Keeping his lawn in good condition is important to Ike Carter, but it takes a lot more than just hard work - he also needs all of the equipment and tools. That big expense is the reason he decided to get organized with his neighbors.
"Every spring a bunch of us always get together," Carter says, "and rent an aerator and split the cost between three, four, maybe even five families."
Sharing is the key to saving for Ike, and it's an idea that's catching on.
Sharing makes sense
Sociologist Jeff Ferrell says it truly makes dollars - and sense: "Neighbor sharing has become increasingly popular because it really is a way to save significant amounts of money." He also adds - it's a real reflection of American history, "It taps in to older traditions in American, like barn raisings."
From books to grills to cameras and even cake pans...the items being shared run the gamut: "We see bicycles being shared both informally and formally. We even see car sharing, too, sheds, computer software, almost everything you need through your daily life, we're now seeing it being made available through sharing."
Wilder sociological impact
But there is a wider sociological impact as well. Sharing equipment like lawn mowers can save money, but the very act of sharing, Dr. Ferrell says, can have a much deeper impact on your neighborhood. "The benefits are more social than economic. Sharing rebuilds communities and gives a sense of America as a place where we look out for each other and learn to survive together as opposed to fighting each other individually."
Ike and his neighbors certainly agree. "We all like to get together and help each other as much as we can, even with the small things. It helps out in the long run for everybody."
And that's as American as it gets.