Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Sharing Solution

The Sharing Solution - book cover

Do you really need to own things you rarely use? One way to have a less cluttered space is to borrow (or rent) those things you seldom need.

Many of us do this already, on a limited scale:

- I borrow books and DVDs from my library - and some libraries also loan out tools, or cake pans.

- I borrow books from friends and relatives - and lend my books to them.

- My neighbor borrows my juicer (similar to this one); I borrowed her vacuum cleaner when mine was off being repaired.

- I've seen people borrow crutches, wheelchairs, and ladders on Freecycle. I've also seen a group of moms in the San Francisco area lend out warm clothes to those making once-a-winter trips to the mountains.

All sorts of things can be borrowed; besides the types of items already mentioned, there's camping equipment, costumes, electronics - and much more.

Some people decide to go beyond casual one-off borrowing and create sharing groups: neighborhood groups, workplace groups, school groups, church groups, etc. In these groups, all the members identify things they are willing to lend - so everyone knows what's available.

If you are considering going this route, you may want to buy - or borrow! - The Sharing Solution, published by Nolo Books. The book will walk you through questions to ask - like what happens if a borrowed item gets broken - so all members have a common understanding, and problems can be averted. Sample agreements are also provided, which you can use as a starting point.

(The book also goes beyond the scope of this blog, discussing how you might share transportation, housing, child care and more.)

1 comment:

The Thrifty Stylist said...

fabulous idea! i'd heard about power tool "libraries" from ideal bite recently... and my aunt advised me when my son was born to start a babysitting pool with other parents: you get a point for each hour you take someone else's kids and turn them in when you need a sitter!