Viewing entries in
Borrow and share

A maker space for everyone

A maker space for everyone

Have you wanted to find a place to work on DIY projects, take classes, rent event space, share tools and store extra stuff? 

There’s a place for you in Portland. It’s the Global Homestead Community Garage.

Garage Director, Philip Krain, maintains this community facility where business and individual members share Garage tools, project and event space, as well as knowledge. In addition, The Garage maintains a curated Library of Things, which includes tools and outdoor adventure equipment. It is located at 416 Southeast Oak Street in Portland’s Central Eastside.

We help people grow big ideas using shared resources. Our goal is to create a sharing economy hub for those within the greater community, and provide skills development, which makes sustainable living fun. We provide regular classes on wood and metal working and our strategic partners host workshops on aquaponics, energy, permaculture design, repair and more.
— Philip Krain, Garage Director

Anyone is invited to be part of this membership-driven community. The Garage has users that range from a single day to 24/7 access. There are also work trade opportunities to fit within various budgets and interests. The wood, metal and jewelry shops are their most established facilities, but they also have an assortment of pop-up shops for bikes, skis, crafting, candle making and more. Fabricators, designers, DIY-ers, crafty teachers, parents and kiddos all have a co-working, movie, class and party place at The Garage.

If you're involved in a mission-based organization or interested in volunteering, strategic partnerships and collaborations are why The Garage exists. Contact Global Homestead Community Garage to learn more.

Love your stuff

Love your stuff

This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with Portland local resources to find ways to be resourceful and get more out of your stuff.

Borrow your way to more love

Do you love cooking?

Portland has many options for you to borrow kitchen tools to try them without purchasing new items. Expand your kitchen knowledge or take a food workshop at a kitchen share. NorthNortheast and Southeast Portland residents can connect with each other and find a new gadget to love.

Already thinking about giving your garden or home some love?

For those with home, yard or garden projects, locate the tool lending library based on where you live. The Green Lents Community Tool Library in East PortlandNorthNortheast or Southeast all offer residents low-to-no-cost options. Find home improvement project ideas from previous blog posts.

Or are you ready for a little space?

Clear your closet with Swap Positive, your go-to for multiple swap events throughout the year, including those for families. Share clothes and accessories you don’t love so much anymore with folks who might enjoy something different.

Keep what you love

Ready to repurpose a favorite chair or locate a well-loved heirloom?

Explore Portland’s many second-hand stores to find new-to-you clothing, furniture, electronics, household or craft items, salvage building materials and more. 

Do you have favorite items you have loved so much they need a fix?

Repair PDX offers residents free fixes for bikes, small appliances, clothing and more. Monthly repair cafes bring volunteers who love to fix stuff together with those who have broken items that need fixing.  

Find more ideas to create more love and less waste at New Dream. #morelovelesswaste

Three tips to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year

Three tips to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year

There are many benefits to becoming a more thoughtful consumer: buying less, cutting clutter and reducing waste, to name a few. As we begin a new year, consider making a small change that can help you live more resourcefully. Make it easier to adopt the change by choosing one new habit per month, or make a change to an established habit. Who knows, maybe something small will turn into even bigger changes (and benefits!) for you.

Watch Alicia on KATU Afternoon Live, where she shares these tips with host Tra’Renee.


1.       Borrow rather than buy to cut clutter

Take advantage of the resources that Portland offers! The online map connects residents to free or low-cost options for living more resourcefully.

The map categories are repair/resale/swap shops, donation centers and lending libraries.

Portland has:

·         4 tool libraries

·         3 kitchen shares

·         3 swap and play spaces

·         1 toy library

Borrow these types of items and more  

·         Home and yard tools, power tools, table saws

·         Juicers, mixers, bread makers, canning equipment

·         Toys, games, clothes, books

These community organizations also need support! You can become a member based on the area of the city where you live and volunteer your time or donate your unused items.

The Library of Things (which lends baking equipment, board games and even karaoke machines to members) is available in Hillsboro and is coming soon to Beaverton too, through the county library system.

2.       Remember to reuse (and reduce disposables)

Make a reusables kit for your car or day bag, bike bag or purse. Include reusable bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, cutlery or small containers for quick stops or on-the-go items.

