I wrote a lot about the sharing trend last year, but this year I'm bringing the topic closer to home. This is my first post about a year-long experiment in sharing I'm calling The Year of Living Shareably.

The idea behind The Year of Living Shareably (#TYOLS) is simple. I’m going to try different forms of sharing and write about them. I’m already a sharing hacker. I've tried many forms the last few years including a world cafe on dating, a clothing swap in a SoMa loft, a CD swap among rabid music fans, a series of gift circles in coworking spaces, and an open space event about resilience.

But I want to take my sharing further. I’m going to try at least one new sharing hack each month this year. And as life presents its inevitable challenges, I’ll use sharing as a solution where I might not have before. I’ll share what I learn on my blog here. And I’ll invite you to share your ideas along the way.  

Why am I doing this? For one, it’s practical. As publisher of Shareable, being the change I want to see in the world will improve my life and work. I'll boost my quality of life by sharing more. And I’ll learn more about sharing for work. Plus, it'll be good for the environment and my community.

I’m also curious about how far I can take sharing as a lifestyle, and what I’ll learn when I get there. My experience has been that the more I share, the better life gets. The new ways to share I've learned about this year – especially the new collaborative consumption services – open up a promising frontier. I’m eager to report back what I learn from exploring it.

So what will I try? Shareable has over a hundred how-to posts about sharing. So much to try! The simplest approach is to share where I need to share the most. My life has changed a lot since I began experimenting with sharing six years ago. I'm now a husband to Andrea and a dad to little Jake. I have a new set of challenges that sharing can address. Here's the sharing hacks I'm considering:

  • Family. From parent potlucks to toy swaps to babysitting coops, there’s a lot Andrea and I can try out. It’s no secret that parenting is exhausting, but few talk about how isolating it can be. We've already connected with some parents. We can do more.
  • Tool library. My tools are buried underneath an avalanche of stuff that seems to automatically pour into your house when you have a kid. Meanwhile, many things in the house need fixing. The buried tools have stalled repair. I’m going to make my tools more accessible to me and at the same time make them available to my neighbors. 
  • Free sale. This is related to the above. I've never been a stuff person, but you wouldn't know it from our house right now. It's jammed with stuff. A serious purging is in order. I might have to do this before the tool library.
  • Salad share. We started a garden in our tiny backyard last year. It turned out less than spectacular, but we learned one valuable lesson. Salad greens did well. We’re going to grow more salad greens and share them with neighbors.
  • Peer-to-peer accommodation. I already have some travel planned for 2011. Time to try out Couchsurfing or Airbnb for places to stay!
  • Social lending. We have a lot of our savings in cash. Not smart, but we’re kind of on strike as far as the stock market is concerned. We don’t trust it. This is a good opportunity to try social lending.
  • Transportation. I've been carfree for about six months ago. This hardcore suburban punk is still struggling to get around without a car. I’ve got to get a better handle on this. I’m going to check out ridesharing and peer-to-peer carsharing. And I need to find a way to get to the beach so I can surf more. A weekend car rental might work there.

This is just my starting list. Feel free to suggest more ideas. I look forward to sharing what I learn this year. And I invite you to participate, either by making comments on my sharing experiment or starting one of your own. Your experiment can be one year, one week, or an hour long. Use the #TYOLS hashtag on Twitter to share your experiments and follow mine.

Neal Gorenflo


Neal Gorenflo | |

Neal Gorenflo is the executive director and co-founder of Shareable, an award-winning news, action, connection hub for the sharing transformation. An epiphany in 2004 inspired Neal to leave the

Things I share: Time with friends and family, stories, laughs, books, ideas, nature, resources, passions, my network.