How to make money from your junk - without selling it

Sarah Coles
Make money from your junk
Make money from your junk

Some of us have cupboards full of things we fully expect to get around to using one day. The rest of us have garages stuffed to the gunnels, sheds groaning with items that might just come in handy, and spare rooms we can barely get into any more. And while we can make money from flogging our junk off, there's always someone in the family who insists that one day we will finally find ourselves in need of our drone, expensive camera kit, or electric guitar. Fortunately, there is still a way to make your clutter pay its way.

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The sharing economy has moved beyond houses and cars, and expanded to encompass the random items littering your spare room. There are a few sites offering this - including Fat Lama and Rentmyitems. You just list the items you are prepared to share online, and the rental figure you want for the day, and wait for the money to start flooding in.

Fat Lama's service includes insurance for items worth over £250 (subject to a £50 excess), so if someone damages the item (or steals it), you will receive the replacement value. You just need to be sure to take a time-stamped photo of the item before you lend it out and another one just after the item is returned.

The advantages

Renting these items for a short period appeals to borrowers, because it may not make sense to buy something if they only use it once. They may not have the space to store it either - not everyone has room for a drone or a hoverboard in their life on a full-time basis.

They can get a far cheaper deal through the sharing economy than if they were trying to rent something through a commercial firm. Take borrowing a bike, for example, through Fat Lama you can pay between £10 and £20 for a typical bike for a day. This can be around half the going rate for bikes in popular areas - plus you avoid expensive deposits too

For your junk

Its research has revealed that some popular items can pay for themselves by renting them out a handful of times. A tent, for example, may set you back £120. However, it will fetch a daily rate of £20.38, so assuming you hire it out for a weekend each time, it will pay for itself once it has been borrowed three times. Likewise, a drill may cost you £100, but it rents for £11.73 a day, so after being borrowed for five weekends, the cost is covered. A kids' car seat is similar - covering the cost after six weekends on loan.

The return over the long term is far better than selling it second hand, and you get to keep the item into the bargain. You will also get to be free of your junk for a few days at a time, so you can wander around your spare room and luxuriate in the space. The experience may even tempt you into selling it after-all, and getting the space back for good.