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Posted by Johnine Larsen on July 2, 2019
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DIY home improvement sounds nice and all, but let’s face it: tools are expensive. They take up space. And odds are, you don’t know how to use them—at least not well enough to increase your home’s value by installing new flooring or leveling the yard.

Tool libraries like the PhinneyWood Tool Library remove those barriers. They lend out tools (for free) and even teach you how to use them. I’m not talking just little things like pipe wrenches and tape measures. PhinneyWood also lends air compressors, table saws, and lawn mowers.

The tool library has 1,910 types of tools available to borrow, and multiples of most of those. You can search through the online inventory, which spans automotive to electrical, carpentry to yard and garden. You want it? They probably have it, plus hundreds of other tools you’ve never seen anywhere before.

It’s a program of the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA), but you don’t have to live there to benefit from it. Located at 6615 Dayton Ave N, just west of Green Lake, the tool library is a quick trip from Greenwood, Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford. And if you’re willing to drive farther for free tools, you can! The only requirement: membership in PNA, which has a range of membership levels (from $100 to pay-what-you-can), offers other neighborhood perks, and has no location restrictions. One PNA member lives in Sugar Land, Texas.

To borrow a tool:

  1. Get a membership (you can sign up online or in person when you borrow your tools)
  2. Browse the online inventory, call 206-783-2244, ext. 48, or email to see if the library has the tools you need
  3. Head to 6615 Dayton Ave N. (the east side of the Brick Building) to check out your supplies and learn how to use them
  4. Keep the tools for as long as you need (If you’re going to need them for a long time, the library asks that you let them know ahead of time)


The PhinneyWood tool library isn’t the only one in Seattle. Others include:

Each tool library has its own membership requirements and lending rules, but each one is free or affordable, flexible and accommodating, and just all-around helpful.

Little-known community resources like these exist throughout the city. After working in real estate here for twenty-nine years, we know how to introduce you to whatever you need to make your neighborhood like home: free tools, community organizations, schools, social groups, our favorite dog parks. We’ll help you settle completely into your new place. We don’t just help you buy a house—we’re transition specialists.

  • Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
    Brian Heagler
    Brian Heagler
    16:55 02 Jun 19
    I have worked with Johnine and her team for 19 years and have always received personal, knowledgeable and professional service and attention! There is never and pressure and they will guide you away from a property when appropriate, which is always appreciated when a market is hot and the tendency is to move quickly. I trust them and have never been let down!
    Anne Slater
    Anne Slater
    18:03 25 May 19
    Johnine Larsen is fabulous! She listened and came up with ways we could get what we wanted in a house and stay within our limited budget. When we found the house we wanted, she moved super fast to get the house inspected and implemented creative ideas to make our offer appealing. And out of 13 offers, we were selected and got our house. I recommend her to anyone buying a home.
    Amy Burdick
    Amy Burdick
    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
    Bill Hollman
    Bill Hollman
    22:21 19 May 19
    I'd give Real Estate Gals 6 stars if I could. We have used them multiple times, both in selling and buying homes in Seattle and the surrounding area. I can't say enough about the professionalism, knowledge, and patience they bring to the task of buying a new home, or selling your current residence. And they know the Seattle area so well, they'll offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of any location you may be to considering. Look no further, call Johnine at Real Estate Gals. You will be glad you did!
    Beth Guerra
    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
    Johnine was a breath of fresh air in the real estate market. She listened intently to our wishes and goals, and was tireless in her search for our perfect house. She is well versed in both Seattle and the surrounding areas. She made sure all the details were taken care of after the inspection, and made the closing process seamless. She even gifted us with a housewarming present. Nearly 7 years later, we still receive holiday cards and well wishes. I highly recommend Real Estate Gals and will look no further in the future.
    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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