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Unusual items you can rent versus buy.

With warmer weather approaching, now is a good time to start looking ahead to summer projects and activities. Want to tackle a big landscaping project this year? You’ll need the right tools. Perhaps you’re finally going on a long-awaited vacation. You may need special gear, especially if you’re traveling with young children. The good news is that you may be able to rent items you’ll need for these uses or other short-term specific purposes, saving you money and storage space.

We’re all familiar with renting houses, cars and even sports equipment, like golf clubs. But now, as the peer-to-peer rental market and sharing economy continues to grow, practically anything you need is available to rent. If you’re curious, here are some unusual yet useful items available for rent that you may not know about. We’re also including a few rental sites and platforms, but it’s always a good idea to research your options to find what best fits your needs and interests.

Items you may only need occasionally

  • Professional quality camera and photography equipment: Kitsplit, BorrowLenses
  • Commercial kitchen space, or space for a party, performance or photo shoot: Peerspace
  • A sewing machine: Bobbin & Ink
  • Jewelry, designer clothes and formalwear for weddings and other special events: Rent the Runway

Items you may need for a limited time

Unusual items you may not have thought about

  • Fake wedding cakes, for display and pictures: FunCakes
  • Goats, to help with heavy-duty landscaping (like removing unwanted plant life) in a low cost, eco-friendly way: Rent A Goat
  • Chickens for fresh eggs right at home, complete with coop, food and supplies: Rent The Chicken
  • An RV: RVshare

Use of someone’s private property for:

  • Camping: Hipcamp
  • Space for gardening: YardYum
  • Garage storage: Neighbor
  • Private swimming pool: Swimply
  • Parking spaces, which can be hard to find in crowded cities or popular tourist destinations: SpotHero
  • Ceremonial caskets with removable interiors: Many funeral homes offer this option

When does it make sense to rent versus buy?

There can be many benefits to renting versus buying. Renting might make more financial sense if you only need an item once, for a limited time, or for a special occasion. Renting also lets you try out an item before investing in a purchase, like a musical instrument your kid may or may not stick with, or sports equipment that might be outgrown after one season. A lack of storage space, a desire to be more sustainable by helping to reduce waste, and supporting your local sharing economy are some other reasons to consider renting versus buying.

Tips for renting from others

Before you rent, be sure to research the company or platform and review the fees, rental terms and liability disclosures. Make sure you understand the policy on the condition of returned items and what happens if something breaks. For instance, if you damage or lose an item, you may have to repair or replace it. Some rental contracts include liability insurance and a cleaning fee as part of their terms.

Tips for renting out your own stuff

Renting out items in good condition that you own, but rarely or never use, can be a way to make extra money and might even be more profitable than selling them. If you decide to go this route, listing your items on community platforms can make them more visible to a larger pool of potential renters and may offer some protections.

For example, here are a few local platforms for people who want to rent items to or from their community: Yoodlize and Rentah.

The next time you need something for a short time — whether it’s to complete a project, try out a new hobby or simply enjoy life without the burden of owning more stuff, consider whether renting versus buying might make more sense for you and for your finances.

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