Most people own commodities that didn't live up to their preconceived utility – things "you had to have" that are quickly condemned to the basement, the closet or, worse, the dump.
Now, there's an alternative when you feel compelled to buy a bubble machine or mitre saw.
The Sharing Depot will lend various goods for a small annual fee ($25 to $100). The Danforth Avenue outlet is stacked with dozens of gadgets, including a wine corker, mobile record players, popcorn makers, cricket equipment and bear barrels.
Below the shop floor is a fully ventilated, 24-hour workshop, complete with 3-D scanners and table saws.
Lawrence Alvarez and Ryan Dyment, co-founders of the depot and the Toronto Tool Library, explain the concept and how they got started.
What is the philosophy behind the shop?
Mr. Dyment says it's about reducing consumption. "We don't have an infinite number of resources. By sharing a cordless drill 98 times [last month], that means that many weren't purchased … which is really amazing for the environment. Here it's just so cheap that you feel wealthy. You don't need to have the big house full of stuff because you have all that stuff now. You just come and get it."
What's the difference between the Sharing Depot and the Toronto Tool Library?
The tool libraries just have things for garden restoration, home renovations and DIY hobbies. The Sharing Depot has things for sports, camping and toys.
"They use the same model," Mr. Alvarez says. "We just differentiate the membership."
Where did the idea come from?
Mr. Dyment was inspired by a man in California with a trailer full of 500 tools that he began lending out to people because they kept asking for them.
How did you get started?
The project started with a very small group of people "who just had the idea and didn't have a lot of money," Mr. Dyment says. "We're not even into tools, actually. We're into connecting economic and environmental issues and communities. These are our interests, so we thought: 'Let's see what we can do together.'"
What are the most popular items?
Tools, of course. There's a cordless nail gun, drills, clamps and sanders. Tents are also quite popular and board games.
Are more locations coming?
Hopefully. "This is an open-source model," Mr. Alvarez says. "We're willing to help as many people as possible to start these sharing initiatives."