MarkdownMom On A Mission

The Arts and Craft Movement first started in Great Britain growing out of a desire to shed the ornate style of the Victorians.  Not as successful in G.B., it was embraced in the U.S. by Elbert Hubbard, founder of RoyCroft Press, who wanted to reproduce his book , Little Journeys, in the rich skilled style of William Morris’  Kelmscot Press.  He established an artist colony in East Aurora New York of craftspeople.  The Roycroft trademark was emblazoned on leather. metalwork. and furniture.  Later it produced furniture for Sears & Roebuck. making it available to the middle class. 

Later Mission Style and Prairie Stylewould identify arts and crafts design styles in architecture like Frank Lloyd Wright, furniture with the Stickley Brothers, and a number of potters, etc.  Mission to Victoriana is very much the first minimalist style with clean lines, utilitarian purpose.  MarkdownMom loves this style since it can be incorporated into several design themes, and one way to gain knowledge on this artisan inspired movement is to attend special showings similar to craft shows.  In St. Paul, Minnesota recently a gathering of merchants of vintage mission style and reproduced mission style furniture and accessories was held on the St. Paul Fairgrounds.   An entrance fee of $7 not only let you in to see the merchandise and talk with the vendors, but there was a free dog show with it!  Bargain hunters should avail themselves of opportunities such as these special events to learn more on the history, identifying authentic from reproductions, and pricing.

See what you missed at the Mission Style Show, Click Here→

Flea Bites!

For most of us the snow has come and gone and warm weather is beginning to show its’ face and sometimes colors.  For bargain hunters we await Spring in great anticipation of tag sales, garage sales, rummage sales and flea markets.  This doesn’t mean that there haven’t been these sales throughout the rest of the year, but come on, some of the fun is taken out of the bargain hunt when you have to climb mountains of snow or slog through the slush!  On the whole, there is more to pick from in warmer weather especially with flea markets since these outdoor events depend  heavily on the weather conditions.   MarkdownMom has come across a new publication thatwill enhance our quest this year:


Flea Market Style is a new magazine  making its’ debut this Spring.  It promises to be jam packed with tips, repurposing flea market finds, and decorating.  It’s such a new fledgling enterprise that you will be on the ground floor with its’ first issue!  Check your favorite WalMart, Barnes & Noble, CVS, Target and other outlets, or check  its’ website, $9.95.

Antique Spectacular New Year's Weekend!

Okay, you’re tired of shopping,   This malady happens to the best of us bargain shoppers caused by sticker shock, media overkill, and the hoardes of fellow shoppers.  Take a break, replenish your desire by a visit to yesteryear.  Discover the treasures that you already own.  Converse with bargain hunters like yourself.

Where, you ask?

How about at an antique show, specifically an Antique Spectacular being held today through January 3rd at the Warner Coliseum on the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Over 200 dealers show their wares which include furniture, collectibles, flea market finds and more.  Admission is $6 for adults–but you can get that reduced online by signing up for Minnesota Antique Show newsletter–and is free for children 12 and under.

Don’t Live In Minnesota?  Check with your local events publisher for similar events.

Craigslist Sellers: Learn the 10 Tips Insiders Say Will Double Your Sales

Although Markdown Mom is relatively a new fan of Craigslist, having not had this service available in her area until recently, nonetheless there are a few insights she has garnered from using this service.

