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Borrowing Back the Block

A quick guide to creating a circular economy in your own community, and making your stuff your side hustle with Lend Me It.

Winters in the northwest are great for "storage reassessments", never more so than during a pandemic. Portlanders usually nest during the colder months, managing our cabin fever by sorting, organizing, and purging our living spaces. Curbside free boxes will soon start making their appearances as soon as weather permits, but during COVID, the same can't quite be said for sunny-day yard sales that also serve as neighborhood mixers.

During this year's purge, my family tried something different and decided to lend or sell some of our stuff on Lend Me It.

Lend Me It is an app that creates small, neighborhood based economies while cutting down on consumer waste. It's a great solution for offering seasonal gear to the same neighbors we mix with during yard sale season. Essentially, the platform allows neighbors to rent or buy goods, book services in their community, or make a bit of money on the side, all in one app.

Lend Me It has two main functions: lending and borrowing, and our family made good use of both before our annual storage assessment was complete.

Lend:

We decided to keep a few items and try renting it instead of donating or selling off: a jigsaw that only sees the light of day once or twice a year, his and hers vintage schwinn bikes that have sat in our shed since our son rejected family rides, and a set of inflatable tubes for snow/summer recreation.

A perfunctory scroll through the app gave us an idea of what fees other folks were attaching to similar rentable items, so we began by listing one of our vintage Schwinn Collegiate bicycles.

The listing process was much quicker than posting the item online. Quick upload, easy prompts for how to rate the item based on our valuation and it made the bike visible by those in our immediate vicinity; essentially, our neighbors and potential visitors to the area.

Plus, all the protections are there: payments upfront, items are protected if they get lost or damaged, all transactions are ID verified, and we were relieved to see that health and safety is prioritized. All users are asked to follow the public health mandates, practice safety precautions such as wearing masks, wipe down and disinfect all items before and after use, and maintain a safe distance from others during transactions.

Borrow:

Just as listing items was simple, getting acquainted with the goods and services up for grabs in our own neighborhood was similarly impressive. Event rentals I thought were only available through brick and mortar companies were being leased for less than half of their retail rental prices. Bouncy castles, projectors, and even carnival-style concession stands were all ready to be picked up, or in many cases, delivered to my door.

Folks were lending out Kitchen Aid Mixers and InstaPots, musical instruments and recording equipment, all manner of outdoor gear, trailers, tractors and even luxury automobiles. 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 all available.

Spaces, places, and services are also all listed within the app.Users can even put out calls to their community for help with a task. We weren't planning on barn raising this year, but it's nice to know there's a community available just in case we need some help.

When it comes to creating a circular economy, our family found the Lend Me It app to be a great tool for building community connections. Your results may vary, but either way, you're bound to either make some coins or save some coins. That alone is worth the free download—which you can do at this link.