At some point, you might not have the specific tools you need to tackle a particular job. Here are a few household items that will help you get the job done in a pinch.

We all know the feeling of reaching over to grab one of our tools, only to grasp at thin air. Maybe it's lost. Maybe you had it three houses ago, and no more. Maybe it never existed at all.

At some point, you might not have the specific tools you need to tackle a particular job. (Unless you're a "tool person" in the first place and already possess everything under the sun, that is.)

A lack of essential tools is every DIYer's nightmare—but it's also an opportunity to get creative and give everyday items a new purpose. If the tool you need isn't yet available for rent on Sparetoolz, it's officially time to improvise.

Before you start Googling how to make your own cavemanesque tools, it's worth taking a quick look around the house to investigate the potential of household items you already own. You never know! A temporary tool solution may be sitting under your kitchen sink, in your toiletry kit, or even out in the yard—just waiting for you to discover its hidden dual purpose. 

No tools? No problem. It's time to unleash your inner MacGyver.

 

Closeup of several small hand tools such as pliers, allen wrenches, and screwdrivers lay on wood table

Household Items You Can Use as Tools

A Google search of "alternatives to tools" or "what can I use instead of a (insert tool name here)" yields little in the way of practical, implementable results.

In fact, most of the results are along the lines of:

"Don't have a wrench? Try a pair of pliers!" (Wowee, thanks.)

"Don't have a Phillips head screwdriver? Try a flat head screwdriver!" (Brilliant.)

These suggestions aren't remotely helpful when you don't have a similar tool on hand.

That's why we've put together this mini "life hack" article. We'll be sharing our list of household items that double as the most commonly needed household tools:

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Wire Cutter
  • Pair of pliers

 

Hankering for a Hammer?

A hammer might only serve one primary purpose, but if you don't have one on hand, you'll realize just how well it serves that purpose. If you need to drive nails into a surface manually, you'll need to find an alternative to a hammer.

While nothing nails it—see what we did there—quite as well as a hammer, there are a few household items that can act as a makeshift hammer. Most people head out into the backyard and pick a flat or round rock, but you could also raid your kitchen cupboard and grab a rolling pin or even a heavy-bottom saucepan. (Way overkill, of course, but it'll get the job done!)

Cast iron skillets hang from a rack

Obviously, take note of the size of the nails you're trying to drive into the wall. If it's a thin picture nail, thumbtack, pushpin, or similar, a makeshift hammer will work just fine. If it's a giant heavy duty nail…proceed at your own risk.

 

Shortage of Screwdrivers?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to remove a screw, sans screwdriver, you're in luck. Many household items double as makeshift screwdrivers, but what to use is dependent on the type of screw.

Removing a flat head screw is a breeze. You can use a credit card, the tab of a soda can, a metal letter opener, a metal nail file, metal tweezers, or pretty much any thin, firm, flat object.

To unscrew a Phillips head (or star) screw, you can use a butter knife, a dime, or the edge of a CD or DVD.

To remove super small screws, you can use whip out that metal nail file or pair of tweezers or—if you're steady-handed—the tip of a sharp kitchen knife.

Some (probably pretty frustrated) people resort to using the edges of their nails to remove screws, but we don't recommend this as your nails can easily crack, tear, or snap.

Closeup of woman's hand, her fingernails painted red with silver detail, text reading "not tools"

 

Whining for a Wrench?

Do you have nuts, bolts, pipes, or pipe fittings that desperately need tightening? If so, you need to wrangle a wrench and get to work. But what happens when there isn't a wrench in sight and those aggravatingly loose chair legs are sending you in the direction of your nearest asylum?

Don't worry—your household items can make for a suitable wrench replacement.

Per the Fantastic Handyman blog, "Take two large coins and place them on either side of the nut. Grip the coins between the knuckles of your index and middle fingers for extra grip and twist in the direction needed to loosen the nut."

A zip-tie also makes for a wonderful wrench supplement. Just zip-tie it around the nut as tightly as you can, and use the "tail" to pull in the direction necessary to loosen or tighten.

 

Wishing for a Wire Cutter?

As the name implies, wire cutters are used to cut wires, but a few other items can also do the job effectively.

If you can get your hands on a utility knife, you're sorted. If you don't have one handy, you can use a sharp pair of crafting scissors or even a pair of nail clippers—which we really, really hope you have.

A few small hand tools rest on a smooth, bright white surface

 

Pining for Pliers?

Anything you need to grip and turn, twist, pull, or bend will call for the usage of pliers. Depending on the task you're trying to accomplish, there are a few household objects you can use in their place.

If you need pliers to grip onto something large, you can try a pair of stainless-steel kitchen tongs, although you may struggle with torque. If you think you can manage it with your hands but need a better grip, try using a silicone kitchen mitt or one of those jar-opening pads.

But if you need to grip onto something smaller, a pair of metal tweezers is surprisingly effective! (After all, they're basically tiny pliers.) 

If you don't have the necessary tools to perform a job, it's not the end of the world—but it's definitely not recommended to wing it every time, as you might not always be so lucky.

Our best advice is, of course, to have a very basic tool set on hand in your home. If you don't have the cash to buy the tool you need, or if you know you won't need it for anything but the job at hand, rent it from Sparetoolz by downloading our app.

Happy building!

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