Five cool things you can use without owning them: the sharing economy

Five cool things you can use without owning them: the sharing economy

The rise and rise of the sharing economy

We’re used to borrowing some stuff, like movies and books (remember your local library? Go visit, if you haven’t been for a while).

Now, thanks to the rise of the sharing economy (or access economy) we can borrow bikes, clothes, tools, cars, space, time and more – sometimes from companies set up for sharing; and sometimes from people like us.

You don’t want to buy a power drill just to hang a picture, right? (Though many people do: according to EarthShare, the average power drill is used for just 6 to 13 minutes over its lifetime).

Five things you may not have realised you can borrow

Here, in no particular order are just a few interesting things the sharing economy allows you to borrow for an hour, a day or a week:

  • A bike. Discover the next frontier of bike-riding at the Sydney Cargo Bike library. What can you carry? Your imagination (and your thigh muscles) are the limit. Or if you live down south, try one of the sturdy blue share bikes in Melbourne: it’s a surprisingly genteel way to get around.
  • A vegetable garden. Are your green thumbs itching to grow some veggies, but your growing space only stretches to a window box? Find someone with growing space to spare (or turn your front lawn into a veggie patch and find an eager gardener) at Landshare.
  • A dress. Have a wedding to go to (even your own?) You can save a lot by renting a dress from here or here or here (or somewhere else!).
  • A helping hand. Airtasker is a way to find people to help out with odd jobs (some odder than others). Free up some time by delegating errands, or call in some expertise when you need it. Pay by the hour, and you won’t have any favours to return.
  • A textbook. Libraries are awesome, but when it comes to the expensive texts you need for study or work, they might not have the range you need. Plus, someone always recalls the best books when you want to keep them.

Why is access sometimes better than ownership?

Using stuff just when you need it, instead of owning it, saves you money. It also saves you space: you don’t end up with a house (and a storage unit) full of stuff you don’t use. And it’s more sustainable, because it reduces the number of new things that need to be made.

Know of any others?

Do you know of others things you can (or would like to) use without having to own them? Have you had any experiences (good or bad) with the sharing economy? Post a comment below – we’d love to hear from you.

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