An Afternoon at the Flea Market

Cow salt and pepper shakers

Yesterday my friend C.J. and I went to the Lafayette Indoor Flea Market, which is like an antique mall with dozens of booths showcasing all manner of treasures and thrift.

I brought a camera along, which I’ve learned is handy to have when I’m with C.J. to capture the frequent photo ops.

Winter hat


Perhaps the process of looking at things through a lens clarified my thoughts, because I felt many emotions being stirred up as we wandered the aisles.

Like me, do you ever feel a little disconcerted seeing items juxtaposed in an unusual context?

Flea market finds


I don’t especially appreciate seeing familiar objects from my childhood marketed as antiques, either. We had a Watts-Hardy milk box just like this on our front porch in Boulder. Not that long ago.

Milk box


Things that were once treasured often become obsolete, a truth you can’t hide in a junk store. In 1984, Cabbage Patch Dolls were all the rage. They were so popular the company couldn’t keep up with demand, customers had fist fights over the dolls, and stores had waiting lists of up to 1,000 buyers.

Today? Not so much.

Cabbage Patch Dolls


My heart feels a little twisted when I see an artist’s original works relegated to a corner shelf in the flea market.

Flea market sculptures


Some items just creep me out, like these Jim Beam decanters.

Jim Beam bottles


I’ve never traveled to Africa or China, but I find it comforting to know that I could still accessorize my home with objects d’art from foreign lands.

African mask

Oriental figurines


Some of the old, broken toys make me feel a little sad.

Broken doll


But the good thing is, for every sad thing you see in a junk store you’re bound to find something that will make you smile.

Flea market doll


Smiles are everywhere, if you just look!

Happy faces

How about you? Do you love poking around in junk stores, or do you find them dreary? Have you ever discovered a fabulous treasure in a flea market? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

7 thoughts on “An Afternoon at the Flea Market”

  1. Your lens is very particular, and seems to be in line with my own eye. Very nice selection of precious treasures across the board. I am assuming that you left most of these behind for others to pick up to enjoy in their home, you being smart enough to just take back with you the images. My favorite? I am drawn to the little China man and the China woman in their nice green slacks. There is something about a silver white haired China girl that just does something for me. Finally, imagine running into Cindy Lauper and getting her to pose with a ceramic cowboy. What a highlight to what would normally be an over-the-top day anyway. Thanks for sharing. The photos were excellent, as was the prose beneath each one. Your fan, Ben

    • Herb, you are right in that I didn’t buy too much with the exception of the furry hat modeled by my friend. Who could resist? Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts….always appreciated.

  2. I don’t find junk stores dreary at all. In fact, that’s how I make a living. My husband and I buy and resell other people’s junk.

    We more than double our money, and you can’t even double your money in the stock market. Granted, the stock market is passive income, but I love the treasure hunt.

    • Colleen, what a cool business! But you and your husband must have a real knack for spotting the treasures among the trash. Here’s to your continued success! xoxo

  3. Well, we all know that this is not our first rodeo. Flea markets have been part of our friendship from the very beginning! Thanks for the fun!

    • You’ve got that right, my friend. I have a feeling we’ll be visiting junk stores long into our golden years, too. Hope so. 🙂

  4. Whether it’s a yard sale, thrift store, or the Mile High Flea Market, I have spent my whole life searching for second hand treasures. Not only were raised poor, all of my grandparents were born in the 1800’s and were old enough to be my great-grandparents. Since they were pioneers and lived through hard times, wars, the depression, and the dust bowl they had much to teach about a thrifty lifestyle. I would estimate that 2/3 to 3/4 of the things in our home are 2nd hand, from clothing to furniture to dishes and so on. When I see something worn or cracked, I just smile and think of how much it was loved and used.
    Nowadays, I take care what I bring home so as not to collect and clutter the house. I have fun memories with family and friends searching from B.C. to Saskatchewan, Washington, South Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma to Alabama and Arkansas! Those memories are priceless!


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