Why spend good money on a power drill you’ll only use once in a blue moon — when you could borrow it from a neighbor for free? Trouble is, many of us don’t know our neighbors — let alone what tools they have in their garages.
All you have to do is plug in your ZIP code on the NeighborGoods site to see a Google map that displays the borrowable goodies near you (locations aren’t exact to preserve your privacy). If you live in Venice, everything from a Canon Powershot camera to a mountain bike’s potentially borrowable right now!
“NeighborGoods is more about borrowing, and renting, and sharing things with people you know,” Micki says, “getting more value out of stuff that would be collecting dust in your garage, like a lawnmower, a power drill, a ladder — the kinds of things we all tend to own but don’t use very much.”
Would-be borrowers and lenders can also search by object or category for the item they need — as well as leave feedback on items they’ve borrowed and the neighbors they borrowed from. This way, everyone’s virtual garage space gets bigger — and rich with sharable tools and resources.
Sharing — and thus buying less — is the environmental goal behind NeighborGoods. “I’ve been in the sustainability space for a long time on the web, building communities and trying to figure out how to use the Web to make the world a little bit better, a little more livable,” Micki says. “And I was frustrated because I sort of felt that movement becoming a huge marketing ploy. It was like, ‘I know how you can be more green — Buy this green object! Buy more sustainable stuff!’”
What Micki wanted was a way to encourage people to buy less altogether. “So I started thinking about solutions that could help people do that while also improving their lifestyle.” That’s when the idea for NeighborGoods started coming together.
But beyond that environmental goal’s a societal one too. “It’s really cool to get to save money and not buy a hammer,” Micki says. “But when your neighbor comes over to hand it to you, that interaction, that experience, I believe really improves the way that we live. And I think what I’m really aiming for here is to get people to spend more time together in the real world through this online tool. That’s really the kicker for me. This was definitely born out of a desire for something to help people live more sustainably, but in the end what’s most interesting to me is that human interaction.”
Want to borrow Micki’s stuff? Check out what she’s lending on her NeighborGoods page. The site is currently in Alpha — so Southern California residents can sign up directly now, while those outside the area can request an invite code through the site.
Why buy when you can borrow? In the future, people who sign up for paid Pro accounts will be able to earn money from the site by renting or selling items — but right now, all services on NeighborGoods are completely free!
Images courtesy of neighborgoods.net