When the weather turns warm in May, hubs and I love to scout flea markets and garage sales! Speaking of scout, when I was a Girl Scout, our motto was ‘be prepared’. That one motto has resonated with me throughout my entire life.
Our favourite antique market is Aberfoyle in Guelph Ontario. One day when hubs was carrying an item back to the car, while I stayed and browsed, he came across a metal tool kit in rough shape. He bought it for just a few dollars and hid it in the car so I wouldn’t see it. Then he repainted it and surprised me with it later. I LOVED it, but I couldn’t help but upcycle it for a better purpose. If you’re an avid flea marketer like me and hubs, you’d turn the tool kit into a DIY Flea Market Survival Kit so you’d be prepared too! You’ll have everything you need for your next jaunt!
We love to hit the road on the weekend with just a moment’s notice so it’s a dream to have everything packed away in our kit ready for action. We just pop it into the back of the car and head out!
Here is a list of what we recommend to keep in the kit. I can’t emphasize enough that one of the most important items we’ve included is a tick kit.
I consider the tick kit the MVP of the entire survival kit! That’s why we’ve placed it front and centre on the outside of our box for easy access (we’ve chained it through the zipper pull and handle of our kit). The tick kit pictured below is available for only $15 Canadian and can be ordered through CanLyme.
I’ll get into the nitty gritty of what’s in the rest of the kit in a moment, but I want to take this opportunity to provide a ‘public service announcement’ to all my readers that ties in well with our Flea Market Survival Kit. Not only do we love to be outdoors at flea markets in May, but May just so happens to be Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
If you’re doing ANY outdoor activities – like walking through the grass at flea markets and yard sales – you need to be prepared to remove any tick that latches on. The faster it’s removed, the less chance you have of getting Lyme disease – a debilitating and potentially chronic disease if not caught early.
Inside the tick kit is fine tipped tweezers with a magnifying glass, band-aids, antiseptic and alcohol wipes, rolled paper towels, plastic containers to collect the tick if you happen to find and remove one and information cards. There’s also a plastic tick puller for your pet. What better way to ‘be prepared’ than to keep a tick kit with you at all times?
Like the card below says, ‘knowledge and prevention are the key’, so seriously consider either buying a tick kit or at the very least include a pair of fine tipped tweezers with the items you carry in your Flea Market Survival Kit 🙂 Although the card below doesn’t go into all the details, ticks can carry more than just Lyme disease — none of which you want to contract!
To effectively remove a tick, grasp it as close to your skin as you can get with the fine tipped tweezers so you won’t leave anything behind. Keep steady pressure and pull straight up until the tick releases. You can save the tick in the container provided with your tick kit and send it into a public health lab to be tested (they will only test a black legged tick that is found on a person). For information on where to send a tick for testing within Canada, contact CanLyme for further details.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program! I attached a hair clip onto one of the plastic compartments that resides inside our kit. That way I have something to control my long hair on windy days. Other essentials are lip balm, insect repellent and sun screen.
Whenever we go to large outdoor markets, I always wear a money belt around my waist and tucked under my top. It’s supplied with small bills and change in case that ‘I can’t live without it moment strikes’! It keeps our money safe from ‘sticky fingers’ so to speak. I wear a fanny pack to carry an insulated bottle of water – to be hands-free and and have cold water to cool down with on hot days.
The tape measure and screw driver (with a good variety of bits) are a must for making sure larger items will fit in the car and for taking apart anything that can be disassembled to make it easier to transport.
I also carry a wide package of Post-it notes, a pen and marker (these items fit into my fanny pack with my water bottle). If we purchase something and can’t take it right away, I can stick a post-it on the item and mark it with our name . I actually tear the Post-it in half first so I can also mark down the location of the booth (I obviously keep that half on the pad)! This makes it easier to remember where to make our way back to in order to pick up our purchase later.
We tuck away two caps with visors in our kit. I find that wearing sunglasses can be a pain when going into an indoor stall, or garage at a yard sale, because it’s too dark to see. In keeping with my preferred hands-free experience, I don’t like to fumble with my glasses. Having a cap with a visor shields my eyes from the sun, while also allowing me to see perfectly in indoor spaces, so I don’t have to wear sunglasses.
Some rechargeable batteries are handy if we ever want to test out something that’s battery operated – especially at a garage or yard sale. They also act as a spare pair for our camera, which I’d never be without at a flea market (I don’t carry a cell phone).
A flashlight helps us see under tables and inside dark stalls so we can shine a light on hard-to-see items; you never know where you’re going to find a diamond in the rough!
After digging around and touching items all day, it’s nice to have some hand sanitizer. We usually go back to the car to get our lunch, which we leave in a cooler. Both hubs and I are gluten free, and we always build up an appetite when we’re on the hunt for finds, so we don’t travel light when it comes to food! It’s great to clean up with the hand sanitizer before we take a break; we also keep some wet-naps in the car for after we eat.
Lastly I keep a pill container in the kit for carrying any medication I might be taking or a few pain killers just in case. Having the sun beating down on you for hours at a time can bring on the worst headache, so some Tylenol and water often save the day.
After a day of hunting treasures, we take out a mini pack of gluten-free mini pepperoni snacks from our cooler to enjoy on the long drive home. That’s where the pointy scissors you may have noticed in our kit come in handy – for opening them up!
Now, with our Flea Market Survival Kit, whenever we hit up Aberfoyle or come across a garage sale, we’re more than ready for the hunt!
If you have items you consider essential for the kit that I haven’t covered here, let me know in the comments.
I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have about Lyme disease and prevention. By the way, CanLyme not only sells the tick kit featured in our flea market survival kit, but they also host an informative website if you’re interested in learning more.
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