The term ‘sharing economy’ is one with which many of us have become familiar over the past few years. Probably the 2 most well-known are Air BnB (accommodation) and Uber (transport). Both have been the subject of some negative media exposure due to their disruptive impact on well established and regulated industries – hotels and taxis.
There are many other far less formalised arrangements including community toy libraries, crop swaps, Boomerang bags, Christmas street parties and so on.
On a personal level, it can be as simple as giving some excess produce to a neighbour or borrowing a piece of equipment to complete some home maintenance.
In the spirit of sharing I want to tell you about what this mindset can look like.
Early in the year we decided to spend Christmas at the beach and found a beach house on Air BnB. It has enough space for 6 of us – GMan and I, our 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters. The house is a couple of blocks from the beach and while not super cheap, it is much more affordable than similar apartment accommodation.
We have an elderly cat and dog who both need twice daily medication so we organised housesitters for a week. This is a win-win as our home is occupied, the animals cared for and the housesitters have a week of free accommodation in a different setting – a holiday by any other name. Unlike, Air BnB no money changes hands.
Harvey is pictured with my sister’s dog is is not much more than a pup. It is a gorgeous photo of them both but certainly accentuates his advanced age.
2 days before we were due to leave for our beach holiday, our television chose to cease working – just stopped. No warning, no nothing. We only have one television so it meant that there would be no television viewing for the housesitters and we were not inclined to rush out to buy a new television a couple of days before Christmas. Our daughter from Brisbane kindly brought her television and we set it up for the housesitters before all going to the beach. Since our daughter was coming to the beach it was not going to be being used at her place this week. Once we are home and have done some research on our options, we will buy a replacement.
Still on the Christmas theme, we try to keep our Christmas gifts either practical, consumable or experiences. A few months ago, one of our daughters commented that she would like some more drinking glasses as they had recently had a few breakages. I was happy to oblige but in the end I packaged up 6 matching glasses that I had owned for many years that were simply sitting in the sideboard and not being used. There did not seem to be a lot of sense in going out and buying more for a gift when there were perfectly good ones at home. Whilst not exactly an heirloom, she is happy to have these familiar glasses and I am pleased that are being used.
It is now 12 months since I first became involved in making Boomerang bags and you can read all about it here. I have made well over 100 bags with fabric that I had in my stash, have been gifted and some bought from the local Salvos op shop. A large quantity was given to me by my neighbour who is involved with the local Neighbourhood Centre. While some of the fabric is suitable for making a basic bag, I don’t think it is necessarily quite up to the standard required for the bags we are making for sale. So, I have prepared enough fabric and straps to make 50 bags without the additional pocket. These will be given back to Neighbourhood Centre for use when distributing food relief parcels to those in need. I intend to add a note to each bag to encourage the recipient to reuse it for collecting food or another purpose. They could also pass it on to someone else if they choose.
I have several other plans for 2019. These include being more efficient with our vegetable gardening so that I can share the produce with my neighbours. Then there is our room which we offer through Air BnB. We do not have a lot of guests as it has limited appeal, particularly as it is in a semi-rural area with no access to public transport. On the up side – it is a quiet, get-away from it all spot located located close to some great scenery, walks and other relaxing activities.
You could say I have left the best until last – the blog. This has been my platform for sharing snippets of my life, including organising hints, recipes, thoughts and a thousand other things with you, my readers, over almost 8 years.
I would love to hear some examples of how you have or plan to participate in the sharing economy. By sharing our experiences with each other we can build and enhance our networks and knowledge for the benefit of all.
Thank you for sticking with me during the leaner times on the blog and I look forward to moving onward and upward in 2019.