Cleaning Day Turns The City Into One Big Flea Market

Don’t we all have loads of unused stuff? And wouldn’t it be great to take a moment to sell this stuff to others that may need it? That’s what Cleaning Day is about. Last Saturday, 12 May, the first Cleaning Day ever took place in Helsinki.

On Cleaning Day every urbanite can sell or donate his/her furniture, clothes, gadgets and more, right on the street. This basically means that the whole city transformed into one big flea market with small stands at unexpected places all over the city. Cleaning Day is a bottom-up initiative from some Helsinkians and we were lucky to check it out during our blogger trip to the Finnish capital.

All kinds of people participated in Cleaning Day, varying form little children selling their old toys to women running a second-hand shoe shop for one day. That turned Cleaning Day into a dynamic community project on the scale of the city. Although the weather was slightly disappointing, people showed to have good fun between their old stuff, which, in the end, is the goal of the initiative. Cleaning Day was set up after the tremendous success of other ‘days’ that recently took place in Finland, such as the Restaurant Day (check out Milla’s article on this blog).

During Restaurant Day anyone can set up a restaurant, café or a bar for a day despite the city’s official regulations and restrictions. It can be anywhere: at your home, at the office, on a street corner, in your garden or inner courtyard, at a park, or on the beach — only your imagination is the limit. Restaurant Day is a huge success that spread to other countries across the globe. On the first Restaurant Day, that took place 21 May, 2011, almost 40 pop-up restaurants opened in 13 different towns in Finland, while the fourth had some 300 restaurants in 50 towns across 12 countries.

Cleaning Day could easily become as big as Restaurant Day. Last Saturday, 450 vendors registered on the website. All stands and their opening times and categories were displayed on a map. Anyone with a Facebook account can add his/her own pop-up vintage store or self-made design shop to the map, regardless of its location. Expect a Cleaning Day in your city soon…

Helsinki is 2012’s World Design Capital. Visit Finland invited us to come over to explore the city’s design treasures. The ‘Design in Helsinki’ series highlights the best projects, concepts and designs we came across during our visit.