When I first approached by partner (who is a mechanic and has a natural tendency to hoard) about the idea of sharing tools, he was immediately resistant. How could he trust others to take the same care that he would and ensure that things wouldn’t get broken? What if someone was using a tool that he needed? Who would be responsible for replacing tools that were broken? These are all totally good questions. The art of sharing resources such as tools can be tricky to navigate. Lucky for you, others have done a lot of the heavy lifting!
Libraries: We are so fortunate in my town to have an amazing public library system as well as a Tool Library. Lots of tool libraries and “libraries of things” are popping up all over the world so hit up Google and see what you can find in your area. These groups will help with maintenance and often have more than on tool available to loan.
Neighbourhood Groups: Check to see if there are any neighbourhood groups in your area. A lot of them will have resources available for neighbours to share and if there isn’t anything yet, you can always connect with like-minded people to get a tool sharing system started. Having an established group help host means you don’t have to worry about storage space and will have other volunteers or staff to help manage things.
Facebook Groups: One of the amazing things about Facebook is its ability to connect you with people in your neighbourhood that you may have never had the chance to meet before. Do some searching and see if there are any local groups or pages in your area and ask if anyone is interested in sharing resources. You’ll probably be surprised at the response.
Friends and Family: My father-in-law has every tool I could possible ever need. When all else fails, I know I can give him a call to find that tool to finish my home reno project. I’m guessing you probably have someone similar in your circle of friends or extended family. Don’t be afraid to ask! Offering baked goods or a rental fee will go along way as well.
Another really cool side effect of sharing resources with others is that it often leads to collaboration. The people who are sharing tools will also likely have expertise in using the tools! Don’t be afraid to ask for a quick demo, or offer to help them on a future project in trade for helping on the task at hand. If they have a project on the go, offer an extra set of hands in exchange for learning how to use the tools!