I like tools. Before I began my FI journey, I had an angle grinder, a bench grinder, a vise, an anvil, and a big hammer — I was making knives as a hobby. I also had a drill press, multiple pliers, electronics screwdrivers, soldering irons, protoboards, and an adjustable power supply — I was also into electronics; I’m still kinda proud of the 19″ rack mounted 20W stereo Amp I built.

However, when I left home, moved to another country, and shortly thereafter decided to become FI, I only brought a small number of tools as it is hard to fit an anvil into a backpack.

  1. A small no-name multitool with scissors, a few small screw drivers, and tweezers (now replaced with an P4 Squirt).
  2. A small maglite (now replaced with a white Photon II LED light).
  3. A Swiss Army Knife, the Spartan (I don’t carry that anymore but still use it to open bottles at home).

I still carry the first two on my key ring. On top of that I also had

  1. A couple of sewing needles. Black thread and white thread for darning holes.
  2. A lighter for sterilizing needles for draining blisters, digging out splinters, and lighting the occasional candle or BBQ
  3. A measuring tape.

All this essentially fits in a pocket. The beauty of renting is that any major problem would be fixed by the owner. Actually where I lived, I didn’t even have to clean — that was included in the rent as well.

After moving into the RV there has been a need for more tools, but fewer than one would think. Here’s what I use the most

  1. Medium sized adjustable wrench (mainly to get the batteries out).
  2. Adjustable pliers (mainly for the water hose).
  3. Various sizes of screw drivers (to remove panels, etc.).
  4. Soldering iron (got that on freecycle) (for messing with the electric system)

I find that it is really hobbies that require the most tools and that one can be a “home owner” or live an “unhobbied” life with a fairly simple collection of tools. For the bicycle I am looking to get into the bottom bracket which would require about a handful of different tools. I could get my BB fixed at the local bike shop, but I … uh … would like to fix it myself at what is probably 3-4 times the cost, since I’m unlikely to do it again in the next several years. Fortunately, I haven’t pulled the trigger on this one yet.

The message to take away from this post is that beyond a very small number, the number of tools you own is up to you. If you own them, you will probably use them all, and if you don’t you will usually be able to MacGyver a solution anyway.