GOOD Maker Finalists: Unconventional Lending Libraries

Have more, own less. That’s the ethos behind the online communities helping people lend and exchange the stuff collecting dust in their garages.

Have more, own less. That’s the ethos behind the online communities helping people lend and exchange the stuff collecting dust in their garages. Think, NeighborGoods, and GiftFlow. Thanks to hundreds of digital platforms like these, the sharing economy is booming, curbing wasteful forms of hyper-consumption in simple but innovative ways. So we took notice when many of you proposed GOOD Maker projects that take borrowing offline and create space for connection in your neighborhood. These submissions give us reason to hope that collaborative consumption isn’t merely a trend, but a movement that’s here to stay.

Take the Hamline Midway Coalition in St. Paul, Minnesota. The community organization submitted a creative plan to start a neighborhood library that stocks gardening tools which are usually expensive and only needed for short projects. In other words, the kind that are perfect for sharing. Why purchase a $200 weed wrench when you can borrow one for the afternoon?

In Portland, OR, Kitchen Share Southeast operates a community library of specialty cooking utensils. The program, which was started by Americorps volunteer Kim Mack, plans to offer neighbors a diverse collection of free kitchen appliances and tools, from pasta machines to popcorn makers. Mack envisions Kitchen Share, a participant in the GOOD 100 Challenge on GOOD Maker, expanding someday to include a community-supported kitchen where locals can swap both recipes and cutlery.

Last summer, fellow Portland resident, artist, and GOOD Maker finalist Laura Allcorn created FLUX, a lending service that offers fashionistas an alternative to owning. Says Allcorn, “FLUX was born out of a curiosity I had in the future of fashion. It’s clear, given the rising costs due to material shortages, that our current pace of consumption is not sustainable.” She thought about how little she wore some of the garments in her own closet, especially dresses and blouses that seemed to lose their luster after a few wears. After gauging local interest, Allcorn opened a brick-and-mortar storefront for six weeks to experiment with the free service, discovering that women enjoyed the experience almost as much as spending money at a boutique. She remembers, “Many said they loved finding something new to mix into their wardrobe. The pieces they borrowed somehow made their other garments feel new again.” The next FLUX pop-up is set to open in Portland this summer.

Want to learn more about GOOD Maker and how to submit a brilliant idea of your own? Drop us a line at maker[at]goodinc[dot]com, sign up for our email list, or check out the current challenges on GOOD Maker.

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