After you use something from your kit, replace it as soon as you get home so your kit is always with you, ready for anything. Having an on-the-go kit is especially good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

3.       Resolve to redeem in 2018

As of  January 1, 2018, many more kinds of containers now carry a 10-cent deposit. These include bottles and cans for tea, coffee, fruit juice, coconut water, hard cider and kombucha. Beer, soft drinks and water containers continue to require a deposit.

By recycling these containers at a bottle redemption center, the materials are separated and turned into a clean, reliable supply of high-grade recyclable material. The materials are all processed in in the U.S., and for plastic containers, 100 percent of them are recycled in Oregon.

Of course, you can still recycle at the curb – aluminum and plastic go in the recycling cart, and glass goes separately in your other bin. But by redeeming your own containers, you get more money back in your pocket.

Find a BottleDrop Oregon Redemption Center near you!

Swap and share your way to savings for the school year ahead

Swap and share your way to savings for the school year ahead

School days are coming! Channel your creativity and resourcefulness to get kids off to a great start. Swap and share items you already have, but no longer need, to keep kids outfitted for activities inside and outside the classroom.

Host a clothing swap

Hosting a clothing swap with friends and neighbors is a fun and easy way to share kids’ clothes, toys, books and sports equipment, and donate anything that’s left. 

A clothing swap involves getting a bunch of people together to exchange clothes and other items you no longer wear, and offering them free of charge to others by swapping them instead. Swap events are a great excuse to get together with friends or meet new people, all while giving your stuff another life and helping everyone save money and avoid buying new.

Swap Positive is a local resource that provides all you need to know about attending, hosting and getting involved with swaps in Portland. There are options for family swaps and those specific to household stuff or clothes of every size.

Center for a New American Dream put together this video about hosting or participating in a clothing swap that can help you plan your own swap!

Find used sports equipment

Don’t forget about sports gear and equipment – items for school and recreation leagues can add to your budget. From cleats to uniforms, there are ways to find used items through swapping, borrowing and purchasing gently used goods through your friends, neighbors or Craigslist.

Join a swap and play space

Join one of the swap and play spaces around Portland to connect with other families with children. Swap and plays offer an opportunity to swap outgrown clothing, toys and gear, share community play space and also connect with other parents and kids in your neighborhood.

Portland swap and play spaces are membership organizations and vary in hours, activities, events and ways to get involved. They are Southside Swap & PlaySt Johns Swapnplay and Woodlawn Swap n Play

Check out other back to school resources in our previous kids in school posts.

Digging into summer projects with borrowed tools

Digging into summer projects with borrowed tools

When Robert Bowles learned that two friends were opening a tool-lending library in Northeast Portland, he liked the idea so much he became a volunteer on the spot.

“The Northeast Portland Tool Library is a great community resource,” said Robert. “It empowers people to complete dream projects and save money by not having to buy tools for one-time use, like a table saw. Thanks to the tool library, people improve their surroundings while reducing the resources necessary to do it.”

Robert is passionate about fixing broken things. He enjoys helping people find the right tools for a job and hearing stories about projects the tool library helped make possible. “My favorite stories are from people who really stretched themselves and took on something they didn’t think they could do.”

He is also a Master Recycler volunteer who has since joined the board of the Northeast Portland Tool Library and continues to give back to the community. “Doing small things to make our neighborhood a better place makes it better for all of us.”

Aushti and Parfait Bassale

Aushti and Parfait Bassale

Concordia resident and local musician Parfait Bassale is a Northeast Portland Tool Library member who has completed some home and yard projects with tools he borrowed. He’s completed many yard improvements, like building planters, and finished a painting project.

Parfait, and his son Aushti, typically stop by the tool library on Saturdays. He’s been a member for three years and has gotten to know other Northeast residents and neighbors through the tool library. “It is wonderful to see familiar faces one week after the next and hear about the progress they are making on their projects.”

One dream project on Parfait’s list is a building an outdoor veranda in his backyard. “It would be a fun project and one that I’ll be tapping the tool library volunteer staff to help me with. Is Robert available?”

Do you have home projects to complete? Need some inspiration? Tool libraries are available to residents of East PortlandNorth PortlandNortheast Portland, and Southeast Portland. Become a member of one near you!

Find more stories about borrowing in Portland. #sharingcommunity

Read past articles about Portland’s tool libraries. #tool library

Building community with a love of food

Building community with a love of food

What do Kitchen Share Northeast and the Northeast Portland Tool Library have in common? They are both partners in the new Leaven Community center, merging sustainability, livability and a whole lot more.

