We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Car Boot Sale?

By S. Gonzales
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A car boot sale is to Britain as a garage sale is to the United States. Car boot sales are characterized by private citizens coming together to buy and sell unwanted and new, or second-hand, items in a public space.

The phrase car boot sale is derived from the habits of sellers who fill their vehicles' trunks — the cars' boots — with items to sell. These items can range from expensive antiques and heirlooms to inexpensive trinkets and children's toys. Books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, home decor and computer equipment are some of the most popular items bought and sold at boot sales. Much like an American garage sale, boot sales can carry something for everyone.

Some attributes of a boot sale are:

  • Location. Boot sales can be found almost anywhere, from sheep's or cow's fields, market stalls where food or other agricultural products are sold to schools and even parking lots. A boot sale can also take place indoors, in buildings capable of accommodating large numbers of people and their loot. Regardless of where a boot sale takes place, wares are commonly put on display atop a folding table.
  • Price. Because boot sales are likely to be organized, there may be fees that must be paid before one is allowed entry. Boot sales sponsored by cities or other centralized entities will likely impose a fee, although it's not impossible to buy or sell at a boot sale for free.
  • Times. Many boot sales occur in the summer or during otherwise hospitable weather and on weekends and holidays. A boot sale usually begins very early in the morning when the sun rises. Serious buyers will arrive at a boot sale early to get the best deals.
  • Numbers. Unlike American garage sales where only a few dozen buyers may show up on someone's driveway, the boot sale's use of public space typically brings in a high number of buyers. Attendees often number in the high hundreds or low thousands.

Boot sales can also act as the setting for social gatherings, since professional and hobbyist buyers regularly attend the same sales. Stands that sell french fries, hamburgers, doughnuts or other cheap foods encourage buyers to extend their visits.

A UK boot sale can be advertised in newspapers, but it's more common to find an announcement on a flier close to where the boot sale will take place. It's not uncommon for advertisements to be minimal or even non-existent, relying on word-of-mouth and a core group of buyers for sales.

While certain standards of decorum are observed, haggling is expected, and some would say encouraged, as it contributes to the feel of an authentic boot sale. The atmosphere is rich enough to warrant its own vernacular. For example, professional boot sale attendees who eagerly crowd sellers' vehicles before they've finished putting their wares on display are referred to as "scrum."

In addition, the highly organized "boot fair" popularized in the 1980s helped make the attendance of boot sales a favorite weekend pastime in the UK.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Sporkasia — On Jul 20, 2014

Whether you call it a car boot sale, a garage sale or a yard sale, the key to getting the good items is to get up early and be the first person there. The good items get taken quickly and you are left with the leftovers.

On the other hand, if you go late then you are more likely to get a better deal. Towards the end, the people having the sales would much rather lower their prices than have to pack up all those unsold items.

By Feryll — On Jul 20, 2014

Since my girlfriend read about someone going to a car boot sale outside of London and paying five pounds for a painting that turned out be worth twenty or thirty thousand pounds, she has been getting me out of bed early on Saturday mornings so we can hit the local yard sales. We have found a lot of interesting items, but we are yet to find anything of much value. We definitely haven't found anything worth thousands of dollars. I hope she'll get tired before long and I can start sleeping in again.

By Animandel — On Jul 19, 2014

One weekend during the summer there is a super yard sale or car boot sale in North Carolina and Virginia in the United States. Actually, there are hundreds of vendors and people who set out there items along a road that runs from Virginia into NC. I'm not sure exactly how many miles this stretches, but I think the distance is between 50 miles and 100 miles.

Even if you don't like stopping at yard sales, you might enjoy driving down the road and looking at what seems like an endless collections of odds and ends set up along the roadside. Even if you love shopping, unless you are a bigger shopaholic than I am, you will tire out long before you reach the end of the line.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.