Every man should have a tool box. No house is complete without one. End of story.

Now, I know that many of us are not exactly “Mr. Fix-It” when it comes to home repairs. But just because your dad never taught you how to swing a hammer or find a stud doesn’t mean you get a free pass when it comes to hanging shelves. That is what the internet is for, or as I call it – Dad 2.0.

Okay that was kinda sad, but the point is, there are enough DIY videos online to guide you through any simple home repairs. But you still need the tools to get you there. So let’s build you the perfect minimalist tool kit.

Claw Hammer

Hammer and nails on wood

The bedrock of any good tool kit. This old smashin’ bastard is integral to most home projects, whether it’s hanging paintings or building a desk, at some point in the process, you are going to need to hit something. That’s what the hammer is for. The reason I suggest claw hammer is because the back end of many hammers (i.e., ball peen, sledge) is just another hammer. The claw has the added benefit of letting you pry out a fucked up nail and try again. Also, now you can probably get away without having a crow bar. Minimalist!

Magnetic Screwdriver Set

Screws and set of bits (heads) on wood background. Home improvement tools and fasteners. Selected focus on bits and screwdriver.

Sure, you might be able to get away with just a phillips head and a flat head screw driver, and if this was really all about minimalism, that is what I would say. But for a few extra bucks, you can have one screwdriver (preferably one that also ratchets – you’ll thank me later) that can fit whatever weird crap you bring into the house. Got a new TV stand from Finland and all the screws are star shaped? No problem! Plus, because they are magnetic, it is easier to find the grooves and not wind up stripping the screws. Also, if they come with enough heads (32+ piece) you probably don’t need an allen key.

Adjustable (or Socket) Wrench

Socket wrench set

Again, there are two ways you can go about this – the truly minimalist way, or the slightly more expensive but ultimately much more efficient way. A true minimalist will just get one adjustable wrench, and wind up fiddling with it for way too long and potentially strip the bolt. A smarter person would just get a small set of socket wrenches, thus ensuring that the bolt is snuggly secured by the wrench, and also not having to reset it after every twist. Seriously, if you have to spin anything in or out of another thing, use something that ratchets.


Metal pliers, insulation stripper pliers for insulating electric wires, on white background, work tools for engineering

Good for clamping, bending, and twisting anything that you cannot grip tight enough with your fingers. And, again, while you can likely get away with just a regular pair, it is good to also have a pair of needle-nose pliers as well, for tighter fits or more delicate work. Also they are cheap, so stop bugging.

Measuring Tape

Tape measure

Measure twice and cut once. But that is hard to do without a measuring tape. Sure, you could eyeball it, if you like putting dozens of random holes in your walls and end up hanging a bunch of flimsy shelves.

Awl & Rubber Mallet

awl and rubber mallet

Awls are good for making holes, which you will need to do if you intend to hang anything. That said, power drills are also good at making holes and take way less time and are fun to use. Also, they can be pretty cheap. But we are going minimalist here, so get yourself an awl and a rubber mallet to whack at it with.

Bubble Level

bubble level

Keep all your shit straight. You can either buy one or just download the app. The app is okay, but I would suggest just buying one. It is probably a good idea to keep your phone as far from swinging hammers as possible. Also, try to get one that is magnetic, so you can secure it to whatever it is you are trying to mount. 

Box Cutter/Knife

Utility knife, box cutter

Ever good tool kit contains at least one kind of blade. I prefer a box cutter, because you don’t have to sharpen it – just toss the old blade when it has outlived its useful purpose. Also, they tend to be a little more guarded and have less exposed blade, meaning you are exponentially less likely to slice a finger when you are speedily running your knife across the bubble wrap covering your new kegerator.

And that should do it. You can put it all in a nice red tool box if you want, or you can just keep it in a shoe box. Doesn’t matter. And if you wind up taking on a job that requires another tool, guess what? There is probably a Lowe’s within earshot that can hook you up.