To make your treasure hunt as productive as possible - before you head out to the flea markets, thrift shops and garage sales - have the following supplies on hand:
* CASH. Many places that sell secondhand goods do not accept personal checks or credit cards.
* SHOPPING BAG. Bags are usually in short supply, especially at flea markets.
* MOIST TOWELETTES. After rummaging through used merchandise, you will want to clean your hands.
* TAPE MEASURE. You'll need to know whether an item you've found is the right size for you. An alternative is to learn the measurements of your feet and hands, then use those to gauge the size of objects under consideration.
* MAGNIFYING GLASS. Helps you read hard-to-see labels or markings on an item.
* MAGNET. Test metals in lamps, jewelry and collectibles. Magnets won't stick to brass, silver, bronze or gold but will stick to iron and cheap base metals.
* NOTEPAD. With a small pocket notepad, you can jot down notes about an item in one exhibitor's booth, for example, to refer to when you compare it with a similar item in another exhibitor's flea market space.
Bonus tip: If you're going to be out in the sun for extended periods of time, consider bringing a hat and sunscreen lotion.