Monday, February 25, 2013

it's that time again..

The DC Big Flea is upon us again!  All indoors, this market makes it pleasant to sift through vintage photographs, china and furniture in the dead of winter.

When: March 2-3
Time: 9am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday
Where:  Dulles Expo Center (4320 Chantilly Shopping Center), Chantilly, Virginia
Entry cost: $8

Here are a few helpful hints about flea market shopping:

1.  Bring:
  • A Large Tote Bag (or two!) and extra shopping bags just in case
  • Cash, Checkbook
  • Pencil, Paper
  • Tape Measure
  • Small tool kit (you never know when you need to disassemble a table..)

2.  Wear comfortable shoes and layers 
The flea market is NOT New York Fashion Week.  Wear comfortable clothing with lots of pockets so you don't have to lug around a purse and your tote bags.  And make sure you can take off layers easily, because it can get hot inside that warehouse!

3.  Have some Packing Materials in your car
Old blankets, tarps, tissue paper, bubble wrap, boxes, tape, rope, and twine are all helpful in making sure your delicate items travel home safely.

4.  Arrive early
And case the joint to develop a buying strategy.  You don't want to miss the chair of your dreams because you're late.  Crowds are also the worst at mid-day.

5.  See Possibilities
Even if a piece isn't in "mint" condition, look beyond the rough exterior to see its bones. Can it be slipcovered or reupholstered?  What would it look like painted? Could the frame be gold-leafed? Would that lamp base be perfect if you found a new shade? Can those different china patterns be combined to make a gallery wall of plates?

6.  Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!
Always ask, "What's the best price you can give me?"  If you've got enough cash, ask if there's an even better price if you pay in Andrew Jacksons (which reduces the risk to a vendor that your check might bounce).  

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