I know the old saying goes “Neither a lender or borrower be” but I have to disagree. Over the past few years we have found one of the solutions to living in a small house is to loan out some of our possessions.
While I promised I would never talk about our house sale one of the solutions I have found to de-cluttering our space is to lend some of our furniture to friends. For example we have a lovely sofa bed that is well made (and expensive) that no longer fitted in the bedrooms when baby number three arrived. We lent it to a friend for a few years and it has only just come back to us (squeezed into a corner of the girls’ room). My friend found the sofa bed to be really useful until they bought their own and we knew it had gone to a caring family who would make good use of it.
Likewise some friends moved into a larger property but didn’t have much furniture. As we were clearing space for our impending house sale we lent them an armchair, chest of drawers and bookshelf. The furniture is good quality and all second-hand/taken from a skip/inherited. We don’t want to let go of it and dream of being able to fit it into a larger house, if we move. In the meantime our friends have made good use of the pieces and it’s always lovely to sit in ‘our’ armchair when we go and visit!
Of course the lending works both ways. This summer we will be without a tent, as our old one died in Scotland last August. However with a couple of camping weekends already booked we plan to borrow a tent from neighbours and friends, rather than buy a new one.
The biggest lending venture I am embarking on at the moment, though, is a cheat’s way of de-cluttering the bookshelves. I have a small pile of books that I am lending to friends, either because they’ve requested or because I know they will enjoy them. In return I have borrowed a couple of novels which I would like to read but don’t want to keep.
As with all lending there is the slight chance that items may not come back in the state in which they were given, or will be forgotten completely. There’s a great story here about the former Lord Lieutenant of Bristol who has recently returned a library book that was 65 years overdue!
I know that I am guitly of harbouring a couple of items in our loft that should have been returned years ago (oops).
It may be a cheat’s way of de-cluttering but I believe that lending – and borrowing – items fosters a sense of trust and community. Instead of being selfish about our possessions we are sharing them with others who will benefit from them. One of the reasons that the lending website Streetbank was set up was to foster a sense of community between the lenders and borrowers. So, like them, I disagree with the old saying and think we should lend and borrow more. What have you lent or borrowed recently?