15 Favorite Tools That We Keep On Hand At All Times

We’re asked pretty regularly for a list of our must-have tools and while we’re sure we’re forgetting something, here’s a rundown of our all-time favorites (most of which we store in the kitchen cabinet to the left of the stove- yes, we know we’re weird).

  1. Hammer and crowbar (no explanation required)
  2. Flat head screwdriver (for using with screws but also with a hammer as a makeshift chisel to pop off baseboards and trim)
  3. Tape measure (we have a huge beat up old Stanley one that we love)
  4. Phillips head screwdriver (another self-explanatory item)
  5. Plumber’s Putty, Liquid Nails and plumber’s tape (three major problem solvers that are always nice to have on hand)
  6. Box cutter, Exacto knife, straight razors (for everything from cutting vinyl tile to scraping paint off of a window or mirror)
  7. Channel lock pliers (we have a big one and a small one- they’re amazing for turning old rusted believed-to-be-unturnable nuts and bolts)
  8. Wrenches of all sizes (although we usually reach for the channel lock first since it’s such an all star)
  9. Needle nosed pliers (good for detail work and also handy since they have the wire cutting thing in the middle of the… uh, nose? mouth?)
  10. Level (because wonky is never a good look)
  11. Cordless drill (we have a little one for smaller jobs and a big manly battery operated one for the major stuff)
  12. Sandpaper (we like our electric sander but use regular old sandpaper and elbow grease far more- and we haven’t found sanding blocks that we like better than cheap sheets of sandpaper, so we stick to those… and save a few bucks while we’re at it).
  13. Caulk, a caulk gun, spackle and a putty knife (because it’s all about fixing those holes and cracks before painting- remember paint magnifies flaws instead of hiding them)
  14. Painter’s tape, high quality angled paint brushes (we love this one), paint trays, a roller extension rod, and high quality not-foam rollers (foam riles up paint and leaves you with more bubbles than the good quality wool and poly ones)
  15. An assortment of nails and screws (these are just things you should always have on stand-by so you don’t have to drive to Lowe’s or Home Depot fifty times per project thereby looking lame to the people at the cash register- we speak from experience here)

So there it is. A handy breakdown of our favorite tools. And since we know we’re forgetting something (or have yet to discover some life-changing tool) definitely let us know what you can’t live without when it comes to getting ‘er done.


  1. says

    I can not live without Mr.Smashy, my rusty crowbar. He was unearthed in our creepy shed and has been my right hand man ever since during our house demolition.

  2. Robin R. says

    My favorite tool is my all-in-one screwdriver. It has two Phillips heads, two flat heads and two nut drivers all built into one handle. So you just flip around the shaft and the driver heads as needed. Super handy and compact for those “I could really use a screwdriver” moments. We have several in different locations around the house. You just never know…

  3. says

    Love that you use the word “wonky” – it’s one of my all-time faves. I’m with you on the tape measurer – I even have a handy little one that I carry around in my purse. But the best trick if you’re caught without a tape measurer is to use a dollar bill – it’s just a little over 6 inches, so it’s not precise but it’ll do in a pinch!

  4. says

    I am a BIG fan of a good ole pair of heavy duty scissors. They can do wonders and also work as a light-weight hammer, when you’re too lazy to go diggin’ around for it! ;-)

  5. says

    Wouldn’t all of those in some sort of cool bucket wrapped up with butcher string make a great wedding gift or a house-warming gift??? You could pick all of them, or just a couple!

    • says

      Totally! That’s a great idea. We also got a cute little moving basket from John’s sister on the day we came to Virginia with toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, scissors, and a pizza delivery flier. It was totally everything that we needed right away but had packed far out of reach without thinking. It was such an awesome little welcoming gift that made unpacking so much easier!


  6. says

    We must be weird too, because that’s exactly where we keep our tools! Right next to the stove, in a kitchen drawer. It’s such a convenient place. Although my drawer is no where as neat as yours, I need to take some organizing notes from you so I can stop fumbling around every time I need a screwdriver ;-)

  7. says

    I couldn’t live without our 36″ metal ruler. It serves the same purpose as a yardstick but since it’s metal you can use it as a cutting edge as well.

    Oh, and if you’re cutting with an x-acto or box cutter, be sure to have a self healing cutting mat.

  8. says

    I have the same ancient Stanley tape measure! It was my dad’s so I can’t bear to part with it. And I don’t think you’re weird at all- I have tools in the kitchen drawer next to the sink!

  9. Libby from Houston says

    Ditto on the metal ruler, miter box and staple gun. My fave screwdriver is a ratcheting all-in-one. I also use a stud-finder when hanging shelves and artwork …or looking for my husband ;D

  10. Sarah says

    Definitely need a level in there, unless you’re just amazing at eyeballing it.

    Also, electrical tape is very handy.

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