house & home

Minimalism, second hand & ethical, bones & wild flowers.

We live in small apartments in small wooden houses. We want our homes to be beautiful places for doing things, not storing things.

ethical electronics

Computers, smart phones and tablets make a lot of things not only easier but possible in the first place. They can also replace a lot of other items and be a minimalist choice in that sense. But while companies are aiming to become more sustainable, there are still a lot of ethical problems with the manufacturing of new electronics. But what can you do?

You might not need a desktop computer, printer, scanner, speakers, TV, laptop, camera, smartphone and tablet. I haven’t owned a phone of any kind or even a computer for over 3 years now (I do have a tablet) and it has worked well for me so far. Think of what you need, then own just that.

You might not need to own your own desktop computer if you have one at school or work. You can also use one in the library or share one with your family.

I am one of those people who hoard their old broken devices for no sensible reason. But taking them to a recycling center or selling them to some other place that repairs and sells used electronics means they can get fixed and be used by someone else. Even if they are not repaired the materials can be used to make new devices instead of having to dig up new natural resources.

Buy second hand
Perhaps the most important tip I wanted to give. Supporting the recycling of devices instead of the manufacturing of new ones is simply the more ethical choice. My tablet and Amir’s phone were bought from Vihreä Omena and my stylus from Ronkeli and I can recommend both, although they sadly sell only Apple products. They both are in Helsinki and online, but if you know any reliable shops that sell used electronics anywhere else in the world, leave us a comment!


repairing sheets

One of my bed sheets ripped a while ago. At first it was just a small rip, but as I did not immediately repair it, it grew to be a hole the size of my hand.


The sheet had been cheap when I bought it, and had been presented as such. One in a stack of hundreds just like it. It had felt really replaceable, consumable. But because I only own two, I felt like I really needed to repair mine. Owning fewer items makes each individual item more important.

After mending it, the sheet felt somehow even more valuable. By repairing it I showed myself that the sheet was worth repairing. It wasn’t ruined or worthless.


A durable item is not one that never breaks, but one that can be repaired when it does. A needle and thread do not cost much, but can save a lot.


repairing furniture

two black chairs in front of a table
Furniture can be very expensive and often requires a lot of material to make. But they can be very durable, and can be relatively easy to repair yourself. Of my furniture almost all is second hand, and most have even been free. Some were given to me by friends, others found at the recycling center and a few were dumpster dived. This has mostly been due to financial reasons, but they are also very eco-friendly ways to get furniture. More expensive great ways to get furniture would be hiring a local carpenter or making them yourself.


the repaired leg of the chair
An example of a salvaged piece is this beautiful chair that was missing a leg when we found it. Many a chair breaks a leg or loses some small part, instantly rendering the item as trash, even when otherwise completely intact. But things that are broken can be repaired instead of throwing them away. The chair now serves in front of my desk/dining table (I only own one table) next to another broken chair (it’s missing the backrest) that was found for free.

We replaced the missing leg with two short pieces of round dowel we already had (the thicker used to be a broomstick). We left the leg and the slimmer supporting dowel their original colour. We didn’t want to hide that the chair had been repaired, but to emphasize it. The same could be done when repairing clothing for example as well. In Japanese ceramics there’s a traditional art called Kintsugi, where broken pieces of pottery are rejoined with gold, further drawing attention to the repair and rejoicing it.

Repairing an item makes it more unique and special to the owner. Spending money or your own labour to extend the lifetime of an object gives it more value, makes it worth more to you. Doing it yourself can also make you feel more able, like you can do things for yourself and are less dependant on others. It can make you feel worth more to you.


plants on a windowsill
Furniture should of course be functional. Owning something so big just to fill up the space, or because it is normal to own something like it, or even because it is beautiful, is not very practical. We don’t really decorate with furniture, although they are aesthetically pleasing to us, but with plants and treasures. Plants make people happier and more productive. They also can’t become waste, turning into earth at the end of their time.

I dream of spaces with just a few perfectly imperfect objects, but filled with plants.


home is not where the books are

pile of books with a cup of coffee on top

We love books and magazines. We are very much into typography, photography, illustrations, colours, materials, words, facts and stories. We read children’s books and Swedish horror, cookbooks and essay collections. Witches, fashion and climate disaster. Books about people and books about plants. But we don’t really buy any.


Daniel listening to an audiobook in his room

Tablet showing the audiobook version of Moominpappa at Sea

Daniel enjoys not owning too many things, so he doesn’t have any physical books or magazines anymore. Instead, he reads ebooks, digital magazines and listens to audiobooks on his tablet. He reads magazines for free using Zinio and his library card, and is thinking about getting a digital subscription to the gorgeous vegan magazine Chickpea. He has a subscription to Audible and listens to at least one audiobook a month, choosing ebooks mostly when a specific title he’s interested in is not available as an audio version. Not owning books doesn’t mean not reading them. Actually the ones he used to own he read very rarely. Now he listens to some almost every day. It feels like reading invisible books.


A book about plants and a cup of tea

Closeup of a book about plants and a cup of tea

Amir on the other hand owns and reads physical books. He is a collector of many things, but his treasures are mostly things found for free or secondhand. He loves old illustrations of plants and mushrooms and old styles of layout and cover design. But when there is specific book he wants to read, he doesn’t buy it. He reads it. He borrows an insane amount of books from the library all the time, simply out of interest for each title. He goes to the library each time a new issue of any of his favourite magazines comes out. He also goes to a book club once a month, sharing a read with his friends. Books are fuel and solace for him.


A pile of books about plants and insects

Closeup of a pile of books about plants and insects

Libraries are one of the greatest things in our modern society. They’re a way to own knowledge, entertainment and resources together, to share.

They are also places for doing things. Libraries host lots of different clubs and events. And they offer music, movies, internet access, games, office spaces, and even sewing machines, 3D printing and cargo bikes. Most for free, or at a very low charge. In short, libraries pretty damn cool. Go there.


A pile of library books