This is a guest post by Cheryl Magyar. You’re going to discover how to simplify your life by sharing more … like a child!
As children we are taught that sharing is caring. By and large most youngsters are good at partaking in the exchange of bites of cookies and candy, playing with toys and reading each others’ books.
Where and when does the ability and willingness to share gently fade away?
Most of us in the modern world have become distanced from community life, pushed further away from a culture where common goods move from one household to the next as different families need them – according to the seasons, harvests and the calls of daily life.
Farmers used to share cattle and lend equipment in times of need. This happened, in part, because industry was not developed enough to provide everyone with one of everything.
The necessity to share was greater than the need to own
Simple living and minimalism are perfect grounds for relearning to share many things from lawnmowers to grain mills and back again. Think for a moment about what you have in your own home that is only seldom or rarely used.
If an item has an important use, rather than choosing the often touted decluttering, try to think of others that may also benefit from the use of said item from time to time. You may be surprised to find someone close by that is willing to accept your offer.
Materialism is not only prevalent in the western society, it spreads it’s wings far and wide. There is a saying in Hungarian that “the shared horse’s back is cheesy” which isn’t a good thing, one can only imagine.
Let’s think with the minds of young children again and reconsider the aspects of sharing with our age-acquired knowledge and experience.
Overcoming the power of ‘owning’
The power and emotion of “owning” something is an enormous one, to overcome that is a noble feat.
- Basic tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, a hammer and nails are a must for every home, but when you end up with a whole garage full of tools, take a moment to stop and think. Are you starting a repair service or can you expand your generosity and act like a tool library instead?
- Collecting for the sake of having is an empty road to be on. Let those around you know that you have something to offer – then work on the details. Exchange, trade or just be generous with your excess and useful items that can be shared, this ultimately leads to communication.
- Simple living is about so much more than online shares, it is about conversing and communicating in real life. Get to know your neighbors, seek out people with similar hobbies, start a book club or create some cooking classes to immerse yourself in local life among like-minded individuals.
- Don’t take existing infrastructures as set in stone, craft your own unique opportunities and get others involved. If at first there is resistance, try, try again. The ideas and benefits of sharing will slowly come around with time – and just like children – when we see it working well for others we will be more likely to try it for ourselves.
Instead of focusing on money traded for services, focus on the service without the money
Trade days of childcare with trusted family and friends, carpool whenever you can, buy in bulk with others and divvy up the goods. Careful planning makes the act of sharing a truly enjoyable one.
It takes involvement and willingness to reduce your household items, it embraces care for the environment, but above all it expresses the knowledge of enough. The right amount for you may be completely different for someone else – meet in the middle and share!
What items do you share with family, friends and your extended circle of acquaintances? In what ways can you make it better?
Cheryl Magyar is a sustainable life designer, gluten-free advocate and eco-minimalist. She is a homesteader narrating a blog shared with her poetic husband Roland at handcrafted travellers. Sign up for their free newsletter Weekly Ideas for Simplifying Your Life at Home and Away.
* Photo Credit: by cletch