The Rookie’s Guide to Assembling a Basic Toolbox

If you’re a first-time homeowner and never had to use tools before, this is essential reading. Many first time homeowners think that outside of a hammer and a screwdriver, they don’t need any tools around the house. They figure anything complicated will require a professional handyman anyway. But even for the most mundane tasks, most will find that a wide array of tools makes the job easier (even if they are a rookie or novice). Even hanging a picture on the wall properly requires a hammer, a level and measuring tape to be done correctly.

The purpose here is to create a simple toolbox that is relatively inexpensive and will do the majority of jobs in the house. Before you move into your new home, make sure to stop by the hardware store and pick up these essentials, because in all honesty, without most of them you won’t even be able to get started in your new home.

1. Hammer

Obviously, the first tool anyone would think of is a hammer, but there is a surprisingly wide selection of hammers you can purchase. We’re going to go with the most versatile and basic. A 16-ounce claw hammer will do most of the jobs around the house.

2. Screwdrivers

There are several different types of screwdrivers you can purchase that would undoubtedly take up a lot of precious real estate in your toolbox. Rather than go through all that trouble, purchase one screwdriver with interchangeable tips.

3. Measuring Tape

From centering pictures to furniture or even seeing if certain items fit before you purchase them, measuring tape will be one of your most used tools.

4. Adjustable Wrench

Similar to the interchangeable screwdriver, rather than purchasing several wrench sizes, just purchase one adjustable wrench. Not only will it save space, it will save time: Adjusting to different fastener heads can be done with a simple twist as opposed to digging through your tool box searching for the right one.

5. Level

Even if you’re not a seasoned handyman you’ll find that a level is essential for common tasks like hanging pictures. A 9-inch torpedo level will get most jobs done and it’s small and compact.

6. Headlamp

If you purchase a regular flashlight, you’ll find yourself struggling to position it or you will be eliminating one of your hands, which is generally not an option. For a hassle free experience purchase a headlamp, you won’t regret it.

7. Pliers

Needle nose and groove-joint pliers will always come in handy. Think of them as your robot fingers if you ever need to pull out a stubborn nail or a stripped screw.

8. Retractable Utility Knife

This will always come in handy from opening stubborn packages to boxes (also referred to as a box cutter).

9. Power Drill

For hanging heavy objects like large mirrors or TV’s, a power drill is essential. It’s very useful for a wide array of tasks and while intimidating at first, is a must have for any basic toolbox.

10. Power Sander

You will find you need a power sander more often than you think. There are several different types but you should be fine with a basic orbit sander, which is also inexpensive.


Now that you’ve got your toolbox organized, you can take it a step further and check out easy ways to organize your messy garage.

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