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When the proud day finally comes, and your son/daughter/mother/girlfriend loved one is finally moving out, what tools do they need? Whether you donate some of your extras or head off to the big box in search of a tool kit, you’ll have to decide which tools are the essentials for someone moving out on their own. From previous posts, we obviously all agree that they’ll need a knife, at least a utility knife — but what about wrenches, pliers, and other handy life-saving tools?

Let’s say you’re limited to what can fit in a small tool bag, like the size of an overnight bag, or an average-sized men’s boot. What critical tools go with your loved one, to get them through the shock of not being able to borrow yours? And which tools do you wish would fit in the boot? Let us know in comments.


18 Responses to Moving Day Tool Kit

  1. Mike says:

    Vise grips! Phillips and slotted screwdrivers, 6″ or 8″ adjustable wrench, needle nose and slip joint pliers, 9 1/2″ channelocks, hammer, tape measure, torpedo level, folding hex key sets, 1/4″ ratchet with sockets, 3/8″ if there is room…that’s all I can think of now

  2. jshafer says:

    Assuming this is for a moving day toolbox, and not a toolbox for someone moving out
    Soft Mallet/Deadblow (for forcing without marring)
    Vice grips
    Adjustable Wrench
    Needle nose pliers
    Utility knife
    Rope (probably laundry type cord, possibly shock cord – tying up things to the side, wrapping around drawers)
    Duct tape
    tape measure
    1/4″ Socket (with hex ratchet attachment) or Ratcheting wrenches
    Hex Keys (multiple of the standard size
    Screwdrivers (flat and phillips)
    Furniture Coasters
    Arm forklifts (wrap underneath furniture, and hook on the crook of your elbow)

  3. rbb says:

    Not sure about my nine year old daughter, but the six year old will definitely have a complete tool chest by the time she moves out.

    When both of them move out, I will use that excuse to give them every tool I want to replace with a newer/fancier model 😉

  4. Tony says:

    For someone moving into their own apartment, I say they will need a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, and maybe a set of pliers. This is just thinking of the things I’ve had to do getting set up (putting together furniture, hanging pictures, etc). If there’s room (either space or budget wise), a cordless drill and some bits are also a must.

    I’ve very rarely needed anything in my apartment unless it was for something I could get maintenance to fix, but doing myself was less hassle. Usually, that is beyond the scope of someone who has no knowledge of fixing things themselves (thinking of my sister, specifically).

  5. gillsans says:

    I dunno, I got through college with an adjustable wrench, 4-in-1 screwdriver and needle nose pliers. If they own a bike, they’ll probably need a metric allen set.

  6. Almurph says:

    I would have to say that they need:

    a 16 oz hammer
    Slipjoint and needle nose pliers
    utility knife
    duct tape
    screwdriver set
    drill and bits
    tape measure
    torpedo level
    adjustable wrench

    some other tools that I wish would fit would be:

    reciprocating saw
    jig saw
    circular saw
    compound miter saw
    drill press
    table saw
    ratchet set

    Thats about all I can think of riht now!

  7. Noah Sachs says:

    A power cordless screwdriver, a large pair of pliers.

    Also: For an apartment or a dorm: white toothpaste. Cheap and easy. Use it to fill little holes and in the wall from hanging pictures and such, so that the landlord won’t notice on a casual inspection.

  8. eschoendorff says:

    I have three younger brothers and they are all starting out… Two Christmases ago I bought them each a portable toolbox and a selection of Craftsman screwdrivers and pliers. This year I got them all 1/4 drive kits from GearWrench. Every year I get them something new that they can add to their collection…

    but the screwdrivers and pliers seem to be the most basic necessities….

  9. jbj says:

    In addition to the above –
    rubber door stop (2)
    3-prong to 2-prong electrical adapter (more than 1)
    power strip/extension cord
    picture hanger
    blue masking tape (not everything needs Duct tape)
    Lighter and candles

  10. chvynut says:

    Boy does this one hit close to home. I have a good tool collection and nothing drives me crazier than needing a tool and realizing it’s packed away or I can’t get to it. The basics that come to mind are a good multi-tip screwdriver, claw hammer, level, pliers, adjustable wrenches 6, 8 and 12″, file, pry bar, knife and a tape measure.

  11. KG2V says:

    Everyone forgot something important, and in this day and age, you can’t assume they have one

    A good pocket knife – or something like a leatherman

  12. Zathrus says:

    KG2V — the article itself said “we obviously all agree that they’ll need a knife, at least a utility knife”.

    eschoendorff — that’s a really cool idea. Of course, hopefully at some point they’ll start buying their own tools and you’ll have to find a new gift idea!

  13. metis says:

    wow you folks pack heavy.

    gerber scout needle nosed multi plier
    set of metric allen wrenches
    klein 10 in 1 screw driver
    framing or finish hammer
    roll of gaffers tape
    ~100′ of paracord or tieline
    a good adjustable wrench

    if i can’t take it apart or hold it together in a pinch with that i have failed as a tool using mammal.

    given my druthers i’ll add a pipe wrench, socket set, rubber mallet, painters tape, a couple of 2″ straps (furniture movers or truck tie downs), jb blaster, a few stubby drivers, and an 18v drill driver, but one may as well be building a house at that point.

  14. J.R. Bluett says:

    This is cool, I had intended this for people who don’t have tools and need a starter set, but the moving day tool kit is awesome! I know there is a post here somewhere on the Forearm Forklift, but maybe we can do a hands on with it. (since I am likely moving soon..) Here is a link to their site http://www.forearmforklift.com/home.htm

  15. PutnamEco says:

    I would also throw in a spackle/putty knife (maybe a painters 5in1) and a caulk gun. And maybe a couple of paint brushes. Moving almost always involves some form of wall repair.

  16. Chris says:

    @J.R. Bluett: I’ve used the Forearm Forklift for moving once. It’s great for stuff that’s big and medium-heavy like mattresses because it puts a good solid handle in a much less awkward position, but it’s not all that great for something very heavy and fairly compact, like a sleeper couch.


  17. Manny says:

    – multi-tool of sorts
    – pic quick 6 in 1 screwdriver
    – one solid flathead screwdriver
    – claw hammer
    – 6″ adj wrench
    – 8″ adj wrench
    – ultility knife
    – tape measure
    – fold out allens
    – vise grips (for sure!)
    – torpedo level
    – impact driver (if possible ’cause definatelty a sweet bonus)

    May seem like alot but its only 11 tools. Probably just enough to fill only the top part of a standard tool box. (not counting impact driver of course)

  18. bowdesnki says:

    I second the forearm forklifts, having used these to help others move things most people have: mattresses, fridges/freezers, dressers and couches. Plus difficult items, including sand-filled basketball hoop bases, AV equipment, drywall etc. Saves your back.

    One other suggestion: flash or head mounted light

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