From a very young age, my mother taught me about recycling and sharing with the community. She was raised in Eastham, Cape Cod during the depression and recycling meant re-using, re-purposing and recycling by giving things away to organizations, friends and family on a regular basis.
As a homeschooling mom, I collected and saved materials, books and papers for teaching. I never knew when I was going to need 20 empty egg cartons for girls in the Girl Scout Troop to create mandala games and earn a badge. We lived on three acres in Baltimore and we shared space on our front yard for our 4-H club to build a community garden. I joined the Yahoo group for homeschooling with 1000 families in the Baltimore-Washington area sharing books, organizing trips to educational programs at the Smithsonian, and connecting people who were teaching in a community-based learning approach.
Sharing what I have is my normal and I love finding people and organizations that want to share, too. Some of my favorite organizations right now are:
Freecycle: The Freecycle Network is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. https://www.freecycle.org/
When my youngest daughter, Hannah and and I moved from Maryland to California, we sold or gave away all of our furniture. After seven months of living in temporary spaces, we signed up for Freecycle and people gave us beautiful, wooden bookcases, a desk, a dining room table and chairs. Better furniture than we had in Maryland!
Little Free Libraries: Little Free Library is a 501 nonprofit organization that aims to inspire a love of reading, build community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. https://littlefreelibrary.org/
During the last year, I have lived in Seattle, Los Angeles, NYC and Baltimore. I like to find Little Free Libraries in different areas and drop off a book and see if there is a book I would like to read.
Trusted House Sitters: By offering your time and care for other’s pets for free, you can enjoy staying for free in locations world-wide, whether you’re looking for a weekend or a few months. https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/
Last year, I exchanged pet care for housing in Los Angeles. Originally, I was going to rent office space and sleep on a friend’s couch. I was in LA for 20 weeks, found five different pet sitting experiences in West Los Angeles and Venice Beach, and I had great work spaces in the different homes while I finished a project with writing, and with group and individual coaching on Zoom. It saved me money, provided a service for the families, connected me with new and interesting people and animals, and gave me access to the beach.
And there’s more! Uber Pool, Zipcar, Clothing Swap Parties, Food Co-ops and the list goes on and on and on.
What are your experiences with being the change in the world and connecting with people in collaborative consumption, the shared economy?
Written by: Andrea Hylen