7 Helpful Items You Should Have in Your Toolbox (But Don’t)

Why you should have silica gel, steel wool, a fork, and more in your toolbox.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
2-minute read


Silica Gel Packets

Next time you get a new pair of shoes or another product with a packet of silica gel inside, save the packet and stash it in your toolbox. Silica gel is a desiccant, which absorbs moisture and draws it away from your tools, preventing oxidation (i.e., rusting). Just be aware that silica gel is dangerous if ingested by kids or pets!


Chalk is not only handy when you need to outline something, it’s also great for increasing grip on screwdrivers. Rub chalk on the handle to make it less slippery and safer to use, then rub some chalk on the other end (both sides of the flat-head, if you’re using one). The chalk will increase the friction and give you a tighter hold. Plus, it absorbs moisture in your toolbox almost as well as silica gel!

Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

If you’ve ever jabbed or scratched your hand while digging around your toolbox, you’ll love this tip. (Plus it’s a great way of reusing those Styrofoam packing peanuts that you always seem to be throwing out.) Poke any tool that has a sharp or pointy edge into one of the peanuts before storing. The next time you’re hunting for that Phillips head screwdriver, you won’t get an unpleasant stab from the needle-nose pliers!

A Fork

If you’re prone to hitting your fingers when you hammer a nail, make sure you have a fork in your toolbox. Next time you’re hanging pictures, put the nail between the tines of a fork before hammering. Your fingers will thank you, and your kids won’t have to hear you swear.

Steel Wool

Steel wool is great for buffing scratches out of stainless steel. But it’s also perfect for fixing holes that are too stripped to hold screws. If a hole in your wall is stripped, dab some glue on a tiny piece of steel wool (which can be cut with scissors) and stuff it into the hole. Once the glue dries, you can screw in your screw without a problem. You can also stuff steel wool into mouse holes—mice have been known to nibble through the steel wool and die.

Clear Nail Polish

Keep some clear nail polish in your toolbox to keep tiny screws in place (just a dab on the sides will do). Or, use it to repair small holes in window screens. Cover the holes with a few of layers of clear nail polish, and it will keep them from becoming bigger and prevent insects from coming through.

A Magnet

A magnet is a klutzy handyman’s best friend! Keep one in your toolbox to quickly and easily pick up spilled screws, nails, and other parts the next time you accidentally knock them over. Or, spread out tiny metal parts to easily find the one you need, then pick them up quickly by using the magnet.

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About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.