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Noted: Collaborative Consumption

Jul 11, 2011

by Chappell Ellison handmade and vintage goods

I was recently hit with the insatiable desire to revisit my childhood through the eyes of Nancy Drew. Knowing that the series sits dormant on bookshelves across the country, I refused to plunk down my hard-earned money for a new copy at a book store. I walked to the local library to quell my nostalgia, only to be met by locked doors. (Ah, Sunday!) I found myself wishing there was a tool or app that would show people in my area who have Nancy Drew books available for borrowing. After doing a little research, I discovered I wasn’t the only person yearning for a simple method for efficiently and sustainably locating the goods I want.

Collaborative consumption, a movement recently highlighted by Morgan Clendaniel for Co.Design, encourages communities to monetize their unused goods through a system of borrowing. Zip Car and bike sharing programs are excellent examples of rethinking consumption, enabling people to borrow a method of transportation for the few hours it’s needed. “You might own some tools that you never use, or perhaps you have a backyard that you just don’t have the time to do anything interesting with,” explains Clendaniel. “Today, they can look like revenue streams, not wastes of money.”

Yet more important than making some extra money, collaborative consumption might just free us from the burdens that come along with ownership. “What’s truly important about collaborative consumption is much more world-altering than just supplementing incomes,” says Clendaniel. “If you don’t need to buy a circular saw or a leaf blower just to use them once a year, but can use one when you need it, it could fundamentally impact how we consume.”

Sharing is one of the first lessons taught to children. Can it continue to remain a fundamental tenet in our adult lives?

More Noted Posts


  • shannondzikas

    shannondzikas said 6 years ago

    Nancy Drew? Wave of nostalgia! Thank you for starting an important discussion. Hope sharing gets cool.

  • StuffByKim

    StuffByKim said 6 years ago

    interesting concept........that we teach our children when they are small, but then we become adults and seem to want one of our own.

  • economico

    economico said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article and idea!!!

  • wayfaringmagnolia

    wayfaringmagnolia said 6 years ago

    Ahh what a wonderful concept! I look forward to this ideal growing in everyday use.

  • blueskyclouds

    blueskyclouds said 6 years ago

    Great idea!

  • ModernShop

    ModernShop said 6 years ago

    What a fantastic idea. It could really help the environment too.

  • fullcircleimages

    fullcircleimages said 6 years ago

    I love this idea. It saves money, builds a sense of community, and reduces consumption and waste. I hope this catches on! I'll be searching in my area for something like this next time I need something for one task.

  • CelticVisions

    CelticVisions said 6 years ago

    What a fantastic idea!

  • aschwer

    aschwer said 6 years ago

    This was recently started in my town in Sonoma County. My husband is all about the tools share. Makes you wonder why we didn't think of this sooner! :)

  • funkyecofashion

    funkyecofashion said 6 years ago

    this post is really important...and to me. here on the big island of hawaii, myself and a few friends have been coming up with ideas closely related to yours, to encourage sustainability here and to lead by example, the rest of the world. now is the time to come together to revive our communities, economy (green & sustainable, PLEASE!!!) and to enjoy the presence of the joy in our spirits. sharing is much better...(why does everyone need lawnmowers and weedwackers, when there are 22 on the block? ) much aloha, and i look forward to reading more about your success and to seeing the world evolve into abundance and happiness for all.

  • anotherghostquilts

    anotherghostquilts said 6 years ago

    Great idea.

  • RedorGrayArt

    RedorGrayArt said 6 years ago

    just recently heard this form of idea on public radio . I imagine it would be pretty useful in a lot of ways, love the tools in the garage photo to go with it~

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana said 6 years ago

    Great idea. Freecycling is a growing community similar to collaborative consumption.

  • AntoinettesWhims

    AntoinettesWhims said 6 years ago

    Love the concept. In the real world of liability and lawyers it may be a real hard sell.

