Once the shock of apartment rent prices has been overcome, the next step for many newcomers to Munich is how to furnish their new home. There are plenty of shops out there more than willing to swap their excellent products for a lot of your hard-earned cash, but there is another way for those on a budget...
Meet Diakonia, a very cool social project which helps the long-term unemployed, helps the environment, and certainly helps people in Munich who are struggling financially to afford quality household items at an affordable price. Quality items such as the leather sofa in the picture above for just 100 euro.
The concept is very simple and extremely successful. Many people leave items that will not be wanted by other members of their family to Diakonia in their will, I was told, and perhaps more contact the organisation to donate unwanted items, while others actually come to the seven Diakonia outlets in Munich to donate things in person. In England, we have charity shops and the Salvation Army, but Diakonia is different, and the turnover and quality of goods is amazing. A key part of the project I was told was the employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed.
In England, there is a snobbish stigma about shopping in charity shops, but not here, simply because the stuff is so good! But get here quick, as stuff moves fast!
Some examples from yesterday's store in Dachauerstr near Olympiazentrum: This scooter just 8 euro.
Kids training shoes a bargain at just 3 euro.
Looking for an organ to light up your apartment? Yours for 300 euro.
Prams can be expensive. Or not. This one for 30 euro.
Bunk beds for the kids? A great buy at 120 euro, or delivered to your door for 160. It is possible to reserve some items, but for a limited time only.
I spoke to one of the very helpful staff about how busy they were. There are three or four collections in the morning, and the same in the afternoon. There are many customers who come every day, or at least a few times a week. Clothes, furniture, washing machines, books, videos - it is all there.
And of course, if you are looking for some Carnival inspiration, you have come to the right address...
And the latest collection had just arrived, with a nice-looking kids bike the first to be unloaded.