Monday, 28 April 2014

The British Jumble Sale

Now it has to be said that this great British event, once a very popular pastime, generally taking place on a Saturday and mainly during the summer months ~ is becoming a rarer occurrence.
The so much more popular 'car boot' craze, has ensured that the jumble sale is fast becoming a thing of the past!
( pics here from one I attended yesterday - before the mad rush of bodies in the queue after me, surged in lol)

Yes in more recent past times folks donated their 'junk' to the guides, schools or scouts for them to sell at 'fairs' for  local fund raising.
Yes folks like myself cadged 'junk' to sell at a car boot stall and every two months or so, we'd sell what was left at a jumble sale ~ in our case to funds to pay for food and vets bills for the rescued cats we looked after.

I suppose the tradition goes right back to the rag merchants in Victorian times, who would sell the still wearable clothes they collected to the clerks or lowly paid workers, who couldn't afford to buy their clothes new.
They would sell the tattered clothes to the Fagins of the day and only the very, very worst of fabrics would be deemed to be rags back in those days.

When I was running jumbles the best of them cleared about £300-400 with us receiving about £100 - £120 for the best part of a ton of residue clothing by the end of any jumble.
Then the rag price dropped drastically and we got very little for what was left at the end, much of which was clothing in very good condition.

Then we would box up the reasonable bric a brac, bag up the better clothing and offer it to a charity shop for them to try and sell on.
It meant us driving it to charity shops at the end of a jumble, when we all bloody tired lol but we figured some of what we had left over, was still eminently saleable, so we'd let someone else maybe benefit - rather than the rag man, who all but asked us to pay him, to take it away!
So some of us took crap to the dump whilst others drove the better stuff to charity shops.
The price of rags has risen sharply again, so rag men are able to cash in on jumble sales when a lot is left over at the end and the organisers just want rid of it all.
Imagine my surprise them to find that yesterdays jumble pulled the church in well over £700!
I may have to run jumbles again but for myself!!
I have a dilapidated garage so could store gear in there lol
Did I buy anything at this jumble then?
Yes of course lol
Fabrics, for more clippy and peggy cushions, a couple of white lacey bits ( Mary Anne take note lol) and this little fabric trivet ( 10p) but I only bought it because its been made by the that technique Mary Anne mentioned on her blog - coincidence again MA!!

Some vintage aprons too, for the cotton fabrics but its almost a shame to cut them up - classic 50s as they are.

Anyway, thought Id give the flavour of a jumble sale here, for those of you far away who have garage sales, which I guess would be largely outdoors.
Jumble sales at best have clothing from Marks and Spencer ( clothing that never, ever wears out, its so well made!),
last years designer clothing,
1940's,50's, 60s original gear, snapped up by students and retro traders 
but are also the epitome of tat bric a brac, for sale for pennies,
 but it just goes to show how much tat is needed by the masses lol
- and I include myself in that : )


  1. Must admit to a great deal of curiosity about 'car boot sales' - I know that a car boot is the trunk, but does that mean that people pull up somewhere and sell things from their cars? Or am I way off the mark? 'Jumble' sales are another term that isn't common here - they're more apt to be called yard (or garage) sales. In the US they have 'estate' sales that seem to be held inside houses. Interesting, the different terms. And does this mean I get to stalk the mailman again? Yay!!

  2. Just remembered another one - 'rummage' sales, which are probably what your jumble sale is. Most often rummage sales are held in the halls of the local churches and are a fundraiser for them. Don't have rag men here, at least I've never heard of them.

  3. Mary in Perth Australia28 April 2014 at 15:26

    Oh yessssssssss, jumble sales. I used to help my Mum run a stall at the old village hall when I was a child. Used to love having that little look around before the doors opened and let the hoards in. Please try to arrange one for my next trip over there........
    (Of course, it was probably jumble sales that made me the hoarder I am today. Most likely still have some stuff from those days).

  4. I remember the rag and bone man coming round on his horse and cart in the 1950's. He'd take any junk/old clothes and give us balloons and goldfish. I think cash must have changed hands for larger items though. Makes me feel so old!