Friday, March 28, 2014

How to Buy Furniture in Berlin... when you're poor.

Everyone in Berlin buys their furniture at IKEA. Everyone. Seriously. I think it's a law.

But if you want to like, be a rebel and stuff, get on Craigslist. It's as if there's an alley out back of IKEA where dudes in trenchcoats are selling everything for 2/3 of the price. Just scatter if you hear the Funf-Null rolling in.

So it's not like that at all, really. BUT, Craigslist Berlin is a great way to get all that IKEA crap for much less from people who are moving out or moving on. You just have to haul it yourself. Walking 20 blocks carrying a really heavy table might seem like it's not worth it at the time. You might start to feel like you've really made a Big Mistake. Until you get it home and feel that sense of accomplishment, like you earned it. And you can still afford food that day.

Or you can arrange for transport. In fact, one great tip is to look under Dienstleistungen > Umzug (Services > Move) - there you'll find a bunch of private moving vans for hire. For 20 or 40 Euros you can get a the same furniture delivery service that would cost at least 60 at IKEA. #ProTip. (I hate people who say #ProTip. They're just the worst.)

We bought an awesome big white table that would have been at least 50 euros in store, but was only 15 from a nice Italian dude. Shannon also found an oddly cute little green side table and a handmade wooden stool. And - a washing machine for 50 euros that does indeed still work! Phew.

So, while we did buy certain things new at IKEA - like a bed, because sleeping on a second-hand bed is probably not the best life choice one can make - we scored some great stuff from Craigslist and saved a lot of money.

All that being said, half of our furniture is still cardboard boxes covered with pieces of fabric. Because we're poor. But we're happy! (Except when the cardboard "tabletop" flips up in the air if you put your cup too far towards the edge of the smaller "base" box underneath and your tea transforms your delicately constructed "coffee table" into a sagging soggy lump. Whoops.)*

* This hasn't actually happened... yet.

Perk of picking up Craigslist furniture - you see interesting new parts of the city.
Whoever authorized these murals on the local Fire Station has a unique sense of humor.
He seems unconcerned by the flames raging behind him...
And a perk of taking the bus to IKEA - riding on the upper deck for great views of the neighborhood.
A glimpse of the massive, shuttered Tempelhof Airport building.
Every comforter at IKEA has a helpful temperature gauge on the label.
50 euros + 1 van + 1 Irishman + 1 exhausted Lilly + 1 exhausted Ekedal = Waschmaschine
This photo is like porn for plumbers.
BAUHAUS is like the Home Depot of Germany. Fortunately, there's one just 10 minutes walking from our place. So, our DIY washing machine hook-up problems were quickly solved by a helpful Bauhaus employee and a 10 euro water pump wrench.

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