Why Rent Baby Gear?

You might have heard about renting baby gear for trips so you don’t have to lug bulky gear and toys with you while traveling with little ones. Makes total sense, right? 

But did you know you can rent baby and kids gear to use at home? When learning about this for the first time, the immediate response we hear from parents is, “I wish I knew about this when my kids were little!” And, I get why. 

When I was transitioning into parenthood, there were a million big-ticket purchase decisions to make. One of the biggest tasks is building your baby registry. Suddenly, you need to register for or buy thousands of dollars worth of gear in a category you know nothing about. As you add more and more to your registry or Amazon cart, the cost can start to feel daunting. I wanted to make the right choices, be prepared, and feel confident going into the birth. Every decision feels really high-stakes, though. 

All my friends and family were coming out of the woodwork with suggestions and product recommendations but it was hard to know who and what to trust. Brands and influencers were constantly trying to “sell” me on stuff on Instagram, and my friends all had different experiences. Not to mention the contradictory opinions about what bassinet was best, or what stroller is better for the rough DC sidewalks. It’s no surprise that most parents spend around 40 hours researching and building their registries, only to still second-guess their choices.

After my son arrived I quickly realized that we barely used a lot of his “must-have” gear. And before I knew it, he had grown out of his newborn gear. I was then faced with the task of getting a bunch of new stuff for the new developmental stages he was growing into. After going through it, I’m not surprised that over 2 million pieces of perfectly good baby and kid gear end up in landfills each year. Let’s face it, babies are growing into and out of stuff every couple of months. At that point I was well aware that every baby is different and you can’t be sure everything will work for you. 

Looking around I thought there had to be a better way than spending thousands of dollars on things that are only used for a short time. To fight back against this frantic consumerism, we set out to build a solution that makes more sense for this stage of life when our babies are rapidly developing. Rental memberships for baby gear and toys do just that - families can rent and rotate the gear they need for their growing family without the expense, clutter, or stress.

 

Why rent vs. buy baby gear?

We think renting baby gear is super intuitive, for babies and toddlers who are rapidly growing out of gear like it’s their job, and for busy parents who don’t don’t want to spend their precious free time dealing with the “stuff” that just keeps piling up. 

When you rent baby gear, you don’t need to commit to spending hundreds of dollars on gear that little ones will grow out - or get tired of - in a few months. You can get what you need for each developmental stage, and swap it out for the next thing as your little one grows. And because you’re not buying everything outright, you save money and get to use big-ticket items that might be out of your budget otherwise.

Rent Baby Gear

Buy Baby Gear 

  • More affordable (save 30-50%)
  • Return items after your baby has grown out of them 
  • Flexibility to swap in and out to find the perfect fit 
  • Get personalized suggestions from Baby Gear Concierge 
  • More environmentally friendly 
  • More expensive 
  • Store or resell items after baby has grown out of them 
  • Buy new versions of an item if you need a replacement 
  • Research and compare every item you purchase 
  • Less environmentally friendly 

What are the benefits of renting baby gear? Renting baby gear is an easy way to save money, reduce clutter, access a wide range of top products, try gear, and be more environmentally friendly. 

Save Money 

The cost of luxury baby items can make any normal parent’s jaw drop. But each piece of popular high-quality baby gear can still cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars individually and is only used for a few months at a time. Take a smart bassinet for example, the Snoo costs nearly $1,700 and you’re only going to realistically use it for four months. It goes without saying that we all want to give our children the best, but in this economy, families don’t have an unlimited budget for baby gear. And neither do the family and friends who are contributing gifts to your baby shower. By renting baby gear, you only pay for the gear when you’re using it, saving money on these big-ticket purchases. For example, a family can rent a year’s worth of essential gear with a JoyLet 3-item membership and end up paying less than the cost to buy a premium full-sized stroller.

 

Stop Clutter 

The thrill of nesting for a new baby can quickly turn into stress after six months as parents soon find out that their child has already aged out of everything they registered for. Unused gear starts to pile up in storage spaces, closets, and garages. Urban families who live in condos, apartments, or townhouses in particular don’t have space to store it. Because reselling “old” gear online is time-consuming, frustrating, and inconvenient it often sits around the house becoming another thing to do on a parent’s already long to-do list. Renting allows busy parents to send stuff back as soon as they’re done with it, eliminating the hassle of storing old gear or reselling it. 

 

More Choice: Access Expert-Approved Gear for Your Child’s Stage 

There are so many different types of gear and toys on the market, it can feel overwhelming to compare features and actually make a purchase decision, especially when you’ve never seen this stuff in person. Any parent who has built a registry can relate to that feeling of wondering if they’re missing something. Plus, new products are coming out all the time. And thanks to the increasing use of technology in baby gear like bassinets, you may want a different version by the time you have another child. When you rent baby gear you can access all different kinds of products and brands at exactly the right time - no need to try to make what you already have “work” for your current needs. Now, you can get the best choice for each developmental stage and activity. It’s like having your own personal library of gear that you can choose and swap from. 

