Rental Shares: How Collectivism Works for Apartment Dwellers

Shoppers enjoy a clothing swap, one of several ways for apartment dwellers to share resources. Among young urbanites, the general consensus of late is that cooperation is a good thing. New York magazine reports on the trend of collectivism, saying, "The sharing of everything from cabs to clothes to child care is suddenly modish, promoted by city officials, exploited by entrepreneurs, and pursued by legions of everyday citizens."

While the article offers tips on where and how to share everything from pigs to motorcycles in New York, we're most intrigued by the concept of sharing design inspirations, furniture, craft supplies and the like.

Here are some ways to tap into "the new collectivism" in your very own apartment, with social networking sites for crafters and design enthusiasts:

Crafty Communities

Ravelry serves as a home base of sorts for nimble fingers: knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, dyers and other types of designers flock to the site to share ideas and sell their wares. Setting up an account is free, quick and easy, and grants access to a plethora of patterns and people to stimulate your creative juices. You can also use Ravelry's notebook feature to keep track of projects. Check out the "groups" tab to find like-minded designers and crafters from across the country.

Crafster is an online community for obsessive DIY-ers, with listings of crafty meetups, fairs and stores around the world. Informative yet accessible articles show you how to recreate unique design projects, like this urban balcony makeover.


We've already told you which used items can spruce up your apartment; now, consider swapping. Swap Bot is an online swap-enabler, making it easy for you to start a swap or find a great one already in existence. Swap Bot also features craft tutorials, offering know-how and instructions free of charge.

Yard Sharing

The idea presented by Hyperlocavore is simple: find or start a yard share where you live. The site describes yard sharing as "an arrangement between people to share skills and gardening resources; space, time, strength or skills, in order to grow food as locally as possible," and suggests the concept to apartment dwellers or anyone else looking to strengthen their community through gardening.

Yard shares can be cheaper than community supported agriculture (CSAs), and are an alternative to community gardens, which are often crowded or completely full. Browse the site's listings and you'll discover yard-sharing agreements from New Jersey to Oregon.

Communal Living

If you're ready to take a bigger leap to communal living -- whether in an eco-village, commune or co-op -- peruse the listings provided by the Fellowship for Intentional Community website. The site's database, maps and lists, organized by location and community type, are also helpful resources for would-be members of the new collectivism movement.

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