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!

Latest Blog Posts

5 Easy-To-Keep New Year’s Resolutions For Your Home 5 Easy-To-Keep New Year’s Resolutions For Your Home
Your home is likely where you spend most of your time — especially these days. That being the case, the way it looks and feels has a huge impact on your overall well-being.
DIY Projects To Make Your Home A Winter Wonderland DIY Projects To Make Your Home A Winter Wonderland
The winter months are finally here, and now is a perfect time to start making your home feel a little bit cozier--and festive! (If that's your thing.)
7 Ways To Optimize Your Home To Hold Heat 7 Ways To Optimize Your Home To Hold Heat
It's that time of year! ⛄️ Suffering from energy inefficiency? Read on for a handful of easy-to-apply tips that'll keep the cozy in, all winter long (no fire required).
How To Win Holiday Hosting How To Win Holiday Hosting
The holidays are fast approaching, and for many people, (now that we can carefully reconvene with friends and family!) that means a social calendar brimming with holiday parties.
DIY YouTube Accounts You Should Follow Right Now DIY YouTube Accounts You Should Follow Right Now

If you’re looking for some DIY inspiration, YouTube is a great place to start. Not only is it a Nirvana...

7 Celebrity Homes To Get Design Inspo Flowing 7 Celebrity Homes To Get Design Inspo Flowing
Feel like you’re stuck in a bit of an interior design rut? Looking at celebrity homes is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.
Purrfect DIY Ideas: Projects Your Pets Will Appreciate Purrfect DIY Ideas: Projects Your Pets Will Appreciate
There’s nothing like having a pet at home. They bring us joy, companionship, and unconditional love. (Well...OK, maybe cats have some conditions.)
The DOs and DON’Ts of Tiling The DOs and DON’Ts of Tiling
Tiling is a DIY project anyone can do to spice up a kitchen or bathroom!
10 Spooktacular Ideas for Halloween Home Decor 10 Spooktacular Ideas for Halloween Home Decor
When you were a trick-or-treating youngster, chances are one of your favorite parts about Halloween--besides rocking a wicked costume and stuffing your face with sugar--was checking out all the spooky decorations your neighbors tricked out (sorry) their homes with. Now that you’re--ahem--an adult, Halloween might look a little different (or maybe not...we don’t judge) but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t still be fun.
6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Work From Home Space 6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Work From Home Space
Working remotely sounds like hitting the work jackpot. PJ’s all day, no long commute, and no unnecessary small talk. But it can be hard to stay productive when the fridge and Netflix keep calling your name. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips on how to create the perfect WFH space for optimal productivity.
Tools for Generations: Baby Boomers Through Gen Z Tools for Generations: Baby Boomers Through Gen Z
No matter the size of the project or skill level required, there are tools available for every generation to succeed.
5 Basic Home Repairs Everyone Should Know 5 Basic Home Repairs Everyone Should Know
It would be awesome if houses and apartments never needed any maintenance. Until someone figures out how to build self-repairing homes (looking at you, Elon), we should all have a little DIY maintenance know-how.
6 Unique Ways to Connect With Your Community 6 Unique Ways to Connect With Your Community
Beyond unpacking boxes, picking out curtains, and buying an unnecessary number of succulents, one of the best ways to truly feel settled into a new home is to connect with your neighbors. For those of us who are a little green to networking, here are 6 unique ideas to help you start building meaningful relationships in your community.
7 Ways to Divide a Room (Without Building a Wall) 7 Ways to Divide a Room (Without Building a Wall)
Open floor plans have received a lot of love in the last several years, but what’s one to do when the space is...too open?
Tik Tok's Most Celebrated DIY Trends Right Now Tik Tok's Most Celebrated DIY Trends Right Now
Many people are still bound (or, rather, re-bound) to their homes and growing tired of their pandemic-necessitated hobbies. 
8 Ways to Make Your Rental Feel like Home 8 Ways to Make Your Rental Feel like Home
Buying a home may be the easiest way to feel like you have a place that’s truly yours (since, in that case, it...literally is) but you don’t need to be a homeowner to make a place your home. 
5 Great Apps and Services for Finding Your New Apartment 5 Great Apps and Services for Finding Your New Apartment
Welcome to the Internet: effortlessly soar through cyberspace at lightning speed to find exactly what you need, right now.
6 IKEA Hacks You Should Try Right Now 6 IKEA Hacks You Should Try Right Now
IKEA is known for its affordable prices, maze-like stores, and...equally maze-like assembly instructions.
How to: Build & Fill a Garden Box How to: Build & Fill a Garden Box
If you’ve never grown your own food, just imagine it for a minute:
How to Keep Cool Without A/C How to Keep Cool Without A/C
It’s too damn hot.
How To: Make a Home In Your Home For Your Pets How To: Make a Home In Your Home For Your Pets
Once upon a time, if the family dog wasn’t banished alone to a dark, doorless dog house, he slept on an unforgiving floor in the house -- with not so much as a comfy memory foam bed with removable faux fur cover, matching bolsters, and built-in aromatherapy to ease his humiliation.
Best Practices for Organizing Small Spaces (Yes, That Small) Best Practices for Organizing Small Spaces (Yes, That Small)
Want the secret to mastering small spaces?
Your Lawn is Useless (But It Doesn't Have to Be) Your Lawn is Useless (But It Doesn't Have to Be)
At its best, your lawn is a beautifully dense, vibrantly green...um, patch of grass.
Drywall Repair Tips for Beginners Who Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way Drywall Repair Tips for Beginners Who Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way
There are a lot -- and we mean a lot -- of drywall repair tutorials available on the Internet, and we know you’ll find your favorites.
DIY Home Improvement Resources That Will Actually Teach You Something DIY Home Improvement Resources That Will Actually Teach You Something

