As I pulled my extra warm sleeping bag out to loan to a friend, I was reminded of an approaching visitor and asked “could I please borrow your blow-up mattress in a few weeks?”. You see, my friend has started to go camping with her family and I occasionally need a spare bed, we each had items the other needed. Rather than go out and buy more ‘stuff’, we had started to loan bulky seldomly needed items to each other. This arrangement is perfect, after all why buy when you can borrow!
Many homes I visit have a large chunk of space taken up by rarely used items. It’s easy to accumulate stuff and it isn’t always to do with over-consuming. Life is filled with activities that require stuff –hobbies, sports, travel, camping, cleaning paraphernalia, tools and equipment, events just to name a few.
Having less stuff isn’t about removing experiences or doing without; it’s about making informed choices on what we really need and finding useful strategies for bits and pieces that are only useful occassionally.
The cost of keeping too much
Thinking about how much space rarely used items are taking up; how much time is spent trying to manage the ever decreasing space; the maintenance to keep items in good working order; the cost to our pockets and the environment, borrowing rather than buying solves a lot of problems.
Think about it, have you ever purchased something because you:
Found a new hobby or sport that you didn’t spend as much time doing as you originally thought
Take the odd trip away.
Are doing a yearly or quarterly job that requires specialised tools or equipment.
In most instances we have the choice on whether to hire, borrow or buy.
Borrow, don’t buy
The benefits of not having to constantly buy the stuff wanted for our lifestyles is huge. There will be less time researching the best price, more room in our homes, less to clean and maintain – winning!
There are of course risks involved with loaning things out or borrowing items. If you are not comfortable with borrowing out your own stuff than it’s best not to ask for anything in return.
It’s important that everyone involved shares the same values. We of course want the item back; it needs to be in the same condition as it was when it was taken; a timeline needs to be agreed upon.
And showing our appreciation by servicing equipment or giving the items back with a bottle of wine, or sending a thank you card is always a nice touch.
It can be easy to lose track of items we have borrowed or loaned out.
There is nothing worse than going to get something and not finding it, especially if we can’t remember if we did actually loan it out or who to.
It’s the same when we find something we know isn’t ours, the guilt of having forgotten to return it, trying to remember whose it is and the embarrassment of approaching that person!
Make life easy
Instead of relying on your memory, take simple steps to record the information:
- Take a photo – this not only reminds you of make and model but also condition of the item.
- Record the information with who borrowed it, or who it belongs to, when it was taken and the estimated return date.
- Set a reminder of when to expect it back or when to return the item.
Keep all this information in one place:
There are many ways to record the information, it needs to be easy to maintain and not lose, you could consider:
- A handwritten list stuck to the side of the fridge or inside the pantry
- Using the ‘iLend’ app. It helps you keep track of tools, equipment, clothes, money that you let people borrow. You can even set it to send a reminder to your friend.
- Start a notebook in Evernote or a board or list on Trello
As my partner open a nice cold beer (a neighbours thank you gift for borrowing his trailer), I ask again ‘why buy when you can borrow?’
Don’t delay, start today