Spring Cleaning: Flea Market Edition

I’ve been going to flea markets my whole life. It’s probably part of the life of a second-generation immigrant child. My mom would be so proud showcasing her haul to me that she haggled down to the lowest low, all with the thought that they would fit me perfectly.

I still like going to flea markets myself, looking for books, clothes and most recently, vinyls. I live close to Nowkoelln Flowmarkt here in Berlin that runs every other Sunday during the warm season and it’s by far my favourite in the city for it’s trendy and hip and it’s small enough that it’s not too overwhelming, but also big enough to always find something to bring home.

It wasn’t until recently, though, that I was able to sell some stuff myself. I have been trying to declutter for years and I’ve even collected sacks full of clothing that I’ve decided to let go of, not to mention some decor and knick-knacks that I know I’ll never miss.

How to join:

We got in by registering two weeks before our preferred day. Registration starts at 7 AM and we got there at 6:30 AM just to be sure we get in only to be surprised by an already long queue by the registration booth. We got in line and waited. Around 7 AM they started handing out registration forms so everyone can start filling them up to just submit them at your turn. For this part, it’s smart to bring your own pen but also be nice enough to lend yours to the people before and behind you. When it was finally our turn, we were given a number for our stand and we paid 30 € registration fee (plus 12 € will be collected on the day itself). A good two hours since we got there, we were finally done.

What to sell:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Toys, board games
  • DVD’s + Video Games
  • Electronics
  • Books

Two full weeks to go before the big day, we had plenty of time to collect the things we want to sell. Most of them, as I have mentioned, are already in sacks from years ago. But I decided to sort through them again and found some old clothes that I thought I’d rather donate, send home, or maybe even wear again. Then I made my way to my closet and found more stuff. The most challenging part, I guess, is letting go. I have found plenty of dresses that I’ve only worn once but never found the right occasion to wear again. They’re in excellent condition but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sell them at a price that I’d like to think it’s worth because no one would touch them at that price. I just had to accept the fact that they will be gone forever but at least it will make someone very happy not just wearing them but also knowing that they got them for close to nothing (about the same rush I get whenever I get a good deal as a thrifter myself).

I am a huge collector of sunglasses and believe to have had like about 50 pairs of them before I sold half of them at the flea market. I never really got any expensive or branded ones for myself over the years and that’s why it was easier for me to let go of them. My style has also pretty much changed a couple of times in the span of 10 years so most of them I haven’t really worn in a while. The wife had the brilliant idea of hanging them on a string like a party banner above our heads so everyone who comes by can see them.

What I have also found lying around the house are board games that we don’t ever really get to play anymore. These have been a hit with the kids and it was a shame we did not have more to sell. Children tend to point at things in big boxes and that’s how we sold our old bingo set and other games. I was surprised in a really positive way to find that kids still get excited about games that don’t involve staring down at their parent’s smartphones for hours on end.

I also had a box full of English books that I was hoping to sell but I was surprised to find that people are not really interested anymore. I know that when I go to flea markets I tend to look for these boxes and have brought a couple of books home myself but clearly I’m alone in this because people barely even checked that box I laid open for them. For some reason I thought Neukölln was the right place to sell English books but I only ended up being rid of one book.

Overall it was a good experience. It’s normal to feel too optimistic with the money you’re hoping to make before you start because your goal really is to sell everything. We went home still with a big box full of clothes (I probably only sold half of them), some DVDs and video games, and a handful of sunglasses. It’s funny, though, how the day went by so quickly. There were moments where we did not sell anything for a full hour, then at some point we sell items again by the minute. It’s not eventful throughout but it’s fulfilling enough to carry on. Before noon we already got the 42 € fee back and even if business was slow after that, we knew we were in the black.

Happy, Quiet Birthday

Time flies, doesn’t it? I still remember the cold winter days like they were yesterday…

It was my birthday last week and we quietly celebrated it, just me and the wife. After a toxic work week it felt like a quiet birthday weekend was long overdue. Although I must admit, the celebration was month-long considering that I have received some of my birthday gifts really early and the anticipation of the things we were about to do kept me going.

I somehow lost my wife’s little JBL bluetooth speaker so she got me this one which is big enough not to misplace it. 🙂
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We have been searching record stores and flea markets for weeks now for some quality second-hand vinyls.

Also, a few months back we got tickets to Sam Smith’s concert here in Berlin and it was just a few days short of my birthday. To be quite honest, I did not expect such a great show. He’s just adorable and a great performer and I’m glad I didn’t give away our tickets or else we would have missed out on all his cuteness. 🙂

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Then on the first day of my birthday weekend, we had theatre tickets to see Die Therapie, from Sebastian Fitzek’s book of the same name which I have written little bit about here. I really loved the book so, sadly, I already knew the twists but it was nevertheless a really good performance and I realised that I actually do like going to the theatre and will be looking out for more shows in the city.