We bet a lot of DIY social media accounts and sites make you oooooo, ahhhhh, and dream of transforming your...

Is Renting More Sustainable Than Buying? Is Renting More Sustainable Than Buying?
With the idea of environmental responsibility taking up more mental real estate in the past few years, we’ve all been looking for ways to minimize our impact and give Mother Nature a little breather.
Everything You Need to Know About Side Hustles Everything You Need to Know About Side Hustles
The pandemic has, over the past year, left many people with more time and less cash. Whether walking dogs, turning professional skills into a freelance gig, checking off someone’s shopping list, or any of dozens of other options, folks have taken advantage of technology to get the bills paid.
12 Tools Every Millennial Should Have (and Why) 12 Tools Every Millennial Should Have (and Why)
From avocado toast and Instagram to 3D-printed custom prostheses (Disney characters or tattoos, anyone?) and Uber, Millennials are famous for innovation. Allergic to the status quo, we’re built for “figuring it out” and finding unique ways to do things. 
DIY TikTok Tile Table Sparetoolz How To: Build TikTok's Tile Table
This 80s-flavored decor trend is taking the internet by storm. Here's how to bring it home for yourself.
How to Keep Plants Alive Here’s How To Keep Plants Alive In Your Home, Even If You Kill Everything
If you've convinced yourself that you're a perilous threat to all floral life and so are destined for a plant-less existence...we have good news.
Here Are Some of the Best Airbnbs in Each State Here Are Some of the Best Airbnbs in Each State
Despite Airbnb’s bizarrely humble beginning (and some pretty intense hurdles--legislative and logistical), nothing has been able to squelch its meteoric rise to multi-billion-dollar company. Turns out millions of people find it perfectly acceptable to sleep in a stranger’s bed. Who knew?
Trendy pink lettered neon sign on brick wall Taking Out the Trash: Interior Design Trends That Should Stay in 2020
We’re all ready to throw 2020 down the garbage chute. Here are some home design trends that should be tossed out with it.
Green and blue botanical wallpaper applied behind gold bathtub How to Apply Wallpaper (And What Not to Do)
Yes, we know, wallpaper is infamous for being a nightmare. Just hear us out.
Parents hang picture on wall as child stands nearby to help with project 5 Home Improvement Projects Kids Can Help With
Including kids in "grown-up" projects doesn't just present opportunities for memory-making; it also shows them that they are capable little humans, who will grow into self-sufficient big humans.
Modern living room painted white and featuring honey-colored wood floors and accents, a large gas fireplace and textured grey sofa 25 Things You Need to Know About Maintaining a House
Maintaining a house requires effort, but it doesn't have to be difficult. Here are 25 tips to get you well on your way to a happy home.
Bike with bright orange rims and accent rented through peer to peer platform parked next to doorway with yellow wrought iron gate Peer to Peer Platforms You Should Know About
Sharing is caring, and now you can save--or make--a little money while you’re at it. 
Minimalist look for writing desk area, featuring predominately white palette with tiny bright-colored accessories and a beige molded plastic chair. What is Minimalism and Where Did it Come From?
Minimalism can start in the home, but its benefits reach far beyond a design style.
