How to Score the Best Flea Market Finds

Posted by on Sep 11, 2016

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three tier basket rubber stamp storage

Potential for Use

When looking for items for upcycling projects, I focus on the material, shape and potential use. It’s a good idea to ignore the color, as that is something that can always be updated. I grabbed up this three-tier basket when I saw it, even though the color didn’t appeal to me at all. A few coats of spray paint and I had the perfect storage for my rubber stamps. Click here to read more about how I transformed this basket.

flea market finds to upcycle
When I moved to France ten years ago, I discovered their amazing flea markets. It’s a bit of a cliché, but I fell completely in love with the idea of hunting for well-loved items that I could use in my home. 

I love nothing better than to head out on Sunday mornings to search for treasures. I started out collecting trims and buttons for my papercrafts, many of which you'll find in my Etsy shop. We dream of owning a stone farmhouse one day, and so I am always looking for furniture, décor and kitchen items with which to furnish it. Some of them come home with me, others are just ideas for future purchases. Along the way I’ve found many items we use on a daily basis. As a crafter, I am always looking for creative ways to store my supplies, and I find the bulk of my storage solutions while thrifting. Some I use as-is, others I update a bit.

wood sewing basket


Make sure to check the sturdiness of the item you’re thinking of purchasing. If it’s wooden, be sure check for damage from chipping, rot or termites. Turn items upside down, try out all the moving parts, and decide whether you can repair an item that might have a fault. This wooden sewing basket was missing a couple of screws which we replaced, and now it’s pressed into service in my scraproom holding embellishments.

flea market basket


If you're heading out to look for storage items, make sure that you measure of the spots where you need them at home, and walk the flea market with a measuring tape to ensure that the items you find will fit! I love baskets, and will buy them whenever I can. I can always find a use for them! I thought the color and pattern on this wicker basket was quite ugly, but I loved the shape, the fact that it was intact, and also the price of about $1.50!

wicker magazine basket
Try to look beyond the appearance of an item, and consider the form and function. After a few coats of turquoise acrylic paint, I had a colorful and modern-looking place to house all my magazines.

paper roll storage

As Is

With some of the items I’ve found, I don’t need to do anything but put them in place. This vintage bread basket functions perfectly as-is to store rolls of paper.
wii game storage basket
This large basket was just the thing for holding all the Wii game pieces in the living room. I hope you found some of these tips useful for the next time you’re heading out for a day of thrifting! For even more ideas, you can follow along on my blog or Facebook page.

Francine Clouden
I'm an avid scrapbooker and photographer who loves to share ways to create a simply delightful life on my blog, Callaloo Soup

I love journals, printables (anything crafty!) and collecting vintage decor — see more about my daily life in France on Instagram or Twitter.

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