Coming to Estonia with only one or two suitcases that the
stupid airlines charged you a lot of money for is quite the challenge: you will have to make a lot of compromises and bring only the essentials (that teddy bear you’ve had with you since you were 3 years old will probably have to stay behind 😦 ). That also means that when you get to your new home in Tallinn, you won’t even have the most basic items you had probably been taking for granted all your life. Have you ever been to your kitchen and not found a single cup or glass to drink some water in? I hope not, but that might change the moment you step into your new dormitory kitchen and find it completely empty. Luckily for you and your wallet, there are a few second-hand stores where you can find all the stuff you need once you start your new life in Estonia without having to spend too much (save that for the parties!). Here is a list of them:
1. Sõbralt Sõbrale
These stores sell a lot of stuff that they probably get for free, otherwise I have no idea how they can have ridiculously low prices (I’m not complaining, though!). They sell a variety of things, even big pieces of furniture like sofas, dressers, side tables, chairs and even pianos. While you may not want to pay a few hundred euros for a piano or a few cents for old books in Estonian, what you will definitely like is all the super cheap kitchenware like plates, cups, glasses and cutlery.
I highly recommend you check it out because it’s a lot cheaper than if you buy new stuff from the supermarket. The best part of it is that you don’t have to travel far to get there: there’s a store in the first floor of Magistral shopping center (Lepistiku bus stop, 4 stops away from the university and dorms) and another one in Balti Jaama Turg, the very new and popular market next to the train station. Here you can find its adressess.
This chain of stores is very similar to Sõbralt Sõbrale, but they have more stores and offer some more stuff like electronics (old TVs, printers, computer screens, remote controls, phone chargers), coat hangers (like 10 cents per piece, much cheaper than the new ones you can find in the supermarkets for about 50 cents per piece), toys, clothes, home decorations, etc. Everything they sell has been donated, so their prices are quite low. They have 5 stores in Tallinn and you can find their addresses here, the closest one to university is the one in Mustamäe tee.
This might be the biggest second-hand shop in Tallinn and they sell anything you can think of: electronics, home furniture, home decorations, power tools, old washing machines, strollers, office furniture… you name it, they most likely have it. The store is located in the not so pretty area of Lasnamäe (don’t worry, it’s not dangerous, it’s just not the fanciest area of Tallinn) and it’s a bit far away if you live in the dorms (about 45-50 minutes away by bus from university, 20-25 minutes away from the city center), so I wouldn’t recommend you to go there just to get a plate and a spoon, but if you want to buy a bigger piece of furniture like a mattress, a chair or even a bicycle, this is where you will find a wider variety.
They also offer transportation services so you can pay them to have a big piece of furniture that you can’t carry in the bus or in a taxi, but it is a bit expensive (25 euros to bring something to Mustamäe, the area where the university is), so keep that in mind when calculating your expenses. Last time I went there they were only accepting payments in cash (something almost already unheard of in Estonia!), so also bring some cash with you if you want to buy something. You can find the exact address here.
This chain of stores offers second-hand clothes for both men and women, shoes and accessories like handbags and belts. They don’t really sell the most fashionable clothes but if you have the patience to carefully go through what they have, you can find a few good pieces. They have quite a few stores in Tallinn (12 to be exact), you can find their addresses here.
So there you have it, save this list for when you arrive, get your Google Maps ready and go get your new old things for your new life 🙂 .