Flea Markets on Facebook

So we fell in love with a new place and our offer was accepted. Fantastic! The only thing is that it’s smaller than our current home. Which means we’ll have to do some serious decluttering for the next three months because we will not move anything we don’t use or need.

I’ve never been very keen on keeping loads of stuff and the lack of things was never a problem to me in my travelling days. But looking around now I realise how much we have accumulated when we’ve had the space (and stayed put a few years). Having growing children makes it easy to accumulate things too!

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We have enough stuff for the Peaceful war game

There are several options to get rid of things: throw it away, dump worn out clothes at a Name It shop to be recycled, book a table at a flea market, donate for a good cause or wait for the next Cleaning Day (which probably is too late for our purposes). Or then one can sell it online. I suppose huuto.net or tori.fi are the biggest sales sites in Finland but when most of the items are small I can’t be bothered to have the hassle of posting things. But I also don’t like to throw away perfectly good things even though I don’t know anyone who would need them. Therefore I’ve put things for sale in various Facebook groups.

In Helsinki pretty much every suburb has it’s own flea market group on Facebook, some also have an own group for kids cloths and toys (eg Pohjois-Helsinki kierrättää lastenvaatteita ja -tarvikkeita is a fairly well working group for kids cloths and stuff and covers the northern parts of Helsinki). I suppose most people living in the city do not have the space to save the outgrown things, so they circulate well as long as the quality is good and the price right.

I find this pretty simple: you put things for sale (which has taken quite a lot of time by the time you’ve taken and uploaded the pictures and described the items) and either agree to catch up somewhere to hand over the item or agree on a time when people pick things up from your place. And then you should remember to remove the ad too.

This week we’ve had most nights somebody in the neighbourhood pick up toys and puzzles for babies and toddlers. My kids have been super excited by the project since I’ve asked all the buyers to pay in coins, so that for each kid item sold they both get a coin or two to put in their piggy banks too. One thing I like about the Facebook flea market groups over tori.fi or huuto.net is that one can negotiate the price like on a “proper” flea market: the last time I put a number of things for sale and people could pick several items and offer me a lump sum.

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Another way to involve the kids in organising things is the sock memory or any other similar “who finds xx first”

One downside is people who say they’ll buy but never turn up. And people who get upset because they wanted to pick something up at 11am and you didn’t reply to their pm on Fb within an hour while you obviously were at work. But as Ned Kelly would say: such is life.

What do you do with things you don’t need? Do you hold on to things or rather try to get rid of extras? Have you used the flea market groups on Facebook to sell things? And do you buy second hand yourself?

PS I haven’t turned into a minimalist with this project even if I think it is time to go through our stuff. But I’ve found it interesting to follow Valerie’s path to Minimalism with kids,

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15 comments

  1. […] mentioned earlier that we’ve been selling old toys and clothes on FB flea markets shedding the things we move with, and I’ve asked to be paid in coins so that our children […]

  2. […] decluttering our house and getting ready for the move, we have also been doing some travel planning for the year. […]

  3. I usually donate or give to my family. I have tried Craigslist and that was a nightmare. I would be careful about letting people into your home because of that experience. Don’t mean to spook you, but…

    1. You are, there is that aspect. And a few times I have been agreeing to meet by the closest train station or shop or… But then, this is Finland, luckily the likelihood of crime and theft is very low. I think if something would happen here, it would happen also without someone coming to pick up items from your door…

    2. But thanks for the reminder. It is a smart thing to think through the risks as well!

  4. Facebook seems to be where it’s at with second hand stuff at the moment. It is very time consuming to put the pictures and descriptions up if it’s a lot of small things, it’s true – but I can’t stand to throw this stuff away either!

    As for people – life would be easier if they were all reasonable, but what can you do?

    1. It seems to work pretty well when I only bother to upload a bit pricier or bigger items, and when people come to get shoes for the kids I go “btw, you wouldn’t want flick through the clothes too” 🙂

      1. Aha – the old “while you’re here” trick 🙂

  5. Look, this is just the project for you!

    And flea markets are the perfect hunting ground for “raw material” 🙂

    1. I saw that on facebook, brilliant 😀

  6. Yes, this looks fun!

  7. I love the buy/sell/trade flea markets on FB. I only discovered them last year, and I was able to pay off a credit card as I was decluttering my house! Love it!

  8. We try and give things to charity – clothes that have been outgrown, toys etc. but still have way too much stuff!! Moving house would be my nightmare – finally having to sort through it all!! Good luck with your quest.

  9. When we were leaving the states, I did a little Craigs list posting that sold some furniture, and I used facebook to post things for sale. At the end when things had to go, posted a pic of everything on my porch and said it was free for the taking. First come first serve… no need to wait or hold things for people who didn’t show up. Things went pretty quickly that way. Good luck!

    1. Sounds like an idea we’ll use with all the last things! Thanks for the tip!

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