Sharing: Sure Beats Buying

Do you have a power drill? How many times have you used it? I was startled to learn that the average power drill is only used a handful of times, and is actually “running” for just 6 to 13 minutes in its lifetime. At that rate, a few power drills, properly shared, could probably serve a whole neighborhood. And yet most families have their own.

Sharing! photo by Ben Grey / flickr

This isn’t just silly – it’s a waste of resources, a waste of money, and it separates us from our communities. It’s not just power drills – think about how fast kids outgrow toys and clothes, or how often you actually use your Bundt Pan or your biggest soup pot. We’re buying lots of stuff that we could be borrowing instead. Sharing also means doing more while producing, shipping, and disposing of less.

That’s why we were excited to see this new guide from the Center for a New American Dream. Definitely worth a read: learn how to start a clothes-swap, a tool-lending library, or a solar-energy cooperative, plus much more.

A sneak peek at the Guide!

There may already be a vibrant “sharing” movement near you. Learn more. Here are some tips from the same group:

For examples, you can share items like tools, outdoor gear, and gardening supplies with friends and neighbors using an online exchange service like NeighborGoods. Try for sharing used kids clothes and toys. For things you don’t want anymore, consider organizing a clothing swap or offering them for free (or trade) on Craigslist or Freecycle. You can even rent or share workspace through websites like

Why not share your vehicle as well? By joining a peer-to-peer car sharing program, you can make a little extra cash sharing your wheels with friends–and even strangers–in a safe, convenient way. Programs available in big cities include Boston’s RelayRides, New York’s RentMyCar, Pittsburgh’s Go-Op, and San Francisco’s Getaround and Spride Share. And if you don’t feel like driving, discover the benefits of ridesharing for quick errands, daily carpooling, and even cross-country travel, using services like eRideshareRidester or AlterNetRides.

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