When we need something, our initial impulse is to just got to the store and buy it. That’s what we do. But there are many things that you can get in your community for free. It just takes a little time to do some research to see what’s available in your area. These programs focus on more recycling and less consumption, so they’re great for the environment. It’s a win-win!
Most of these things are loaned out to people, while others are given away with nothing expected in return. Most places don’t advertise these item loan programs, though, so you – and many others – are likely not aware they exist. Many of these items are outdoor/gardening supplies that are – believe or not - found at your local library. Read on to find out what freebies await you in your town or city.
Source: Collective Vision Statesman Photo & Multimedia Blog
Many towns across the United States offer areas for residents to drop off branches, leaves, grass and other debris. This material is then turned into mulch and compost for residents to pick up. Some cities have no limit, while residents in some cities are limited to 500 pounds or so. There are a handful of cities that offer free wood chips as well.
2. Leaf bags
In the fall, many towns offer free leaf bags to residents to help with cleanup.
In need of hand tools or power tools for a project or even a remodel? Forget the trip to The Home Depot. Stop by your local tool-lending library and lend them for free. This is a great money-saving and space-saving option, since power tools in particular can be bulky. Many libraries in the west – such as in California, Oregon, and Washington – lend out tools.
4. Landscaping equipment
Yard work is such a pain, especially when you have to plunk down hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars for all the right tools. Find a tool-lending library near you and you can borrow a variety of tools – such as hoes, spades, shears, rakes, picks and shovels – for free. You might even be able to score a lawnmower.
Source: Ritter Lumber
Ladders are pricey and bulky. In many cases, you need a ladder for a one-time job and then you have to find a place to store it. You’ll no longer have this dilemma if you simply borrow one for free. Many tool-lending libraries have ladders you can borrow. You can find a tool-lending library near you at Local Tools. If you don’t see one near you, inquire within your local community or try a Google search.
6. Trees and seeds
If you’re looking to do some landscaping, you may be able to get free trees and seeds to beautify your yard. Some towns have programs that offer free trees for residents. If you’re looking for seeds, check out the Seed Library Locator Map to see if there are any free seeds near you.
7. Musical instruments
Source: Accents On Us
Some libraries lend out musical instruments such as banjos, violins, and even drums. This is great way to entertain younger children during school breaks without having to plunk down hundreds of dollars on instruments. You can also find affordable instruments are Guitar Center by using our coupons.
8. Sewing machines
Want to learn how to sew but not committed to spending $1,000 or more on a sewing machine? You may be able to loan one from your local library. The public library in Sacramento offers this option, but not many libraries do.
Source: GBS Independent
Some public libraries lend out iPad Air tablets for two weeks at a time. These iPads have e-books and free apps on them for entertainment. These are great for children on school breaks, and much better than plunking down several hundred dollars for a tablet that your child may or may not still be interested in after a couple months.
Nooks and Kindles from Amazon are loaned out at some libraries across the country. Users can check them out for two weeks at a time, making it ideal for those who have some spare time to read a book. The late fees can be hefty, so it’s important to return them on time.
11. Video cameras
With smartphones being so popular nowadays, video cameras are becoming obsolete. But if you’re looking to dabble in the videography field, you can do so without spending thousands of dollars on equipment. Many libraries loan out HD video cameras – and editing software – free of charge. This can be a fun idea for teens looking to create their own movie.
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12. Tables and chairs
If you’re hosting a party or other event and expecting a large crowd, you’re going to need tables and chairs for the guests. You could rent them, but why not just borrow them for free? Some libraries offer this option. Check your local library before plunking down your cash on rental fees.
13. Zoo and museum passes
Source: Columbus Zoo
Many libraries across the country offer their members free passes to local museums and zoos. You have to reserve these passes in advance, though, so act quickly if you want them for popular times of the year, like summer vacation and school breaks. Check with your local library to see how you can get your free passes.
If you're interested in last-minute, discounted tickets to the San Diego Zoo and other fun summer activities, download the Whym app.
When the weather gets warmer, it’s fun to stay outside at night and look at the stars. Encourage an interest in astronomy with a loaner telescope from your local library. With a free loan, you can discover the stars without breaking the bank. There are many libraries throughout the country that offer a telescope borrowing program, but they are especially popular in New Hampshire.
15. Cake pans
Source: Simply Scratch
Planning a special themed birthday party for your child? Don’t go out and buy a special overpriced cake pan. You may be able to loan one from a library in your area. You can choose from popular characters and themes like Harry Potter and Big Bird. You simply use the pan, wash it and bring it back. You’ll only use it once anyway, so why let it take up space in your kitchen cabinet?
Your local library is likely a treasure trove of items you never knew could be borrowed for free. Check in and see what types of freebies you’re missing out on.