A word for “useful components”?

Is there a single English noun that means something like “useful small pieces of material or machine elements that the craftsman prefers to have always at hand”? E.g. scraps of cloth, screws, washers, cable ties, or code snippets (for a programmer), or background patterns (for a designer), and so on.

Supposed use cases include: “Don’t forget to bring the needed […] with you” (addressing to a service engineer), “I put all my […] into this folder on Google Drive”.

  • 3
    We don't use [the] needed as a noun in such contexts. Mainstream Anglophones might say Don’t forget to bring the necessaries, but it's a little dated/quirky. many speakers of Indian English would quite naturally say Don’t forget to bring the needful, but in general I don't think there's a single word for the target sense. Note that the essentials would normally carry the strong implication of only the essentials. Personally, I'd probably say Don't forget to bring [all] your paraphernalia. – FumbleFingers Jul 23 '16 at 12:59

I'm a bit hesitant to put forward toolkit as it does not really capture things like scraps of cloth. Still, may be of use.

1 A set of tools, especially one kept in a bag or box and used for a particular purpose.

1.1 Computing A set of software tools.

1.2 A personal set of resources, abilities, or skills:
intuition developed from past stock market experience becomes a vital part of an investor’s toolkit

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    In some circles one might use "kit". – Hot Licks Jul 23 '16 at 11:41

This is more suitable for computing than sewing, but consider utilities, which (as noted in the link below) is derived from utilis (useful).

Please excuse the self-referential definition.

Utility noun 3 Computing A utility program: a handy utility for converting one graphics file type to another - ODO

Your sample sentences would then be:

  • Don’t forget to bring the needed utilities with you” (addressing to a service engineer); and
  • “I put all my utilities into this folder on Google Drive”.

I can think of only one noun that fits here nicely:

Don’t forget to bring the (adjective, if needed) essentials with you.

You may want to put an appropriate adjective before the word i.e. "programming essentials"


a basic, indispensable, or necessary element; chief point:

  • 1
    "needed essentials" seems tautological ? – k1eran Jul 23 '16 at 10:43
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    ^That is a fair point. "Don’t forget to bring the needed programming essentials with you." would indeed sound pretty weird. I've edited my answer. – Jakub Jul 23 '16 at 10:54
  • Actually, "necessary shit" would be more idiomatic. – Hot Licks Jul 23 '16 at 11:42
  • "the necessities" is also often used this way. Both phrases show up often in articles on packing, organizing, etc. in a variety of contexts. – 1006a Jul 26 '16 at 16:15

Supplies can include components that are stocked in the expectation that they will frequently be used. For example, a mold manufacturer may stock several sizes of socket-head cap screws, or an electronics manufacturer may expect to keep 10K ohm resistors in stock. That would contrast with parts that are special to a particular project or job.

It would also include non-components that are consumed in the work, such as solvents, greases, solders and so on.


Everything relevant to the situation, time, person, place, party, etc., can and is now referred to unreservedly as stuff by concerned parties. The word stuff applies in every situation given here (8) thus far.

Stuff can compose and comprise the materials, processes, tools, and consumables whether they be traditional or state-of-the-art.

In addition, one of the highest compliments that can be bestowed by one upon another is paid to those who really know their stuff.

  • @HotLicks a slightly deodorized version of your observation in comments. – Stan Jul 24 '16 at 0:37


Oxford learner's dictionaries

a thing that helps you to do your job or to achieve something



  1. any instrument, vessel, or tool serving a useful purpose



  1. any article used in some activity, especially an instrument, tool, or utensil



  1. a group or combination of instruments, machinery, tools, materials, etc., having a particular function or intended for a specific use


“Don’t forget to bring the repair gear with you.”
“I put all my troubleshooting gear into this folder on Google Drive”

[MASS NOUN, USUALLY WITH MODIFIER] Equipment or apparatus that is used for a particular purpose: e.g. 'camping gear'
A few weeks after they'd gone missing, some of their personal dive gear washed up on a beach 75 miles from the dive site.
They caught five poachers, equipped with modern rappelling gear, in possession of six bags of bird nests.

Probably this one sounds better for craftsman/service-engineer examples than the other scenarios.


One might (modestly) refer to his useful components as bits and bobs.

I put all my bits and bobs into a folder on Google Drive.


You could perhaps use bits and pieces, or odds and ends to indicate things that whilst useful, are not essential to the process in question.

Or maybe gubbins, though I'm not sure how widespread the term is.

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