Kitchen Share is a network of kitchen tool libraries that offers equipment, skills, traditions and food to borrow and share with their members. They offer dehydrators, canning equipment, ice cream makers, juicers, mixers, bread makers, durable dishes and more.

Kitchen Share builds community through the sharing of skills and food. One Portland resident and community volunteer, Gabbi Haber, got involved with Kitchen Share Northeast because of her love of food and cooking.

“Food is such a powerful way to connect with people, and when we cook and eat together, we not only form social connections, but also learn from each other's techniques, histories and life stories. I first started volunteering with Kitchen Commons, a nonprofit founded by my friend and Kitchen Share Northeast co-founder Jocelyn. I helped organize a community tamale sale and a community tomato canning day which was fun, but I wanted to go beyond community events and address some of the infrastructure obstacles to preserving, cooking for large groups, or just being adventurous in the kitchen.”

According to Gabbi, Kitchen Share Northeast:

  • Saves money, by offering tools so you don't need to buy them yourself, and by providing preserving equipment so members can take advantage of seasonal bounty.
  • Connects people with new ways of cooking, whether it's exploring how to use a new tool or making something from scratch you've never made before (like pasta or yogurt!).
  • Encourages people to cook at home by making new resources available.
  • Helps people gather their communities around them, by providing free dishware and cooking and serving tools for big events (like weddings, fundraisers and birthday parties).
  • Gives items a second chance and reduces waste since members can donate unwanted or unneeded tools and equipment instead of throwing away.

Gabbi’s involvement with Kitchen Share Northeast includes teaching workshops and building connections with other community groups.

“It's so much fun to be surrounded by people who are excited about making food, and ready to learn new ways to enjoy food. We are all constantly learning and have something to teach each other. A pretty great Saturday morning is when everyone is standing around with flour on their hands and tomato sauce on their noses, chatting away with people they just met an hour ago.”

Aside from teaching workshops, she enjoys collaborating with the Neighborhood Gleaners. They're an all-volunteer organization that collects leftover food from the Hollywood Farmers Market and distributes it to low-income seniors at the Hollywood Senior Center. Every year they host a Thanksgiving dinner for seniors and anyone else who wants to come, and borrow dishes and tools from Kitchen Share Northeast in order to do it.

“It makes me happy to know that this thing I helped create is making it easier for other volunteer organizations to build community and make people's lives better. It's very satisfying to give back to the community, and it's a great way to make new friends. At the end of the day you know that you've done your part to make your little patch of the world a little better for you and your neighbors."

Are you interested in sharing your kitchen knowledge? Or ready to take a food workshop? Join Kitchen Share Northeast or Southeast!

Find more stories about borrowing in Portland. #sharingcommunity

Vintage rental options for your special event

Vintage rental options for your special event

Lane’ Bigsby from Something Borrowed invited Alicia Polacok from Resourceful PDX partner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, to visit her vintage-inspired rental shop.

Do-It-Yourself at heart of business

In 2011, Lane’ Bigsby planned her own vintage-style wedding, showcasing her and her husband’s Do-It-Yourself (DIY) vision and commitment to sustainability. This process inspired Lane’ to start Something Borrowed to help others have the unique events they envision while reducing waste, too.

DIY is at the heart of Lane’s rental business. In addition to her re-styling experience, she has taken up upholstery and her husband now does woodworking. Lane’ often repurposes objects many times and in many different ways, getting the most value out of each object, adding creativity to the event, and saving costs for her clients.

Renting saves you time from having to hunt items down and it’s often far cheaper than buying. I hear ‘this has been sitting in my garage for years’ very regularly so it also allows you to have less stuff that creates clutter.
— Lane' Bigsby

Fun and funky items to rent

The inventory at Something Borrowed includes a plethora of items to rent for any kind of event – from weddings, birthdays and baby showers, to corporate events, trade shows and production photo shoots. Clients have even rented items for family holidays and a funeral.

When considering new inventory, Lane’ carefully selects items that can be used many times, and have a big impact in saving waste. She shops from websites like Craigslist, Etsy and eBay, and from previous clients who offer Something Borrowed the chance to buy items from their one-time events.

Building a resourceful community

Lane’ says she enjoys helping clients learn new ways to be resourceful.

