Does this look familiar? We’ve all got a garage or basement full of gadgets, tools and appliances used once, twice or maybe only a few times a year. Owning stuff that you only use once or twice a year requires full payment, maintenance costs and storage. Is it really worth it to sacrifice garage space for a rototiller you use one time a year? Cupboard space for a roaster you use for an annual holiday party? Closet space for a carpet cleaning machine you drag out twice a year?
Part of a “Greener Consciousness” is having less stuff. A great way to achieve this end is by renting or borrowing. For minimal cost, you can enjoy all of the benefits of a rototiller, movie, party tables and chairs and even an RV. Since buying less stuff means a smaller carbon footprint, renting and borrowing is not only an economically sound choice, it’s environmentally beneficial as well. Many hardware stores offer a huge inventory of items to rent, and many cities have party warehouses where you can rent the necessities for any size of bash for any type of celebration. The concept of renting and borrowing has evolved far beyond video stores, time share condominiums in Florida and public libraries–you can even share ownership of a car through Flexcar and Zipcar.
Borrowing can be beneficial too. Two of Enviro Girl’s neighbors borrow her family’s rototiller every spring, in turn one lends her use of his full-size pickup truck on the rare occasion she has something large to haul. Another neighbor lends his tractor for field work. Their neighborhood generously lends out books, cake pans, card tables and chairs, extra rakes and pitchforks and shovels, garden hoses, sprinklers, serving trays and lawn chairs as freely as most neighborhoods exchange recipes. In this spirit of generosity, everyone has what they need when they need it, and most items are returned with a plateful of fresh-baked cookies. Enviro Girl thinks there is no better payment for use of a rototiller than warm chocolate chip cookies.
Sometimes it’s worth the money and hassle to buy something to own it. But the next time you’re considering purchasing an item that you’ll use only once or twice a year before finding space to store it, rent it or borrow it instead. Your wallet and your storage cupboards will thank you.
Tell the Eco Women: what do you rent or borrow?