Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Where to donate clothing, furniture, food, & cleaning supplies in Kaiserslautern

With so many people constantly moving into and out of the Kaiserslautern area, there's a real need to know where one can donate extra items from around the home. Whether you're Marie Kondo-ing your place or PCSing out, here is a list of where you can donate and what the places will take. Be sure to check opening times and holiday or COVID-related closures ahead of time for the most success in dropping off donations. 

-Updated January 2023 - DRK store in Kaiserslautern has moved to Landstuhl and Schatzkiste isn't open on Saturdays any more. Bummer!

Wertstoffhof Kaiserslautern
Daennerstrasse 17
67657 Kaiserslautern

Pros: open six days a week, to include one evening; this is one of the city's recycling centers and is generally open even when other places have to be closed because of COVID restrictions. You can donate household items and clothing that are still useable; in the middle of the center there are shelves that are labeled with types of items. All items are free to take so you might find something useful for yourself, too. Since this is a recycling center, you can also bring actual items to recycle too. Drive in but make sure to leave room for others to pass you.

Cons: not all items are accepted and there isn't a huge amount of room for many large items. Upholstered furniture shouldn't be brought here.

Fairness-Kaufhaus Kaiserslautern
Beethovenstraße 56
67655 Kaiserslautern

Website  Facebook

Pros: open six days a week, to include evenings and Saturdays; non-profit organization that supports the community; courtyard where donors can drive in to drop off donations; accepts non-expired human and pet food, cleaning supplies, and health/beauty products as part of the Foodsharing project
Cons: Limited space for accepting furniture; paid streetside parking for shopping (though usually it's not too hard to find a spot)
Notes: this is my favorite thrift store in the area. Although it's not the biggest, there's a decent selection of homewares, clothing, and furniture (keep in mind that the furniture sells quickly though; if you see a sign on it that says "verkauft," that means it's sold). Even better yet is that Fairness is a pick-up/drop-off point for Foodsharing KL, which is free for everyone to use. You can bring or take unexpired food (even for pets!), as well as cleaning supplies and health/beauty items. When you're PCSing, don't throw away all those cleaners; bring them to Fairness instead. Currently the Foodsharing drop off area is located by the door to the courtyard. When you walk into the store, walk straight ahead, past the cashier, and there's a cooler. You can put items in the cooler or on top of it.

Pariser Strasse 28 67655 Kaiserslautern


Pros: open five days a week, to include evenings; non-profit organization that supports the community; good, free parking directly in front for easy drop-off of donations; large store with room for lots of furniture.
Cons: none that I can think of.
Notes: Schatzkiste is a huge warehouse near the mall in downtown Kaiserslautern. There is always something new to see or buy, but keep in mind that the furniture turns over very quickly.

Stadtbildpflege donation bins around Kaiserslautern
Pros: open 24/7; any clean clothing, bedsheets, purses, belts, blankets, and shoes can be dropped off in a plastic bag, even if it has holes or broken parts (it will be recycled into something else); various locations throughout the city and one can normally park directly in front of the bins
Cons: only accepts the items above; sometimes the bins are full

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

10 Popular Things

Okay, I'll play too. Thanks, Ami im Schwabenland, for the blogging idea!

10 Popular Things I've Never Really Cared For

10. Chocolate. I used to not like chocolate at all, except for an occasional hot chocolate. Now I'll eat it once in a while, especially if it's the exquisite Cornet Port-royal chocolates my cousin got me hooked on in Brussels. Other than that, I'm not really into it. I'm not big into chocolate flavored things, either, like chocolate cake.

9. Hot weather. Especially in Germany, land of almost no air conditioning, I want to hibernate in the summer as I feel sluggish and cranky.

8. Coffee. I like coffee flavor but don't like the drink.

7. Italian food. I find it mostly meh, especially the German version. I don't hate it but I'm not super into it. Considering that I have mild allergies to two of its most common ingredients, I guess it's no wonder.

6. Gardening. I totally agree with Ami in Schwabenland and I'd also rather wash windows! To me gardening feels like a huge, never-ending, depressing chore. I love seeing others' beautiful yards but actually doing the work myself? No thank you.

