Winters in the northwest are great for “inventory revaluations,” never more than during a pandemic. Portlanders usually nest in the colder months and fight our cabin fever by sorting, organizing, and cleaning up our habitats. Free roadside boxes will appear soon as soon as the weather permits, but during COVID the same cannot be said for sunny yard sales that also serve as neighborhood mixers.
During this year’s purge, my family tried something different and decided to loan or sell some of our items on Lend Me It.
Lend Me It is an app that creates small, neighborhood-based economies while reducing consumer waste. It’s a great solution for offering seasonal gear to the same neighbors we mingle with during the flea market season. In essence, the platform enables neighbors to rent or buy goods, book services in their community or earn a little money on the side – all in one app.
Borrowing It has two main functions: borrowing and borrowing, and our family made good use of both before our annual inventory assessment was completed.
We decided to keep and rent a few things instead of donating or selling them: a puzzle that only sees the light of day once or twice a year, his and hers vintage Schwinn bikes that are in our shed have been standing since our son refused family rides and a set of inflatable tubes for snow / summer recreation.
A cursory scroll through the app gave us an idea of what fees other people were charging for similar rental items, so we started listing one of our old Schwinn Collegiate bikes.
The listing process was much faster than posting the article online. Fast upload, simple prompts to rate the item based on our rating and the bike made visible to those in our immediate area; essentially our neighbors and potential visitors to the area.
Plus, all safeguards are in place: prepayments, items are protected if lost or damaged, all transactions are ID verified and we were relieved that health and safety are a priority. All users are requested to follow public health regulations, take safety precautions such as wearing masks, wipe and disinfect all items before and after use, and keep a safe distance from others during transactions.
As easy as it was to list items, it was equally impressive to familiarize yourself with the goods and services available in our own neighborhood. Event rentals that I thought were only available through brick and mortar businesses were renting for less than half of their retail rental rates. Inflatables, projectors, and even carnival-style concession stands were available for pickup or, in many cases, were delivered to my door.
People loaned out Kitchen Aid mixers and InstaPots, musical instruments and recording devices, all kinds of outdoor gear, trailers, tractors and even luxury cars. The gaming category alone was enough to convince our family of Lend Me It’s Value. A variety of consoles, games, and even an old-school standing arcade cabinet were available.
Rooms, locations and services are also listed in the app. Users can even make calls to their community for help with a task. We didn’t have a barn increase planned this year, but it’s nice to know that there is a community just in case we need help.
When it comes to creating a circular economy, our family has found the Lend Me It app to be a great tool for building community connections. Your results may vary, but in either case you will either need to earn some coins or save some coins. That alone is worth the free download – which you can do at this link.