The Jätehuone

After we finished the walkthrough of our apartment, we were shown all of the common areas in the building, such as the mudroom, the storage room (also, in our case, the bomb shelter), and the jätehuone. Directly translated, that means “trash room”. I know what you’re thinking. “The trash room? Why would anyone care about that? Tell us more about this bomb shelter.” Maybe later.

The Finn’s are very environmentally conscious, so when I say “trash”, I don’t mean what Americans think of as trash, which is basically anything you no longer have use for. Unless of course, you live in Oregon, where they like to think they recycle everything. Well, Oregon, I have news for you. Not only do the Finn’s recycle as much as they possibly can, they separate it all themselves. Oh yes, there are individual bins for glass, plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, and biowaste. “Trash” is anything leftover that can be burned.

Knowing that we furnished our entire apartment courtesy of IKEA, we were anticipating a lot of cardboard. Wanting to be nice to our neighbors, who share these bins, we asked someone if it was acceptable to fill the bin, or if we should leave some room. We were told to go ahead and fill it. Fill it we did! After learning that the cardboard was emptied on Monday’s, I made multiple trips each week to take out as many boxes as I could fit. I did this under cover of darkness, not wanting to be found out as the obnoxious American who takes up the entire bin hours after it was emptied.

It took three weeks to get rid of all the boxes. And all three weeks, I crammed that bin to the top, feeling sorry for any neighbor who dared buy something that came packaged in a box. #sorrynotsorry


Did I say “to the top”? I meant until you could barely close it. I did try to leave some room for the neighbors. However, they didn’t seem to care much, as they just kept filling the bin, mostly with egg and milk cartons, although I did see a vacuum box as well.

The last boxes in the apartment were from the dining chairs and the couch. The chair boxes were easy enough, but that couch box was ridiculous. Even folded as much as I could manage, it was huge. I stumbled down the hall with both large, folded box pieces under one arm, hoping to make it to the jätehuone without falling on my face. I made it to the outside door and somehow navigated my way through it, making a ninety degree turn to go down the steps. As I rounded the corner of the building, I was struck by the force of a twenty mile an hour wind. On its own, that’s not a big deal; when you’re carrying a flat piece of cardboard, it’s a different story. I was pushed back a few steps just as someone walked by. Keeping my head down, I made it to the trash room door, pinned the cardboard to my side, unlocked, and pulled the door open. As much as I’d folded the boxes, the damn things were still too big to fit in the bin. Using my amazing ninja skills, I kicked them into submission and crammed them into the appropriate dumpster. They still stuck up a bit, as shown in the above picture, but there was still room for the odd egg carton.

I can now enjoy not only the extra space the cardboard left, but going to the jätehuone an acceptable amount of times, with the acceptable amount of waste. That would be three to four times a week with trash and even less for everything else.  At least, I’m assuming that’s acceptable/normal as I’ve only ever seen one or two other people stopping in the jätehuone.


3 thoughts on “The Jätehuone

  1. Sometimes I miss you so very much. And then I reread your blog and I miss you so much less and so much more all at once. I hope you know you are my very most favorite ever. I love your adventures almost as much as I love you!


  2. Thank You telling about our trash care. When people move they have huge amount of cardboards. This is yet true in our house after living and moving a month ago. 64 families moved.

    I have been lucky when having possibility to follow how people’s trash are handled in three towns, in Mikkeli, Oulu and now in Helsinki. Oulu wins, second is Mikkeli and in third position Helsinki.

    Have a good day!


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