tips and hints on how to shop at a flea marketThis weekend we spent the day at the Nashville flea market.

And as far as days go….it ranked up with other life changing events in my life.

Like the first time I realized I could wear white pants before and after Labor Day.

And chalk came in colors.

And zucchini could be made into bread.

And that french fries totally count as a vegetable.

Just kidding.

Maybe. 🙂

flea market shopping ideas

We shopped and laughed and giggled and pointed and oohed and ahhhed and gave each other ideas on what to do with a this or that….

….and wished we had a fan attached to a pair of sunglasses.

And met our flea market boyfriend.

Isn’t he handsome?


And at the end of the day we came home with a car (s) full of treasures and inspiration.

Those crates on the right?

Wait until you see what I created with them. 🙂

So if you have a flea market nearby that you can get to by car or bus or train or moped…..

….go forth and shop.

And here’s my best tips and hints on how to shop at a flea market.

flea market style

1.  Start a collection

If you don’t have one….make one up today.

Preferably something inexpensive.

You could try vintage silverware boxes.

(total aside: Don’t you think a stack of these would make such a fun tabletop tree at Christmas).

Or trophies.

Or milk glass luncheon plates.

Or iron horseshoes.

The point is…..why settle for one….when twenty look so much better.  The flea market is all about the hunt, so find something to search for.

flea market tips and hints2.  Think outside the box

Because at a flea market it is a proven fact that the one thing you never ever thought you needed…..

….is the one thing you’ll find.

I mean….seriously?

A guitar made out of license plates?

Music to my ears.


(So sorry….I couldn’t resist)

flea market shopping tips

3.  Make a list

I know this seems like it totally contradicts number 2….but having a list really helps me stick to my budget.

So when I’m tempted to buy the flight of stairs that turned into a table….I just check the list.

Ummm….stairs that transform into a table?

Not on the list.

A hair accessory made from serving spoons?

Nope.  Not even close.

See how easy that was?

flea market4.  Measure, measure, and measure again

These corbels are amazing.  If I had a dollar for every piece of architectural salvage that I have purchased from a flea market that never fit the project I planned for it…..I could spend the rest of my days on a tropical island in the south Pacific.

If you are looking for a specific piece for a specific space…..



And for projects you are planning….please refer to tip number three.

flea market tips

Enjoy the flea market.

It’s a place where creative ideas can happen over a bottled water under the tent behind the bird feeders and the giant bumper from an old Ford….

….wearing white pants and dreaming of french fries. 🙂

holiday gift ideas5

PS  I know Christmas is three months away….but I’m partnering with one of my sponsors, ebay to put together a fun collection of personalized gifts for the holidays.

Like these individual state skillets.

Love a map of the United States you can cook pancakes on. 🙂

disclaimer:  I was compensated by ebay for this partnership.  But all opinions are completely my own.  Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life... Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life...

    Great tips for navigating the flea market or any treasure trove that leaves you wide eyed. We went to an auction last week that made my eyes bug out with possibilities… It was hard to stop myself from buying everything in site, but… I resisted and only came home with a few things which we used right away to make an industrial lamp!!! It is huge and ( I think) fantastic. Can't wait to see what you do with those crates!!

  2. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Oh! You girls look like you're having too much time!! You're supposed to be serious -- contemplative -- kind of wilty from all the heat!! But no! Ya'll look as fresh as a daisy. I can't wait to see what you end up making. Creative minds at work.

  3. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Oh, KariAnne! I'm so jealous! Would you believe I've NEVER been to the Nashville Flea Market? Admittedly, you picked the weekend with a heat advisory . . . Looks like you had a great time . . . And those silverware boxes are so calling my name . . . Maybe next month! :) Thanks for the tips for when I DO get to go!

  4. Image for Sheila Sheila

    Next time you come to the Nashville flea market stop and see me! I have followed you for a long time and I think you are amazing! I get inspiration from you. I'm in Shed 4, booths 460-461. I sell painted furniture and home decor.