“My clients often ask about the other elements of planning events, besides the décor. I find myself steering the conversation to using durable items instead of disposable items, and educating clients about compostable plastics and alternative packaging options.”

Lane’ also incorporates what she calls a “hyper-local” attitude to her business.

“Establishing these relationships has helped create a network in the St Johns neighborhood. I can get a special item repaired instead of tossing it in the garbage, and can visit the local reclaimed wood shop for custom jobs, like benches I had made recently to add to the inventory.”

View vintage and modern finds on the Something Borrowed website and at the one-stop-shop warehouse and showroom by appointment in North Portland.


PDX Toy Library offers your family the benefits of sharing

PDX Toy Library offers your family the benefits of sharing

Alicia Polacok, from Resourceful PDX partner Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, kicked off the New Year with a visit to the PDX Toy Library where she talked with founder Cat Davila about this labor of love.

PDX Toy Library is an all-volunteer community-based nonprofit organization that recognizes play as an integral part of a child’s development. High quality toys and equipment are available for borrowing to assist with the physical and educational development of children ages birth to 8.

Cat sees the library as a way to build community too, by hosting and participating in many family events that bring people together to learn, collaborate and socialize. Borrowing from the Toy Library is a great opportunity for children to explore ideas about ownership, responsibility to others, and the benefits of sharing.

She was aware of the tool and kitchen libraries in Portland, and this idea really synthesized a lot of her passions and just felt like is was exactly the thing to do, even without experience in the nonprofit or library sectors.

The idea struck me one afternoon as I was playing games with my 2 year old daughter, and wishing I could trade all of ours for some new ones somewhere. It suddenly seemed impossible that there wasn’t already something like this in Portland.

I spent a lot of time learning about Toy Libraries in other parts of the world and crafting our model of service, and learning how to form a nonprofit, and searching for a space for the library. And now it is real! I’m very pleased with what we’re able to offer now, and excited to see what the future brings.
— founder Cat Davila

How does it work?

Membership is open to the public and active members use the toys and space. While most members are currently families, Cat's own work background is in Early Childhood Education, so she would like to see more teachers and caregivers utilize the library. Volunteers are integral in the library, which is currently open three times a week for a few hours. Cat has hosted events in the space and plans to shift the focus for more game and play time when the library is open.

The collection continually grows with donations accepted and cataloged frequently. Members check out different toys and games each week, up to three different toys or games each time you visit.

Currently the fee structure offers three month memberships for $30 or six months for $50. Gift certificates are available if you’re looking for an alternative idea for a birthday or holiday celebration.

Why join a toy library?

It saves money: Toys cost a lot so joining the Toy Library is likely to be less per year than you may spend on new items.

It saves space: Toys take up a lot of space and storage so the Toy Library allows you and your kids to use things when you really want them and provides a way to get them out of your house the rest of the time.

It allows for toy test drives: Toys engage kids at different times and at different levels. Checking things out from the Toy Library gives you a good idea of what engages children the most. And since kids grow fast, it means having developmentally appropriate toys available to test.

Bonus: Keep things fresh (and give your kids something “new”) by checking out different items every couple of weeks! Browse the toy catalog online to see if borrowing toys may work for you and your family.

Where is it?

PDX Toy Library is located in the Sunnyside Community House (formerly Sunnyside Methodist Church) at 3520 SE Yamhill St.

All Portland residents are welcome to join!


Swap Positive offers free fashion and frugal fun

Swap Positive offers free fashion and frugal fun

Swap Positive is your go-to resource for Portland area swaps. A swap involves getting a bunch of people together to exchange clothes and other items you no longer need, and offering them free of charge to others by swapping them instead. Swap Positive Free Swaps are unique because they bring together coordinators who volunteer their time, venues that donate their facility for free and swappers who bring clean items in good condition. In return, swappers find ‘new’ items for themselves or to give as gifts. The remaining items go to organizations and individuals who give them away, in the spirit of sharing. No money ever changes hands. Everyone involved gets to play with other kind, generous, thrifty, sustainability-minded people. That is the mission of Swap Positive Free Swaps.

Barb Hughes, who started Swap Positive, said, “I began free swapping in 2005, starting as a swapper, then a volunteer swap hostess, then founding the Swap Positive Network to help coordinate all the free swaps that were popping up all over town.  At each step I’ve enjoyed de-cluttering my home and hunting for treasure with like-minded thrifty kind people.”

