Is it just us, or is Junk in the Trunk getting a little intense? The bi-annual Vintage Market is consistently well-received by junk fiends and hoarders of handmade home furnishings. It's almost too well-received. There are long lines, lots of crowding. And parking? Parking is a little bananas. For those haven't ventured out to Junk in the Trunk just yet and those who have found themselves sitting on the floor with a have-empty bottle of vodka and $2,000 worth newly-purchased antiques, here are 10 valuable lessons you can take with you to the next Junk in the Trunk Market, happening Saturday and Sunday, May 7 and 8.
ATMs are available, but they are few and far between. So when you finally find that perfect set of daisy-print Pyrex, you're not really going to feel like walking all the way to the other end of the WestWorld warehouse only to wait in line for a cash withdrawal and risk losing your coveted Cinderella bowls to better prepared shopped in the process.
You say you're just going to be there for one hour, but really you'll be there for three. Since shopping burns calories, your best bet is to load up before load-up. While a handful of food trucks are always on hand, lines are long and seating is limited. They also sell water for $2 a pop, but come on, guys, just bring one from home. Morning is madness
The early bird may get the worm, but she also gets the worst crowds. Herd mentality mandates that the best stuff is only available before noon. But trust us, with over 160 vendors selling salvaged goods in once space, you can bet that your shopping selection will still be strong by 2 p.m. In addition to scoring more breathing room and personal space, you might also snag some better deals as vendors get desperate.
One man's trash is still trash to everyone else
Despite all of these vendors being "hand-picked," you can't expect all the merchandise to be mind-blowing. In truth, some of it just blows: decoupaged seashell experiments, plastic football figurines that look about two years old, Renaissance festival sewing patterns from the mid-1990s.
Not everything can or should be repurposed
Junk in the Trunk carries a little bit of everything: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue... The blue would be the immediate sadness we feel when we see that someone has purchased recently manufactured Scrabble boards, glued letter tiles to them to spell out words like "PLAY" and "LAUGH," pasted a photograph in the middle and attempted to sell it as innovative home decor. No, no, a thousand times no.
Make sure you've perused the entire area before you reach for your wallet. If you drop $130 on a pair of decorative antlers at the beginning of your tour and you later find a similar pair for $18, you'll be kicking yourself for the rest of the day. Just because something is vintage or handmade doesn't mean it's the only one.
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Don't be afraid to haggle
This isn't the mall, and prices are not set. If you're purchasing you junk in bulk, consider compromising with the vendor. Depending on what you're purchasing and how you phrase it, the vendor might be willing to lower his price and create more room in the booth for other merchandise. Granted, this works a lot better towards the end of the day. Babies... Babies everywhere Okay, this isn't so much a lesson as it is an observation. We were blown away by the amount of people that were either pushing babies in strollers, holding babies in their arms, pushing babies in strollers while holding babies in their arms, or being pregnant with yet even more babies. Seriously, we have never seen so many babies.
Holiday shopping can and does take place in September
One thing that the fall market has over the spring one is holiday merchandise. From Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas (we've tried out best to find a menorah — no luck), shoppers who spend in September can stock up on seasonal decor such as vintage lawn carolers, witches, and hand-painted wooden signs that remind you to be thankful so you don't forget.
Maybe just take an Uber
Parking is not free. And with the popularity of Junk in the Trunk only increasing, it's likely going to get worse. Rather than spend $5 to park in a dirt lot nearly a quarter of a mile away, then dole out another $5 just to get inside only to haul all your purchases back to the far away car a few hours later, we recommend catching a ride or getting an Uber. It will save what little sanity you have left.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version, which ran in September 2014.