Buy less gift guide: Lending libraries aren’t just books anymore

Gift certificates for shared services or rented items such as bikes and tools are practical and appreciated. Here are some ways to give the gift of sharing.

Green living

Tips & Guides


Liza Koman

Many of our loved ones already have too much stuff and it’s hard to imagine what they could be lacking. That’s why giving the practical gift of what’s called “shared services” is a great solution. Many of these services offer short-term rentals of large items such as cars or vacation homes that are financially out of reach for many of us. When you give someone access to one of these services, your recipient gets to choose how and when to use their gift while still making their life easier.

Rental and sharing services where you can purchase gift cards or memberships

  • AirBnB. If you want to give someone their dream getaway, but aren’t sure when or where the person wants to go, this is the perfect gift

  • Bike shares — If your friends or family live in a city such as Washington, New York, Chicago, Boston or plenty of others, but don’t have anywhere to store their bike, a bike sharing service is a great option. They can pick one up at various locations around town with an unlock code and drop them off at any station when they’re done.

  • Zipcar — This company uses the same concept as a bike share, but with cars. Pick up and drop off in various locations, and it’s much easier, faster, and cheaper than renting a car.

  • A tool lending library — If someone wants to do home projects, tools can be a limiting factor. They’re expensive and it’s unreasonable to buy specific new tools for each new project, when the tool may be used only once or twice. A tool lending library lets members borrow whatever they need directly from the community.

Buy less gift guide

Return to Buy Less, Give More main page for other gift ideas



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Liza Koman