Car Tool Kit for Yard Saling

Car Tool Kit for Yard Saling

Now that rummage sale, yard sale, and flea market season is back, the good times are about to roll! But before you set out to score deals and treasures, let me propose a car tool kit that is SPECIFICALLY meant for yard saling! And what, pray tell, will I use to hold these car essentials? A vintage metal lunch box, the kind with the domed lid.

I see these at thrift stores from time to time- but more frequently at antique malls.

vintage metal lunch box

Most people would upcycle a metal lunch box like this into a planter or maybe even a purse. But I just think it would be PERFECT as a “Yard Sale Emergency Kit”.

Why? Because to be a successful shopper at a rummage sale or flea market, you need more than just small change and comfortable shoes.

using a vintage lunchbox for a car tool kit

After tinkering with the metal lunch box, I realized that (1) it was a perfect size for this, and (2) being metal, it could handle being tossed in and out of my car. It could get knocked to the floor/ground, and it would be able to stand up to anything I crammed in my car.

So, let’s start building this car tool kit for yard sale season!

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Car Emergency Kit List for Yard Sales and Flea Markets

First, I started with some basics: water, snack, sunblock, an extra stash of small bills/change, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and hair ties.

Basically some personal care items while I’m out yard saling.

what to take when yard saling

But there was room for more and I definitely wanted this to be a comprehensive kit!

So I added baby wipes (for dirty hands or dirty stuff), bug lotion (for open air markets and barn sales- a MUST in the Southeast), a notepad/pen (for lists of stuff I’m looking for; measurements of walls/windows, etc.), and business cards.

Why the business cards? Well, they’re a good “SOLD” tag if I need to leave something and come back. AND I can leave them with sellers that aren’t willing to bargain on price until the end of the day.

car tool kit for garage saling

But wouldn’t you know it- there was STILL MORE ROOM in the vintage metal lunch box! No fear- I knew exactly how I’d fill it.

A flashlight (again, the barn sales!); plastic bags wrapped in rubber bands; a multi-screwdriver; measuring tapes; a small bubble level; batteries; and a magnet.

Though I’d also want C and D in case I found a cool old flashlight! Whenever I finally locate my Leatherman multi-tool, it’ll go in here, too.

This way, I can measure things; check if they work; make sure they’re level/stable, etc. And it all fits in my car tool kit!

car emergency kit list for yard saling

THIS is why a metal lunch box with the domed lid is so ideal for these car essentials. It just holds so much stuff!

And at some point, all of these things will come in handy while I’m shopping at a rummage sale, moving sale, flea market, community yard sale, etc.

diy car emergency kit for garage saling

Following the world events of 2020, a face mask wouldn’t be a terrible idea. If not for contagious diseases, they’re also ideal in dusty or potentially moldy places, like old barns and outbuildings!

Car Tool Kit for Yard Saling

Lastly, I decided to “bedazzle” my car tool kit ever so slightly. I made a felt red cross (like any good emergency kit would have!) and a little laminated label for my car tool kit.

diy car kit for yard sales

And that was it! My car tool kit now held all the essentials that I could think of for successfully shopping at a rummage sale this season.

car tool kit for yard saling

So, tell me, what else would you tuck into your tool kit for the car to be used when shopping at a flea market or rummage sale? Did I forget anything important?

what to take with you while yard saling

Here’s another upcycling idea for you that is PERFECT for shopping at a moving sale or community yard sale, all from an repurposed handbag from the thrift store.

Hip purse from a small leather handbag

Craft on!


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car tool kit in a vintage metal lunch box

car emergency kit list for garage saling

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. That’s a great use for that neat old lunch box, and lots of great tips too!

  2. Clever and so useful! Thanks for the ideas on what to be sure to carry with you when yard-sale shopping.

  3. So many clever ideas on how to use this little ole lunch box. Love it! pinning
    Julie @ Love My Simple Home

  4. I always have a Swiss Army knife with me. It’s come to my rescue so many times!

    • If I could have found my Leatherman, it would have definitely been in my post!! LOL. I wish I could remember where I stashed it- because you are so right, those things are perfect!

  5. What an awesome little kit! Everything you need except a bathroom! :o)


  6. Super fun idea! I’m not much of a yard sale girl (although I really should get into it as one never knows the treasures that are out there!) but I like this idea since I feel I’m constantly chauffeuring my kids around and there’s always an “emergency” with kids in tow! Visiting from Craftastic Monday.

  7. hollybertone says

    Hi Sadie – OMG how did I not think of this?!?!?! So insanely perfect! I collect dollars throughout the year (from cash purchases, not by dancing or anything like that) and keep them in my YS pouch. Then when it’s the start of the season, I have several hundred dollars of small bills and it’s like fun money. Hugs, Holly

  8. So stinkin’ cute! I have an “yard sale emergency kit” in my junkin’ van. I’ve got a lot of the same things in mine! 🙂

  9. This is definitely a great idea! I just love this!

    I would love for you to share this with my Recipes, Crafts, Tips and Tricks Facebook group:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  10. Super cute!

