It's Good to Be a Borrower
Who among us hasn’t purchased bulky, expensive lawn or home-improvement gear, used it once, and regretted the expenditure ever since? Getting rid of things you already have but never use can be done with little effort via yard sales, online sales sites, and community swaps. An even better way to keep your garage clean (and your budget intact), however, is not to buy use-it-once stuff in the first place. Ahead, learn about utterly surprising (and in some cases, random) things you can borrow for a fee, and happily return when your rental is up.
1. Camping Equipment
If your camping excursions come few and far between, consider renting gear rather than investing in it. You’ll save yourself some money and, perhaps even more importantly, you won’t have to waste precious storage space to stash a bunch of rarely used camping equipment.
REI, an established name in outdoor gear, is one company that offers camping rental gear. Their site will direct you to their nearest gear rental location.
If you need to transform a space with living decor, professional plant rental may be just what you need. A few rented plants can make a huge change in the atmosphere of a room, whether an office or a party space.
For a more full-service experience, check out Ambius, a nationwide company that doesn’t just rent plants to businesses—they also send staffers to come care for them.
3. Lawn Mower
Do you want to ditch that lawn mower altogether? It sounds nuts, but it’s actually possible to rent goats to “cut” the lawn for you. They'll munch away invasive plants and naturally fertilize your lawn, eliminating the need to treat your ground with chemicals. Calling in the goats is particularly helpful for homeowners with lots of acreage.
You’ll have to do an online search to find a goat rental company near you, but there are myriad options out there, among them the California-based Rent A Goat.
Don’t have a 60-quart stockpot for the shrimp boil you’re planning? No problem! You can rent that. In fact, you can rent almost any kitchen equipment you can imagine, from pots to appliances. Home rental companies such as Cort use your location to determine which kitchenware packages are available to rent in your area.
6. Baby Toys
It’s true: Kids grow out of stuff fast, which is why we’re totally in favor of renting that baby jumper instead of buying it. You really only need it for 6 to 8 weeks, anyway. Baby toy rental companies like BabyQuip rent both indoor and outdoor toys.
They also provide rentals for families while they’re vacationing, so travelers don’t have to cart play yards and strollers from one coast to the other.
Have you always wanted to fly a drone, but you just aren’t ready to make the investment? Rent one for a bit so you can give it a try before you take the leap. Blue Skies Drones in Washington ships rental drones for users to enjoy —whether for recreational use, photography, inspections, agricultural research, or anything else—before shipping them back.
Textbooks are expensive, but you don’t have to buy them—new or used. Renting textbooks in print or electronic form gets you access to the same brain-enhancing info for a fraction of the cost. Your university’s bookstore (and professors) can probably point you in the right direction for rentals. Amazon’s textbook rental program, which serves students in the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii, is always an option too.
RELATED: 9 Smart Uses for Dusty Old Books
9. Arcade Games
Impress and entertain your friends by renting some great arcade games for your next big shindig. Foosball, pinball, Skee-Ball, and even Pac-Man can be yours for a daily rental fee. Event party rentals and fees vary by location, but check out California-based Gems Parties to get an idea of the kinds of games available for rent.
Believe it or not, you can rent a breathalyzer for your next big party. Having one of these gizmos on hand is a great way to give yourself and your guests peace of mind when they leave your event. Check online to discover companies, such as Lifeloc Technologies in Colorado, that rent breath alcohol testers.
11. Power Meter
When energy bills spiral out of control, a power meter helps you track your usage. These devices can tell you how much energy you’re using in real time, with some monitors showing the kilowatts as well as the cost in dollars and cents to run a particular device. Use this information to stop wasting power and your hard-earned money.
Do an online search to find companies, such as Transcat, that offer power meter rental in your area.
Sure, power tools rental is one thing, but what are you supposed to do for big landscaping projects for which you need to move several hundred pounds of gravel or dirt? When it doesn’t make sense to buy a wheelbarrow, head to The Home Depot and rent one for a few hours—or a few weeks.
RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Wheelbarrows
13. Fire Pit
Add a little ambience to your next backyard barbecue with a fire pit. Once dusk hits, partygoers can gather around a cozy propane-fueled fire rather than move indoors. Many party rental companies have portable fire pits available. For instance, Stuart Event Rentals in California offers a round fire pit that’s just right for outdoor gatherings.
14. Solar Panels
Solar panel rental is available in states where net metering is available. Because of the large up-front cost of buying solar panels, many homeowners who want to go green are faced with a financial barrier that limits their ability to get into more eco-friendly energy. Solar panels can be used for off-grid living and construction projects as well as in a variety of other situations. Rent Solar, one of many companies to choose from, supplies solar panels for rent in a number of states.
Keeping hens on your property allows you to enjoy fresh eggs every day, but if you’ve never raised chickens before you may want to try renting them first to see how you like it. Chicken rental programs come with the coop and the hens, and sometimes even offer pickup and drop-off services. If you like your rental chickens, some nationwide companies, including Rent the Chicken, will let you adopt the flock and their supplies at the end of your rental period.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!