5. House plants. Ok, this kind of goes with the gardening theme but it's a bit different. Again, I love seeing other people decorate with them and enjoy them but they just don't work out at my home. I've managed to kill all sorts of innocent plants and what I don't kill my cat wants to chomp. They stress me out (it doesn't help that I even name the basil plants one gets from the grocery store, even though they're meant to have a short tenure and I feel guilty when they die).

4. Midwestern (US) food. Casseroles: they just don't do it for me. I need food with some herbs, spices, and flavor, dang it.

3. German food. See above. I also find it too salty for my taste and as someone who's not into meat, potatoes, or copious amounts of bread and dairy, it's not my thing.

2. Gift giving. Okay, Gary Chapman, yes, I'm very much an acts of service person. I prefer not to give or receive gifts but I do like to help my friends and if they want to help me too, awesome.

1. Feet. Okay, they're not exactly popular, but most people don't have a problem with them or some people really like them. I find feet gross though and don't even like to think about them.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Growing up in a clean family has its benefits

So here I am again, writing in the midst of an epidemic. I never thought I'd write that as such a horrible illness has never directly affected life so close here before.

So far I'm not sick but I am nervous about it. For the most part I'm staying at home, only popping out quickly to grab groceries every several weeks or to go for a walk by myself.

I will say that I'm glad that I was brought up the way that I was: in a (basically) clean household. My mom is not a germ freak but she was adamant about not being gross. I'll list some rules of our house. Even as I navigate through my own place, being extra cognizant of what I'm doing or the surfaces I'm touching, I keep coming up with more things that we were taught.

1. Do not wear shoes in the house (we had white carpeting growing up).
2. Do not ever double dip or drink directly from the jug, even if it's your own drink and you'll come back to it later.
3. Don't stick your hand into the bag of chips/bowl of popcorn. Get your own bowl and pour some in.
4. Try not to touch door handles or other public surfaces. If you absolutely have to, either use a piece of your clothing or one finger instead.
5. Wash your hands and the surface where you'll be cooking well.
6. Don't touch your face when cooking.
7. Wash your hands after petting an animal. (This did loosen up a bit after we got a dog but we'd definitely do it before eating etc.)
8. Put silverware in the dish basket handle up and before unloading the dishwasher, wash your hands. Do not ever handle the eating portion of the silverware.
9. Do not put your fingers inside a glass or serving dish.
10. Clean up after yourself right away.

This is all that I can think of right now. Again, I'll say that my mom was not a freak about germs but she was brought up by someone who trained to be a baker and my grandparents also practiced safe food handling techniques so I think that's where a lot of this came in. I think it can be more difficult to try to remind yourself to do these things later on so I'm glad that I learned this while growing up. Knowing these things can't totally insulate me from the risk of COVID-19 but at least it gives a little bit more of a chance. Having the ability to work from home and to self-isolate has also been extremely important.

Friday, March 6, 2020

An English overview of Aldi

Aldi grocery stores are experiencing a surge in popularity, especially in the US. When I was younger, we never really thought of Aldi as a viable place to buy decent food. Most food was beyond highly processed and poor quality. Now, however, Aldi is focusing more on fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as favorites popular among the granola-munching set (I include myself in this category). After all, one can buy decent hummus at Aldi in the US (don't try the German version if you're a hummus connoisseur, though; it's nasty, with sugar and vinegar added, which is NOT accurate).

Mashed put together a decent video shopping at Aldi in the US. Even if you're in Germany, it's worth a watch if you're curious about the store. Most of the information is basically the same for the stores here, too, such as needing to use a coin to unlock the carts and needing to bring your own bags.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Current Mood of German Learning

I'm currently taking a very high-level German class and realized:

If I ever get frustrated about not always knowing what I call $5 (or should I say €5) words in German or not knowing all of the idioms, can I just remind myself that one of the fellow students in this class is literally already a translator, and this is the class that foreigners have to pass to apply to the translation program at the uni? And that we did a tough exercise in class last night, and I was able to do it on the fly and also help another classmate with it? I'm always getting frustrated by what I don't know but I should also celebrate what I do know.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Crooked Bamberg

Bamberg is a beautiful, historic town in the Frankish area of Bavaria. It's built along several rivers and picturesque half-timbered boxes line the banks.

Despite the quaint and scenic views, these houses aren't without their problems. Sagging roofs and settling foundations, especially among the river, make for a bunch of crooked neighborhoods.

Take a gander at this store. Must one walk sideways to get in?

Sunday, February 16, 2020