Thursday, January 26, 2012


Gee, what this guy did fascinates us.

Rob Baedeker needed money so he put ad on Craig's list, offering to rent out his camping trailer for $45 a night. He was doing what does -- it's a website that rents space in people's homes where you can stay -- it's less expensive, often nicer than staying in a hotel in some of the big cities.

Was Rob desperate for money?

No. What I read, and learned about him (from Twitter, Newsweek, and the video below), is that he and his wife are both writers and editors. They have a four-year-old daughter, live in a three room rented bungalow. Their camping trailer is parked next to it. Rob wanted extra money for a vacation, and wanted to start saving money for their daughter's college education.

Rob got two offers -- one wanted the trailer for four nights, the other -- because the trailer wasn't available, decided to sleep on an air mattress in Bob's home office -- four nights at $25 per night. Rob checked out credit and references. He liked both customers. He definitely liked the extra $280. Later, he rented out a weed-whacker, his sander, his car, his dog, his guitar, his daughter's bike, her red wagon, even a stay at his house.

Now he's even renting out himself as a life counselor. (Look out shrinks, this may be a trend that'll cost you guys big money).

Is this a trend -- making money from things you aren't using? Perhaps it is. Other new websites are offering "collaborative consumption"-- ways to connect with folks who will rent out their cars, couches, personal services are on,, even dinosaur costumes or clay-pigeon launchers at $12 per day on

The financial crisis seems to have inspired a new kind of resourcefulness. Aside from our awareness of the environmental consequences of things like plastic bags, throwaway stuff is becoming important. Perhaps our grandparent's "waste not-want not " maxim is coming back into vogue.

A book, "What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption," (by Botsman & Rogers) tells us that people who gain access to things they want without owning them will also "make new friends; and become active citizens once again."

"Gee, what could we rent out?" my husband and I asked each other.'' Sound equipment? Ours is high level professional, not portable, but it thunders, whispers, roars and rocks the house. Hmm. When cars, playing loud music, drive by our house -- dammit-- I hate it, I feel invaded, I cover my ears. Renting out our sound equipment is a dissonant loud NO Way!

Rent out our studio theater with its 65 seats for exercise? For a play reading?

Only if the renter provided assistants -- one on the downstairs door, one in the hall so strangers couldn't wander into our living quarters. But my dance floor -- gee -- shoes leave scratch marks. And there's just one lavatory ... Nope, renting the studio is out.

Okay -- what about my kitchen?

My kitchen is a fun place to cook.
I've got everything a cook needs.
All kinds of gadgets.
New stove.
New huge fridge.
A great dining table.
It's shaped like a mushroom
and seats four to ten.

I've got marvelous dinnerware -- oversize plates, bowls, cups, saucers ... but actually they are not dishwasher safe.

Okay. what about our green living room.

Spectacular skylight.

Summer-green floor and matching summer-green ceiling.

Mirrors, big bird cage for our pigeon ...

Gee, the white porch furniture ...

Oh dear ...

The brown and dark red room where we film our videos? Golly, it would take me an hour to explain where things are and what NOT to use.

Of course I could lend/rent out my books if I knew the reader wouldn't eat while reading, and leave-grease spots.

NO. Grease spots on books are repulsive. We don't need the money. But if we did, well ... I could rent out me as a cook, or Dr. Em as a listener-adviser? Maybe we could barter -- if you, the renter, clean the four hallways and vacuum all the stairs in our building, you can rent JC and me out as guests, scintillating guests could spice up your party.

Hmm. Of course, we'd need to know who's coming to your party. Relatives? Kids? How many guests, how old -- we'd need to know in advance, how long we'd have to stay...

I'm sorry I mentioned barter. Please don't make us an offer. Maybe renting out aspects of your life is an option for you, but NOT for me, or JC.

Hey, here's Rob, maybe you can do what he did.


Ameer S. Washington said...

I'm with you Em. I'd hardly rent out my things to people I know. But hey, to each his own. I just can't imagine a total stranger sleeping in my house. You can never know the motives of others and to give someone a key to your home whom you've never met, having a child and especially a daughter is borderline dangerous. But I'm sure Rob has put some measures in place to keep her safe. The trailer I'd could see, since it's not attached to the home.

Anonymous said...

This is sort of a fun idea! I could rent out our spare bedroom but the renter would have to like and be content living with 2 senior citizens-no loud music, no late nights, no boys allowed etc. Doubt if anyone would rent. Lol! If we were younger and more independent this is a good idea, but not for us now. Thanks for sharing Em.... kam

JD Cullum said...

All these sweet pics make me homesick. The pic of the green room looks like a shimmering impressionist painting... beautiful.
-JD Frankel

Carola said...

Not for me either. I value my privacy, security, my spaces, and my things too much to risk them. But a good trend for younger people!

Anonymous said...

LoL you such a hilarious soul, i think you are as hilarious as Queen Elizabeth. This reading made me laugh whole day. We definitely living in inflationary times and i don't think renting my home would be a good idea, i value my peace of mind. I think ill take your studio and use it for skateboarding ;-)

Maureen Jacobs said...

I could rent just about anything. Tools, space, computer time....hell, I will rent out my culinary duties. I am in no way able to rent out my home. Props to the creativity.

Kaye Francis said...

Nopers this small home is full of family, no space to rent out! What tools we have, we need & other to help out a neighbor in need, I wouldn't rent or loan. I know where a neighbor lives & can show up to readily retrieve a tool back should it not be returned in a timely manner!

Really good write on your part EM & a really good read...thanks for sharing your wonderfully 'eclectic' home with us in pics...I was particularly spooked at the 'Green Room' ~ large hit of 'deja vu' ~ I had a sunroom back in the 80's w/ sliding glass door that led into the backyard, plus a skylight, the room featured a low nap good green carpet, white walls & ceiling, white wicker furniture & color accents, florals & pictures. So while not the exact same, there was enough similarity to spook me out.
* * *
Thanks for sparking my memory...I remembered my good times curled up on a wicker sofa reading a book while the sun shone in. :) I loved that! I'm @grammakaye on twitter.

Unknown said...

So, you're saying I CAN'T rent out something in your house? :)

I don't know if I'd ever be able to do that either, but we don't really have any extra space TO rent out, other than maybe in the garage or outside. :)

Are those type of nightly sub-lets still allowed in NYC? I know the city is trying to stop them, but I've looked at a few online, and think they'd be great places to stay!

Thanks for the additional "tour" of your home!

Love ya!