  • A great site for selling items locally or statewide. This allows for flexibility in your customer base. Oftentimes, smaller cities or towns do not have the pool of customers to get the response you want. Depending on the size of your state, a seller can list an item(s) locally or in the nearest largest city that can increase the amount of money realized from its sale.
  • As a seller you must be prepared to answer phone calls or emails, this can produce a deluge of inquiries depending upon the popularity of the item and the asking price. Unlike Ebay, this will take up your time and most, not all, inquiries may not be productive, and even with more serious inquiries, “no shows.” Remember there is no buffer between the seller and buyer, these are one-to-one deals. To limit the number of calls, be sure to give as much description as possible.
  • As a buyer, if you are looking for a specific item you can either list a “wanted item” in the category that item would be placed or in the “Wanted” category on Craigslist. Markdown Mom recommends doing both.
  • Check items for sale once a day and if interested respond quickly, time is of the essence, if you really want to get to the bargain before others. Craigslist for the bargain hunter is much like attending an estate sale or a good garage or yard sale, the early bird catches the worm.
  • If you are a seller, list everything like size, be specific and if necessary take measurements, condition, flaws especially if you don’t provide a photo–you can never give the buyer too much information. Include your email or phone number (times available to take calls). Markdown Mom prefers email since it allows seller more control as to his/her time allocation to this endeavor.
  • PROVIDE PHOTOS. Although you can still try to sell item without it, a picture as they say is worth a thousand words especially since you are competing with auction sites, online sellers, all of whom provide photos. Don’t have a digital camera? Ask a friend, remember sites like Craigslist are taking the place of Ebay online stores that use to do this for you at a percentage of the sale.
  • Seller be sure to specify means of payment, cash and money orders preferable, local checks with ID is up to you.
  • Find an item that you wanted, but missed out on? Don’t hesitate to inquire on Craiglist as to possibly of purchasing it from the party that bought it off of Craigslist. You won’t get the bargain he/she did, but if you really want it you can negotiate the price provided that buyer is open to reselling. Some bargains are picked up by dealers with the sole intention of reselling. Since you know what they bought it for you know where to start the bidding price, but allow for a decent profit. Unless this is one of a kind, expect that the most to pay for it is 2½ times what they paid.
  • This is also a good place to find FREE items, or to list items for FREE. Sometimes the owner just wants to get rid of the item for a number of reasons: downsizing, redecorating, or declutter. FREE does not always mean junk. If you are handy at refinishing, repairing, reupholstering, or trying to help out a friend who is in need, don’t pass this by.
  • Make sure that you can get the item home. Some sellers will offer to deliver for an extra fee and Craigslist does list fee-based delivery sources in your area. If you live in a small town and have a friend or relative in the city where you find an item you’ve been looking for ages for, see if they will act as your proxy and check it out, pick it up for you, or store it for you until you can retrieve it. Don’t have them store it for very long as this is one sure way to lose a friend or tick off that family member.
  • When you sell the item, REMOVE THE LISTING FROM CRAIGSLIST IMMEDIATELY. If you haven’t sold it, consider looking at the price you are asking, lower it and relist. A decent item should only need to be advertised twice at the most, so be sure to look hard at the price you want, compare it to others being sold, and initially price the item right. A fair price is not necessarily the amount of money you currently need to get, but what the market will bear.

Related Blogs

  • Related Blogs on Online Auctions

New Genre: Flea Market+Art Fair+Food Fest=The Saturday Market

The flea markets, art fairs, and food fare are now merging into one creating a sensory super market at the Portland Saturday Market. You can find almost anything at this market located in Chinatown district of Portland, Oregon.

The offerings are many and diverse such as baby gifts, candles, soaps and toiletries; pet products( catnip body pillows and gourmet dog cookies); artwork including original prints, photography, wood carvings, and pottery, world-craft inspired jewelry including oddities like bracelets with plastic-encased, glow-in-the-dark spiders and insects; and musical instruments such as hand-carved japanese flutes.

Shop and have fund in an atmosphere of entertainment provided by various street performers like an Elvis impersonator, live dancers, and drummers.

The food fare offers a taste of the world. Tim’s Thai Food, Taste of Poland, Springroll Kitchen, My Brothers BBQ, Beirut Cafe, Dough Traders, Angelina’s Greek Cuizina, Jalisco’s Natural Foods are just a few of the tempting seasonal offerings.


108 West Burnside Street

Portland, OR 97209

(503) 222-6072


Season: March to December 24

Hours: Sat 10 to 5pm and Sunday 11 to 4:30pm

Click Here to View Markdown Mom’s Slideshow of the Portland Saturday Market

Extreme Superstores: An Experience For The Entire Family

Ever wonder where all that lost luggage goes to? Well, a great number are never found until after the airlines have compensated their owners monetarily for their loss. Do you ever wish to find a specialty store where every member of your family can enjoy shopping? Enter the emergence of a new term to our technical age shopping vocabulary: Extreme Stores. Extreme Superstores are megastores/markets where you can find almost anything and everything from designer apparel, electronics, food, antiques, home decor, and more at great prices…plus be entertained. Their claim to fame is that they are the world’s largest in their field. Check out these sites for the bargains:

Jungle Jim’s International Market (Farfield, Ohio)

  • 50,000 customers/day
  • Guided tours available
  • Rows upon rows of food from around the world
  • Several unique food items, food company displays, and events
  • Trams, giraffes, cooking school, and more–oh my!

Archie McPhee® (Seattle, WA)

  • Collectibles, silly gag gifts
  • Most popular items: devil duckie, largest pair of underwear (100 inch waist), bacon-themed items, pirates, and action figures.
  • They have a bridal registry, games, contests and prizes
  • 80,000 visitors/year


  • 1.5 million visitors/year
  • Sports exporium, bike repair shop, and indoor and outdoor real-life trails in one
  • Motto: “Try before you buy”-they have an indoor hike trail, 65 ft (7 story high) indoor climbing wall and outdoor bicycle course
  • Find the right outdoor sport’s gear here
  • Bonus: Check out for extra savings

Unclaimed Baggage Center™ (Scottsborough, Alabama)

  • 800,000 visitors/year
  • 80% markdowns
  • Airlines have 90 days to give back lost luggage, then they refund individual’s money, so this store buys stuff from airline companies
  • More than 7,000 stock items: jewelry, wallets, luggage, scuba gear, golf items, and more!