  • vKnit

    vKnit said 6 years ago


  • whitehaus

    whitehaus said 6 years ago

    I love love love this concept! Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

  • blueflowervintage

    blueflowervintage said 6 years ago

    This works for me! It would be interesting with collectibles and art. I am ecstatic when something leaves my house and just as happy when something new comes in. I love something for minutes on end and love something new immediately after. My husband may have a problem though. He needs to own very very many things from one end of his life to the other... would have to figure that out. Tools though, he would totally have no problem with that

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    Isn't this what used to happen back in the days when we all knew our neighbours & lived in real communities? I have to agree with AntoinettesWhims though... if you allow someone to hire/borrow/share your equipment & they injure themselves with it, you could be liable for a very hefty sum.

  • LoveButtons

    LoveButtons said 6 years ago

    This is a great idea - money saving and environmentally friendly. I'm part of a Freegle groups that passes on items for free to folks who will use them - another way to stop things ending up in landfill. :)

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 6 years ago

    Love this! We help eachother and the planet. What is not to love?? Thanks for sharing this etsy!

  • abbyberkson

    abbyberkson said 6 years ago

    Wow, this is such an interesting idea, and it makes SO much sense!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Great idea and possible in our communities!

  • jibbyandjuna

    jibbyandjuna said 6 years ago

    I live in a small town and know most of my neighbors. We do this all the time but we just share, no money involved. For people who live in community (not just geographically but relationally ) with one another and are interested in the common good, it all evens out in the end. (My neighbor needs a babysitter this afternoon - we need his circular saw the next day. That type of thing.)

  • JulieLillian

    JulieLillian said 6 years ago

    What a great concept. Thanks for sharing!

  • TheBlackOnion

    TheBlackOnion said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article. Very thought provoking, an inspiring idea.

  • tokenandpine

    tokenandpine said 6 years ago

    Yes, yes! This has been on my mind for some time now!

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 6 years ago

    Love this idea so much. It is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to conserve and re-use rather than buy new and let the items sit dormant in our garages and basements once used. Thank you for the article.

  • AdornmentsNYC

    AdornmentsNYC said 6 years ago

    awesome idea - I love it!

  • CarryTheWord

    CarryTheWord said 6 years ago

    Great idea!

  • mudpuppy

    mudpuppy said 6 years ago

    Love this concept!

  • rebourne

    rebourne said 6 years ago

    I have often thought about the equipment my husband and I own, like backpacking gear, snowboarding gear, rock climbing gear etc. We have three kids, ages 5 and under, so we just don't use it right now. I would love to lend it out to responsible friends, but use a system that is organized and professional. Great idea!

  • HomemadeSunshine

    HomemadeSunshine said 6 years ago

    I love this idea! What a wonderful way to get to know people and build communities all while lessening our impact on the earth.

  • isfour

    isfour said 6 years ago

    Tenet, not tenant!

  • HoldTheWire

    HoldTheWire said 6 years ago

    My family and I were just talking about this idea yesterday, very timely! We were saying how helpful it would be if several people in the neighborhood shared something like a lawnmower or a set of garden tools. Of course, you would need to negotiate terms of how things are used and when, but it could work!

  • piperscrossing

    piperscrossing said 6 years ago

    Getting back to the way life used to be...the simple life!!! Thanks for the article!

  • larkspurfunnyfarm

    larkspurfunnyfarm said 6 years ago

    Incredible. I would love to start something like that at my farm... I have land that could be shared, equipment, tools, and tons of skills I have learned over the years... Really got me thinking - THANKS!

  • myneedlehabit

    myneedlehabit said 6 years ago

    The over-indulgent American way of life has got to go! This is the next step toward the Conscientious Revolution.

  • GardenApothecary

    GardenApothecary said 6 years ago

    I love using old, large tools as decor on walls... such a great look.

  • BlueRoseRetro

    BlueRoseRetro said 6 years ago

    Love the message. I like the energy that comes along with a borrowed book or object. Nicely written article. thanks for inspiring me to share.

