Whether you’re a serious DIYer or not, if you’re a homeowner you should have a basic set of tools at your disposal. Minor repairs are simply part of routine upkeep, and fixing things yourself is less expensive than calling in a professional. Here’s what you’ll need to be handy around the house.

Essential Items


The first thing on your list should be a toolbox. A toolbox is the luggage of handymen – and women. It keeps your tools safe and provides a convenient way to bring the essentials with you.

Tool Belt

Sometimes you need to put your tools down and use your hands. Make things easy for yourself by wearing a tool belt so you can store the tools you’ll need and ensure nothing rolls out of reach.

Screwdriver Set

If you aren’t sure whether your repair needs a flathead screwdriver, a Philips screwdriver, or a Robertson screwdriver, then a screwdriver set is your best choice. Having a screwdriver set will ensure that you have options for every task.


Hammers are used to manually drive nails or other fasteners into wood, drywall, and other material. The handle should have a comfortable grip and the head will define its use.

Portable Drill & Drill Bits

A cordless drill makes any job easier and faster since you don’t need to search out an electrical outlet and you can bring it wherever a job takes you.

Nails & Screws

Fasteners like nails and screws are one of the most common items you should have around the house. Stock up on different types and sizes so you’ll have the right ones for the job.


Any seasoned repair person will tell you that you can never have too many clamps. Ideal for holding glued items together, or securing an object while you work on it, clamps come in a variety of lengths and strengths for every job. 


Pliers come in a variety of sizes and are used for gripping something round like a pipe or rod, or for twisting or cutting wire.

Utility Knife

A utility knife features a retractable blade and comes in handy for small cutting and trimming jobs.

Adjustable Wrench

An adjustable wrench allows you to loosen or tighten screws of any size and gives you a mechanical advantage in applying torque.

Handsaw & Hacksaw

Handsaws are typically used to cut wood, while hacksaws are used for metal and plastic. Each tool has specific uses and is shaped differently for the job you need to do.

Socket Set

A socket set includes one or more drivers and multiple socket attachments for tightening or loosening a wide range of bolt sizes. The ratchet driver provides more torque and quicker turning than a basic wrench.

Nice-to Have Items

Duct Tape

Duct tape provides a quick fix or a handy way to keep things together while you get ready to repair it.

Stud Finder

A stud finder shows you where the studs are in your wall. This is essential for secure hanging of shelves or paintings, and for preventing unnecessary holes in your walls.


level ensures any surface is perfectly flat. This tool is useful for hanging shelves and art, but also for repairing trim work, fixing table legs and adjusting the footing of large appliances.


If the power goes out, or if you’re looking into a dark place with no other source of light, a flashlight is an indispensable tool.

Tape Measure

Whether you’re doing a repair or measuring a room to ensure a piece of furniture fits, you’ll never have to guess when you have a tape measure on hand. 

Tool Storage and Organization

Once you own a few tools, you’ll need to keep them organized so they will be ready when you need them. Here are some storage options to consider.

Pegboard/Tool Wall

When storage space is limited, a pegboard is an ideal solution. Install one on a wall and you can arrange hooks and hangers for most tools via the pre-drilled holes.

Mason Jars

Mason jars aren’t just for canning. They can be placed on a storage unit and offer a clear view of your smaller items such as nails or screws. The lids can be secured into the bottom of a shelf to conserve space.

Storage Bins

Plastic storage bins offer a great place to store large tools like drills, saws and hammers. They can be placed on shelving or stacked to save space.

Under Bench Shelving

Utilize the space under your workbench for wooden shelves or a shelving unit that slips neatly into the space.

Safety Gear

No matter what type of repair or project you are working on around the house, make sure that you protect yourself with safety gear. Here are some basic items you should have on hand. 

  • Safety Glasses 
  • Ear Plugs or Earmuffs 
  • Dust Mask 
  • Work Gloves 
  • First Aid Kit

Having a few essential tools on hand can help avoid the need to call in a professional (or borrow tools from your neighbours). Once you establish a collection of essential tools, you’ll be all set to tackle most small jobs around the house.