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Setting Up Your First Basic Home Tool Kit: 6 Things to include

You don’t need a basic home tool kit you say?

Well, clearly you haven’t set up a house yet, done any decorating or even put up a single shelf.

Have you ever tried to take down a LACK wall self without an Allen key?

Attempted to hammer a nail into the wall using a hardcover book instead of a hammer?

Or even measured a space using throw pillows and the “approximate size of your foot?” 

If you have, you’re well aware of the issues with not having the right tool for the job.

And If you haven’t… well, first of all, have you even lived?

But secondly, I’m going to do my best to make sure you never have to by helping you assemble your very first toolkit.

Hammer, pliers and other tools in a pile, cover image for basic home tool kit post

Do I really need a tool kit?

It’s a legitimate question.

Tools cost money, finding them costs time, and how much are you really going to use them?

More importantly, can’t you just wait until your handy friend stops by with their toolkit?

It might surprise you to learn that you’ll use tools way more often than you’d think.

Here are a few examples of things that I’ve done over the past year that have required tools:

  • Put up three bathroom shelves
  • Built a desk
  • Hang pictures
  • Break ice
  • Unlock my bathroom door (more times that I can count)
  • Built bar stools

While you might not pull out your toolkit every week, or even every month, you will most certainly need it.

When you need it and you don’t have it, things get way more complicated.

And yes, I suppose you could wait until your closest tool-loving friend pops by, is that really an adult decision?

What do you need for your Basic home tool kit?

Okay, fine. You’re convinced. You need to get yourself a few tools to keep somewhere in your house for when you might need to unlock a door that accidentally locks behind you (ahem — this happens monthly with my bathroom) or you want to hang that cute picture that you picked up at the local art market. But what do you need?

Claw hammer

If you’re getting along in your house without a toolkit, good on ya, but this gal 100% needs one.

While probably not an intended use the hammer was originally designed for, on several occasions, I’ve even used it to break apart frozen food and ice… 

But the more legitimate uses include building and hanging shelves, photo frames and other things that you might have around your house.

It also helps for temporary drawer fixes and for anger release (just kidding — I do not recommend this). 

You definitely need to have a claw hammer around. 

Multi-Tip screwdriver

I recommend getting a full screwdriver set with the different bit heads for your basic home tool kit.

You’d seriously be surprised at how many different things you’ll come across that require the use of a screwdriver.

I probably use my screwdriver more than my hammer.

I actually have two—your average multi-tip screwdriver, and a hand-held electric screwdriver (which is really handy).

Tape measure

Unfortunately for the majority of us, the words “this long” with your arms stretched out is not an accurate measurement. That’s where your tape measure comes in. 

You can pick yourself up a 12-foot tape measure for under $10 on Amazon.

If you anticipate needing to make longer measurements, you can get a 25-foot tape measure for less than $25.

Allen keys

Having an Allen key (also called hex keys or an Allen wrench) is especially important if you have any (and I mean any) Ikea furniture.

In fact, if you’re getting new Ikea furniture do your best to save the Allen key from the set so you have one.

That said if you forget or your set gets too worn down to use you can pick up a set of Allen keys with multiple sizes for less than $20.

Allen keys are useful for more than Ikea furniture.

But let’s be honest, every respectable single adult woman has at least one Ikea piece in their décor.


Having a level in your basic tool kit is a no-brainer, consider it costs you less than $10 to pick one up.

While this seems like something you don’t need, you’ll thank me when it comes to attempting to hang a bathroom shelf, picture or painting.

Trust me, you can definitely tell when something isn’t straight!


A handheld (preferably) cordless drill is a tad bit more of an investment than the other tools that I’ve recommended for your new toolkit.

But I’m recommending it because it has honestly made my life considerably easier.

It’s one thing to use a screwdriver or other tool to put together a measly piece of Ikea furniture.

But when it comes to hanging a shelf or building a desk (even if it’s from Ikea), a handheld drill will have WAY more power.

Ultimately, this makes the task much quicker!

Purchase a Basic Tool Box Instead!

If you’re looking for a less complicated way to meet your home tool kit needs without having to go buy yourself individual tools, then subsequently find something to keep them in… might we suggest a pre-packed basic home tool kit? 

You can actually get one for relatively cheap, or a fancy one for a bit more if you’re a big spender.

Here are a few of my personal favorite choices:

Pink tool kit

This adorable pink tool kit is box that’s perfect for you if you’re looking for something girly.

This bad boy has everything you need with the exception of a cordless drill.

While you don’t necessarily need a cordless drill, you can get a half-decent one that will likely meet all of your needs from Ikea for around $20. 

This pink tool chest has 104 pieces.

This makes it perfect for anything from putting up a photo, hanging a shelf, or simply stubbly suggesting to your overnight guest from Tinder that you know how to work a screwdriver.

Kitchen drawer tool kit

This fancy little set is the perfect ladies tool kit.

It has 24 pieces and comes in a handy carrying pouch. 

It’s ideal for daily use and gets rid of your need to purchase the individual tools, and it saves you a ton of money because you can get this whole kit for less than $40.

It’s a pretty good deal.

While it’s not as cute as a pink tool box, it’ll do what you need it to do!

Black & Decker Tool Kit

For you big spenders out there, Black & Decker is a pretty solid tool brand. Normally, I would say this one’s too rich for my blood but it does with a decent drill. With that in mind, if you do intend to do a lot of wall hanging, it might be the right option for you.

The real big difference between this tool kit and the two above is that the drill is included.

A decent power drill on its own can cost more than $40, and it’s simply not a Black & Decker drill. 

All-in-all I’d say that was a decent deal for a toolset, considering everything that’s included.

When should you set up a basic home tool kit?

The best time to set up your own basic home tool kit is before you need it.

It’s going to be a real bummer if you’ve officially moved into your new apartment but can’t start putting things together because you don’t have the right tools.

If you (or someone who loves you) is creating a hope chest, I highly recommend adding a tool or two in there!

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