- Hammer/Nails—For the most basic of tasks. Hanging pictures, removing nails, putting together furniture, hanging shelving, etc
- Screwdrivers (Phillips & Flathead)—One of each is a must. You can buy a nice “average” size, but I also suggest having a small one of each on hand too for those tiny projects—like children’s toy assembly.
- Adjustable wrenches—Need to tighten something? This will do it. Need to just hang onto something while you work? This will do it still. You can get one small and one large for maximum usage.
- Plunger—You may not want to ever use one, but these things can be priceless.
- Measuring tape—To measure spaces for furniture or artwork, to center something on a wall, to know what size blinds or curtains you need, to evenly hang your Christmas decoration. Too many uses to name
- Cordless Drill—Save some hard labor and get one of these. Even a small 9-volt can prevent heartache when hanging items. Especially if you have solid, hard wood you are trying to penetrate. Great for hanging ceiling fans too. Make sure it’s cordless…you won’t forgive yourself for buying one that has to plug into a wall.
- Level—You really don’t have the eye for it. If you think you do, then most of the stuff in your house is hung crookedly. Seriously. You cannot eyeball well enough for some people. I am one of those people. If I enter your house and stuff is hung off-kilter, I will spend the entire visit feeling nauseous. Buy a level.
- Utility Knife—For opening boxes, cutting down boxes to discard, cutting twine/cords, cutting down on “extra” paint lines, or opening a bag of ant-killer. Don’t use your kitchen knives for jobs that require something more industrial (and could dull your “good” knives).
If you have power tools, you must add safety glasses to this list. I am an engineer and deal with safety every day. Don’t make me point you to websites with photos of safety failures: they aren’t pretty. And man’s favorite universal tool: duct tape. Yes, we kid about such, but it really is serious stuff with an entire array of uses. Also a good set of pliers is great to have on hand. The top eight above, though, are my bare bones list that EVERYONE should have.
Photo credit: Shenky