Bonanza Gift Shop-World’s Largest Gift Shop (Las Vegas, NV)

  • Largest gift store in the world
  • Vegas trinkets, nasty items and kitch
  • T-shirts, magnets, postcards, key chains, clocks, casino gear, Elvis sunglasses and memorabilia, music, etc…
  • Wedding area inside
  • Best gag gift: Insulting Parrot Polly. $19.99
  • 0.5 million customers/year

Daffin’s Candy (Sharon, Pennsylvania)

  • Largest candy store (20,000 sq feet)
  • 320 barrels of hard candy throughout the world
  • 1,000 different items
  • Chocolate factory nearby produces 1.2 million lbs chocolate/year
  • Customers get to sample everything in the store
  • Cocoa Display: large dioramas and animals, e.g. 400 lb solid chocolate turtle
  • 10,000 people in one day (on busiest)

San Jose Flea Market (San Jose, California)

  • 8-mile long, 120 acres
  • Vendors, Farmer’s market, Auto dealership, Entertainment Showroom: arcade games, Mariachi band
  • 4 million people/yr come

Flee to the Flea Markets this Year!

This weekend was the first of two annual flea markets at the Minnesota Fairgrounds. The Antique Spectacular Show & Flea Market featured over 400 antique dealers with exhibits both indoors and outdoors. Around 200,000 people visit this flea market each year.

There was an item for every kind of hobby and collection:

  • Antique Ceramics: e.g. McCoy, Wagner
  • Antique Furniture: e.g. Mahogany or yellow birch furniture, Mission, motion lamps
  • Books: e.g. signed copies of first-edition classics, antique children’s books
  • Ethnic artistry
  • Kitchenware: e.g. Fire King, bakkelite
  • Prints, portraits, and old photography (both signed and unsigned)
  • Toys & Trinkets: e.g. antique cars, dolls, games, and Star Wars, Star Trek, and old monster movies paraphenalia and posters
  • Vintage clothes, handbags, hats, shoes, and accessories
  • Vintage jewelry, and more!

Despite the chilly 40 degree weather on Saturday, Minnesotans and other treasure hunters of all ages flocked to the event. Vendors kept warm with heavy winter jackets, blankets, and space heaters, while customers kept warm with coffee from the confection stands and walking up and down the large aisles of exhibits. Even pets enjoyed the event. MDM’s associates met one woman who had brought her dog to the flea market for some exercise and fun. Outside exhibitors ran into muddy terrain and so had her pooch. So she strapped her dog into a a pet carrier to clean off her paws!

Click Here to View Mark Down Mom’s Flea Market Finds!

The next flea show will be held at the Minnesota Fairgrounds, Grandstand September 27-28, so mark your calendars!

List of selected retailers from flea market:

Abby’s Vintage
Unforgettable Vintage Clothes & Accessories
Ebay ID: abbysvintage1
(952) 836-6701

Antiques & Collectibles-Memories for You

Cash Paid-Appraisals Made
Marlys & Chris Munkelwitz
(651) 459-8031

Heirloom Jewelry

Vintage/Estate Jewelry & Fine Collectibles
Cheryl Lais, Proprietor
Hopkins Antique Mall
1008 Main Street

Saho & Brothers African Imports
Baskets*Beads*Wood Carvings*Clothing
David Esako
521 Indiana SE #B2
Albuquerque, NM 87108
(505) 259-9238
(505) 270-6694

Silver Eagle Indian Crafts

Navajo & Zuni Jewelry
Glen & Rosalie Munsch

Sisters Antiques
Buy*Jewelry, Antiques and Collectibles*Sell
PO Box 48742
Minneapolis, MN 55448
(612) 281-2096

T & M Antiques and Collectibles
Buy*Sell*Appraisals*Estate Sales
Mary Gaspers
(651) 636-7112

Twins’ Treasures
Vintage Costume Jewelry & Hats
Sandra ‘Bjorndahl (651) 429-6042
Susan Jorgerson (651) 777-4778
11th Avenue Antique Mall
North St. Paul, MN

School Rummage Sales

With budget constraints placed upon our school districts by an archaic funding system based upon property taxes, the resulting disparity between schools make it a necessity for some to raise funds for athletic, music and art programs and extracurricular activities. Private schools have a advantage of having been in the business of raising monies for programs oftentimes prior to their inception.
One such local school is Marshall High School, initially religious-based, it is now a nondenominational private school that creates diversity through strong academic and athletic programs and by offering partial and full scholarships to disadvantaged but talented students. One of the ways that they fund especially their athletic program is an annual Spring rummage sale. This was held today, Saturday, March 29th. MDM feels that this particular event is a first rate example of how to get a school or church rummage sale right, and, in fact, anyone thinking about holding a rummage sale can gain from studying their organization of the sale.

