I had a conversation with a friend today on the art of borrowing (or is it lending?). I told her wouldn’t it be fun to go in with a bunch of girlfriends on a nice diamond tennis bracelet and then when you have your annual exam or mammogram you wear it? It would build a sense of camaraderie and knowing that you aren’t alone in those somewhat uncomfortable times in your life. She said that she and a girlfriend did that with an expensive purse. They each paid for half and they used it for half of the year. She also did that with a big coffee pot. Everyone in her neighborhood knows that she has it and they are welcome to use it. We have been blessed to have a neighbor that has every home and yard maintenance item that we need. We borrow and I send homemade goodies over as a thank you and it works perfect. But what would happen if we all actively started using this philosophy? First, we would have less cluttered homes and garages. Second we would save money by not paying full price as well as sharing in the maintenance costs. I think that we could create a sense of community and trust with each other. We would have to trust each other and know that when the item is in our possession we would take good care of it.
So I started making a mental list in my head of what we could share with each other instead of buying brand new:
- Lawn mower and trimmer: Most of us only use this once a week for a few months. Each person could have their day of the week that they mow. When they are done, they simply take it to the next neighbor on the list.
- Snow blower: Let’s face it….there is always one guy in the neighborhood who loves to blow snow. Store it at his house and he will probably have everyone’s driveway done before you wake up.
- Tiller and lawn edger: This is something that we only do once or twice a year. It simply makes no sense to own either of these.
- Eight foot tables: I seem to need these about twice a year. Owning my own seemed senseless. But I finally caved and bought 2 four foot tables that fold in half. I am willing to share mine with you when you have that graduation party next spring.
- Fancy evening clothes: A client of mine alerted me of the great idea of renting dress clothes. Think about it, we spend money on an outfit that we typically wear once and then it hangs in our closet for the next 20 years because we feel guilty about getting rid of it because we paid so much for it, but we also know that we will probably never wear it again. I have a shirt that I paid a lot of money for, and every time I wear it I think about my cost per use of it. I think I am going to start to wear it to the gym to make me get more use out of it and feel less guilty.
- Specialty entertaining items: This would be things like large platters, punch bowls and coffee pots. We use them so rarely and they take up space, find someone to share them with.
- Specialty kitchen items: How many of us have bread machines, food processors or ice cream machines. If you don’t use them often, call a friend and see if they want to use any of the items for the next 6 months.
- Crafting supplies: There are those expensive crafting gadgets like die-cut machines with all of their different cartridges. Go in with a group of friends who you scrap book with and share the supplies.
So I challenge you to look around your home and garage and see what you can share. And as you go to purchase new items think about going in on them with a friend. It just takes a little shift in your thinking and you will love this concept. Oh, and for our neighbor that we borrow things from, your bowl of homemade caramel corn is coming soon!
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.mssimplicity.com/
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