Second-hand shops and flea markets are a good place to find household items at a good price.Moving and purchasing furniture cheaply.

AUTUMN marks the beginning of a new academic year for thousands of students. Every year, between the end of August and beginning of September, numerous new students arrive in Helsinki from all over the world. Finding a flat can be quite challenging for both locals and foreigners, but moving and purchasing furniture can be hard too. Helsinki Times takes a look at some low-cost ways to relocate to a new place and find household items at good prices.

There are several stores in Finland where one can find high-quality beds, tables, chairs and all the other items needed to furnish a flat or a house. In addition to well-known chains such as Isku, Asko and Pentik, there are many other smaller stores with all kinds of furniture. There are stores and shopping centres dedicated to furniture and interior design, like Lanterna, all around the city. The main issue is that the prices offered by such stores are beyond the budget of students and many others.

Furniture deal hunting

“I will go to IKEA then,” some may think. Many consider the yellow and blue Swedish giant as the perfect place to purchase ready-to-assemble furniture cheaply.

However, there are other solutions. The website www.kirpputorihaku.com offers an overview of second-hand shops and flea markets located all around the country. With a basic knowledge of Finnish, or a quick look at the dictionary, it is relatively easy to browse a city map and find the closest shop.

Events such as Cleaning Day (Siivouspäivä in Finnish), for instance, are an excellent time to look for the best deals on household items. During this festival, which takes place a few times a year, anyone can register as a street vendor and sell all kind of items. For shoppers, this means an impressive selection of inexpensive goods.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area Reuse Centre (Kierrätyskeskus) promotes a culture of urban recycling. People get rid of old items by simply delivering them to the Reuse Centre. The centre subsequently puts the products on sale and, in some cases, even gives them away for free.

Furnishing your dream home online

The Internet provides a few websites for people looking for furniture, such as www.huuto.net, a sort of Finland-centered eBay. Users can register in just a few seconds and get access to an incredible virtual marketplace. Used cars, electronics and household items: pretty much everything is sold on huuto.

Once an interesting item has been found, a user can either purchase it directly – by paying the specific price set by the seller – or can take part in an online auction. The seller sets the starting price and the minimum amount that possible buyers can offer, and the auction begins. Once the closing date and time are reached, the one who has bid the most wins and gets the product. At this point, the seller and the buyer negotiate the shipment fees.

Tori.fi is another online portal that offers “buy & sell” opportunities for people living in Finland. Here, users go straight to business without any kind of auction. It is possible to contact a seller directly, even with a phone call, and discuss the details of a possible purchase. Both Tori.fi and Huuto.net are mainly in Finnish, but with a basic knowledge of Finnish, a dictionary or an online translator, shopping online is easy.

Netcycler.fi is the place where recyclers living in Finland meet online. On Netcycler, users can buy, sell, or even swap used items. With numerous virtual marketplaces out there, shopping has never been this easy (and cheap)!

Moving without a car? No problem!

What happens when one is in a new city and has to move into a new house, or flat? Those with a car, for instance, could simply borrow a trailer from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Reuse Centre. By paying a 50 euro deposit, one can get a trailer for big and long items, such as beds and closets. The only requirement is to return the trailer, in the same shape as it was when borrowed, before the Reuse Centre’s closing time.

For those without a car, there are rental services such as those offered at www.pakuovelle.com. With just a phone call, one can rent a van (pakettiauto) and pay by the hour, day or week. Alternatively, it is also possible to pay a little extra and have professionals do the moving for you.