Borrowing: The New Buying

Whose got room for six extra folding chairs, a ladder or a full set of tools? If you're a renter, probably not you. But every now and then you've got to hang a picture or have 12 friends over for dinner. Now, instead of heading to Target or Idea and adding to your clutter, a few new sites are leading a recession-friendly lifestyle trend: Live small but have a big roledex. The sites are encouraging less consumption, by enabling borrowing from neighbors or renting luxury fashion a la Netflix. Who says the recession's keeping us down? Here's how they work.

A genius idea for renters, NeighborGoods encourages borrowing from neighbors by having you register what items you have to lend out. It also lets you put a price on renting or selling it, so it can also act as a hyper-local Craigslist. Right now it's in the Beta testing phase and only available in Southern California, but once this hits your hood, imagine the space you could save by storing "your ladder" in your neighbors shed, or keeping "your bike" in your neighbor's basement storage. Another bonus: Maybe you'll get to meet that cute girl in Apt. 10K.

Rent The Runway
This new clothing rental service, cleverly takes the Bag, Borrow or Steal or Netflix concept to a smarter fashion niche: the party dress. Why spend a lot of money on a great party dress you'll only wear twice? The best way to maximize your wardrobe is to only spend money on clothes you'll wear a lot. According to The New York Times, it was that simple idea that caused Jennifer Carter Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman to launch Rent the Runway. Members can rent high-fashion dresses for $50 to $200 for four days and send them back when they're done. Of course you won't own the dress but if you can rent a great one for a fraction of the cost, it can certainly be more cost effective. And also save room in your closet for more frequently worn items.
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