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I don’t know if it’s a regional, cultural, generational, or whatever thing, but when I was growing up there was always one drawer in the kitchen that had tools in it — things like a small hammer, regular pliers, a screwdriver or two, a tape measure, and a random collection of fasteners including nails, screws, and rubber bands. The kitchen tool drawer in my grandmother’s house had this neat little hammer with a handle that unscrewed to reveal a set of nested screwdrivers (still available ). I don’t know how useful it was, but it sure piqued my early Toolmonger brain.

Our kitchen tool drawer has the items pictured above (plus a few other goodies such as a box cutter, various pens and markers, and some cup hooks). The small screwdriver with the red ball top next to the 4″ Crescent wrench is an Easydriver that I’ve had for years (it’s apparently back and “improved” as shown here). By the way, I have found that 4″ Crescent wrench to be very handy for tightening and loosening cable TV F-type connectors as it fits easily into small spaces and helps prevent me from over torquing. The small curved Kelly forceps — courtesy of my wife, the retired-but-still-volunteering RN — are used for all sorts of clamping and part retrievals. And, of course, you have your standard beat-up old screwdrivers, one each slotted and Phillips, plus a spare ΒΌ” nut driver just in case, a tape measure, the requisite small hammer, a larger generic Crescent wrench, and a set of small screwdrivers.

So do you have a kitchen tool drawer? What’s in it? Or should I just totter off into the sunset mumbling about the good ole days when if you needed a tool while you were in the kitchen there was a damn drawer of them?

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16 Responses to What's In Your Kitchen Tool Drawer?

  1. bajajoaquin says:

    Not only do I have a kitchen tool drawer (a “junk drawer” in my family parlance), but your comment about the box cutter made me think about another policy I have: Whenever I need a utility knife, but can’t find one, I buy one next time I’m at the hardware store. I figure that, eventually, all the nooks and crannies of my house will be filled with utility knives, and I’ll never need one and not have one.

  2. Gordon DeWitte says:

    @ bajajoaquin

    That’s my flashlight philosophy: put them everywhere so you don’t have to try to find one when you need it. My family, on the other hand, thinks I’m a flashlight junkie.

  3. Jim German says:

    Don’t have a tool drawer, but I’m trying to do the same thing as bajajoaquin with screwdrivers and pencils. So infuriating not being able to find one when you need it.

  4. bemis says:

    I’m in the Northeast (Boston) … and we’ve got one, as does every member of the family–I recently had to locate something over at my grandmother’s house in that drawer–

    medium phillips
    medium flat blade
    small ball peen hammer
    bag of random batteries
    sherlock holmes stype magnifying glass
    adjustable jaw pliers
    3 non-functional flash lights
    at least a dozen half used picture hanging kits πŸ™‚

    All the tools in there are worn to a soft surface, they’ve been the same tools my family has been using to patch and cobble over at that house for over 40 years.

    I don’t waste a drawer at my own home–
    * A small toolbox w/ a few essentials is stored under the kitchen sink
    * A functioning flashlight is located in every room, including kitchen and bathroom
    * A fire extinguisher is located at least 6′, but not more then 12′, from the stove, as well as one outside the bedrooms (they’re all together) and one near the backdoor (most used entrance/exit)

  5. Old Donn says:

    Not a drawer, under the kitchen sink. Hammer, 6 in 1 screwdriver, knuckle buster, slip-joint, needle nose & Knipex knock-off pliers, tape measure, razor knife, flashlight and a Sharpie. Doesn’t just serve basic jobs around the house, keeps everybody out of my tool chests.

  6. Jim K. says:

    Growing up in New England there was ALWAYS a tool drawer. I don’t think I knew anyone without one. Nowadays I keep a tool bag in the bottom of our linen closet with the usual assortment of go-to tools (hammer, screwdrivers, level, 6″ crescent wrench, flashlight, pencil/sharpie, utility knife, etc.). Wouldn’t want to live without it.

  7. Cameron says:

    Junk drawer has a 4-way screwdriver and a small philips (for screwed down battery covers), big-ass flashlight, long-reach lighter, some crazy glue and a tiny tape measure.

    There’s a tool box around the corner in the linen closet with enough tools to handle most quick fixes: small hammer, screwdrivers, some wrenches (including and adjustable), a small ratchet set, picture hanging paraphernalia, bigger tape measure, flashlight, utility knife, pliers.

  8. Brew says:

    I have one too, I call it the garage.

    I think we actually have 2 junk drawers in the kitchen. with batteries, old cell phones, tools, tape, playing cards, etc.

  9. Shalin says:

    tape measure (1 of 3 in the house)
    small screw driver set (like in picture above)
    misc batteries
    pens, etc.

    great question and post!

  10. Rob G says:

    My “tool drawer” is a Leatherman Squirt P4 multi-tool that lives in my pocket. We do have a tape measure and box cutter in a kitchen drawer. For the hammer and everything else, I make the trek to the basement.

  11. Nick Carter says:

    Like Brew says, my shop is about 5 feet from the kitchen. In a perfect world every room would be thusly situated.

  12. David Bryan says:

    I thought everybody kept a mighty Plierench in their kitchen drawer.

  13. Flabby Boohoo says:

    @David Bryan

    I have had one of those since I was a kid (bought at a rummage sale). Never knew what it was called, and no one that I showed it to did either. I googled plierench because I have never heard of that term, a viola! My plierench!

    thanks πŸ™‚

  14. Tetsubo says:

    The only proper tool in my kitchen drawer is a strap wrench, which I use to open jars.

  15. dirtypete says:

    My dad was a carpenter and mom had a similar tool drawer with a sign that said “kids and carpenters 5 minute use policy” I think she’s the only one i know that has kept the same set of hand tools intact for over a quarter century. When I go back home and need to fix something for her it’s nice to open that drawer and know exactly what will be there:

    1–#2 Philips with a red handle.
    1–Standard screwdriver with a black handle
    1–set of 6 Chinese made jewelers screwdrivers black case with clear front
    1–13 oz smooth faced, curved claw finish hammer with chromed shank and brown cushion grip.
    1–pair regular pliers
    1–6 inch Crescent wrench
    1–pair channel lock needle nose pliers
    1–pair 8″ channel lock adjustable pipe pliers
    1–16′ stanley powerlock tape measure with inches and meters (used for measuring as well as teaching metric system basics)
    4 sizes of smooth finish nails
    4 sizes of box nails.

    The rest of the family being kids and eventually carpenters had to make the trip to the shop/trucks to get tools for extended projects over 5 minutes.

  16. pruitt says:

    Love this post, especially Old Don’s philosophy and dirtypete’s mom. Dad had a tooldrayer my whole life and it included one of those nested hammer/screwdrivers mentioned in the initial post (and it is useless beyond hanging pictures–the hammer head twists with each blow).

    That was in East Tennessee. It’s me, my wife, and three daughters here outside Dallas. Tools are in a couple of drawers, flashlights in many, and my wife has her own toolbox right outside the door to the garage. The girls tend to write notes to dad or lay things on my workbench for repair, but they know how to find the basics and the Phillips screwdrivers I don’t mind rounding off!

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