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What Should I Buy at a Flea Market?

What Should I Buy at a Flea Market?

In my last post I mentioned that I visited the famous Elephant’s Trunk Country Flea Market in New Milford, CT, and I discussed a few guidelines that can help make your flea market experience a success.

I know you’re probably wondering, “okay, that’s really nice, but what do I actually BUY at a flea market?”

I’m so there with you – it can be incredibly overwhelming to survey several acres of “stuff” and just not know what to look for.   Here are a few things you can focus on, knowing that you can’t go wrong:


1) Furniture that could use some TLC

Every time you see a piece of furniture, you should immediately be wondering if you could paint it or fix any slight imperfections.

side tables

I wanted these side tables so badly!  They’d look great painted in a black lacquer or a funky color like orange or teal.


Also, always be looking at items and try to think of uses “outside the box”.  Example, an old rectangular steamer trunk – could it be used as a coffee table?  A large  drum – could it be used as a side table?


2)  Look for “old stuff” that can be repurposed as decorative items.

This is me wondering, ‘can an old iron be used as a book end?’  I think yes!  Just hide that cord.



I scored this random pulley thing, trying to liven up my son’s bookshelves.  The metal is rusty, the wood is rotted.  Perfect!



3) Look for picture frames with promise. 

Just think – even if you hate the art inside the frame or the frame itself is ugly, you can always swap out the art for something great and you can always paint the frame!

picture frames

As you probably know, brand new picture frames (and mirrors, for that matter) are expensive!  Truly, finding “frames with promise” that you can repurpose is one of the best deals at a flea market.


We didn’t find anything earth shattering on this visit (no vintage bamboo chairs for $30…sigh), although I did score some great decorative stuff, and we had a ton of fun.   After my inaugural visit I know what to expect next time.  When I go back to Elephant’s Trunk, I’ll mean business!

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