  • katielynnjewelry

    katielynnjewelry said 6 years ago

    That is very interesting!

  • raganella

    raganella said 6 years ago

    I'm a big fan of sharing. Seems a lot of sites/groups are devoted to it now, like share some sugar, snap goods, and krrb. Also akin to other alternative economies: trading, bartering, skillsharing. All great ways to be thrifty while meeting fun people.

  • redhardwick

    redhardwick said 6 years ago

    We're trying to get a "toy exchange" going in our neighborhood. Great article, thanks for sharing!

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 6 years ago

    Reuse. Reuse. Reuse. What a concept. Great article!

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink said 6 years ago

    Great information .

  • Zeffs

    Zeffs said 6 years ago

    I use it's a great resource!

  • Hagarae

    Hagarae said 6 years ago

    In my building we share tools all the time. I just advised a new neighbor not to purchase a ladder because we own one. We also share workmanship. Every one has special knowledge somebody else does not own so we share.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Interesting, reminds me of the book project where you leave a book in a public place for others to find. The only condition being once you've finished you pass it on too!

  • UrbanBlooms

    UrbanBlooms said 6 years ago

    I can see this idea really helping to build a sense of community. At our church we have a huge Clothing Swap once a year and the chapel is filled with gently used clothes, shoes, accessories, baby clothes and maternity wear. It's like a free shopping spree and so much fun!

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 6 years ago

    Agreed though we have to remember to be a good borrower, give it back and take good care of other peoples things as if they were our own in order to keep the peace, especially as products aren't made as well as they used to be and our social graces are well......improving as we now need one another again ~*~

  • akaWhippersnapper

    akaWhippersnapper said 6 years ago

    Has anyone heard of The Simple Way? Shane Claiborne is sort of the founder of a community (I think it's in PA) that lives this way - not like a commune - everyone has their own houses, and it looks like a typical neighborhood; but one family might have a lawn mower and the other a washer and dryer, and they all share their resources. Neat idea...I love the community that sharing creates! Great article!

  • Shamynk

    Shamynk said 6 years ago

    It is a wonderful idea that has deep roots in American history. Before our economy was based on endless individual consumption, sharing was common. Sharing both human energy and equipment helped America expand when it needed to. I would love to be part of a community that shared self and stuff. Thanks for advancing the issue,

  • StarsEleven

    StarsEleven said 6 years ago

    Many times I heard my grandparents talk about this sort of concept. When they were coming up, many people would borrow instead of buy new. Back during WWII, our country recycled everything, even more so than today. Consumption is the status quo these days but that can be changed. The thought out there is that consumption equals more money which in turn equals more jobs; it is a fallacy of the greatest kind.

  • 2007musarra

    2007musarra said 6 years ago

    Fantastic!!!! What a great idea. I have a ton of scrap booking paper that I wish I could find someone who really needs it wants it! I have given a ton of things to my sister in law who is a art teacher but there is only so much she can take at a time. I use it to wrap my packages and presents and orders in. I think it maybe multiplying like bunnies though....or I just could not say no to a piece of paper!!??!? Thanks for sharing

  • mudpiesandgrace

    mudpiesandgrace said 6 years ago

    My grandmother used to garden on a plot in a neighbor's yard. She had a smaller yard and was able to harvest more and share with the neighbor. It worked out great for both of them.

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 6 years ago

    there are a lot of small things that can be done collaboratively that add up to a whole lot, but i'd shy away from the communes and such.

  • Allelon

    Allelon said 6 years ago

    Shamynk, I have heard of him. In fact, I live in a similar community in Texas. It's amazing how much further a dollar goes when everyone is willing to share!

  • brigidmcnellis

    brigidmcnellis said 6 years ago

    Awesome ! I want to know more about this system and how to use it .. is there a website or something for it...?

  • floodplainstudio

    floodplainstudio said 6 years ago

    Yes! Let's focus on abundance, not scarcity!!