  11. That’s genius! My kit is just called my glovebox, but then I end up throwing CDs and McDonald’s plastic straws all over the place just to find my flashlight! Great idea to put it all together in one neat place!

  12. That is such a cute idea! Thanks for sharin this with us at the Dishing It & Digging It Link Party.

  13. Adorable!

  14. Such a brilliant re purpose and super cute!!!

  15. themultitaskingmissus says

    This is so smart! I’ve definitely been in need for some of these things before when I went yardsaling!

  16. This emergency kit could be used for just about anything. Smart girl!

    Happy TOHOT. 🙂

  17. Great idea, but as far as I’m concerned you have forgotten the most important item: a pair of fine tipped tweezers (or better yet, a tick kit) for pulling out ticks!

    May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and if you’re doing ANY activity outdoors – or in the grass as many yard sales do – you need to be prepared to remove any tick that latches on. The faster it’s removed, the less chance you have of getting Lyme disease – a debilitating and potentially chronic disease if not caught early.

    Please take my advice: do your readers a service by including this important ’emergency’ item in your kit and make them aware of its value! 🙂

  18. I do believe that you are well prepared! Thanks also for sharing the tips.

  19. I need one of these from measuring tape to snack bar, haha. LOVE the idea!!

  20. You have the best, most practical ideas. This kit would be so handy to keep in the car for just about any occasion!

  21. Adorable! My granddaughters would love this to carry their dolls, overnight items etc. I will be looking for one at every garage sale I go to.

  22. Diane M Chaplin says

    This is wicked awesomely positively genius.

  23. This is so cute! Also so jealous of your super cool lunch box!

  24. Sarah, This is super cute! Love your tag line too 🙂 Pinning to share! Thanks for linking up with us for Snickerdoodle Sunday!

  25. What a great idea Sarah, and looks like you remembered everything! My lunch box is a fanny pack where I have it all right with me, but it’s not very flattering to wear! I have a hard time fitting everything in though. For me, My essentials are a magnifying glass, small flashlight, & tape measure. Great idea for a post!

  26. What a great idea! And it looks fab! Thanks for sharing!

  27. I travel with some of those things but not in an organized fashion. Starting to put it all together today now to find a cool container. Thanks so much for the advise and inspiration and for sharing with our readers at Vintage Charm!

  28. How cute is this and it’s just perfect!! I’d add a small flashlight, too! Thanks for linking up to us on Throwback Thursday!


  29. Love it! I gave you a feature today for Let’s Talk Vintage! As far as what else can go in your kit… we always carry a jewelry loop and small magnifying glass.

  30. Crystal @whattreasuresawait says

    This is such a great idea!! So many times I’ve wished I had a measuring tape, and it always stinks to come across a sale and not have cash! Thanks for sharing at Welcome Home Wednesdays!

  31. Sarah I think you’ve got everything you need and then some! You’ve covered all the bases, personal hygene, nutrition, financial, and of course the diy aspect.. what would that be, quality control? Yes, a corporation packed into a lunch box! Thanks for giving us all much needed sweet inspiration.

  32. What a great way to organize in your car or on a trip! thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  33. This is super cute and may I suggest a few tips? Add some large sturdy plastic trashbags to seal washable items in. Avoid bringing pests home. Seal up clothes and bring home and wash immediately and dry on high heat. Also don’t take lot’s of kids with you! 🙂 Thanks for sharing on Family Joy Blog Link-up. Please come back and join us again!

  34. This is a great idea and I am going to make one for my car. Love this and I enjoyed visiting your lovely blog I would love for you to share this post at a link party I am co-hosting. I hope to see you there.

  35. This is one of the best ideas I’ve seen! During the spring and summer my Saturday mornings are booked with garage/yard sales and this would be so handy!! I love the tips that you and other bloggers listed too.

  36. I would also add a pair of gloves and some tylenol. This saves your hands from splinters, sharp metal and other assorted hazards. The tylenol, because the sun can sometimes give me a brutal headache. Love the post.

  37. Great idea! Am now on the lookout for a metal lunchbox 🙂
    I’d add paint chips (am currently repainting dining room and living room), my handheld luggage scale (which currently lives in my glove box and is great to use at the Goodwill “bins”), a couple of small bungee cords, and blue painters tape.

  38. Very cute Sarah! This is so useful too! I remember these lunchboxes from back in middle school. We would decoupage magazine pics all over it and shellac with the yellow shellac. We actually used these as purses! Haven’t seen one like it in a long time!

  39. Lizzie Grace says

    A magnet is also a great addition to test metals especially brass. I also have a mini crowbar in mine and a black light for flashlight as well.

  40. Beth-Ann Asplund says

    I always make sure to have sample size bottles of alcohol, tarn x, brasso, comet for testing authentication and wet wipe, small magnifying glass for checking where it’s made and dates. Also a small pair of scissors and I keep a small memo book if I want someone to call me back about an item or large items or the address of the sale if I purchase something guaranteed to work and it doesn’t. Also a small extension cord to test items. A small mirror can be helpful to see areas blind to the eye.
    I get the sample bottles from the dollar store. I love garage sales!

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