This little Mellie went to the market

Have I mentioned yet how much I love antique and flea markets? Cuz I do.  I recently discovered the St-Michel flea market in the east end of Montreal (not quite sure how I learned about this place only now!!), and visited the St-Lawrence antique market this past weekend in Tdot.  My goal this summer is to visit as many different markets in the Montreal area and hopefully find some sweet, sweet goodness. My To Do list:

  • Finnegan’s market in Hudson
  • Lachute market
  • Décor Decarie Antique Fair
  • St-Michel (again)
  • Any other suggestions??

Check out some of the things I found recently at markets:

Antique Fire Extinguisher

We bought this gorgeous old fire extinguisher for $35.  In Toronto, we saw a similar (but not as nice) extinguisher for $125.  Suhweet deal!

Coca Cola CrateCoke crate for 5 bucks.  I wish there had been no white paint splattered on it, but I still think it looks pretty cool.

Milk Bottles and Mason JarsSome lovely mason jars and milk bottles for $5 a piece.  I think it was a little pricey for what it was, but I really think these are perfect to use as flower vases or to hold other decorative tchotchkes.

Whenever I shop at an antique or flea market, there are a few golden rules that I swear by:

  1. Visits to the market can be hit or miss.  If you didn’t find something during your first visit to a market, don’t lose all hope.  With one-of-a-kind items being bought and sold every day, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you within the next few visits.
  2. Go early.   I’ve been told time and time again by sellers that the best stuff sells in the early morning, so make sure to show up at or around opening time.
  3. Do not fear the maze! With hundreds of people strolling through aisle after aisle, booth after booth , walking into a market can feel overwhelming and intimidating.  In this situation, I recommend that you focus on what’s right under your nose.  Whatever you do, don’t look beyond a 3ft radius – you will panic!
  4. Diamonds in the Rough.  Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to markets.  I can guarantee that you WILL have to rummage through a lot of junk to find the good stuff.  My trick is to imagine each item on its own, in a beautiful room, and then decide if I like it.  Otherwise, the *junk* that’s piled up around it will make the item feel less special/valuable. Also, bear in mind that some items may need a little TLC  – you’ll have to be creative and think of the possible updates you could make to transform something from ‘Meh’ to ‘Yeahhhh’.
  5. Warning: May Cause Tunnel Vision.  It’s ok to go in with a shopping list, but you may end up with blinders and miss out on other rare or cool finds.  And, don’t you notice that you have more trouble finding something when you’re specifically looking for it?  That’s how it works for me, anyway.
  6. Browse, then buy. I like to take my time and “window shop” through the whole market before I buy anything.  I ask all my questions in the first round, including getting prices, so that I can compare with other booths and decide on where I can get the best deal.  Round 2 is all business – I make offers and buy, buy, buy!
  7. Customers: Cash only, no delivery. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, come with cash!  Otherwise, you may beat yourself up for missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (remember, if it’s that nice, it probably won’t be around tomorrow).  And, if you’re shopping for furniture or bigger items, make sure you have a way to take it home with you.   
  8. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.  I’m not much of a negotiator, but I rarely pay the seller’s initial price.  I am also no expert at valuing antiques, but I always ask myself “what is this worth to me?”, and then I offer a price slightly lower than that as a starting point.
How do y'all feel about antiquing and flea-ing (I think I just created that word)?  What kinds of things do you buy?  Do share!