If you don’t use a tool or other item all the time, it may make sense to share it with friends or neighbors, rather than everyone needing to buy one of their own. Who knows – when you need something you don’t have, maybe someone you know has one they’ll lend you.

If you have a broken item, consider repairing it before throwing it away. It could save you some cash if you keep it out of the trash!

From neighborhood lawn-mower sharing to garden tools available in lending libraries, Chittenden County is filled with great ways to share and repair useful items that might otherwise end up in a landfill or sit idly in your home, garage or storage unit. So, in the spirit of sharing, we offer some of our favorite ways to share stuff. We’re always looking for more ways to encourage sharing and repairing, so if you know of other options locally, contact us. We’ll post links to non-profits that encourage sharing, and to businesses or non-profits that teach the public how to repair or rebuild their own items.

Guides for sharing and repairing

The Center for a New American Dream Guide to Sharing

iFixit: the free repair manual

Tools for sharing items or finding repair

Yerdle: Share items with your Facebook friends.

Front Porch Forum: Set up that snow blower cooperative, or find a handy person to fix it via this neighborhood email forum.

Local organizations that encourage sharing and repairing

Cars

Carshare Vermont: Sharing cars and trucks in the Burlington area.

Tools

Fletcher Free Library: The Burlington public library doesn’t just lend books and DVDs, they lend tools too. If you’re a Burlington resident with a library card, you can check out that rake or shovel, use it for the time you need it, and then return it along with that garden book you borrowed.

Homes

Homeshare Vermont: Sharing a home can mean sharing household goods as well. If you need to cut housing costs, you could also save on pots and pans with a home sharing arrangement. This is just one of many organizations and tools for finding a roommate available.

Textiles

The Bobbin Sewing Studio: A textile craft studio that remakes clothing and other items for clients. The owner also teaches classes on fashioning new items from textiles and other sewing materials that would be discarded when parts of them wore out or became unfashionable.

Appliances, computers, building materials

ReSource: Repairs appliances and computers while training Vermonters to perform this work.

Bicycles

Bike Recycle Vermont: Refurbishes bikes and sells them at low-cost to low-income Vermonters. Also teaches bike repair and “up-cycles” bike parts into other useful items.