Rent everything, buy nothing.
Okay, maybe ‘everything’ is a bit extreme. There’s nothing wrong with owning your own blender, for example.
Because, smoothie bowls.
Seriously though, why buy something when you’re only going to use it every now and then?
Sure, it’s fun to buy new stuff. The rush of euphoria you feel after walking out of the store with your purchase is addictive. Hence the term buyer’s high.
Our Paleolithic ancestors experienced it when they dragged home a woolly mammoth.
The downside is that buyer’s remorse arrives not long after. Sometimes it’s almost immediate, other times it can drag its heels getting there.
Either way, you’ll eventually realise you shouldn’t have bought that shiny new whatever. And then you’ll have to flagellate yourself.
An Antidote to Impulse Purchases
We’re all prone to impulse purchases. You see an angle grinder and immediately an image of you standing next to your newly minted wrought-iron gate springs to mind.
You’re probably wearing coveralls, protective goggles and a tool belt.
Puh-leeze. You couldn’t angle-grind your way out of a wet paper bag. Yet, there you are, buying a piece of machinery you have no business using, never mind owning.
Hello buyer’s remorse.
The trick is to put a little space between you and the object of your desire. With distance comes clarity. You’ll quickly see that you don’t actually need whatever it was you were so intent on acquiring.
Why Renting Everything Makes Sense
But what if you have a project you’re working on or an adventure you’re planning? Surely then it’s okay to buy the things you need? Um, no. At least, not to begin with.
Take some time to think ahead to when you’re done building that patio or hiking the Appalachian Trail. What if you hate building stuff or discover that you’d much rather read about someone else’s adventures than go on one of your own?
You’d be stuck with a whole lot of stuff you have no use for, that’s what.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever own anything. If you’re an avid DIY’er, a workshop full of tools makes sense. But if all you want to do is put up some shelves, buying a drill is a waste of money.
Likewise, if you go camping almost every weekend, of course it’s better to have your own tent. However, if you’re new to hiking, there’s no point blowing a bunch of money until you know for sure it’s something you’ll be doing regularly.
From Consumerism to Community
The other advantage of renting everything is that it allows you to make the leap from consumerism to community.
Buying stuff is a one-way transaction. You go to the store, get what you want and you leave. Your dealings with the sales assistant are over.
You’re in the market for a lawnmower, not a new friend, so it makes no difference. That’s true, but what if you made a new friend anyway?
How cool would that be?
That’s what makes renting everything so appealing.
Realising this, the guys at Stuff4Hire have made it their mission to promote a sense of community among their users.
Rather than being just a rental hub, they’re encouraging people to step out of their homes to meet their neighbors and to share the things they have.
Let’s say Neighbor A —we’ll call her Susan— has a camera she uses every now and then. Instead of Neighbor B —let’s call her Alex— buying one, too, she could use Susan’s camera and pay her a few dollars for the pleasure.
During that interaction they get to know one another. Whether that blossoms into a friendship or not doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that a connection has been made.
Later on, Susan might express an interest in learning to kayak and as it happens, Alex has a friend across the street who has a kayak he doesn’t use. We’ll call him Dave and assume he’s
And so it goes on.
Along with building a sense of community, renting everything has the added advantage of allowing people to reduce the number of things in their respective homes.
And because a connection has been made, they’ll hopefully have more consideration for each other and their neighborhood, as well. Before you know it, they’ll be hosting monthly barbecues.
It’s one of those win/win scenarios we love so much.
Ultimately, Stuff4Hire hopes to contribute towards making people more trusting and less cynical, while at the same time providing a convenient way for them to gain access to things they need without resorting to the likes of Amazon, Home Depot or Backcountry.
They’ve just completed their beta test phase and received some valuable feedback from the process. Now, it’s a matter of ironing out any final kinks in the system before launching in November.
Hopefully at some point they’ll extend their offering to the rest of the world, but for now you can always see if there’s something similar in your neck of the woods.
I recently came across Scuttle, a Cape Town-based gear rental company that offers everything you need for your next outdoor adventure.
For Sporty and I, this is a huge win. We’ve been dreaming of hiking the well-known Otter Trail —a 5-day hike located along South Africa’s well-known Garden Route— for a while now.
But the thought of equipping ourselves for the adventure has always held us back. Now we no longer have an excuse to put it off.
While Scuttle doesn’t don’t offer us an opportunity to meet our neighbours, they are community-driven in their own way, particularly when it comes to giving back.
For now, that’ll have to do.