Items commonly found at a flea market include used clothing, books, toys, games, furniture, tools and accessories. Some flea markets allow the sale of baked goods and agricultural products and often homemade crafts are found for sale as well.
Flea markets rent spaces to vendors who generally have a great liberty in what they can sell and consumers can find a variety of used items for purchase. Some flea markets only offer stalls to individuals and families who want to sell used items from their own homes. Other flea markets house vendors who are dealers in certain items who make their living by selling at multiple markets. Homemade crafts, such as jewelry, soaps, scented candles and textiles, are often sold by budding entrepreneurs.
Multiple theories exist for the origin of the name flea market. Some trace the term to Paris, France in the late 19th century. The outdoor markets were called the 'Marche aux Puces", translated to "flea market" for the supposed fleas infesting the used linens and furniture for sale. In another origin story, French second-hand merchants had to leave their original market after the area had been taken over for military housing and urban renovation. The merchants established a market elsewhere and called it a "flee market".