  • auntjanecan

    auntjanecan said 6 years ago

    This is a wonderful concept for community and sharing! Thanks for this post!

  • Shtetle

    Shtetle said 6 years ago

    I think its a lovely idea, and of course, makes a lot of sense. Possibly a little naive though. The world is not full of people with pure motives unfortunately, or those who care to treat your property the way they would their own. Guess we have to pick & choose eh?

  • inkidesigns

    inkidesigns said 6 years ago

    a little like "Ubuntu" here in Africa.........let's spread the message. I have a back yard........anyone wishing to grow veggies? I have many baking pans and trays.........anyone wanting to bake? I have boxes of fabric scraps.............anyone yearning to piece together a quilt?

  • uglyyellow

    uglyyellow said 6 years ago

    Wow - what an inspiring idea! That you for posting this - you lead me to think about it in terms of our little cities art scene...and write this: I am hoping it sparks some interesting conversations here in Spokane! ♥

  • KisforCalligraphy

    KisforCalligraphy said 6 years ago

    This has been going on for centuries. It is called community and sharing like jibbyandjuna mentions in her comment. While I am a huge fan of responsible consumption, I am also a huge fan of a healthy economy. Our need for instant gratification leads us to over consume. Wanting to read Nancy Drew books on a Sunday knowing the library will open in a day or two is symptom of this "must have it' now mentality. Collaborative consumption is a super way to practice sustainability and fiscal responsibility. But I fear that sometimes the money saved by not purchasing something is being spent on things that are being mass produced in a much more un-eco-friendly way. xoxo ps. a very good discussion nonetheless. :)

  • scavengeress

    scavengeress said 6 years ago

    In one Philadelphia neighborhood there's a "Toybrary" that works like a membership library; great alternative to buying new toys that kids get tired of quickly. But just fyi about Nancy Drew, in recent years the stories have been rewritten, making Nancy less independent and more conventionally "girly." I guess that's a really good reason to look for the oldest editions! (although the very oldest ones can have terminology that might be puzzling to younger readers).

  • MissingHeirloom

    MissingHeirloom said 6 years ago

    Collaborative Consumption - I love the idea! We do a small amount of this - with out knowing what it was called - with our neighbor - borrowing tools, scaffolding, labor, etc... But doing it on a larger scale - how wonderful! We live in a very tiny house - and I sell old stuff - and make and sell new stuff - my new mantra - to quote a famous architect - "less is more'. and a note to scavengeress: The old timey volumes are good up to volume 56 I believe.

  • SETdesign

    SETdesign said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article and I love the concept! My husband has started a green business initiative in our town and this is another way of reusing materials which would work so well alongside what he is doing with his LEED projects, etc. I am going to try a system like this in our town, plus, its a great way to meet other folks in a positive way. :)

  • Zhouart

    Zhouart said 6 years ago

    Very thoughtful

  • adoodle

    adoodle said 6 years ago

    great idea! :)

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 6 years ago

    Brilliant idea.....especially for people who only use these items once or twice a year! Thank you for sharing and giving us all great idea's! Thanks!

  • DarlesCharwin

    DarlesCharwin said 6 years ago allows users to create a wishlist as long as they upload a list of books they are willing to send to other users.

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 6 years ago

    Wonderful ideas and fantastic concepts. I can see this actually working in smaller communities. But if your live in a community where your neighbors aren't that friendly - would be difficult to make this work. Most people that could car pool - will not do it they always have excuses as to why they can not. There are even gov. programs that will provide vans if you can get enough employees interested.

  • HelloSprout

    HelloSprout said 6 years ago

    This is a great idea, to get back to community living like people used to. Moving from farm to farm as a group harvesting crops or cutting hay. I think the idea of sharing would help us all.

  • MadisonStreetBeauty

    MadisonStreetBeauty said 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this so many great ideas!