She even has a swap philosophy that has evolved over the years and puts fun on the forefront. She now sees that free swaps are helpful to create community and make a positive difference in many ways. Barb’s swap philosophy includes these insights:

  • Free Swaps keep usable items in use and allows all people to enter empowered and leave enriched. Most of us have something we aren’t using and with everyone invested in giving, we all participate in free frugal fun.
  • Free Swaps allow people to play and friendships to spark. Women especially often spend their time and energy primarily on others. Barb wanted to provide a place where generous women could pamper themselves and play in a safe, fun, environment—while freeing their closets of clutter—meeting like-minded thrifty people and getting ‘new-to-you’ treats all at the same time! Of course, this concept has expanded to generous men, teens and children as well.
  • Free Swaps offer businesses and organizations the opportunity to create mutual partnerships to improve the community in tangible ways. For example, People’s Food Co-op allows a free swap in their upstairs meeting room. After the swap, people can conveniently purchase a few needed items, additionally supporting the store. Since swap left overs go to organizations as donations to be given away, people in need receive items to better their lives through various social service agencies, food/clothing pantries and resource centers.
  • Free Swaps provide hosts the chance to develop leadership skills in addition to creating connections and contributing to the community. The Swap Positive website has instructions on how to become a swap host, how to start a free swap in the size or category you want and ways to connect with other hosts willing to lend support and advice.

Swap Positive catalogs the swaps based on hosts’ interests—by sizes, locations and categories. 

Categories include

  • Women’s clothing
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Children’s clothing
  • Toys
  • Gifts (or re-gifted ones!)
  • Family clothing swaps for men, women and kids
  • Maternity clothes
  • Stuff

Are you ready to swap? Visit the About Swaps page to learn more and get your questions answers on the FAQ page.

Green Lents builds community through borrowing and sharing

Green Lents builds community through borrowing and sharing

Are you a resident of one of these Portland neighborhoods: Lents, Powellhurst-Gilbert, Pleasant Valley, Foster-Powell, Mt. Scott-Arleta, Brentwood-Darlington or Montavilla? Do you know of the many reasons to visit Green Lents, the organization that supports community-led projects like the free Community Tool Library?

Green Lents Community Tool Library contributes to community livability in this diverse area of the city by providing free tools and resources to residents in and around the Lents neighborhood in outer Southeast and East Portland.

The Community Tool Library functions like a book library, except that you check out tools or other project materials instead of books. They also have a seed library, where you can borrow seeds, grow food and then return seeds back to the library for others to use. Since its founding in 2012, there are over 500 members who check out tools for a one-week rental for free, with the option of renewal. It is open two days a week and is volunteer run.

One volunteer, Renee Orlick, started as a user of the Community Tool Library. When she moved to Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood in 2013, she was able to borrow a tall ladder from the library to harvest the fruit trees she had throughout her yard. Around this time, Renee started volunteering and has since joined the organization’s board. Her main goal is to make the library as functional as possible including checking tool donations into the system so members can use them.

The community based nonprofit, Green Lents, offers even more for residents. There are two fellows, April Jamison and Izzy Armenta, who work with the organization as volunteer engagement coordinators for all four of their projects. April works on Community Tool Library, Malden Court Community Orchard and Pollinator Habitat, while Izzy works on Livable Lents.

Since education, skill building and sharing all promote a thriving, sustainable community, April and Izzy want to combine these into actions to share with neighbors, build community and grow knowledge.

They have ideas, like offering a summer DIY workshop series with the tool library, and are already conducting a survey with Livable Lents so they can hear from residents about their visions and needs for the community.

"What I like best about this organization is that it's a community asset that has been built by the community, for all of our neighbors. The dedication to sharing and growing strong together is really inspiring," said April.  

The organization looks for volunteers and those in the community who are interested in participating from the ground up, with ideas to grow within the established network. One such idea is about volunteers themselves. “Green Lents, like so many nonprofit organizations, rely on volunteers so we have defined a commitment where members can volunteer for two-to-four hours a month for six months. It’s working and we would like to see the involvement continue,” said April.

Visit the free Community Tool Library to borrow what you need and get involved with Green Lents to share ways to make a difference in your neighborhood.

Portland residents can access tool libraries around the city, based on where you live. Check out the North, Northeast or Southeast resources to learn more.