Forget chocolate, Kate Groves, marketing director of Streetbank, explains why she’s opting to donate one of her possessions to a neighbour every day through advent instead
In September, I went to a film screening of My Stuff, a film about Petri Luukkainen, a 26-year-old man from Finland that decided to put all of his belongings in storage and only take one item back per day, for a year.
Going through an existential crisis at the point of making this decision, Luukkainen hoped that he might be able to rebuild his life through this human experiment. He starts naked in Helsinki. He gradually equips himself and his flat over the year and takes us on the journey with him by documenting the whole adventure on camera.
It’s a story about consumerism and about our relationship with stuff – a topic close to my heart as I co-run a website called Streetbank, which helps people share things with their neighbours. Anything from ladders, drills and lawnmowers that aren’t needed on a daily basis, to giving away things like old furniture, books and toys.
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After the film we took part in a Q&A with Luukkainen, which started with him describing how so many people tell him about “that box of stuff they have in the attic that they never look at,” never mind use.
I have one of those boxes. I’ve spent the past 11 years moving all of my possessions from flat to flat, and living somewhere on a temporary basis at the moment, I’ve actually put the majority of my personal belongings in a storage unit. I left the film thinking about just how much stuff we all – myself included – have to give.
I raved about the film and have decided to put my money (or my possessions) where my mouth is. I’m giving one thing away every day during advent this year. It’s giving me the chance to think about what I really need and what I can offer to my neighbours, and it’s a clutter-diet before Christmas.
In preparation, I’m filling yet another box, but this time with real purpose. I just need to find 24 things that I have to give. And to celebrate #GivingTuesday on 2 December, the global day dedicated to giving back, we’re encouraging our 60,000 Streetbank members and you to do the same.
Want to take the challenge? Let Kate know at [email protected] or just follow these rules: give one thing a day away, every day for 24 days. The challenge can be done using the neighbourhood sharing website Streetbank.