  • blbarrett

    blbarrett said 6 years ago

    I started a group on my Facebook called "The Sharing Pantry", so far I have been able to share beading materials, a new puzzle, toys, books, magazines, patterns, knitting materials and have received sewing patterns, a nearly new coffeepot to replace my broken one and several other things I needed to complete is an easy way to connect with friends everywhere and not be worried about local pickup or drop off as I am dealing with friends,,,,,cost for mailing any items is usually minimal.

  • stephofsydney

    stephofsydney said 6 years ago

    Sharing is most definitely something that has always been around - the internet is simply helping people to connect and share in ways not possible before. Have you checked out the list of examples from There are plenty of sites where you can swap books and other items. Most of the top ones are on that list, but there are heaps more out there. I run the @CollCons twitter account, so if anyone has questions, feel free to contact us through twitter. We follow and profile a lot of up-and-coming Collaborative Consumption examples. We are also on facebook!

  • AyaImpression

    AyaImpression said 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • AyaImpression

    AyaImpression said 6 years ago

    So many of us readily dispose of things that almost always have alternative uses. We just need to be more resourceful, conceptual, or creative. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • HoneysuckleLane

    HoneysuckleLane said 6 years ago

    ahhh, Nancy Drew... and Trixie Belden! After reading this, I'll have to go dig out my childhood books. :)

  • thedreamboxshop

    thedreamboxshop said 6 years ago

    yes yes yes. sign me up!

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 6 years ago


  • sweetanthem

    sweetanthem said 6 years ago

    Isn't this what Freecycle is all about? I absolutely love to freecycle. Especially on the brink of a move – sometimes you uncover things you forgot you had that someone else can really make use of.

  • BeJeweledNH

    BeJeweledNH said 6 years ago

    Very timely subject. My husband and I have been discussing some of the same swapping/sharing ideas lately with our neighbors. I think there is going to be some serious borrowing/sharing going on in our neighborhood in the near future!

  • weezieduzzit

    weezieduzzit said 6 years ago

    I couldn't help but giggle. Knowing people in your community and sharing aren't new concepts.

  • weezieduzzit

    weezieduzzit said 6 years ago

    I highly recommend the book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community to anyone interested in this concept. I'd even be willing to loan out my copy if a friend didn't already have it. :)

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 6 years ago

    It is obvious that swapping, lending and sharing are the way to go in a world that needs to slow down its consumption. The icing on the cake is the sense of community built and reinforced by this common yet overlooked need.

  • TerryAskeArtQuilts

    TerryAskeArtQuilts said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • odpeacock

    odpeacock said 6 years ago

    Who wants to put a garden in my back yard? I'm just killing stuff and I'd only want some tomatoes in return. I'll let you borrow my boxcar children books. Great ideas.

  • FlutterbyeNotes

    FlutterbyeNotes said 6 years ago

    My husband was just lamenting during a DIY house project that he didn't have the tool he needed. He wants to start a place where people donate tools (he specifically needed wood working tools) and people can come and borrow something they need. We borrow like crazy from my dad's garage!

  • JoviesJewels

    JoviesJewels said 6 years ago

    Great Idea!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 6 years ago

    Interesting story.

  • rosealida

    rosealida said 6 years ago

    Kind of similar to the library concept but for other goods. Not sure it would be popular with manufactures but definitely better for the environment and pocket book.

  • MadisonStreetBeauty

    MadisonStreetBeauty said 6 years ago

    great idea

  • PyxusPassionProject

    PyxusPassionProject said 6 years ago

    Great topic for discussion! I'm all for it and am more than happy to ask my friends and neighbors if I can borrow their tools (since I have none) or a/p last week - borrowing my friends cd player.. for which I gladly exchanged some "cat sitting" time.

  • jennyleefowler

    jennyleefowler said 6 years ago

    We have made great friends and borrowed and gifted wonderful things through our local ecycle network-- rototillers, books, and perennials, etc. There are lots of ways to make your world smaller and bigger at the same time.

