Confucius is credited with the famous quotation, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” While taking a single step into the world of sharing might seem like a giant leap to some people, there are myriad ways to embark on the journey. You can start small by cleaning out your closets or go big by giving up your car.
Along the way, use Shareable as your tour guide, your traveling companion, and your reference library. There’s a wealth of information gathered on these pages and it is yours for the taking… and sharing. To get you started, here are the 20 most popular ‘How To’ articles in the Shareable vaults of wisdom:
1. How to Be a Carfree Family
Whether you opt for a bike, public transportation, car sharing, walking, or a combination, cutting back on auto usage is a wonderful way to save money and the environment.
Hot tip: “In general, it is best to have at least two possible ways to get anywhere you need to go on a regular basis.”
2. How to Barter, Give, and Get Stuff
From gift circles to work trade, an alternate economy awaits those looking to do more with less. Just be sure to be clear about any legal and tax ramifications of the barter in question.
Hot tip: “As the informal economy begins to flourish, we may be surprised to sometimes find ourselves, unintentionally, operating a business, or, unintentionally, employing someone.”
3. How to Start a Really Really Free Market
Somewhere between a flea market and Burning Man, RRFMs are, of course, free. Community members come together to trade skills, food, entertainment, stuff, and more.
Hot tip: “Try to encourage all volunteers to take some responsibility and invite new participants to help organize every month.”
4. How to Share a Chicken (or Two)
Zenger Farm in Portland provides a picture perfect example of a shared, urban farming experience with its Eastside Egg Cooperative.
Hot tip: “Urban agriculture requires a pooling of resources and labor and this mostly is a chance for people to learn about doing that.”
5. How to Start Your Own Skillshare
Inspired by a weekend of free learning in Boston, a Brooklyn photographer started a Skillshare event in Gowanus where the community came together to teach each other about everything from brewing kombucha to fixing bicycles.
Hot tip: “We believe that education is a right, not a commodity.”
6. How I Avoided Holiday Shopping Through a Donation Exchange
Want to step away from the materialism and consumerism that has become the holiday season? Set up a donation exchange within you circle of family and friends to move your money from the mall to the world.
Hot tip: “Communicate your plan early in the shopping season before family members have the chance buy you a typical gift.”
7. Eight Ways to Share Your Stuff with the World
Clearing out a life’s worth of clutter can be a daunting task or an eight-fold path. Getting both creative and practical is the easiest means to the end.
Hot tip: “If you’re staring at something that seems impossible to donate it, post it on Freecycle or Craigslist.”
8. How to Start a Farmers’ Market
When the neighborhood organic grocery store closed down, residents of Noe Valley in San Francisco decided to start their own farmers’ market.
Hot tip: “Despite the current popularity of farmers’ markets, most cities don’t have a how-to organization to help markets get started. Start with your local department of agriculture or department of health, then hit the streets.”
Credit: Nissa Anklesaria
9. How to Throw a Community Swap Meet
Combining free stuff with barter and sale items, a swap meet is a fantastic way for community members to share in some give and take.
Hot tip: “You can have a free-for-all, but sometimes it makes sense to focus swaps around clothing, books or some other theme.”
10. How to Swap Cities
For anyone who’s ever dreamed of living (and working) somewhere else for a little while, SwapYourShop can make it happen.
Hot tip: “By creating the least amount of disruption in swappers’ lives, whilst creating maximum opportunity for inspiration and a change in work environment that so many people desire, SwapYourShop could herald a rising tide of nomadic workers who aren’t quite ready to throw caution to the wind completely.”
11. How to Share a Nanny
Any way you slice it, child care is expensive. But slicing it in any way certainly helps. That’s where sharing a nanny comes in.
Hot tip: “In a nanny-share arrangement, the nanny usually earns 10 – 20 percent more than her counterparts employed by a single family. Split down the middle, however, this creates a win-win situation for the families and the caregiver.”
12. How Hosting a Babyfood Swap Saved My Sanity and Fed My Child
As evidenced by the Really Really Free Markets, Skillshare, and Community Swap Meets above, just about anything is worthy of being traded or bartered. Baby food is no exception.
Hot tip: “In a nutshell: everyone makes a whole lot of one thing, we meet at one place and time, and we trade, resulting in variety and bounty for all.”
13. How to Share a Cow
It seems CSAs aren’t just for vegetables anymore. Carnivores are getting in on the action with local meat CSAs through which they can share grass-fed beef, pork, and chicken.
Hot tip: “You’re keeping money in the community, supporting small farmers and having a reduced environmental impact because your food doesn’t get trucked as far. You’re helping support the entire ecosystem.”
14. How to Share Time
Particularly during periods of high unemployment, being able to put your time and energy to good, effective use is a god-send. Doing so through a time exchange ensures that you get something back for your effort.
Hot tip: “The egalitarian nature of the system ensures that people will be able to purchase the services that they need without toiling endlessly for high-priced services like in the market economy.”
15. How to (Legally) Open a Gift (Economy)
A companion piece to #2 on the list, this post explores more specific ways to step into a system of giving and sharing, while being mindful of the legal constraints involved in doing so.
Hot tip: “Don’t ask people to pay you back, but do encourage them to pay it forward!”
16. How to Start a Housing Coop
There’s much more to cooperative living than just a load of financial and environmental benefits.
Hot tip: “Studies show that coops provide other benefits, like greater social cohesion and support, reduced crime, increased civic engagement and sustainability, better quality and maintenance of housing, and resident stability.”
The Sunwise Coop family (photo courtesy by Sunwise)
17. How to Share a Vegetable Garden
Growing a garden on your neighbor’s property is a wonderful, mutual experience. It also involves a number of considerations to think through beforehand.
Hot tip: “When you begin sharing, it’s also important to know in advance how you will stop sharing.”
18. How Nonprofits Can Share Down Their Costs (Part I)
Nonprofits are accustomed to working on the cheap and sharing resources with other organizations. Why not look at all the ways they can cut costs in order to do more with less? Part II is here.
Hot tip: “For some nonprofits, facilities-related costs can be one fourth or more of the total budget. Sharing space creates an opportunity to cut cost of all kinds, including equipment, utilities, staff, building services, and so on.”
19. How to Start a Nature Group for City Kids
Starting a community group takes six easy steps, at least according to the folks in San Francisco who put together a posse to teach the neighborhood kids about bees and butterflies.
Hot tip: “Whether it’s teaching your kids about their place in the ecosystem or turning them on to world dance traditions, creating your own focused community-building project is a great way to learn something new and strengthen those unifying bonds.”
20. How to Share an Education
Very similar to the Skillshare up at #5, a Freeskool lets community members come together to share knowledge. The difference is that the learning happens in a course over a period of time rather than in a single workshop.
Hot tip: “If education is going to be sustainable, it has to be flexible and up-to-date. Freeskools provide an alternative that enable people respond to the month-to-month needs and interests of their community.”
Publisher’s note: and if that’s not enough for you, check out our how to share guide with over 50 more ways to share.