Viva La Sharalution!


As a kid, I remember my mother sending me next door or down the street every now and then to borrow a cup of sugar or flour from a neighbor. My mom thought nothing of it, and neither did the neighbors.

However, in my adult lifetime, I have yet to have someone ask me to borrow something nor have I asked to borrow something from a neighbor. I think most people are in the same situation as I am. We don't dare ask our neighbors for anything anymore. Why is that?

There are a few reasons:

• We all own our own stuff now. Our culture of consumerism says buy, buy, buy; not share, share, share. Everyone owns their own car and cell phone these days.
• We're impatient. We want our own stuff so we can use it when we want to, not when it's convenient for someone else. We also don't want anyone damaging our goods. It's no fun when someone borrows your lawnmower and brings it back with the pull cord missing. On the other hand, we don't want to worry about messing up someone else's lawnmower, either.
• We don't know our neighbors. It can be pretty uncomfortable to go ask a stranger to borrow something.

Luckily, this trend is beginning to change. With the economy going kaput, a backlash against American waste and people really trying to improve their communities, a sharalution is on the rise. Sharing websites where people can post items they are willing to exchange, give away or share with others are popping up everywhere. Neighborhood forums are also on the rise, giving similar information.

Many people have started to realize that sharing can really bond a neighborhood. It creates a sense of trust and friendliness that many of our neighborhoods currently lack. It helps you get to know people in your neighborhood that you may have never spoken to otherwise. Good fences don't make good neighbors, sharing does. Not only that, it also conserves resources and can save you a heck of a lot of money.

How to Share with your Neighbor:
➠ Always be polite—whether you are the borrower or the sharer.
➠ It's OK to say "no." Be prepared to hear "no."
➠ Explain how the machine, mechanism, tool, etc., works, and be sure the borrower understands.
➠ Return what you borrowed in better condition than when you received it.
➠ If it requires something like gasoline or oil, gas up or add oil before you return it.
➠ As soon as you are finished with it, return it. Don't let it sit in your garage for a month.
➠ If you break it, you buy it or pay to get it fixed. Period.

Neighborhood sharing sites:
http://www.frontporchforum.com (currently only in Vermont, but you can read about success stories on their website)

National sharing sites:
´ http://www.barterquest.com
´ http://www.shareable.net
´ http://www.priorattire.com
´ http://www.swapbabygoods.com
´ http://www.zwaggle.com
´ http://www.switchplanet.com
´ http://www.swapadvd.com
´ http://www.swapstyle.com
´ http://www.swap.com
´ http://www.lendaround.com


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