  • glassandlight

    glassandlight said 6 years ago

    it's a lovely idea - kind of an outgrowth of the garage sale and the swap meet. Here in Israel there is a website for things that people want to give away. I love the idea of a borrowing kind of arrangement, though. Great article.

  • JuditLior

    JuditLior said 6 years ago

    excelent idea!

  • BagNoir

    BagNoir said 6 years ago

    Fantastic idea but I see it working in a small community were the people know which other and are ready to help you at any time. I still don't know some of my neighbours :(

  • jungledread

    jungledread said 6 years ago

    To share, brings people closer together. A worthy aim in reducing misunderstandings and isolation :)

  • angiescollectibles

    angiescollectibles said 6 years ago

    We have a huge garden which we share the produce every year. We could sell it but my husband would rather give it away. Lots of work goes into it and love. I do a lot of canning for gifts all I ask is the jars come back so I can fill them again. We love sharing the blessings God has given us. Just wish sometimes someone would help with the weeding.

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 said 6 years ago

    What a wonderufl concept! Just wondering though how would it work to borrow a car for insurance purposes? Don't know if I would be willing to do that but most counties have a social service system that has volunteer drivers if you check with your local social service system. Great article!!!

  • piecesofelises

    piecesofelises said 6 years ago

    I like the idea of sharing items we seldom use. A lady I know has been hosting "swaps" at her house lately. We all brought things we didn't want or use. I brought a box of interchangeable watch pieces, that I definitely thought was nice when it was given to me, but that I knew I would probably not wear. A teenage girl at the swap grabbed it off of the table and asked her mom excitedly if she could have it to give as a gift to her grandmother. I was happy that she would be able to give it as a gift to somebody else. For myself I found a brown leather bag, just like what I'd been looking for, and I could take it home for free! I think we all left the swap happy. Happy that we gave, and happy that we were able to get things that we wanted or needed at no cost to ourselves!

  • TheAdornedArticle

    TheAdornedArticle said 6 years ago

    First-I love Nancy Drew-I know I have these books in my house somewhere-I should really get motivated and find them. Second-What a well- timed article-my husband and I were just talking about something like this over the weekend...seems like we're not the only ones. Great post-thank you!

  • FrenchGypsy

    FrenchGypsy said 6 years ago

    Where I live in France the borrowing/sharing of tools been happening for centuries, it is called 'Troc' It also includes working for someone, doing a job they cannot do, and then they work for you for something you need doing, at no charge. It works very well. I think it's basically a way round the French tax system :o)

  • ElementalDesign

    ElementalDesign said 6 years ago

    I use the yahoo group "freecycle" - its a place to give away stuff you are aren't using anymore, or to request items you may want but can't afford. I've given away chickens, printers, etc. and recieved a picnic table and lawn furniture among other things!

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 6 years ago

    Awesome Idea.

  • Alaroycreature

    Alaroycreature said 6 years ago

    Sweet! I love this idea! Maybe i should make a poster with a list of thing i can let people borrow :P

  • loopyboopy

    loopyboopy said 6 years ago

    This is a fantastic idea and I really look forward to the concept growing and changing the way we use and consume. I'm going to look into it in my area and do my part!! As others have said I think in small communitiies this happens everyday, its a very natural and rewarding thing to share, its in larger urban areas where we've ironically become so isolated the idea has become lost, yet it is where it is probably needed most.

  • ikikata

    ikikata said 6 years ago

    I love this article: My friends and I have always practiced "clothing swaps" where we all get together and rummage through each others piles of clothing that we're tired of. I also recently moved cross-country, and instead of throwing away all my unused groceries (bottles of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, baking materials) or toiletries (shampoos and soaps and other fun girly stuff) I simply donated them to my friends, who were happy to receive such an abundance of things. It's not just about how we consume, but also about how we dispose.

  • OnASundayAfternoon

    OnASundayAfternoon said 6 years ago

    Great article! I love the concept and hope it catches on!!

