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How to be king of the jumble

Posted at 5:30 pm, June 13, 2015 in Fun London, Shopping & Style
Clapton Jumble Trail

The Clapton Jumble Trail is this weekend – an area-wide movement of rails and wallpapering tables from attic to pavement that will see E5ers join forces to buy and sell tat to and from one another in convivial fashion. Considering hosting a stall? Let Katie Dailey teach you how to jumble massively.

1. It’s obvious, but you’ll need a table. The best thing is a wallpapering table, which folds up with a carry handle, and sells for £10 at DIY shops. Otherwise, any old table will do. Don’t forget you’ll need hangers for a rail if you’re selling – which might mean robbing your own wardrobe the night before to avoid leaving everything in chaos on jumble day.

2. If you’re selling bits and pieces, it’s useful to roughly divide them by price and stick them in big bowls or boxes (a fiver box, a quid box etc). No-one can be arsed to individually price jumble stock, but if you have, say, a salad bowl pricing system, you don’t have to constantly summon up prices on the spot and then get bartered down, and customers won’t nag you. 

3. Collect a load of plastic bags and have them on hand – it’s amazing how someone buying something as small as a LOL pin badge or a single night light will insist on a plastic bag to take it home in. Even amongst the tote-loving people of Hackney.

4. Get yourself a float or you’ll be quickly stuck once trading starts – about £20 in small change and fivers should do it. You don’t want to have to leave your stall ten minutes in to beg pound coins off your neighbours – chances are they’ll say no anyway. A £1 coin is a precious commodity in the jumble. 

5. Beware the re-sellers – is someone aggressively trying to take most of your stock off you in one purchase? You’re selling it too cheap, and they plan to take it to their own stall where they will mark it up and flog it on for proper market rates. You’ll walk past and feel like a mug, which you are.

5. Don’t ever believe something is too shitty to sell on a jumble stall – eBay is the place for pristine Diptyque candles. A jumble stall is a place to get rid of the oddities – the novelty Heisenberg T-shirt that seemed funny at the time, the selfie stick you were given as a Secret Santa present. I once flogged a half-burnt-down pineapple candle for a couple of quid – not a fortune, but it was enough to buy a real pineapple at least.

6. Do bundle deals with stuff that won’t budge. If someone expresses an interest in two good bits of merch, offer them the dog of the stall for free if they buy. Jumble buyers love a deal – or they wouldn’t be at a jumble sale, they’d be at Harrods browsing the Krug. 

7. If you’ve got lots of good stuff (that is, branded products, new products, perfume) then you’ll be mobbed before you even get to lay it out. You’ll need a pal for morale, but also to help you spot nickers – a blight of the jumble. It’s impossible to keep an eye on shoplifters when you’re jumbling solo. 

8. No-one buys DVDs. Just don’t bother. You might as well be peddling an abacus – actually, that would probably sell. Especially if you bundled it with a selfie stick and a burnt-down candle.

Love a good rumble in the jumble? Here are more sales coming up.

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