One of the ways we've been able to radically reduce our possessions (and it's a big journey, it still feels like we have so much stuff!) is by choosing to borrow rarely used items instead of owning them. Here are some of the things we've discovered we'd rather borrow than own.
- Large Kitchen Items: We've given rarely used items such as a second roasting pan and a large chafing dish to my sister-in-law who caters weddings. This way, these things are being used many times throughout the year instead of the once or twice we may need it. And when we need those items for a big shindig, we are welcome to borrow them back (along with anything else we may need!)
- Movies and Television Series' on DVD: Let's face it, we probably won't watch every single episode of Corner Gas ever again (it would, after all, be the forth or fifth time...) but if we ever decide to watch them again, there is a good chance that we can borrow them back from the library we are donating them to. I wouldn't suggest donating anything to your local library that you know you will need again, it may end up getting sold in a book sale or damaged. But for items you may-sorta-kinda want to refer to again someday, this is a great solution....because it's actually getting used in the mean time!
- Camping Supplies: Unless you regularly go camping with everybody you know, there is really no reason for every household to own every possible camping item. We can avoid buying some things by borrowing them from friends and family who weren't going to be using them that weekend anyways.
- Serving Utensils: When hosting a potluck or large holiday dinner where everybody has committed to bring something I can just remind people to bring the serving utensil needed for the dish they are bringing. That way I only need to own one ladle, one pie server, and one slotted spoon. This keeps my kitchen drawers more manageable for all those days when we don't have 3 different pies to serve.
Some benefits of borrowing (and lending) instead of owning:
- It saves money.
- It builds and encourages community.
- It allows our things to be used, instead of collecting dust, when we don't need them.
- It means we don't need to devote space to storing infrequently used items.
- It reduces rampant consumerism. Which means less stuff being manufactured, less stuff being transported, and less stuff being disposed of in a society where the richest 16 percent of the world (if you are reading this, that number almost certainly includes you) consumes 80% of the worlds natural resources.
- Stuff begets stuff. I'm not sure I can explain why this is, but the more stuff we have/want/buy the more we think we still need. In some backwards way that I can't quite articulate yet, having less = wanting less.
We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!