If there's one thing the holidays remind us of, it's that we have way too much stuff. How many times this season have you received a well-meaning gift and wondered where you were going to keep this new treasure?
Stuff can be stressful. It piles up, it clutters our lives, and most of us could probably do with a bit less stuff in our lives, right? This is where swap services come in. Rather than buy a new lamp, maybe you can swap that cookbook you never use for a lamp that someone else isn't using. No one spends any money, you both get what you want, and you're left with no more stuff than before - just different stuff.
Not only does stuff stress us out, buying new comes with a whole set of environmental impacts. It takes resources to create, package, and ship new items around the world. Many of those new products were made in sweatshop conditions or polluting factories. When you swap and share in stead of buying new, you reduce that impact considerably.
Swapping and other collaborative buying and use services are on the rise, and researcher Rachel Botsman studies the reason these systems are becoming more and more successful. Her findings are quite heartening. She spoke on collaborative consumption in a TED talk this spring:
Crowd Power! It's an inspiring concept, don't you think? I love the idea of pulling together as a community to reduce our consumption by sharing what we already have. From sharing goods and services to car sharing and yard sharing, it's easier than ever to get what we need without spending money and while reducing our environmental footprints at the same time!
Do you use any swap services? We'd love to hear your experiences in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Ben Grey