was different and arguably better; the large tarmac car park was nicer than a muddy field. I couldn’t really believe I’d never heard of it, never mind visited it before, living so close. Admittedly, it isn’t well advertised. There was a Facebook page, but finding it wasn’t easy.

It's definitely something I’ll visit again. Whether you’d be looking at everyday items at a reduced price, for tools and consumables as tradesmen, or for vintage clothing because you’re a recycling champion, there’s something for everyone at a car boot. If you’re bored and have nothing else to do with your Sunday, consult Google for your nearest one. You may be surprised at what you find.

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