From the parking lot with numerous students and parents directing traffic including handicapped parking and drop-off near the entrance of the school to the stands and table and chairs to buy food and drink prior, during, after finding your bargains. The sale is held in the gym with the wooden floors are covered and all access is blocked but save one large entrance where greeters meet each customer with a plastic bag and a merchandise price list. Items are priced as follows:

  1. Men’s Clothes. From 25¢ for sox & underwear to $5.00 for suits, jackets & coats.
  2. Women’s Clothes. From 25¢ for sox & underwear to %5.00 for jackets & coats.
  3. Children’s Clothes. From 50¢ for t-shirts to 4.00 for jackets & snowsuits.
  4. Misc. Clothing. 25¢belts to $1.00 purses & backpacks.
  5. Toys. From 50¢ puzzles to $1.00 for large stuffed animals.
  6. Books & Music. From 50¢ tapes& records to $1.50 DVD’s and videos.

And furniture, electronics, linens, and rugs individually priced. Plenty of floaters were available to answer questions, check prices, and to assist with removal of large pieces.

There was one exit open and the hallway was cordoned off directing the customer to several checkout lines and an express line for limited items. Shopping carts were available to carry numerous purchases to individual cars.

Within one hour tables were cleared of merchandise. Later on that afternoon, the sale will turn into a bag sale where everything that you stuff into a bag is sold for $5 or $10 rather than by the piece. This will clear the remaining merchandise, and some bargain hunters stick around solely for this part of the sale. Any remaining merchandise can be donated.

What is S.O.S. for a successful sale? Staff, Organization, and Stuff!

The World’s Longest Yard Sale

photo by MSNBC MediaSpanning 450 miles and 4 states, it’s hard to keep track of the number of vendors and shoppers the Hwy 127 Corridor Sale attracts.  The start line for the Wold’s Longest Yard Sale is at Covington, Kentucky and ends in Alabama following the majority of highway 127.   The sale begins on August 3rd and ends on the 6th.  Vendors come from various backgrounds; some are homeowners selling items that they have collected over the years, while others are professional dealers that have geared up for this event. 

The idea for the Hwy 127 Corridor Sale originated with Mr. Mike Walker of Fentress County, TN.  He wanted to bring Interstate System tourists to the highway less traveled by in Tennesse and Kentucky.  Since its start in 1987, the event has multiplied and has become the best thing since sliced bread.

world's longest yard sale

The only additional tip with this yard sale as opposed to other yard/tag/rummage sales is that you will have to book lodging along the route, preferably a year in advance.  If you are taking an RV or trailer, make sure to plan and confirm campsights that you will be staying at.   Consider this as a vacation destination.   Can’t attend this year?  Mark your calendars next year and enjoy the World’s Longest Yard Sale!



Treat Community Rummage Sale Like Flea Market


More and more neighbors are banding together to offer a community rummage sale event.  This is a fabulous idea since it promotes a convivial atmosphere to what would be a daunting task by individuals. Our annual community rummage sale is an event that takes place on a sandy peninsula on Lake Superior.  It has been held for the last 25 years and has taken on a life of its’ own.  You will find anything from antique trucks needing restoration, to the sundry items of apparel.  Some interesting items reflect the locale of the area like a small, one person homemade boat, wooden corbels, and driftwood.  Since this event can cover miles, it is best for the rummager to attack it like a large flea market.

1.  Bring a partner.   Split the area up into sections to be able to cover the entire sale.  At this sale, some rummagers handheld walkie-talkies and the ubiquitous cell phone.

2. Bring a wagon or small cart.  This is important if you are interested in furniture.  At any rate, a receptacle on wheels is a plus and will save numerous trips back to the car.

3.  Bring cash since many vendors will not accept out -of- town checks.

4.  Remember dealers will be present. Not all the vendors will be neighborhood residents.  Besides competing for your finds, dealers will also set-up their stands to sell antiques and other items at a profit.

5.  Don’t be afraid to haggle.  Since this event was held Friday and Saturday, most of the earlybirds swooned in on Friday morning.  However, when MDM joined the crowd it was 10:00 A.M. on Saturday.  Not late, but early enough to haggle.  MDM spotted these retro chairs and was able to purchase both for $25.  After scraping and repainting, these will be spectacular addition to the lawn furniture! 

6.  Bring refreshments and food if the sale is a large one and make an afternoon of it.  This sale is really organized after 25 years with mini donuts, hot dogs, beverages, and  port-a-potties.

7.  Have fun, take the time to gab with fellow rummagers and to make a few more neighborhood friends!  This can be a fun outing if you let yourself get caught up in its’ carnival atmosphere.

View Park Point Rummage Sale Slideshow.