One person’s trash…

…another person’s treasures.

trash

You’d be amazed by what kind of things people throw away in this country. Perfectly usable things, often without a single scratch or easily repaired. The things in the picture above are some of what we have found standing in the recycling-area in our block lately. We found two identical small shelves that needed some re-painting, but now serve as our night-tables. The cute heart-shaped bowls are perfectly fine, and the glass one just has some minor scratches. Except the things in the picture we have found small storage boxes, a bag, a big vase etc. Not to mention all the things we’ve seen but not taken, since we just don’t have space, or use, for them.

All of this just lying around in the recycle area, considered trash by someone else. I love finding these things – even though I don’t dig around in containers looking for them – but I also feel sad about how much useful stuff people throw away. Stuff that someone else could use and love, so why not give it away? To a friend, a family member, or if you don’t know anyone who wants it, to a second-hand store. Here in Helsinki there are many second-hand stores that accept donations, bigger things like furniture they will even come and get from your home for free, and sometimes they fix things that are not in tip-top shape. Still people keep on throwing away things.

Are we just lazy? Or don’t we care? Do we have so much material things that they have totally lost their value?

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Cleaning Day

Yesterday was Siivouspäivä, in English “Cleaning Day”. It’s a celebration day for second hand stuff, recycling and urban culture which is held twice a year, once in May and once in August. On this day anyone can sell or give away their old things pretty much anywhere (in most Finnish cities) as long as they register their spot on the Siivouspäivä website and follow some general rules.

Siivouspäivä

I love the idea of this event. It’s a good way to make people recycle more instead of throwing away stuff, because it doesn’t cost you anything to sell your things on a day like this, and you don’t need any special permission. Yesterday there were also spots around the city where you could bring broken things for recycling, or give away still usable things to second hand stores or charity – which is great. I also like the fact that the Finnish people get out and actually talk to each other and interact with strangers, which doesn’t exactly happen every day.

I love walking around at these events and looking at what people are selling. It’s one of the reasons why I like going to second hand stores in general. I just love looking at old and used things, because they all have some kind of history. Going to a store full of new things doesn’t give the same feeling at all. The fact that buying stuff second hand is much better for the environment gives still another reason to love second hand stores and recycling events. Everyone wins; someone gets rid of their old stuff and might earn something from it, you get something new, and the environment doesn’t have to pay any price for it.