  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads said 6 years ago

    I'm about in the same position as jibbyandjuna. Just being neighborly. Need to borrow our trailer? Sure! Have you finished reading that book? Can I borrow it? It would be wonderful to make a living doing this but for now, just knowing that I am in a small community of friends that don't take advantage and are willing to give as much as they take is a huge blessing.

  • quiltsbykandy

    quiltsbykandy said 6 years ago

    Wow, this is a most fascinating concept!!!

  • gaylepritchard

    gaylepritchard said 6 years ago

    I have heard of this happening on a formal scale across the country. Now, to find it in my neck of the woods!

  • NoriaLoom

    NoriaLoom said 6 years ago

    Love the idea, love the article and most of all I love the way people respond to the it!! The concept is from the same category with Couch Surfing and Carpooling witch already had a great success and impact.

  • rosemreyes

    rosemreyes said 6 years ago

    I love this idea!!!

  • ClothandPatina

    ClothandPatina said 6 years ago

    Absolutely essential...we have property that was going unused and decided to allow local bee farmers the opportunity to utilize our unused land. Great article...thanks so much for sharing.

  • EchoesOfSummer

    EchoesOfSummer said 6 years ago

    Brilliant! If not to reduce waste then to save money. For example; our car is old, a 1991 Chrysler, runs safely, do we need a new Prius... plainly simple... no. We as a society need to learn to really take care of the things that we already have, and not go for the next new thing... the plus side is we save a lot of money maintaining a perfectly good vehicle, instead of getting a new car every 5 years!

  • dieseline

    dieseline said 6 years ago

    This is a great theory. As a few people have said those of us who thive in more rural areas tend to share and trade tools, veggies, eggs, labor, etc. with neighbors often. However, both us and our neighbor depend on wood heat and had the agreement of us paying for the chainsaw and him using it to help cut wood for both of us this was an issue. We ended up cutting through out the winter as he was too lazy. Then he would sneek in our yard and help himself to our wood. When the wood was low he would use our chainsaw to cut his own wood and it was returned broken several times needing a part we had to buy. Again it's a great idea for books and things, but it's not so fun to sleep with out heat.

  • pinkbijou

    pinkbijou said 6 years ago

    Very good idea!

  • ScarletLark

    ScarletLark said 6 years ago

    Inspiring idea!

  • meltholiz

    meltholiz said 6 years ago

    Very interesting and sooo inspired! thanks for the article :)

  • anteakbooteek

    anteakbooteek said 6 years ago

    If we all got on board with this theory , life would be so joyously different!

  • MadebyLinLin

    MadebyLinLin said 6 years ago

    "myneedlehabit says: The over-indulgent American way of life has got to go! This is the next step toward the Conscientious Revolution" I may not be american, but this is so true! and goes for Canadians as well!

  • RosellaResin

    RosellaResin said 6 years ago

    I am a big fan of vrtucar car sharing here in Ottawa. The internet has allowed all of these new exciting consumer models to take off. My mold-making table was actually a freecycle find. Brave new world!

  • AquaCherry

    AquaCherry said 6 years ago

    I'm so glad to have come across this post. I love seeing our society growing with new ideas of creating & sharing instead of just consuming. Thank you for sharing this!

  • dreamdigital

    dreamdigital said 6 years ago

    Great article, fantastic idea!

  • thepapercupcakeshop

    thepapercupcakeshop said 6 years ago

    This article makes me chuckle. People are often quick to poke fun at Midwesterners, but we already do this, especially in my particular county where unemployment is the highest in the state. It is not a new concept-it is what we think family and friends are for. However-I personally never loan out anything that I cannot afford or bear to permanently lose, as humans are not perfect and when you "loan", you will undoubtedly also end up "giving".

  • MissHildebrandt

    MissHildebrandt said 6 years ago

    A good way to get to know the neighbors! We actually do this with the weedwacker, mower and steak knives. Ha!

