Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the Korean way of doing things. I am not 100% sure of the rules and regulations regarding anything here. Therefore, please do not assume that any of the following statements regarding how things work here are 100% accurate, but are what we have observed and heard from fellow ex-pats.
One of the things that is both good and bad, and one of my favorite and least favorite things about Korea, is that the people who reside here don't seem to be that big into 2nd hand things.Thrift stores/recycle stores, Goodwill, etc., are few and far between. They do exist, but are not as easily accessible as they are in the States. This is good because it means that most 2nd hand stuff is free for the taking, but bad because anything and everything just gets thrown out.
Things that, if in the states, we would take to Goodwill or other thrift store, list on Craig's list, freecycle, etc., just get thrown out. The trash pickup system here is different, as well. Instead of house by house pick up, there are trash sites. These are located randomly throughout the cities and towns here, and the larger apartment complexes have two or more, each, as well. The way the system is supposed to work is that you buy special bags for your regular trash, special bags for your food trash, and separate your recycling out into another pile. For larger items- chairs, tables, couches, mirrors, wardrobes, bookshelves, you name it- you are supposed to purchase special stickers to affix to your items. I'm assuming that these bags and stickers take the place of special taxes or fees you might otherwise pay towards trash collection. You are supposed to take all your trash to a designated trash site, but furniture, if properly labeled, can be put on the sidewalk or at the end of a driveway for collection.(I'm told Koreans like to replace their furniture when they move, so this makes for lots of furniture fairly frequently.)
This brings me to the point of this post- the beauty of this system is that when you see something on the side of the road or at a trash site, you can take it home.Most of the things we pick up are not perfect, but usually almost perfect or only in need of a bit of repair.This has been a huge blessing to us, as new furniture here is very expensive, and so far the only thing we have needed and had to purchase has been the kids' bunkbed. Everything else we needed, God has provided!
Last night's find, which was fabulous because the kids' books had outgrown their shelves.
Solid wood play kitchen.
Inlaid mother-of-pearl cabinet.
Where our entertainment centers.
Self-explanatory. If you look closely, or enlarge the picture, you can see the car I got Ryan for Christmas. Aren't I a great wife??
Linen cabinet- this thing is crazy heavy!
Cute shelving above Max's bed.
Not pictured: dining chairs, and boards we procured for shelving on walls.
There have been more items that we have either used and passed on, used and trashed, or nabbed and resold. No shame, baby.
I realized when writing this post that I could probably write an entire 2nd post on the trash system here, as there is more to the craziness. But that post won't happen tonight. If at all. =)