We are a consumer society. But garages stuffed full of rarely used items and the waste of fast fashion are just two pieces of evidence to show we may consume too much. Almost anything your little heart desires can be found for rent online. Here’s where to find the best rentals and when to do it.

Vacation

My family packs light; we each bring only a carry-on, no matter how long the vacation. But that often leads to a scramble to find something we want to use on vacation that didn’t fit in our bag. We have found that sometimes buying a boogie board at a big box store is less expensive than renting one from the local shop. 

But what if you could rent someone else’s boogie board who lives near your hotel? Yoodlize is a Utah-based app and website dreamed up by the 14-year old daughter of company founders Jason and Natalie Fairbourne. This well-traveled family often seemed to find themselves needing a certain something on their adventures, wishing they didn’t have to actually purchase it. 

This peer-to-peer rental platform is the answer. Yoodlize strives to keep users safe by verifying identities through government issued IDs, email, credit card info and other documentation. All items are covered up to $2,000 and owners can add custom rules like requiring a security deposit. The moment I rented something (a Vespa) through the app, I received a text from Taylor, my Yoodlize Success Specialist, asking if I had any questions. I liked it.

I also appreciated the ability to search for an item and look at a map to see where available items were located. All communication goes through the app and the company takes 20%. So, if I want to rent out a vacuum for $20, the renter is charged $22 and I receive $18 through PayPal when the item is returned. The service is only active in Utah and Hawaii right now with plans to expand.

Try before you buy

Most of us would like to give something a test drive before we drop a lot of cash. We do it with cars, but think how nice it would be to do with a projector, a kayak or a drone? Rentals are another great way to try something out before actually purchasing it. 

Millions of people already use KSL Classifieds to buy other people’s stuff and listing an item for rent has been an option for a while. But now those posting rental listings have a ton of new features including the ability to set a certain rate and calendar.

Owners can offer hourly, daily or monthly rentals and black out dates they won’t offer the item. Owners and renters can message each other directly within the app so no one needs to offer up personal information. 

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Adding a rental listing on KSL Classifieds is free for a limited time and there are already more than 5,000 rental listings available. Set filters like distance, whether the listing has photos and narrow down choices with categories and sub-categories. Tiffany Rhodes, the senior marketing manager for KSL Classifieds, says two of the most popular categories are anything to do with weddings or recreational vehicles.

Special occasions

OK, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a special occasion to rent someone’s sweet backyard, but how fun for a family party, a birthday or teen hangout. Sound awkward? Remember, a lot of people were uneasy at first when peer-to-peer home rentals became available. But now many travelers will only rent someone’s home for a vacation as opposed to staying at a hotel.

Swimply is a website and app that brings that same idea to outdoor locations. What first started as a pool-renting platform now offers peer-to-peer rentals of backyards and courts for pickleball, tennis and basketball. Filter by price, indoor or outdoor, saltwater or chlorine and distance and use the map to see locations. You can also check boxes for heated pools, grills, hot tubs, fire pits and water slides. 

At a time when a lot of Americans have too much stuff, consider temporary usage of nearly anything. Renting could be a great way to try something out, get the best use out of it and then return it to its owner.

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