  5. Image for Patti Patti

    We lived just outside of Nashville for about 2 years. I loved going to the flea market and shopping at the antiques in Franklin too. I have many floral prints and paintings to remember it by. Sighhh makes me very nostalgic. Looks like you had a ton of fun too!!

  6. Image for barb barb

    How does one convey jealously through a comment thread? My heart is still beating fast after spotting the beautifully patinated sign *I believe with a B ? in the back of the car nestled perfectly under your crates..... *sigh*

  7. Image for Corinne Corinne

    I have a silverware box that I use for a jewelry box. It's big....I can attach pins to the top's inside cloth and the slots for silverware can hold pieces of jewelry in place. It's long so I can comfortably place necklaces in there. I love it!

  8. Image for Shannon M. Shannon M.

    I'm not far from Nashville.... Just recently heard about the flea market. I haven't been to it yet. I have been to the one in Memphis several times. How are the prices? I know things tend to be a little pricey in the Nashville area. This is so exciting!!! I can't wait to go!!! Thanks for the tips!!!

  9. Image for Patty Patty

    We go to a Flea Market in Stormville New York that is held on an old airfield. We LOVE going and I always find something to love. I came home with a cast iron cow last time and it looks wonderful on my kitchen island. They are usually held on Memorial Day, Fourth of July weekend and Labor Day weekend so that is where we will be on Sunday - can't wait.

  10. Image for Jill Jill

    You look like you were having an amazing time! We love the Nashville Flea Market! Prices are good but remember to dicker. And since we don't live close, we always manage to make a weekend of it. Did you make a reservation at a hotel downtown and spend the evening enjoying the nightlife on Broadway? Did you visit Carnton or Bellemeade plantations for inspiration? Did you venture into Antique Archeology to see the treasures of the guys from American Pickers? Did you see the Pickers (the musical kind) at the Grand Ole Opry? I recognized Beth from Unskinny Boppy? Was it a bloggers weekend? As always, you took wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Image for Mimi Mimi

    One of the best pieces of "mom advice" I ever got was from an older woman who told me to start a collection. Huh? I thought. She went on to explain, "That way when your kids go shopping for a gift for you, they have some idea of what you want and love." She also added that it tends to help the hubby with his gift giving also. :-) She was so right. My kiddos are now in their twenties, but they still love to add to my different collections with their various finds.

  12. Image for video production chicago video production chicago

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I really hope to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own site now ;)

  13. Image for Amber at FPH Amber at FPH

    That looked like one heck of a flea market! I wish we were closer to the AL/TN line because I'd probably be in TN more than AL! They seem to have some fantastic sales there! 5 hour drive..... I think that calls for a girls weekend of junking!

  14. Image for Michelle Lepak-Dandelion Patina Michelle Lepak-Dandelion Patina

    KariAnne, French fries are totally a vegetable! My 6 year old says it with much conviction. I am not sure I could ever wear white pants again...most onlookers would be wearing blinders on their sunglasses instead of those fans! one is gonna want to be looking to the "rear" with me in white pants! Thanks for the tips! I love a good hunt! ~Michelle

  15. Image for Marian@ Gathering Branches Marian@ Gathering Branches

    Girl, You are looking good! WOWZA! very inspiring I must say. it makes me want to tromp right off to the gym. But today I have a migraine keeping me on the couch. Tomorrow will have to do. But I really WILL go tomorrow. It's my favorite Zumba class. Glad the market was a blast. All the Best, The Other Marian

  16. Image for Jessica Jessica

    Great tips and post! I am a fleamarket junkie, but every time I see posts from southern flea markets I get giddy and wish I could twitch my nose and transport there! SO many things there that you wont find in PA, or at least in my area. Someday when I am in Nashville again I will be renting a truck to come home with lol Have a great day Jess

  17. Image for airplane financing airplane financing

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