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Healthy Living Collective

I had an idea this morning, and I wondered if you might brainstorm with me. See, I have stacks of cookbooks, shelves of health and fitness books, piles of fitness DVDs, and bags full of fitness equipment.

And most of it is sitting unused at the moment.

Sure, I read the books and use the recipes and do the DVDs here and there, but I don’t use all of them all the time.

But they are good resources, quality equipment, things worth keeping.

This morning I realized they are also things worth sharing.

My books and DVDs about postpartum fitness would be perfect for my friend Whitney who just had her first baby.

My extra resistance bands would be great for my friend Amy to take on her trip this summer.

I get tired of the same workout videos, but would love to try a new one that another friend is growing weary of.

So why not start a health and fitness collective? We could create a private Facebook group where everyone lists the things they have to share. If you find something you want to borrow, you set up a time to grab it.

You would have to label all of your things, of course, and someone more organized than me would need to figure out a system to keep things rolling.

But wouldn’t this be great? A kind of “friend library” for all things healthy.

I’ve come up with four categories so far: Cookbooks, DVDs, Fitness Equipment, and Healthy Living Books.

Healthy Living Collective Healthy Living Collective Healthy Living Collective Healthy Living Collective

To put this idea into practice, I would first have to create a private Facebook group and figure out who I want to invite (trustworthy friends who live nearby). Each person would take photos and list the things they have that they want to share.

A few things to figure out would be: Who keeps track of what has been borrowed? Individuals or a main person? How long do the items stay checked out? What happens if something is broken or lost?

Like I said, this is a new idea for me, and maybe someone out there is already doing it, but I would love to get something like this going with my friends.

What do you think – is it possible? Do you have any thoughts on how to do it right? I would love to have you brainstorm with me.

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. jennifer

    I am in a local Facebook group based on the national Buy Nothing Project. People can search for or offer things no longer needed but there’s also a Lending Library. Not just healthy things, though I like that idea but special occasion cake pans, a bike rack for a car, special platters for parties, etc. It works really well!

    • Julia

      Thanks for posting! When I read the article, I loved the idea but I have a lot more than healthy living items. Now I’m going to look at the but nothing project.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      That’s really cool! I’ll have to look into the Buy Nothing Project. Thanks!

    • Michelle C

      The Lending Library makes a lot of sense to me. Every community should have one! We sold most of our stuff to join the Peace Corps and have been nomadic since returning, so we have been using an informal version of this among our friends and family- camping gear, hair trimmer, etc.

  2. Kathrine

    What a great idea! I’m not sure how much I could contribute to my local group with my ONE fitness DVD and two sets of training gear on heavy rotation, but I would definately join in on book sharing!

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I think everyone would have more in different areas (which would make teaming up even better). Maybe you can share your stack of books with someone who has lots of fitness equipment.

  3. Sharon Holbrook

    This is a really interesting and kind idea! I do think, though, for books and DVDs, it’s much easier to leave that to the built-in system of the local library. I’d also worry that I’d lend out my favorite cookbook and then quickly realize I wanted to look up a recipe in just that cookbook. (The reality is probably more that I have too many cookbooks, many of which I rarely use, and I should just outright donate many of them.)

    You know what would be fun? Friends getting together to do the actual exercise. Doing the Pilates DVD together when it is new to one friend. Showing another how to use the resistance bands. Kind of sharing expertise instead of equipment. And, of course, socializing!

    • Bethany

      A tip would be to scan your favorite recipes from your cookbooks, print them off and put them in page protectors in a binder. Then get rid of the cookbooks that have only a few good recipes and save the ones that you use a lot.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I love the idea for sharing fitness expertise and workout together. As far as sharing DVDs and books, I think this is where it would be helpful to keep the group small with only friends that you really trust.

  4. Lauren

    This reminds me of clothes swaps. Well clothes are kind of different in that you keep the item of clothes instead of just borrow.

    I think this is a great idea if you can find like minded people with the same plethora of health books and gear. This is a great way to foster community locally!

    You could really do this with anything that you have more of than you need! It helps us hold our stuff with more unclenched fists. Reminds me of Acts 4:32, “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I love doing clothing swaps! If people didn’t want to do a sharing group, they could definitely do a healthy living swap instead. Great idea!

  5. Helen

    I would not lend anything out, but rather give it all away. Or most of it, and just keep the few items I love the most. 🙂

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Well that would be very kind of you 😉

  6. Nina

    I think if it was for a few close friends, you could get by with simply keeping your own inventory of who borrowed what.

    More likely though, if it were me, I would probably just give it away. If I haven’t used it in so long that I would consider lending it, then I probably really don’t need it.

    My sister had a huge collection of DVDs at one point and people borrowed from her all the time. She would just jot it down in a notebook so she could remember who has it and since when (in case she needs to remind them to bring it back).

    I would also advise people not to lend something that they absolutely love. My husband once lent a vintage Bladerunner DVD to a friend and he broke it. Some stuff just can’t be replaced (the friend did make up for it by buying him a collections edition 🙂 ).

