In tough economic times, it can make sense for consumers to be both transumers—eschewing the burdens of ownership in favor of shorter-term privileges—and sellsumers, making the most of what assets they do own writes trendspotter Springwise.

Aiming to facilitate both is NeighborGoods, a brand-new site that helps consumers borrow, lend, rent, sell and buy stuff in their community.

Focusing for now on Southern California, NeighborGoods is an online community that lets consumers save and earn money by sharing with their neighbors and friends any of the assorted tools, ladders and other things they use only occasionally.

Users of the site, which just launched into beta, can decide how they want to share their stuff. They can allow their friends to borrow an item for free while charging others a rental fee, for example, or they can decide to make the item available only to friends.

NeighborGoods helps facilitate transactions with a reservation calendar, automated reminders, wish-list alerts and private messaging. It also tracks and shares the transaction history of each member.

Neighbors can rate each other and even flag another member’s account if something goes wrong. Borrowing and lending items on NeighborGoods is free of charge. Members who want to earn money by renting or selling items must have a Pro account—currently free, but ultimately by paid subscription.

Besides the obvious financial advantages for those involved, of course, sharing tools and equipment—much like cars, bikes and boats—has distinct eco-benefits as well, minimizing the redundant things so many households typically buy.

Photo by NeighborGoods.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on November 19, 2009 in Ideas.

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