Do you have too much stuff? Join the club. Many of us have closets, cabinets and basements full of belongings that we seldom use and don’t really need to own. Having too much stuff has all kinds of fallout: The overuse of material resources, more junk in landfills, wasted money and lower productivity caused by the stress of living in a whole lot of clutter.
In response to possession overload, many people are trying to dematerialize, reducing the possessions they own and sharing or renting items that they don’t need to use all the time. In some cases, these folks establish informal networks among families and friends, exchanging and borrowing tools, clothing and other items.
More structured dematerialization options include borrowing music, films and books from a public library or renting cleaning equipment from a grocery or hardware store. Several e-commerce businesses offer subscription-based rentals of everything from DVDs to high-end purses and clothing.
Still not sure if dematerialization is right for you? Here are five ways that you can benefit from sharing with others:
Declutter Your Home, Declutter Your Brain
Household clutter can lead to stress, making it difficult for you to focus on work, relationships and hobbies. In fact, the clutter can make it hard to even take the first steps toward better household organization. The best way to fight clutter is to keep it from happening.
Access to Better Quality
When you rent an item, you can often get to use products of higher quality than those that you could afford to buy. For example, you may not be able to afford a high end steam cleaner for your rugs, but you can easily afford to rent one.
Tired of making repairs on clothing, cars or household items? Many of the companies and organizations that rent or loan items assume responsibility for maintenance and repairs.
Relocation Gets Easier
The U.S. Census Bureau states that the average person will move house 11.7 times in his or her lifetime. Moves are costly and time consuming: The more stuff you have, the more you’ll pay for moving costs. Not to mention the amount of time you spend packing and unpacking. When you live light, you have fewer worries when it is time to move on.
Items Wear Out Instead of Rusting Out
When an item is used by several people, it eventually wears out from use, not from neglect or obsolescence. This is a more efficient use of manufacturing materials and means less needless waste.
When you share your own belongings, or participate in a rental program, you help make life more affordable and sustainable for others. Rental businesses thrive when they have a lot of customers: They have more capital and can offer a wider selection of higher quality items for member use. The same holds true when you are willing to loan out your household tools or become a member of your local library.
What sorts of items do you borrow? Have you got rid of any major possessions, such as a car, in favor of a rental or sharing program? Tell us about it in the comments.