  • SolDelSur

    SolDelSur said 6 years ago

    Sharing it's practiced in many (if not most) countries. As thepapercupcakeshop said, that's what friends and family are for, specially where overspending or going into debt is not considered equal as being patriotic. I was just amazed at how people don't share, when I first got to the US! Hopefully the economic crisis has one good consequence after all.

  • AltogetherLeather

    AltogetherLeather said 6 years ago

    An excellent idea!

  • biophiliadesigns

    biophiliadesigns said 6 years ago

    This concept of community "libraries" is much more apt and needed in urban and suburban environments in the US. yes, this does happen more often in rural communities, and rightfully so. the urban / suburban dwellers suffer from extreme isolation due to socioeconomic issues and city / regional planning. an excellent example of a successful "sharing" is the Philly Car Share program which was developed by the founder of a similar program in San Fransisco. Americans DO share... much like the rest of the world.... (@SolDelSur) its a shame it is not more prevalent or as visible as in other cultures... as Americans we know there are community gardens, churches, places of worship, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, skill share classes, workshops, seed shares, and various traditions that have recently been gaining momentum in the DIY community. There is never a "good consequence" of an economic crisis, I don't believe... but hopefully our global community can reflect on Western standards of development and the impacts of these growth patterns (economically, environmentally, and emotionally.)

  • BluJeanBeads

    BluJeanBeads said 6 years ago

    Butl I am trying to sell jewelry. I don't want you to collaborate. I want each of you and your ten friends to buy a piece of jewelry. Well I guess you could share it all around and then I want you to come back to BJB and buy a piece of jewelry and your ten friends to buy a piece of jewelry and share them all around....and then.....LOL! My sister of is also a jeweler and we purchase and trade stock together all the time. I come from a huge family (7 kids) we had to share....we still share things, time, bicycles, kids, work, cookies, and's great!

  • DejaReViewGreenArts

    DejaReViewGreenArts said 6 years ago

    Yes, in my California neighborhood - no one really knows each other. It has gotten more so this way in the last ten years. Collaboration is perhaps one excellent way for neighbors to have an opportunity to get to know one another! And I agree - sure I want people to buy my goods here on - but everytime someone buys a piece of my goods and "collaboratively" uses it - ie a friend of theirs borrows it and wears the piece to an event - perhaps it is adding to the marketability of the item and of my shop.... and not taking away from. A new circle of people may then see this item that otherwise may not have ever had any opportunity for such an introduction....and those people tell their friends....and ...and....

  • goldbee

    goldbee said 6 years ago

    Soon we will front the consequences of our consumer way of life; over production, waste and profit logic will affect our lifestyle and we will front problem of space, of health so we must re-educate ourselves and this is the first step. Thanks for sharing.

  • RescuedRemnants

    RescuedRemnants said 6 years ago

    Great post. Hummm?....But then why do I get panicky when I think about not having MY own leaf blower, weed wacker, etc??? Sounds like I may need to unleash a few of my rescued remnants and temporarily rescue a few more from my neighbors. Thanks for helping me to stretch my thinking!!

  • toms13

    toms13 said 6 years ago

    This raises a really good point about how our communities as a whole can work together to make better use of the commodities we already own rather than employing industry to manufacture and consume precious raw materials. Networks like Craig's List, eBay, and our very own Etsy show us that these kind of connections can be made online. However, the hurdle that we must first overcome is being able to trust those that we don't know personally to use our belongings respectfully and return them on time. Thank you for bringing forth such a thought provoking topic!

  • BarbaraPantuso

    BarbaraPantuso said 5 years ago

    just came across this article. i love it and love etsy. thanks for sharing the collaborative consumption movement with esty members. this is near and dear to my heart. i'm the founder of a website called Hey, Neighbor ( that aims to do just this - foster collaboration, sharing, and connecting among trusted neighbors. @toms13 - i couldn't agree more. it starts with building trust. it's hard to do that, especially given the scams we hear about, but once you start building that trust, it's amazing how communities thrive - and how it makes people happier.

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