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One of the many UFF shops found around Finland.Finland is the promised land of flea markets.

PEOPLE worldwide are becoming increasingly conscious of what materialism and consumerism is doing to the planet and are often opting to recycle their superfluous items and buy used goods whenever possible.

The great quality of the items on sale, and the fact that second-hand items usually cost only a fraction of the new items’ price, have also greatly increased the popularity of flea markets.

While garage sales are not common in Finland, there are a great number of flea markets and even a few variations to the usual sell-it-yourself type. At self-service flea markets, such as Kaivarin Kanuuna in Eira or Oranssitori in Lauttasaari, sellers can drop their merchandise off and the market will sell it for them.

Cleaning Day (Siivouspäivä) on 12 May

Siivouspäivä will convert cities across Finland into giant flea markets on Saturday 12 May. Anyone can sell or donate their furniture, clothes, gadgets and more, right on the street, and purchase new ones from their neighbours.

Read more at www.siivouspaiva.com

More traditional flea markets include Hietalahti Market, Valtteri, Hakaniemi Market’s Sunday market and Myyrmäkihall’s flea market. On Saturday 12 May there will be a citywide flea market in Helsinki called Siivouspäivä (the Cleaning Day).

Hietalahti Market, one of the most known flea markets in Helsinki.UFF, Fida, The Salvation Army and the Recycling Centre take donations, so those who are not interested in selling their belongings, but wish to dispose of them, can take them to these places. The Recycling Centre also provides a pickup service for furniture.

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A vendor’s guide

At flea markets, anyone is welcome to rent a spot and sell their unwanted items. If possible, sellers should do some groundwork first and go visit the market they plan on selling at. That way they can find out what kinds of items are usually sold at the market in question.

Renting a spot has been made easy; most often, just a phone call is enough, or it might even be possible online. In some places it’s done on the spot. The instructions and phone numbers can be found on the markets’ websites.

The prices differ from place to place, but are usually between 20 and 35 euros per day, with weekdays usually being a little cheaper than weekends. Bulk discount is usually applied: the longer the time, the lower the cost per day. The prices are listed on the markets’ websites. In some places the price includes a table or a clothes rack. Kallio’s Park Market and the Cleaning Day are exceptions to the rule and the spots are free.

The vendors should have spare change with them because people rarely have exact change. 20 euro bills are to be expected because it’s the smallest sum that can be drawn from the ATM.

Good to know

You should always have cash on you at the flea markets, because most places don’t accept cards, especially at the outdoor markets. Flea markets are one of the rare places in Finland where bargaining is advisable.

The merchandise at flea markets should be checked well before purchasing because there are no return policies.

An extensive list of flea markets on the Helsinki metropolitan area can be found on www.vuolanne.net/kirpputorit (in Finnish).

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