You can find kirpputoris’ (flea market, also literally) all over Helsinki. There are tiny ones put up among friends in someone’s livingroom and huge ones organised in old warehouses and such. There are the daily self-service ones and the ones that attract hundreds of people to sell their extra stuff in a big hall early in the morning.
Valtterin kirpputori is such a place. A couple of times I’ve been selling there with my friend. We woke up at six, packed our sandwiches with all the stuff we hoped to sell and joined the crowd. Valtteri takes place mostly in weekends in an old warehouse in the neighbourhood of Vallila. The atmosphere is special.
I love kirpputoris. Why?
- For me, kirpputori brings out a special solidarity among people. We are all there, together exchanging: one’s trash is another one’s treasure.
- Buying gets personal. You chat with the person from who you are buying a thing and hear the history of the item. Today I bought a blouser and found out that the owner had bought it from Paris and it’s been dear to her. Nice.
- It’s ecological, so you feel better buying, or “giving a new life to an item”.
- You save money and find things and cool clothes that you never would at H&M etc. Kirpputoris’ got popular in Finland during the recession in 1990s. Today my boyfriend bought 11 good CDs for 6 euros.
- All kinds of people go there: snobbish ladies and poor students, immigrants and even children (with a little help for the parents.)
- It feels so good to get rid of things! I just packed 3 big sacks of clothes for kirpputori. And it’s a special feeling to meet the person who will be the next happy owner of your jeans, book, toaster, mug…