'Do you really need to own the thing or just use it?'
What a great question. I was part of a household church about 12 years ago and when we got together one of the things we did was make a massive list of all our stuff that we would be happy to lend out to others in the group / our wider network. No pressure, purely voluntary and only stuff you were happy to get back in 'used' condition! It was great as Heather and I were skint in a bedsit (affectionately known as the 'damp cave') and it really helped us not to mention the way we could reach out to others with our stuff. It was a great way of subverting our individualized (or 'nuclear familyized') ideas of community, 'property/ownership', consumerism etc and it made massive eco sense - not to mention the way it was, in a strange but beautiful way, good for our individual and communal soul.
Bit like freecycle idea (maybe we should start/join a group) but the stuff doesn't even need to change hands (though that's good too) - its more about living open handed.
So if you need something just ask! Anyone for hedge trimmers?! Stuff Bank - its the way forward...