The Power of Renting, Swapping, and Sharing
Stop and think about what’s in your garage. There’s likely a ladder, a few spare gas cans, plenty of hand and power tools, rakes, a lawnmower, a leafblower, snow shovels, regular shovels, watering cans…you get the picture. It’s full of stuff.
Now, think about what’s probably in your neighbor’s garage. It’s likely their garage are full of the same thing. And so is every garage on your street, in your neighborhood, and in your state. All those garages, full of the same exact things.
In today’s consumerist culture, we don’t think twice about going out and buying something we need. However, this creates so much waste, and uses so many resources, that it’s a model we really can’t afford anymore. Another, better option, is to rent, swap, or share.
Here’s a good example. I don’t own a ladder or wheelbarrow. I don’t use these two things often, but when I need them I really need them. But it’s senseless to go out and buy them! Instead, I borrow my neighbors ladder or wheelbarrow. They’re happy to share, and it saves me from consuming those two products when I don’t have to. In turn, I regularly offer to lend them anything of mine when they need it.
What You Can Rent, Swap, or Share
There are endless ways to rent, swap, or share products. You could start an informal group in your neighborhood, like starting a tool lending library, or a rotating library of garden and lawn tools.
Sometimes, parents get together to regularly swap toys, clothing, DVDs, books, shoes, and other necessities for their kids. They’re called “swap parties”, and they’ve really taken off since the Recession hit. Not only do these swap parties save you money, but they also reduce your consumption. They also keep clutter out of your house!
Consider these ideas for swapping or sharing:
- Lawn/garden tools.
- Home tools.
- Any clothing item.
- Food (even cooked dinners, jars of jam, cookies, etc.)
Really, you can swap or share anything you’re not currently using. You’re only limited by your imagination here!
Where to Swap and Share
There are plenty of websites to help you reach out and connect with other people who want to swap or share items they already own. Here are a few.
One of the easiest ways to swap or share is to just get the word out in your neighborhood. Talk to your friends and neighbors, or create a flier to get the conversation going. There’s no reason why 12 homes on a street should each have a ladder; if they few that do were willing to share with the others, and vice versa, then we’d all consume less overall. It just makes sense!