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So on the day before the birthday itself, we checked into the Hilton Berlin. Last year we were in Warsaw and got a great deal on a room at the Hilton hotel there and just loved everything about it, especially the breakfast buffet. Since we decided to stay home this year, we chose the Hilton again mostly for the breakfast but also because I got us a room with a view at a discounted price.

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The hotel is right at Gendarmenmarkt and from our window you can see Deutscher Dom from up close. Waking up to all this was the whole point. We also had access to the wellness area and executive lounge that served snacks and coffee and wine so I can really say it was worth every cent.

We lost track of time the night before my birthday when we took advantage of the facilities of the hotel by going to the gym, then the pool, then the sauna and next thing we know it’s already late in the night when we were ready for dinner. We went out and walked around Gendarmenmarkt looking for a place that still served warm food at 10 PM and ended up at a Bavarian brewery and ate crispy Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle). Really, Keto has not been more fun than that night, indulging in what we Filipinos would call crispy pata without any guilt whatsoever.

After our dinner, we walked through Gendarmenmarkt, appreciating its stillness. The moon was bright and only few people were out considering it was a Sunday night. While waiting for the clock to strike midnight, we took a few photos.

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On the day of my birthday and after checking out, we stayed a bit longer in the area since we don’t really get to roam around there like tourists do and just pretended we were one of them. Really, I can’t even remember the last time I stepped foot inside Galeries Lafayette. Since we have been on Keto for almost two months now, we skipped the whole birthday cake thing and I chose something I get to eat even less often – oysters. We had lunch at Seaside Fish & Seafood Bar for my oyster fix and I was positively surprised. It’s the only restaurant of its kind that we’ve found in the city so far and has instantly become one of my favourites. Fresh seafood reminds me of home. ❤

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My this year’s idea of a birthday cake.

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Soon the day was over and we went home feeling relaxed and I have been receiving birthday greetings by the minute which is always a great way to spend the day.

When I got back to work doing the AM shift, the table was set with flowers and cakes and gifts, a tradition we have that I usually coordinate. But since this time it was my turn at the receiving end, I did not know what to expect. I was even scared that they will all just forget about it. This clearly wasn’t the case, though, and I was glad to be back at work again. They even made a low-carb cheesecake that suits my current diet situation. 🙂

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More greetings came in that day from my colleagues and everyone politely asked if I had some sort of celebration. I always replied that I had my peace and quiet, which I seemed to value more these days. I don’t really miss having a birthday party with food and drinks and friends and family and lots and lots of gifts, or even having to spend it somewhere far from home. I’m not saying that I will only ever be spending my birthdays like this in the future because I might want to throw a party or two at some point, but I am sure that I’d be happy to have some days like this one – just me, the wife, and a view.

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(Had my sister not broken her leg last month, she would have come to Berlin to be with us on my birthday. Not sure what our plans would have looked like then, but I’m sure it would have been a fun day nonetheless.)

The thrill of living in this city is still the same as when we first moved here almost two years ago. We get lazy sometimes but it’s satisfying to know that to avoid boredom, all we have to do is get out of the house, maybe drive a few kilometres, and we’ll see something we’ve never seen before. ❤

Choice of furniture & growing up

I’m in love with my new Secretary! Wow, that sounded a bit wrong but by secretary, I don’t mean an “administrative assistant” but a piece of furniture called a secretary.

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(photo credit: ikea.com)

 

 

So what is a Secretary?

It’s like a commode with a pull-out desk. It’s practical for people who don’t have much space at home and, most importantly, for cat mammies like me! See, I can simply hide my workspace by closing the desk up and hiding my stuff inside whenever I leave for maybe a bathroom break or making myself a cup of coffee without the fear of my kitties ruining my things or knocking them down.

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Secretary VS Vanity

I have been wanting a Vanity for as long as I can remember. My wife and I have been meaning to get me one but I seem to have always pushed it aside for another time. Something just didn’t feel right about getting one. But as soon as I came up with the idea to get a Secretary instead, I told my wife and we drove straight to IKEA. I don’t regret not getting a vanity, I guess I’ve just grown out of it. I just don’t feel like a princess sitting-at-her-desk-admiring-herself-in-the-mirror anymore. At 25, I feel like I’m still growing up a great deal and only realising it now.

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(photo credit: ikea.com)

Nothing against this vanity table, though, but the lack of storage space would have been a really bad idea now that I think about it.

I started this post a few months back and I decided to just keep the old photos featured (see GIF above). But over the past months I’ve made a few finishing touches on it to make it feel more like it’s mine.

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I replaced the old map with this one
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Topped with a wall clock I got from my sister for Christmas