I Built My Tiny House And Have All These Tools… Now What?

So a comment from one of my posts the other day got me thinking.  There are many people who have built their tiny home and now have all these tools that they acquired for their build, but don’t have a need for them anymore.  So now what?

Reduce-Resource-Consumption-Sharing-Corporate-Consumption-Tool-sharing-library_1There are those who are professional builders/craftsmen/craftswomen that will have them for their job, but that isn’t the case for many.  For others they just built a house (just think about that, they built an entire house) at that point they have learned some amazing skills and might just have caught the bug and start other fun project.

However, there are many of us who don’t need all those tools and it seems at odds to have a tiny house and a ton of tools. Up until this point I have suggested trying to recoup some of the money by selling them on craigs list, but what if we tried something different.

What if we took the tools that we used to build our Tiny House and passed them on to another tiny house builder?  Tools are expensive so I would think there would need to be some sort of exchange, perhaps a labor exchange or money.  How neat would it be if you helped out someone on their tiny house for a reasonable amount of time, which gave you the skills for your own home and in exchange, in lieu of a hourly payment, you were to adopt their tools?

I also thought about having a set of tools that I could rent out to people through this website for a small fraction of what the tools cost, but logistically that might be a nightmare because shipping would really expensive on it because of the size of some of these things, and if you get a bad apple who doesn’t take care of things.

There are of course website that have this concept where you can connect with local people who have things, some municipalities do things like this and then in Charlotte (and other places) there are tool banks that you can do this from, but I haven’t seen an option that would allow you to build a whole house by renting for less than the cost of purchase.

Your Turn!

  • What do you think of the idea of passing on tools to another Tiny House builder?
  • What do you think about a tiny house tool lending library?


  1. I love this idea, what a way to build a community. We’re very fortunate to have two, tool-obsessed fathers. I doubt we’ll need to purchase a single tool to build our tiny home. However, I’d totally be down for a labor exchange. Who couldn’t use a spare set of hands, and what a great way to learn and gain inspiration from other tiny house builders!

  2. We have a great tool library in Oakland, over the years people have donated tools, and others have been acquired at yard sales. It’s a fantastic resource. They have almost everything I needed to restore a 50 yr old vintage camping trailer. Might make sense to approach the local public library where you live about establishing one.

  3. There are 2 tool libraries in Portland, OR for those that live in NE or SE Portland, OR. I would suggest Googling tool library and see if there is one close to where you live.

  4. Not to be a downer, but how is the problem of liability handled? Books are pretty hard to hurt yourself with but tools, especially in the hands of rank amateurs, are quite easy to hurt yourself with. Would a general waiver of liability signed at the time of rental be enough?

    • Our library has us sign a waiver and has other rules.
      and the tools that they have and don’t have http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/tool-lending-library/tool-list-lending-guidelines

    • It’s a fair point! Do we have a Lawyer among us to chime in? I know there are several tool banks around the US, one is in Charlotte, but it’s only for non-profits, not individuals. I would assume they have thought about this.

      • Our local tool lending library has a number of requirements including that you be a resident of the city and you have to sign a general waiver. I sent along a link in an earlier reply but the comment is pending moderation probably because of the links.
        They also restrict tools that are more risky or very expensive to fix. I assume that the city’s liability policy more than covers the risks. If you google Oakland California Tool Library it will come up in your results.

        • Marguerite,

          I checked and found your comment in the spam filter. Sorry for the inconvenience. Unfortunately the filter is a necessary evil, we get around 25,000 spam comments every month! Your comment should be up now 🙂

  5. I deeply love this idea, Ryan

    I think you’ve hit upon a workable solution to several Tiny Home issues. Both in the cost of tools and their maximum use as well as the knowledge/support that many, like myself, will need.

  6. I like the idea of passing tools on to another tiny home builder. I also think the idea of the 2nd party volunteering time to help build the first party’s tiny home to pay for the tools received is equally excellent. Not to mention that the second party may learn from the first party’s mistakes and/or greater experience.

  7. This is an amazing idea, but my favorite part is the idea of working with someone else on their tiny house. I am currently living in student housing with my daughter and husband in Charleston, IL and mostly dreaming at this point of a tiny house. However if someone was nearby building one I would happily assist just for the learning experience let alone the potential to exchange labor for tools.

  8. Here is a list of Tool Libraries from wikipedia:

    I Think this is a great idea. Just need some kind of matching service?

    This website seems to have promise, but I live in a small area and nothing much around me:

    I have signed up for Habitat for Humanity to try and get some more building experience, but they havent had any projects in the last 3 months. I have been to their store. It’s a great resource for appliances/windows, at least in my area. I would love to get paired up with someone who is working on a project, and using their tools when they are done would be an added bonus!

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