Updated: Mar 22, 2022
One of the things I've found my girlfriends lack, when embarking on their next phase of independence (yay!) and self-sufficiency is a basic toolbox. I don't mean a figurative toolbox to solve life's problems that a therapist helps with - I mean the very basic tools you need to do very basic maintenance and very basic repairs. Mine is extensive at this point, but it started with these pieces. I'm putting an Amazon affiliate link on each item in case you want to just order it all together.
But wait - why don't I just get one of those pretty kits where everything's included, and the handles are pretty and pink? Because, my friend, those tools with the pink handles are absolute garbage in most cases. They don't work well, don't last, and will leave you more frustrated than necessary. The screwdriver tips bend, and pliers hinge is made of aluminum foil from what I can tell, and it's just a waste of money.
So let's get to the (almost literal) nuts and bolts here.
Screwdrivers. There are two basic kinds - flathead (that's shaped like a chisel) and a Phillips head (that's the one that looks like a little plus on the end). I actually really like the kind that have 4 in one. The little tip pops out of the end and flips around so you have two sizes of flathead and two sizes of Phillips screwdriver tips. Just don't lose the tip!
Hammer. You don't need a giant one, but if you want to hang a picture on the wall, pry a nail out of another wall, or even tap a pin back into a door hinge, you'll need one. Word of advice: don't buy the cheapest hammer you can find. I've tried this. The handle eventually shatters, and bends, and it's useless. I'm linking to a basic Craftsman hammer below. It's not fancy, and there are certainly fancier ones out there, but this is a good standard.
Level. This is mostly for hanging pictures, but in a pinch, you can also use the level on your phone. I have to admit, I do that more often than not these days.
Pliers. These work like scissors but for grabbing things. A lot of people confuse wrenches and pliers -- pliers are for grabbing, and a wrench is for turning.
Wrench. Get an adjustable one. It will tighten bolts, unscrew a garden hose, and all kinds of useful things. My dad had a Crescent brand wrench - Mom has one too. I have one too. They last forever and are inexpensive. They come in different sizes, and the one below is the middle one. The tiny one is sometimes too small, and the big one just seems like overkill for a basic set of tools.
Tape Measure. You might have one of these, but if not, stash one in the toolbox.
These basics will get you started. I'll post a list of the next steps in a toolbox later, with things like a cordless drill and some Allen wrenches. Still nothing earth-shattering, but the place to start for next phases of basic projects.
Don't forget a box or bag to keep it in!