Modern industrial loft space featuring high ceilings, plentiful windows, glass pendant lighting, blue sectional and colorful accents Is The Industrial Trend Dead?
Design styles rotate faster than you can say "mid-century modern." Is the Industrial trend queued for a comeback?
MCM designed living room styled in monochromatic white, honey-colored herringbone wood floor and bright blue sofa The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Interior Design Styles 
The first step to executing your dream home design is understanding why it works.
Exterior of 1950s-style home with white siding and blue shutters, and a white picket fence 9 Ideas to Make Your Home More Eco-Conscious
A happier, healthier Earth can begin right at home.
Spacious outdoor entertainment area featuring white walls, white and bright yellow decor elements and black accents 6 Essential Elements for Any Outdoor Entertainment Area
Create a personal oasis, right in your backyard, with these six simple tips.
Man working on laptop, leaned back on black sofa with white cushions, feet on wood coffee table, needing perfect home office How to Create the Perfect Home Office
Whether you're working from home by choice or because of the COVID-19 pandemic, create a calm, motivating home office space with these easy tips.
Interior, well-organized vintage garage with brick walls, new car with popped trunk How to Organize Your Garage - 10 Tips & Tricks
Organizing your garage might be the most terrifying task on your to-do list, but it doesn't have to be! We've got 10 tips to get you started.
Closeup of an array of tools everyone should have, laying on white table The 8 Tools EVERYONE Should Have 
You might not need these tools often, but when you do--you really do. Don’t let common tool-requiring household tasks or fun DIY projects catch you by surprise.
Wall inside garage with dozens of hand tools neatly hung in rows 6 Reasons You Should Join the Sparetoolz Fam as a Tool Owner 
You’ve probably heard a lot about the rise of the sharing economy. From Uber to Airbnb, the business of sharing is booming. The question is, how can you make it work for you?
Closeup of bright yellow flowers in spring garden, clear blue sky in background More Than a Spring Fling: How to Keep Your Garden Fresh All Year Long
Ah, spring: the gentle awakening from winter hibernation.
Corner of room in city home styled with white walls, several plants sitting on wood floor and on a wood stool, black shelving 4 Ways City Dwellers Can Build the Garden of Their Dreams
You might think that lush gardens are only for those with large homes and sprawling acreage, but we have good news: here are 4 tips for creating a botanical paradise, even in small urban spaces!
Overhead view of natural-colored wood stairs and floor, white walls and banister, styled with black and white accents How to Make Your Home Feel Bigger and Brighter
Trapped at home? We've got 5 easy tips for making your space feel open and airy.
Closeup of sheets of smooth brown crafting material, a mallet, ruler, spool of thick black thread, and crafter's knife Routine Shakeup: 9 Weird Craftsman Hobbies to Try Right Now
Challenge boredom with these off-the-wall craftsman hobbies sure to get your creativity rolling.
Fireplace with simple brick mantle repurposed to hold an array of candles, a potted plant sits atop a nearby wood stool Light Up Your Fireplace (No Fire Required)
Looking to repurpose your fireplace? Check out our creative round up of alternative uses!