Handing over your a big chunk of hard-earned cash in exchange for an item you know you're only going to use once or twice a year can be frustrating, if not outright painful for the penny-pinchers among us.
However sometimes it's necessary: the carpet isn't going to deep clean itself, and a £10 pop-up tent probably isn't going to cut it for your upcoming wild camping trip. But before you break open your piggy bank, it's worth checking out the Crystal Palace's new and improved Library of Things.
For the uninitiated, a Library of Things does pretty much what it says on the tin. Inside there's a miscellany of useful items to rent at affordable prices. It's good for your wallet and good for the planet — helping to curb the capital's unsustainable consumption of resources. Borrowing is also a brilliant solution for those lacking in storage space (hey, London homes aren't exactly renowned for their generous proportions).
London's Library of Things began life in 2016 after its founders were inspired by similar venue in Berlin in Toronto. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the Crystal Palace pilot site launched in 2018. Today, owing to a new collaboration with design and innovation agency seymourpowell, this woman-led start-up is looking better than ever.
Incorporating feedback from its 2500 member-strong community, the Library of Things has launched a brand new self-service locker system. This allows members to borrow everything from Bosch power tools to North Face adventure gear at the touch of a button.
This kiosk system is designed to be flexible and modular, to fit a variety of spaces so that the Library of Things can be easily replicated across the UK. Several new hubs are already set to launch across the capital, so watch this space.
The Library of Things isn't just about being cost-effective and environmentally-conscious; it's also about rebuilding community ties. Borrowing aside, there are loads of ways you can get involved with the Library of Things. You can volunteer, join a DIY class or mending meet-up, or even look at starting your own site.
As Library of Things co-founder Sophie Wyatt puts it: "What starts with 'I need a drill' becomes 'I've made friends with my neighbours', 'I’ve learnt basic repair skills', or even 'I’ve decided to start a local project myself'."
So, what sorts of 'things' can you get your hands on, then? Among other things, you can borrow a circular saw for £7 per day, a speaker and PA system for £10 a day, and even a waffle-maker for £3 per day (discounts are available for those less able to pay).
Check out the whole eclectic collection here. Once you've found what you're looking for, simply choose your reservation dates, pay your £1 membership fee, then head to the library on your chosen collection day.