If you're finding it tough to justify the purchase of an expensive belt sander or a rotary hammer drill for what is likely a one-off project-we know we would-and your neighbors are acting ornery, find out if you have access to a tool-lending library in your neighborhood before you make a bank-breaking purchase. Tool-lending libraries, much like the book libraries they're based upon, offer basic hand, gardening, landscaping, and construction tools to local residents, often for free with your city library card.

Most active and well-stocked in the Bay Area, where tool-sharing setups can be spotted in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco, tool-lending libraries have popped up all across the country, from Arkansas to Washington. You can find an updated list of locations at Wikipedia; if your city isn't among them, a tool-rental center is the next-best option. Inquire at your local hardware store, or type "tool rental" and the name of your city into a search engine to find one near you.

Difficulty level: Easy