Day 176 Borrow

There are so many things that we keep on standby just in case we might need them. Things that take up an incredible amount of precious space in our homes. I have been giving this problem a bit of thought lately and have come up with a solution which is the word for today…


Lets say your sister is coming to visit and she has three kids but you only have one spare queen bed. The Sister and one child can sleep in that bed but where are the other two to sleep. Rather than have spare bedding crammed into cupboards and basements you could borrow a mattress and blankets from a friend or neighbour. Often these people are not only happy to give you what you need but they feel glad to be helpful.

I am sure this solution can be applied to many situations.

  • I borrow DVDs from my neighbours all the time. It was their idea so I don’t feel like I am imposing. I collect their mail when they are away and they go away fairly often so it is a symbiotic relationship.
  • My friends know I have the tools to fix their pieces of jewellery and I am happy to do repairs for them, in turn they do favours for me. This is a prime example of borrowing each others unique resources instead of everyone having to own rarely used equipment.
  • One friend loves Self Help books so I borrow hers rather than buy my own because I don’t need book clutter in my home.
  • When it comes to books you can always borrow from the Library as well.
  • Sometimes it is another person’s time and assistance that you need to borrow. Like when your husband takes your car to work but you suddenly need a ride somewhere. There is usually a friend you can rely on to help. It is better to call on this lifeline occasionally than owning a second car that you don’t really need most of the time.
  • Share resources with friends who have similar interests. If you and a friend have the same hobby like scrapbooking, share tools like shape punches, dye cutting machines, texture plates etc rather than buying duplicate items between you.

You will notice that in most of the example above there is a give and take theme. This two way generosity is the only way this plan can work because if you only take and do not give, people will soon stop helping because this is not a one way street.

I am sure there are no end to the variety of things that can be shared between friends and neighbours. Give it a thought the next time you consider purchasing an item you know you will rarely use. If you are uncomfortable with sharing then there are also places where you can hire certain items, furniture, white goods, tools etc. It is worth investigating.


I gave this one to a friend who had a use for it
Water Jug Set

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. My husband and brother-in-law share a lawn mower. We only live 5 minutes drive from my sister, so it is no hassle to do this, and it’s worked well for years.
    My sister and I share everything! Clothes, shoes, makeup, books, DVDs, crockery, babysitting our kids, we take it in turns to drive when we go out. Sadly, she’s moving interstate next year, so we have to make the most of being able to do this. I’ll really miss her (and her stuff!)

    • Hi Loretta,
      how sad your sister is moving away. It sounds like you have had a wonderful, sharing relationship. I hope you have a friend you can turn to to help fill the void not only of emotions but also of stuff.

  2. I think you are so right about sharing. I have a friend who lives in a condo. Her condo association has a full set of tools and small appliances that they all share. You check them out just like a book in a library. They are in a locked area and their clubhouse key card is what lets them in and out. So there is a way to know that someone has been in the room and borrowed something. It works really well and everyone shares things so no one has to buy or store them.

    • Hi Deb,
      the people who set that up at the condo were forward thinkers. What a great idea. Every neighbourhood should have one on those. I live in a set of seven townhouses and they are a nice bunch of people I am sure it would work here but there is no clubhouse or common room to use for such a venture. I am sure if I ever needed anything my neighbours would be happy to help out as I would be for them.

  3. Hello,
    I would like to live next to a proper library, unfotunately i am interested in a lot of odd subjects such as spirituality, philosophy, maths, ethics …. and these books are very few in my town library. Unless we live in a big city, to live without buying books is irrealistic. Here, in France, we do not have many second-hand sellers or exchange groups.
    nicole from France

    • Bonjour Nicol,
      Je suis désolé que vous n’ayez pas de bonne bibliothèque dans votre ville. J’ai une bibliothèque deux rues en bas d’où je vis. Je peux des carnets de commandes de la plus grande bibliothèque dans la ville de là. Comment sont vous capable d’acheter les livres faites vous leur ordonnez sur Internet.
      Je suis sûr qu’il y a d’autres façons de mener une vie simple dans une petite ville.

  4. Absolutely!!! Borrowing and lending are great! Why on earth does every household have to clutter up their space (and environment) by owning everything themselves? For rarely used stuff borrowing works especially well. FIL has every kind of tool known to man and we borrow a lot.. It’s awesome to just finish a task and then take everything back to him hehe. Books are great to pass around… Semi-communal living is great also, you can have a shared library and television room, as well as a laundry room, tools, games and so on! Our old neighbors left a baby stroller and outdoor toys to the common storage for anyone to use, and we are using those now (only child the suitable age in our apt. at the moment). I say, SHARE!!!! 😀

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      yes sharing is great. I have a neighbour who according to his wife is a bit of a hoarder. Even his garden is full of herbs the two of them couldn’t possibly eat all of. He loves to share though and that works for me. It is about time I had them over for dinner again to keep in the good books.

  5. My best friend happens to be my next door neighbor. We borrow many items from each other; books, DVDs, heating pad, small appliances, tools, pots/pans etc. She’s borrowing my inflatable bed for the weekend away. This isn’t exactly borrowing, but we also carpool as much as possible.

    • Hi Betty Jo,
      Car pooling is great for those involved and for the environment so it is a great form of borrowing. If it is something you use of someone else’s and you intned to pay them back somehow that is borrowing in my book. Sounds like you have a very good set up there with your friend and neighbour.

  6. Love sharing, borrowing, lending. I share the a newspaper subscription with my parents, who live next door, and we also only have one set of large lawn equipment between the two of us. Other neighbors set all their play equipment in their front yard, and it draws the kids and makes a community. I love it!

    • Hi Cindy,
      we used to live in on a cul-de-sac street when we were in America and it was great for the kids to be able to play safe out there without having to worry about traffic. One of the neighbours put their basketball hoop out there and the kids would all get together and play. There was a lot of sidewalk chalk used up between them all over the years as well.

  7. My friend shares her books on tape with me, and she has access to my garden.

    • Hi Willow,
      do you have access to a good library close by as well. I am lucky because there is a branch of our city library three blocks down the street. I am able to borrow from their sellection and also they can order books, dvds, magazines etc in from all the other branches in the district. They also have mobile libraries that go out to the outlining areas so the people out there have access to the system also.

  8. Colleen, Our town has a great library; it’s about 6 miles from our house. My husband teaches at a university so if I can’t find a book anywhere else, he can usually get it for me through the CA State system. Then I teach at the library in the next town over once a week, so I can check out books there too. I’m so fortunate to have access to so many books!

  9. Borrowing is great if the item is returned in the same condition in which it was lent. I have been lending my hand mixer once a month to a woman to make a cake. When she returns it, even on the same day, it reeks so much of cigarette smoke that I have to leave it out on my porch for 3 – 4 weeks to air it out. Today when she came for it, I decided to just give it to her since she uses it more than I do. I have a larger one that I use. What a great freeing experience to just give it away!!!

    • Hi Di,
      Cigarette smoke, now there is something I don’t want anyone sharing with me. To each his own I say but that’s not for me. You are very generous to give away your mixer like that. You saw someone in need and did your bit to make her life easier. What a lovely person you are! Thanks for making the world a better place.