As I opened the thoughtfully wrapped present from my 12-year old son revealing an industrial-size bag of Ghirardelli chocolates, the first words out of his mouth were: “Sharing is caring!” The message was loud and clear: by sharing my barely acquired chocolates I could show love for my family. Truthfully, my family cared enough to spare me from a chocolate-induced coma by sharing my bounty.

It made me think how sharing is caring in many more ways. Sharing can be caring for our environment, too. Yet in our independent, self-sufficient society, sharing our personal possessions is not quite so common. Sure, we will share our time and even money for good causes, but we still each have our own lawnmowers we use only once a week in the summer time, our own set of expensive power tools and other assorted big-boy (or -girl) toys.

I am not suggesting that we all get into a communal way of life and share all our possessions, but I am suggesting that maybe this coming year we can think if there are material goods we can share, rather than each having to purchase our own “copy”. It can be as simple as borrowing something from your neighbor or offering to loan something to a friend in need.

For a more organized equipment sharing you probably will want to find like-minded friends, neighbors or family members you know will take good care of the items. Laying out a clear set of expectations to which all parties agree (length of time for using the item, access, caring and maintenance of the item, storage, replacement of the item in case of damage, etc.) should result in a win-win for all involved.

Another big win is for the environment, as less ‘stuff’ purchased equals less produced, which equals less resources used and a more abundant earth for us all to enjoy. It will also mean a less cluttered house and garage, and more opportunities to connect with your friends and neighbors that you otherwise might not even meet.  Approach them with your ideas for sharing goods and see what develops.

For some inspiration or even to get a group going here in Central Oregon, check out these sites: 

http://www.neighborgoods.net

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/2004-04-01/Share-Tools.aspx

Below are some ideas for what types of ‘things’ you can share:

–          Garden tools (lawn mower, trimmers, wheelbarrow, shovels, weed whacker)

–          Auto tools (jacks, diagnostic equipment, tow rope, specialty tools)

–          Household tools (ladders, power tools, snow removal tools, painting equipment, work spot lights, generators)

–          Kitchen equipment& ware (bread maker, fondue kit, cake stands, punch bowls, party dishes & linens)

–          Sports equipment (inflatable boats, canoes, kayaks, anchors, life vests, helmets, snow shoes)

–          Magazine subscriptions, books

–          Accessories

 

Happy sharing!

  1. yoleen faerber says:

    I live in a single human household, and so does my neighbor. Neither of us makes much trash, so we share garbage and recycling service. Saves us both a little bit of money and gives us something to bond over.

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