- Safety Glasses: Think safety first and protect your eyes, especially if you’re working with power tools or around lots of sawdust.
- Hammer: Be sure to get a claw-style hammer, which is just as handing for pulling nails out as it is for driving them in.
- Screwdrivers: You’ll need both flat head and Phillips head – and a couple of different sizes will prove helpful. An all-in-one tool can also cover all the bases until you get more experienced.
- Adjustable Wrench: From plumbing projects to furniture assembly, you’ll be surprised how often this wrench will come in handy.
- Locking Tape Measure: Probably the most important “tool” in your toolbox. Remember: measure twice, cut once! And a 25-footer is large enough to handle even the biggest measuring jobs you’ll encounter.
- Toolbox: Speaking of toolboxes, make sure you have one to keep all your tools organized and portable.
- Level: You don’t want your photo frame collage to be crooked or your new coffee table to slope, so be sure to employ your level.
- Staple Gun: A must-have for simple tacking as well as upholstery projects.
- Hacksaw: Undoubtedly you’ll have to cut some pieces of wood to size — a general purpose hack saw with blades that can change angles will get the job done.
- Rechargeable Cordless Drill / Driver: A little bit more of an investment but perhaps the handiest tool you’ll ever own. Invest in a better-quality drill and you won’t “outgrow” it as your DIY skills improve.
Bonus tip: All of these starter tools would make a great gift for someone moving into his/her first apartment!
Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.