  7. Monica

    As I read this post, I’m eating a Tim Hortons chocolate dip donut. I wish I had a support group like this. Great idea!

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Haha 😉 Start a group of your own!

  8. Tracye

    I think it might be a lot easier to just swap it instead if worrying about getting it back. If you want to keep track of who you gave it to and ask for it back, it would be worth it for close friends, but there is no reason you can’t give one friend your workout tapes, while getting new to you tapes from a different person entirely. I use my local Freecycle group for this and it works out really well.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I was thinking this could only really work with close friends. I’ll have to check into my local Freecyle group.

  9. lucy 🙂

  10. Dee

    One word: Brilliant.

  11. Fawn Carriker

    I think this would be a lovely way to help many of us who have too much of any one thing that we aren’t using but don’t want to get rid of permanently. The only downside I can see is transporting items from place to place, but if you simply made them available to people within your local area who could, for example, meet you at Starbucks to make the exchange, it could work well. – Fawn

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      My plan was just to do this locally (with friends that are very close that I see on a regular basis)

  12. Maggie

    Like some posters mentioned, if it would be me and this stuff has not been used for a while I would get rid of it. Otherwise it is a nice idea, but one area to think about is the environmental impact in transporting these goods from one place to another.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I planned to only do this with people I see regularly anyways (no extra travel involved)

  13. Deirdre

    I’m interested in following this and seeing how you set it up, as I’ve wanted to set up a kitchen collective in my small town for awhile. I love baking, but I only make cheesecake once a year—not often enough to justify buying a springform pan. Friends borrow my special bundt pan and I’d love to set up something to pool our resources—even with an annual fee perhaps to either replace anything that gets ruined or build our “library” of cooking supplies.

    We all go through cycles with exercise equipment, so I could see lending and borrowing that out. Books are not expensive, and available in e-form, so they’re one of the few things I always encourage people to buy—especially if you want the same author to be able to publish more!

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I love the idea of a kitchen collective!

  14. Sara

    You could use Google docs to create a master list of all the items to share, and whether they’re available or checked out. Then make all the members of your collective contributors to that Google doc. This way you could have a central list but not a central administrator. On the list you can include who owns the item and who has it checked out. But keep privacy in mind and only use first names and no other personal info. (Obviously this will work best with small groups of people who mostly all know each other)

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      That’s a great idea (and yes I was planning to do this with people who already know each other)

  15. Samantha

    I already use Evernote, so I have a folder called “Lent/Borrowed”. I either write down the item and name, or if it’s a few items I just take a photo and upload it there. Once or twice a year when I wonder where something has gone, I check that list first.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I’m impressed with your organizational skills!

  16. Christen

    My brain says keeping track is too much work, just swap extra stuff around that you don’t care if you get back or not. It’s a closed group – if you ever needed the thing back, just post to the group you need it back and I’m sure whoever ended up with it will fork it back over. I just think it would be a lot more fun if it were a lot more simple! Keeping track o things is stressful.

  17. Linda Sand

    If this is going to be only a local exchange, could you set up a weatherproof container someplace where you could each leave your donations and choose what to borrow next? Sort of like a geocache. Of course you couldn’t put a Nordic Trak in that but you could put in a note saying you have one to lend and how you’d prefer to be contacted regarding it.

    I agree with only loaning things that won’t break your heart if they never come back, though.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      That’s a good idea. Although I live in Phoenix, and I’m afraid everything might melt!

  18. Kathy Peterman

    I think it would be worth trying. I like the idea of building community that it also provides. In Portland we have a lot of people who have a small windowed box near their sidewalks with books and magazines that are free lending and swap places. However you set it up, I’d do items you are willing to part with and not make it complex for checking them out, tracking them etc. Good luck, do report back if you do it. I’d love to hear how it goes.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I love that, Portland sounds like a great place. I will keep you updated!

  19. Adrie

    Love this idea! Keep me posted 🙂

  20. Rosemary Partridge

    Sounds like a great idea. Because people live over the US and overseas (I live in OZ) it’s probably easier to share resources online maybe in. Facebook group 🙂

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Could you set something up with people near you in OZ? 🙂

  21. Disquisitive Chris

    What a great idea! I don’t live close by but could possibly follow your lead and make it happen in my area.
    I’ll stay tuned. Thank you!

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Yes, I think it would be great to set up wherever you are with local friends!

  22. Ashley

    This is such a great idea! I would love to something like this with my friends.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Let me know if you set something up!

  23. Carol


    I see you have lots of ideas listed. I know there is a site called Paperback Swap which also has CD and DVD Swap. It does involve postage, but there are many many many awesome videos, cds and books available for swap. I personally love these sites. Also….I am just gonna wander my way over to some of the sites your other commenters have listed. Good luck with your group.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Thanks I will check it out!

  24. Jamie

    Great idea! Thanks for the post! I love the free exchange of healthy ideas and Facebook is a perfect way to do this.

  25. jone lara

    Appreciate it regarding placing! After i browse the document, We adored taking that approach yet I’ve got in excess of nutritious residing items. Today I’m intending to think about this yet practically nothing challenge.

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