A Starter List of Tools You’ll Actually Use

May 9, 2017

Save yourself from paying for a full pre-assembled tool box and just purchase the key basic tools. As a millennial living in a shoebox apartment downtown, I don’t necessarily have the space for a full tool shelf that all suburban families in sitcoms have. With a couple handy tools on hand, you can assemble any furniture and fix anything that breaks in order to keep your home marginally together.

Visit your local hardware store to pick up some good-quality tools. Another great option is shopping from your own home! Save a couple dollars, assuming your gracious parents have more than one hammer kicking around.


A solid tool, useful for nails and banging those little wooden dowels into furniture. Make sure it’s decent enough quality that won’t break apart in your hands when you’re trying to use it.

Multi-Bit Screwdriver

My screwdriver is the Stanley FatMax, not sponsored and don’t contact me for more, Stanley! You literally only need this one screwdriver since it has multiple interchangeable heads, no matter the screw you have.

This is a rachet screwdriver which means you can set it to easily remove and drive screws without spinning a full rotation. It’s much easier, especially if you have weak baby hands like me.

Hex Key

Literally that one that comes in every IKEA assembly kit. Save it for the next time you have to take a piece apart or to recruit a friend to help you put furniture together twice as fast.

Multi-use knife

X-Acto blades are popular or even just a basic Swiss Army Knife. Always convenient to have on hand for clean slices.

Adjustable wrench

Don’t worry about a full set with all the fractions because you probably don’t have the space in your tiny closet apartment. Simply adjust to tighten and loosen bolts to your heart’s content.

Measuring tape

Never guess measurements again when you can measure spaces or furniture ahead of time to confirm whether items will fit. Measure doorways to move stuff in, spots for new furniture, or walls to center art.

One of my main practises when I take apart any furniture and getting rid of stuff is to strip them of their hardware for future use. You can store these loose in a Ziploc bag and you never know when you’ll need a spare nut or bolt or screw. Save yourself the trip to the hardware store and also the cost of a full pack of screws when you need just one.


In total, all these tools should fit in one sturdy bag or small tool box that you can tuck under your kitchen sink and be prepared next time the house project calls for it. Don’t humiliate yourself by calling home or that weird guy down the hall to ask to borrow their tools, you’re a confident and prepared independent person!

    Leave a Reply