Library Of Things offers chance to rent lawn mowers and carpet cleaners at fraction of retail price

Have you ever needed to use a tool but not had the money to buy it for one job, or fancied cleaning the carpet, but not forking out £80 to buy a steamer? 

When faced with the same dilemma, a group of friends based in South London decided to take matters into their own hands and created a Library Of Things.

Those who use the library can rent items such as a dehumidifier, cordless drill, brick bolster or lawnmower, for as little as £1 a day.

Friends, pictured left to right, Sophia Wyatt, 27, Rebecca Trevalyan, 29, and Emma Shaw, 28 started the Library Of Things in London in 2014, in order to cut down on waste and to help people save money

Friends, pictured left to right, Sophia Wyatt, 27, Rebecca Trevalyan, 29, and Emma Shaw, 28 started the Library Of Things in London in 2014, in order to cut down on waste and to help people save money

Friends, pictured left to right, Sophia Wyatt, 27, Rebecca Trevalyan, 29, and Emma Shaw, 28 started the Library Of Things in London in 2014, in order to cut down on waste and to help people save money 

The Library Of Things, pictured in Crystal Palace, London, has dozens of items available to rent for as little as £1 a day including garden trowels, carpet cleaners and lawn mowers

The Library Of Things, pictured in Crystal Palace, London, has dozens of items available to rent for as little as £1 a day including garden trowels, carpet cleaners and lawn mowers

The Library Of Things, pictured in Crystal Palace, London, has dozens of items available to rent for as little as £1 a day including garden trowels, carpet cleaners and lawn mowers

Rebecca Trevalyan, one of the project’s founders, explained to FEMAIL that she and some friends started the project, as they wanted to cut down on waste and help their community. 

She said: ‘I wanted to start Library Of Things because of the environmental impact buying lots of stuff has.

‘If we keep consuming at this rate we’ll need 3.5 more planets to contain us, and will need to find a new way of organising our lives. 

‘I also realised that I owned things which I’d use maybe twice a year, meaning each use worked out really expensive, as well as them being large to store.

A garden trowel, pictured, costs £1 a day to rent

A garden trowel, pictured, costs £1 a day to rent

The Bosch cordless drill costs £7 a day to rent

The Bosch cordless drill costs £7 a day to rent

Lots of the things available to rent are DIY based, pictured left a garden trowel and right a drill, and could be expensive for people to buy if only used once or twice a year

One of the more pricey items is the carpet cleaner, which costs £20 a day

One of the more pricey items is the carpet cleaner, which costs £20 a day

The sewing machine is priced at £7 a day and comes with a small thread selection

The sewing machine is priced at £7 a day and comes with a small thread selection

The carpet cleaner, left, and sewing machine, right, are two of the most popular things to rent

This bread maker will put you back a cool £5 a day

This bread maker will put you back a cool £5 a day

A party starter kit is also up for rent for £8 a day

A party starter kit is also up for rent for £8 a day

Library Of Things also has a bread maker, pictured left, and a party starter kit, right, that comes with Disco lights, 10m of brightly coloured bunting and a balloon pump to rent by the day

‘When we started we soon realised the strong community value in the project. It’s not just about saving money, but also getting together and learning new skills.

‘As well as renting items, people can come to events to learn how to use the things, and help each other out – for example by mowing a neighbours lawn.’     

At the library hub in Crystal Palace, members of the community needing a specific thing can rent it for a fraction of the retail price 

Now in their fifth year, the waste-conscious creators behind the social enterprise have a range of quality items on offer to rent. 

And the team have also found that 90 per cent of borrowers say they now have more money to spend on things important to them.

The top rented things tend to be larger items, which aren’t used regularly, and prove a hassle to store or expensive to buy.

Household items, such as a bread maker held by this man, are also included in the Library and great for one-time use or people just wanting to try something without committing financially

Household items, such as a bread maker held by this man, are also included in the Library and great for one-time use or people just wanting to try something without committing financially

Household items, such as a bread maker held by this man, are also included in the Library and great for one-time use or people just wanting to try something without committing financially 

The Library Of Things also runs events and masterclasses for people to learn how to use the items. Rebecca said this is also a great chance to meet the local community

The Library Of Things also runs events and masterclasses for people to learn how to use the items. Rebecca said this is also a great chance to meet the local community

The Library Of Things also runs events and masterclasses for people to learn how to use the items. Rebecca said this is also a great chance to meet the local community

This includes carpet cleaners, projectors, sewing machines and lawn mowers.

Rebecca said: ‘We source items through companies and make sure everything is maintained.

‘When they rent, people pay around 10 per cent of what the cost of buying the item new is.

‘This means hiring a drill for a day is £7, a steam cleaner works out at £8 and an ice- cream maker is £5. We do also have concessions if needed.’

To work out which items people actually wanted to borrow, Rebecca and the team crowdfunded £15,000 to hire two containers and test products.   

For 18 months, they trialed 400 objects in the containers, which could be borrowed by people in South London.

Hundreds of people, some pictured at an event, have used the borrowing system and 90 per cent of borrowers said they now have more money to spend on things important to them

Hundreds of people, some pictured at an event, have used the borrowing system and 90 per cent of borrowers said they now have more money to spend on things important to them

Hundreds of people, some pictured at an event, have used the borrowing system and 90 per cent of borrowers said they now have more money to spend on things important to them

Sophia, Rebecca and Emma, pictured together, now have the library in Crystal Palace and five other groups in London as well as interest from 300 other places in the UK

Sophia, Rebecca and Emma, pictured together, now have the library in Crystal Palace and five other groups in London as well as interest from 300 other places in the UK

Sophia, Rebecca and Emma, pictured together, now have the library in Crystal Palace and five other groups in London as well as interest from 300 other places in the UK

Rebecca said: ‘This helped us work out which things were in demand and now we have streamlined out list.’

They then worked with Crystal Palace Transition Town and Upper Norwood Library Hub to develop a replicable version of Library of Things – a self-serve kiosk with the ongoing Thing management taken care of, which ‘plugs in’ to any community space. 

Rebecca said: ‘We now have the library in Crystal Palace and five other groups in London. 

‘More than 300 places across the UK have also contacted me saying they want a Library Of Things – it’s clearly in demand.’ 

What are Library Of Things most- rented items? 

Carpet cleaner – £20 a day

Comes with four cleaning tablets, enough for 1-2 rooms. 

Pressure washer – £8 a day

Comes with one dirt blaster lance and one high pressure nozzle lance 

Steam cleaner – £8 a day

Comes with floor tool, hand tool, detail nozzle and small round brush

Drill – £7 a day

Comes with drill bits, battery charger and safety kit (when asked for) 

Hand sander – £7 a day

Comes with three sheets of sanding paper and a dust bag  

Strimmer – £8 a day

Comes fully charged and with a safety kit when asked for. Cordless available 

Hedge trimmer £8 a day

Comes with battery charger and safety kit when asked for. 

Ladder – £5 a day

Extendable platform up to 3 metres high 

Projector – £12 a day

Comes with HDMI, Thunderbolt 2 to HDMI adaptor, VGA cable, power cord and remote  

Sewing Machine – £7 a day

Comes with bobbins, small selection of thread, needles and a foot pedal 

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