10 of my favorite tools

When you think about tools hammers, screwdrivers, saws, and wrenches probably come to mind, but virtually anything can be a tool as long as it helps you achieve a goal.

This is a list of 10 of my favorite tools that I use every week.

#1 – small notebooks. The brand doesn’t matter as long as they don’t fall apart. The one in the picture is from Tom Sachs. Sure you have a phone and/or computer to take notes, but you should have a paper backup. And they’re hacker-proof.

10 Bullet Notebook

#2 – pens taken from hotels. These are free. You’ll find one in your hotel room. You can get more from the lobby. Tip: hotels also have free soap, lotion, and notepads.

Hotel Pen

If you’re looking for a pen without a hotel logo, that can also write upside down, I recommend the Fisher Space Pen:

Space Pen

#3 – Sharpies.¬†It’s hard to go wrong with Sharpie markers.


That said, you need Staedtler markers too. These you use specifically for writing on DVDs and CDs because they are friendlier to the surface of the media.


#4 – Gaffer Tape. Not cheap, but I use it for everything. I started to use it to secure computers and measurement equipment in my car, but I’ve replaced masking and duct tape entirely with this stuff.

  1. It sticks to almost everything.
  2. It is temporary — little to no residue, unlike duct tape.
  3. It is matte, not shiny.
  4. It comes in fluorescent colors.

Gaffer Tape

#5 – toothbrushes. Once I retire a toothbrush from tooth duty, I wash it in the dishwasher and then use it for everything else. Car detailing, brushing dirt off of mineral specimens, cleaning the bathroom sink, as a tiny brush for my eyebrows…


#6 – dental picking tools. You can get these new from the usual online stores and auction sites. Normally they’re used for teeth, but I use them for detailing, cleaning mineral specimens, and cleaning dust and grime out of tight spaces in electronic equipment. I’m thinking of asking my dentist for the tools they use on my mouth once they’re done with them.


#7 – Tea Tree Therapy toothpicks. I like both kinds: mint and cinnamon. They’re good for cleaning your teeth on the go, but they’re also a decent gum or cigarette alternative, and you can use them for detailing and cleaning tight spaces where you don’t want to use a metal pick. Plus, A Toofpick Changes Everything.

Tea Tree

#8 – OLFA razor knives. These are my go-to cardboard slashers and envelope openers. When I need to turn an old couch into 47 small pieces, I start with an OLFA (and end with a saw & bolt cutter). I have similar razor knives like the Milwaukee Fastback as well, but OLFAs are my favorite.


#9 – cigar boxes. Most cigar stores will sell you these for a few bucks. If you’re charming, you can get them for free. I use these to hold mineral specimens & tools, but you can use them for electronic equipment, tubes, screws & bolts, bugs, tiny notebooks, or whatever you want.

Cigar Box

#10 – Rubbermaid containers. I use these for collecting stuff outdoors, rocks, shells, and stuff that can be wet or dirty. Before stuff goes into cigar boxes, they go into Rubbermaid containers.


Honorable mentions:

  • Rough Rider mushroom knife with the brush.
  • Dymo label makers. The old-school kind.
  • Everclear 190 proof. For disinfecting and preserving.
  • Silica Gel packs for drying wet things.
  • Boveda humidity packs for wetting dry things.
  • Vitamins & minerals D, K, C, zinc, quercetin, melatonin, and asprin.