Arriving in a really expensive city without a job and an unfurnished flat is really daunting. Luckily it seems Swiss people have enough money to throw perfectly good things away. That combined with wonderfully generous friends and in laws has equipped the entire apartment in under 2 weeks. Like any city there are always great second hand stores and websites to take advantage of. My personal favourites are Brocki and tutti.ch. If anyone ever needs proof that you don’t need to succumb to the high prices here in the city, look in brocki stores and online, you won’t believe what people give away.
Brockiland, Manesseplatz here in Zürich is utterly phenomenal. It is located underground and you enter through plastic delivery truck flaps into a labyrinth of treasure. You can find just about everything you need all at 5CHF a piece including large items such as tables. But items such as crockery are 5CHF for 5 pieces. The house is filled with beautiful second hand pieces instead of cheap value goods from supermarkets. Don’t get me wrong though I love a good rummage around an Ikea sale!
I even found a leather armchair across the street from the apartment and asked a fellow foreigner to assist me. He helped me carry it up to the WG and I scrubbed it clean and added some brocki cushions and voila.
The website tutti.ch is also an absolute gem for used furniture. We managed to find a beautiful armchair, unused bed frame and mattress still in the plastic, a chest of drawers, under-bed drawer storage and a sofa bed for a grand total of 35CHF. People buy replacement furniture and want to give away their old stuff and just want you to collect it. In a city this is a little tricky but our wonderful friend has played the man with a van role and is a real hero in this story. Without him we would have no furniture and for that we are eternally grateful. Moreover without generous donations from the in laws we would be kitchen utensil less too. We have cupboards filled with hand me downs that are a lot more attractive than boring white Migros Casa basics.
The best thing I have discovered by far on the website is the post below, a desperate plea from a chicken in urgent need of re-housing. I’ve translated it from German and kept the picture for amusement.
Ich möchte so gerne leben (I would so love a home)
Since I am no longer tolerated by brother I am looking for my very own flock of chickens that I can watch!
My mother is a Wyandotte, my father was a Silkie. I was born in May 2013.
Who would like to give me a chance!?
Granted this is one of the more unusual posts, but the remaining listings are incredible, ranging from free giveaways to valuable antiques. Whatever your budget don’t be put off by the intimidating designer furniture shops in town. There are some beautiful second pieces in this city and generous people. Don’t rush out and buy everything brand new when you can adopt a more sustainable approach and reuse some unwanted items at a brocki near you.