As I was completing my weekly charity shop rounds, I was thinking about the difference between owning and borrowing.

Does it matter whether our possession of things is permanent or would being able to use a thing when we need it be just as good? Of course, there are practical limitations of this theory – I think sole ownership of my undies is pretty unbeatable but I’d be happy to share cake tins or turkey lifters.


I haven’t tried to keep track, but there’s a fairly constant flow of things to and from the local charity shops and my house. I don’t object to it at all, in fact I rather like the impermanence of the purchase, but there are still some things that I can’t justify the houseroom for the frequency I use them or things I love too much to get rid of but would happily allow someone else to use in the intervals when I don’t need them.


For instance, we made pasta last weekend, but it’s certainly been at least three years since we’ve touched our pasta machine and I’m sure someone within a five mile radius of me has sighed to themselves over their lack of pasta-manufacturing equipment.

Enter this rather charming idea from Berlin:

The Leila project, billed as a 'library of things' Photograph: Christian Jungeblodt via The Guardian

The Leila project, billed as a ‘library of things’Photograph: Christian Jungeblodt via The Guardian

The Leila project allows people to drop off things they don’t use all the time and borrow the things they do need. Click the photo above for The Guardian article, or try here for a BBC video tour.

What would you borrow or lend?