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Do you remember my thoughts about borrowing? Back in 2016, I described shortly the benefits of sharing our items with others from a perspective of a person living a simple life. I’ve listed what I often lend from other people. The article is here: On Borrowing – Minimalist’s View. Knowing my point of view on things and ecology, people who work at a rental platform, Fat Lama, contacted me. Yes, they do exactly what I want to see in our world! So today I’ll write more about borrowing and about the Fat Lama initiative that I want to support. It’s called sharing economy but let’s use simpler, everyday words.
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The subject of borrowing, lending and renting connects in a beautiful way the values of minimalists or just people wanting to live consciously. What we value is:
– having an optimal number of possessions, not more,
– conscious consumer choices,
– building relationships with other people in our communities,
– spending money consciously.
All these points are covered when you borrow or lend things and this is why we love to borrow/lend. Let’s go to the details.
How does borrowing help us keep the optimal number of possessions?
We can find out that there are items which we need to use for example only once or twice a year, like clothes shaver, wedding-guest dress, hand drill and other home tools, skis, beach umbrella and other travel gear. In my family, if we know someone who has it, we borrow.
For me, it’s a nonsense that on a housing estate there is the same number of lawn mowers as the number of houses. How often do you mow? Once a week? Couldn’t you share one machine with at least three other neighbors?
How does borrowing help us make conscious consumer choices?
Borrowing gives us the opportunity to try items before buying and adopting them to our lives. Example? New hobbies and sports that we think could be a part of our lives. But are we sure? Are you sure that you’ll do the book scrapping or any sport for at least few months? You’ve seen it on the internet or at your friend’s. But will it be such fun also in your life? Even Leo Babuta, one of the most known minimalists, says he spent too much money on sports gear that he thought will become a part of his life, but it didn’t.
Borrowing is one more way to assess our needs, to confront our desires with the reality of our lives before making the decision.
How does borrowing help us be eco-friendly?
This one is simple! When we don’t buy another, especially new product, we don’t send the message to the producers that there is the need for more of X. When four neighbors buy one lawn mower instead of four, they produce less waste (packaging and manuals).
What would happen if a significant percentage of people would start borrowing and lending instead of buying a new item? In short: the production, which uses resources, some of which aren’t renewable and which emanates toxins to the soil, water, and air, would decrease.
Especially on the market where producers design their devices so that they break up after a few years, it’s reasonable and eco-friendly to really use the item. We need to share hand drills and kitchen appliances used twice a year.
How does borrowing help us build relationships?
We all use online stores now or go to the big supermarkets. How is our relationship with people working there? Hmmm… No relationships, right? Our email inbox has a connection with stores’ and service providers’ customer service. We say hello and thank you, bye to cashiers without even looking at them.
But we need relationships. Different types of them. Variety. A relationship with our spouse and kids, parents, siblings, extended family, a few real friends, colleagues from work… But it’s good to have neighbor relationships too. Or relationships with services providers, and with the woman owning a little shop.
Borrowing and lending things give us the opportunity to open to people. And from the first moment, we have a subject to talk about – the hand drill!
How does borrowing help us spend money consciously?
In many situations borrowing helps us to use our money for exactly and only what we need. Let me explain this.
One summer we’ve bought a beach umbrella which cost us probably around 40. We used it twice and have to keep it in the basement.
What item have you bought which you’ve used only a few times and for which you need to have a place in your home? You pay for the storage and care for the item! What’s the cost per use of your camera, sports gear or dresses?
We can save money by buying the things only for the time when we’ll need them.
Maybe I could borrow an umbrella for 5/day?
Experience all the above benefits of borrowing and lending + even make money by visiting Fat Lama
Fat Lama is a rental platform which works in the US and UK and
connects people who need things, with others in their neighborhood that have it to lend.
You can borrow things from your neighbors to save money, save time, often use better stuff than what you could afford to buy. You meet people and help the planet, which means contributing to your and others’ health!
You can also lend your belongings, fully-insured, meeting people, helping the environment and of course making money.
Think about it. Have you ever spend money when you wanted to start a new hobby? Do you have a guitar, a ukulele, a bike, a sewing machine, a tent, a campervan, a mannequin, a smoke machine, a costume or something else that you don’t use?
We don’t think it makes sense to pay for storage when your neighbours would happily pay you to use your things.
And if you need any of things listed above or something else, go to Fat Lama and check if it’s available in your neighborhood.
The idea is fantastic.
My first thoughts after hearing about the platform were about people who live away from their families and close friends. I for example used to borrow dresses or accessories for weddings from my mom and sister. Last year we moved to another part of the country. From whom could I borrow a clothes shaver that I’d like to use maybe twice a year (buying and storing seems senseless)?
On Fat Lama, there are people who offer bags. Designer bags. So you can be a minimalist or live frugally and still not get out of social games! (Yes, clothing is a social game. More on this subject in the article: 5 Thoughts after 5 Years of Being a Minimalist) So even if you don’t have sisters or mother or friends having fancy bags, you can wear another trendy bag on every party while having only one bag at home for which you’ve paid the full price.
It’s the perfect option for people who fell in love with capsule wardrobe but have one problem with it: they feel the need to be ok will social conventions that, honestly speaking, require from us having many many clothes.
Think about your next planned purchases. Maybe you’ll consider trying it first or only renting for the time when you’ll need it instead of buying new?
Then go through your shelves, wardrobe, attic, basement or whatever storage spaces you have. Could you help someone and make some money by lending something you actually don’t use?
What other minimalists say:
Public Libraries and Unconventional Borrowing by Courtney Carver
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