Freeganism is an alternative lifestyle based on minimal consumption of resources and limited participation in the conventional economy. I’m drawn to the freegan lifestyle for philosophical rather than financial reasons, but the absolute financial freedom is nice bonus!
Freegan Living in Denmark
For those who want a curated freegan lifestyle experience, Aarhus has a free store where people can leave things they don’t want and pick up things they do want. We also have several Facebook groups where people post things they’re giving away—or give tips on where to find things they’ve left (or seen left) for storskrald (“big garbage”) pickup.
I prefer a more safari-like urban foraging experience, so I find most of my treasure just by walking around the city. People usually leave usable items next to the trash bins instead of putting them in the trash bins. The city is an especially good hunting ground in the last week of the month when people are moving apartments and leave a lot of stuff behind.
I’ve been embracing a mostly freegan lifestyle for the past year or so—reclaiming most new-to-me things (including food) instead of buying. I’ll share more about the food situation in future posts. For now, let’s stick to some of the best household goods and clothes I’ve found on the curb.
My Favorite Curbside Finds
I was walking 15-20K steps a day during lockdown’s best weather, which led me to a lot of cool free stuff—and saved me from over-stimulating the economy ;)
Here are some of my favorite finds…
I’ve had the same white dishes since Connecticut, and I’ve been itching to replace them with something more colorful—and less matchy. This set of latte bowls got me off to a great start!
A Beaded & Embroidered Blouse
I probably would’ve bought this blouse if I’d found it in a secondhand shop. Instead, it crossed my path on its way to the garbage truck—so I got it for free!
A Paper Fan
What’s a bohemian home without a paper fan (or three) for decoration? This is boho decor at its best!
A “Fat Quarter” = A New Shopping Bag + 2 Napkins
Even dumpster divers need to carry their loot home in something ;)
Since the day I arrived in Denmark, grocery stores have charged for plastic bags. I’m proud to say that in 11+ years, I haven’t spent a single krone on shopping bags. My old fabric shopping bags were looking a bit shabby, so I was happy to find this cool fabric—which was enough to make a new shopping bag and a couple of cloth napkins!
A Rattan Table
Vintage rattan is right up my alley! I scored this little table from the curb, and I’ve seen the same model for sale in a “vintage shop” for 375 kr. (about $60).
A Kähler Thingy (& Mirror)
Actually, it’s a “Kähler Bellino.” Kähler ceramics are very popular in Denmark (and quite expensive) so when a piece crosses your path, you thank the Universe and take it home. Fortunately, it’s one of “my” colors—if not my style. I keep incense cones in it. The mirror is also reclaimed!
A Wooden Cutting Board
This cutting board looked like trash, but I wanted to see what I could do with it. So I took it home, soaked it in a bleach solution for a few days, left it in the sun, and then oiled it—now I use it for stuff like this!
You can find my roasted red pepper hummus recipe here :)
My Freegan Lifestyle Philosophy
I’m mostly living by the old-school saying—Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. I find peace in living lightly on the earth—and I like the adventure of leaving possessions and groceries mostly up to chance. I’ve pretty much gone back to my roots because I’ve been dumpster diving and buying secondhand off-and-on since at least 1993.
This freegan lifestyle isn’t a state of deprivation—it’s a state of mindfulness. I’m more mindful than ever of my resources, how I allocate them, and what I consume. But I still have my peccadillos—like my “personal upkeep” budget and antique jewelry collection. I also live in one of Aarhus’ most expensive neighborhoods.
Freeganism isn’t a hill I’m willing to die on—so I guess I’m actually living the freegan lifestyle “lite.” Really, if it’s not fun, why do it? But it’s fun for now. And that’s the beauty of following the goose… I never know where I’ll end up!
Do you shop the curb? What are your best finds?
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