 

Gain Flexibility to Try & Change Your Mind 

Babies are picky and new parents soon find out that each baby has its own unique preferences for what actually soothes or entertains them. What your best friend swears by, might not do it for your baby. Many parents find themselves buying multiple versions of a single item trying to find the right fit. This process can be frustrating and expensive because each item costs hundreds of dollars. Plus, when looking at something online it can be hard to imagine how it will actually fit into your family’s lifestyle leaving parents to wonder “will this wagon fit into my trunk?” and “will this stroller be too heavy to carry up the stairs to my porch?” Renting baby gear gives you the flexibility and optionality to try different pieces of gear in real life. When you rent it becomes easy to try something out and swap it for another version if it doesn’t work as expected. 

 

Reduce Environmental Impact 

To get a baby product approved for sale, manufacturers must ensure it is safe and durable. Gear for this stage of life is made to last, but babies and toddlers use it for only a few months at a time. This leads to unused gear sitting idle in a garage or storage space, not living up to its full potential or what we call its “useful life.” Because a lot of baby gear can’t be donated due to safety concerns, it often ends up in the trash. In fact, OfferUp estimates that over 2 million pieces of perfectly good baby and kids' gear end up in landfills each year. When you rent, you can keep good gear circulating in your local community, with routine maintenance and inspection to extend its lifespan. Renting is a more sustainable way to use the gear you need, when you need it. 

 

Can’t I just buy secondhand baby gear?

Many parents looking to save money and be more environmentally friendly turn to the secondhand market, but there are a variety of reasons why it can be inconvenient or downright risky. 

You never know what is going to be available to purchase secondhand because it depends on when another parent is selling any given item. Let’s say you were set on getting the Baby Bjorn bouncer – you’ll have to monitor for another local parent to list one for sale, negotiate a price you’re comfortable with, and hope it’s listed around the time when you need it. Plus, when your baby outgrows it, you then have to deal with listing it again and reselling it. Many busy parents just don’t have the time for all that research and coordination. With rental, you can reserve the items you want in advance and get the peace of mind that a company like JoyLet will have the item in stock. And when you’re done, JoyLet will pick the item up so you don’t waste time and effort reselling. 

Cleanliness and safety is another point of contention with the secondhand market. We’ve heard many horror stories about the state of items that parents pick up secondhand. When purchasing something secondhand you’ll need to thoroughly clean and sanitize the item which can be time-consuming. It’s also hard for the average parent to inspect a secondhand item for missing parts, safety, and functionality. When you rent from a company you’ll get the benefit of professional cleaning, sanitization, and inspection to ensure everything is in working order. As a rental company, we have access to replacement parts and professional cleaning equipment to ensure your rental item is in like new condition when it arrives. 

On a more serious note, recalled or defective items can be listed on secondhand marketplaces like Facebook or local mom groups. Unfortunately, recalls happen all the time in this industry, and well-meaning parents may not even know their item has been recalled when they post it. Renting from a reputable company like us, which monitors recalls, will ensure you’re not unsuspectingly getting an item that isn’t safe. 

 

Is renting baby gear mainstream? 

Baby gear rental is becoming more popular every year thanks to Millennial and Gen-Z parents (like us!) who value the convenience and sustainability found in circular economy business models. If you think about it, we’ve grown up with renting Airbnbs on vacation, taking Ubers out to dinner, and renting clothes from Rent the Runway for weddings – so why wouldn’t we want to rent our baby gear? Word is quickly spreading among busy, urban parents looking for practical solutions that help decrease the big mental load of parenthood. You would probably not be the first of your friend group to rent baby gear. And if you are, you’ll gain major street cred for putting them on to a better way of doing things. 

 

Where can I rent baby gear? 

We currently offer our rental service in the Mid-Atlantic area - think the DC metro area, Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs with plans to continue to expand to other urban areas over time. There are other in-home rental companies popping up to serve parents around the country so if you’re not in our service area you can find one near you with a quick Google search. Also, if you’re interested, do us a quick favor and email care@joylet.com so we can add you to our waiting list. 

At JoyLet, we are focused on building the roadmap to early parenthood - complete with the gear and guidance you’ll need in these early years. We have a team of baby gear concierges that can help build your personalized gear roadmap and make individual product recommendations for you. Start by taking our quiz and we’ll reply with your personalized roadmap in a few days. 

 

Our take 

Renting baby gear is an easy, affordable, and sustainable way to get the gear your little one will need at the baby and toddler stage – and it’s gaining popularity every day. 

You can think of the JoyLet team as your very own baby gear concierge that will research what your child needs for their current development stage, compare products and features to suggest the right item for you, and then get the gear out of your house when your child has grown out of it or just moved on. We offer a helpful service to busy parents who already have too many to-dos on their plates and too much stuff in their homes. 

If you’re a busy, urban parent renting baby gear is a must. Reach out to us with any questions - we love to meet other parents and are happy to help guide you through this journey. 

 

About the Author: 

Alli Cavasino

Alli is the co-founder of JoyLet and is all about intentional living. She has a passion for creating sustainable systems that make it easy to elevate everyday life and loves helping others do the same. When not building JoyLet, she loves soaking up quality time with her husband, baby boy, and goldendoodle - preferably in sunny 75 degree weather with an iced latte in hand :)

 

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