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  • Writer's pictureCamille Lalonde

What Is Stooping?

Stooping had many meaning over the years. More recently a new meaning has been added to the list of definitions. Technically, stooping is a nicer way of saying ‘’I got this from my neighbours’ garbage’’! This expression came from the word “stoop”. The stoop is a small staircase ending in a platform and leading to the entrance of an apartment building or other buildings. The expression “stooping” is the action of taking something off the stoop that was left there for others to take. Clarification: this is not stealing something from someone else's porch or balcony haha! Some people will put out some of their belongings on garbage day and others will put items out in front of their homes at any given time. Sometimes there will also be a “FREE” sign, but overall you know when something is for you to take. If you are not sure you can always knock on the homeowner’s door and simply ask. (Funny story I have done this and will keep the story for another article.) I’ve been stooping for years now and I used to say: “I found something in the trash” or “on the side of the road”. Now that there is an expression in the Urban Dictionary, it weirdly makes the action more accepted, sort of legitimizing it or making it “classier”! I hope this simple expression will motivate people to start ‘’Stooping’’!

Why should we stoop?

As a thrifter I love giving a second life to second hand goods. The difference with stooping and thrifting is the excitement of finding a free item. It adds this adrenaline kick that I cannot even explain. Giving a second chance to a preloved item is the reinvention of the word ‘’recycling’’. I even think that we start using the expression “re-loving”. Recycling doesn’t stop at throwing a plastic bottle in the recycling bin. We are consumers and we love having new items. I am guilty, I get bored real quick. I always want a new piece of furniture or clothing and so on. New doesn’t mean that you have to be the first owner of the item. The item can simply be new to you. When I need something I look at my second hand options before heading to a store. Oddly I feel more excitement from finding what I want in a thrift store or on the stoop. The other beauty of stooping is that you will become innovative and may want to repurpose the found item. Sometimes people get rid of some items because they are broken but most of the time only a quick fix will be necessary. It will force you to be creative and become handy. Being handy is a great quality.

Can stooping be dangerous?

Haha! The only danger is that you might become addicted and unable to stop stooping, I have more furniture then I need at the moment and I always want more. I don’t consider myself a hoarder. I see potential in everything and I want to save what is sitting at the curb. To be honest, here is something I check when thrifting or stooping. The big dangerous monster in the closet is tiny bugs called ‘’bed bugs’’. You can bring these bugs back home from public transit, from a hotel room, from your friends house, from a piece of furniture, or even from waiting rooms. They usually live on soft surfaces such as a couch, cushions…They are tiny but they are signs you can look for. I will let you google this one because I feel itchy just thinking about it. My personal trick is that I usually steam everything I find on the curb or in a thrift store because heat kills the little buggers. Please don’t let this destroy your stooping experience because, as I said, you can get bed bugs pretty much anywhere.

when can I start?

Start walking. I found most of my amazing ‘’stoops’’ while walking around the city. Another great tool is @stooping_Toronto (for Toronto) , @stooping_Mississauga (for Mississauga), @stoopingNyc (for New York), @stoopingla (for Los Angeles), @stoopingmad (for Madrid), @stoopingams (for Amsterdam); these are collaborative Instagram pages where people post the stoop finds they decided to leave on the side of the road for someone else. Usually the address or a picture of a map is posted along with the item. These pages are getting pretty big so don’t be offended if you get to the stoop and it’s already gone. I was lucky and I got two of my favourite stoops via @stooping_Toronto. Also if you don’t feel too comfortable taking an item from the stoop, simply participating in the page is being part of this beautiful movement. The more we share the less items will end up in the landfill. Remember that someone’s trash is someone else's treasure.

Happy stooping!



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