Doing This Will Save You Money & Improve Your Relationship with Your Neighbors

Written by on December 4, 2015 in Business, Conscious Living, Economy, Thrive with 2 Comments

 Does everyone in the neighborhood really need a lawn mower? Sharing Communal Property Benefits Everybody & Strengthens Relationships


By Madeleine Somerville | The Guardian

One year ago I owned a house. Today I rent a one-bedroom suite with my daughter.

There were dozens of factors contributing to this drastic shift in my life, the majority of which were beyond my control. But from where I stand now, even after what might be called a downgrade in our living arrangement, I feel oddly happy.

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This contentment comes in large part from the fact that when we needed to move, a suite became available in the same house my sister rented. It was a sweetly serendipitous coincidence, and I’ve felt grateful for it every day since.

At the time, I was mostly just overcome with relief. Relief because the decisions I’d made to live a life with few possessions meant that moving from an entire house into a one-bedroom suite was not only possible but easy. We fit, with room to spare.

I was also relieved because I knew I’d need emotional support from my sister during this challenging transition (not to mention the free babysitting), but in the eight months I’ve lived here an unintended benefit has emerged.

Our possessions have become shared, ownership is fluid. Small appliances are constantly exchanged between my sister and I. We trade meals and split resources. This arrangement goes far beyond borrowing a cup of sugar: we pool resources together in order to save money, increase our quality of life, and reduce the amount of stuff we each have to own and store.

It’s been eye-opening.

It had been years since I’d started consciously shifting my choices to mitigate my negative impact on the environment. I’d focused on decreasing my footprint, using fewer resources. And while I initially approached things like a well-intentioned martyr, I quickly learned that creating a life with less means more choice. This latest discovery was no exception.

An extensive wardrobe means you need somewhere to store it. A home with walk-in closets doesn’t come cheap, and your university furniture looks shabby against a gleaming background of hardwood floors and polished granite.

Your cost of living increases with the amount of stuff you require, and so too does the amount of hours you work; your leisure time is reduced to evenings and weekends, and a one-week holiday here and there.

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We choose that. Perhaps not consciously, but we do. Like a dieter who eats one small donut a day, the dozens of little decisions we make every day snowball into shaping larger life decisions.

There’s a lovely quote by Thoreau which has remained close to my heart since I first read it: “The price of anything is the amount of life we have to pay for it.”

We, many of us, have bought in and are paying dearly. We’re mortgaged to the hilt and trying in vain to dig ourselves out of debt. We can’t quit our jobs, or reduce our workloads, or even take more than a few weeks off a year because we need keep working for the things we want, and we pay for them with the minutes and hours that make up our lives.

Often we don’t even question these habits, which is a shame because other options are out there.

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I’d always focused on simply buying less, but moving just a few feet away from my sister meant that I began to see a different perspective – communal ownership. Shifting our lives away from needing to own everything and beginning to resurrect the traditions of sharing, lending, trading and borrowing.


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  1.' The Little Green Revolution says:

    Free ebook on the psychology behind Santa

  2.' Kerry Begin says:

    Yea about that, I still haven’t got my fishing rod back yet…or the twenty bucks I lent broke my lawn mower too.. prick.
    U see, nice idea but it doesn’t translate real well especially since I’m surrounded with sociopaths and self entitled schmucks..

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