17 Home Repair Essentials You Need by the Time You’re 30

published Dec 6, 2023
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Credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images

Part of being a grown-up is feeling like you have control over your own home. If something basic breaks, you don’t have to immediately beg your parents to come over or wonder if there’s a handyperson available that will fix something as simple as a running toilet or a nail hole gone wrong. No judgment if you do want to pay someone to fix these things or you have a parent who loves tinkering, but there’s definitely autonomy in feeling as if you can do it yourself.

But doing it yourself means having the right tools on hand to get the job done. From fixing a loose shelf to hanging your own art to fixing a wobbly chair leg, here are the 17 repair supplies every grown-up needs in their home — apartment or house, rented or owned — by the time they’re 30.

1 / 17
Basic Small Drill Kit
Amazon
$119.00

Jenni Yolo, founder of I Spy DIY, recommends having a basic drill kit on hand for everything from hanging a hook to fixing a cabinet door. “A drill can honestly help you fix or create most things,” says Yolo. A cordless version makes it easier to handle for most small projects.

2 / 17
Cordless Impact Driver
Home Depot
$99.00

Amanda Wiss, founder of NYC-based home staging firm Urban Staging and home organizing firm Urban Clarity, believes an impact driver is the most versatile choice for a power drill. She explains, “An impact driver will give you more power than a regular drill. The combined rotational force and impact of a driver will be able to dig into any material in your home, making it the more versatile choice.”

3 / 17
Drill Bit Set
Home Depot
$9.97
was $13.47

“You might be working in drywall, plaster, cement, or brick, depending on your home project, so having a set of drill bits that are appropriately rated will make your project easier, and your drill last longer,” says Wiss. From hanging heavy items to doing basic furniture repairs, this is something that you’ll use again and again.

4 / 17
Hammer
Home Depot
$6.97

A hammer is one of the most basic items you’ll need in your toolkit. “Your hammer will most likely be your go-to art and picture-hanging tool,” Wiss explains. “Along with a picture hanging set, you’ll be able to handle most jobs with just a hammer.”

5 / 17
Long Nose Pliers
Home Depot
$6.97

One of those times you’ll feel like an adult is when you have something come up, like replacing a light fixture, and you actually have the tools on hand to do it — no urgent text to a neighbor required. Pliers are one of those tools. “Pliers are one of my favorite tools,” Wiss says. “They are incredibly versatile, and can be used for pulling, pushing, shaping, bending, and more. Need some wires tucked away? Pliers. Need to open a sticky fuse box? Pliers. They will become your most-used tool around the house.”

6 / 17
Plunger
Amazon
$17.78
was $23.99

Fixing a toilet is sometimes as simple as quickly taking the plunger out — but you need to have one on hand to do that. If you’re really committed to building a complete repair kit, pick up both a sink plunger and a toilet plunger. The difference is that a toilet plunger has a flange.

7 / 17
WD-40
Amazon
$20.94
was $28.00

You can fix everything from a squeaky bed frame to a door that won’t close with a can of WD-40. This classic multi-use product can loosen rust and metals, making it a must-have in a homeowner’s repair kit.

8 / 17
Ratcheting Screwdriver
Amazon
$17.99

Lacey Soslow, co-founder of Matriarchy Build, recommends getting a ratcheting screwdriver over a regular one. It allows for continuous movement without putting a lot of pressure on your wrist, making it both more efficient and ergonomic. Get one with interchangeable heads for both flathead and Phillips head screws, and you’ll put it to use with tons of basic DIY projects and repairs.

9 / 17
Picture Hanging Kit
Home Depot
$9.93

Hanging art and photos around your place makes a house a home, and hanging prints with a real picture hanging kit is a game-changer. By the time you’re 30, you should have graduated from using Command strips to actually hanging pictures to stay — even when you’re in a rental. “This handy set has everything you need to hang pictures and art of all sizes,” says Wiss. “Note the weight ratings of each set, and get to hammering!”

10 / 17
Tape Measure
Amazon
$8.95
was $9.99

One of the most adult moves when it comes to your home is only having to buy things once because you did your research before adding it to cart (and not once it arrived at your home). A tape measure helps you figure out the exact size of an item you need, as well as tackle your hanging projects with accuracy — the first time.

11 / 17
Amazon
$27.99
was $39.99

If you’ve ever had a mirror fall off a wall or a shelf come crashing to the floor, you’ve learned that anchoring into a stud is a critical step in hanging heavier items. A stud finder is exactly what you need to do these projects correctly.

12 / 17
Amazon
$11.72
was $15.99

To go along with your tape measure, stud finder, and picture hanging kit, pick up a pocket level to make sure your prints and shelves are installed evenly. You’re no longer sticking up posters with double-sided tape, so put in the extra effort to make sure your projects are level.

13 / 17
Hex Wrench Set
Amazon
$9.99

Don’t rely on the Allen wrenches that come packed with your furniture. Instead, get a basic hex wrench set that has multiple sizes; it should cover you for 90% of projects, says Soslow. Any time you have to put together furniture or tighten a bolt, that will have you covered. Beyond that, she adds, “a basin wrench or telescope wrench is a must-have for changing out a kitchen or bathroom faucet.”

14 / 17
Amazon
$3.87

“If you have Nail Hole Patch, you won’t ever be afraid to try out a gallery wall,” says Yolo. With only a simple tube of spackle and a scraper on hand, you can conquer most small holes. You’ll be impressed with how easy it is to quickly hide a hole that’s not quite in the right spot — and your home will look all the better for it.

15 / 17
Amazon
$8.99
was $11.99

“You don’t need to have paint nicks around your house if you have a touch-up paint brush,” says Yolo. Keep a few small paint brushes on hand as well as easy-to-use sample sizes of your paint colors, and you’ll be able to quickly touch up scuffs and dings. The project only takes a few minutes, but makes your whole place look cleaner and more put-together.

16 / 17
Electrical Tester Kit
Home Depot
$34.99

Whether you rent or own, you should feel empowered to change out your boob lights for something more stylish. To do that, you’ll need to do the grown-up move of putting safety first. “An electrical tester kit is essential for safely changing a light fixture,” says Soslow.

17 / 17
Steel Toolbox
Amazon
$66.97
was $85.00

“If we’re talking about being really grown-up, we love a hardworking steel toolbox to house everything,” says Soslow. Is there anything more adult than not only having the right things, but knowing exactly where they are?