Many, if not most, left-handers learn to adapt and adjust quite well. For others, it may be necessary to find left-handed versions of the tools, where these are available. For a left-hander to use a right-handed tool, there are two main options: either learn to use the tool in a right-handed fashion (awkward and inefficient); or learn to hold the tool backwards so it can be manipulated with the left-hand (awkward and potentially dangerous).
To take a common example, right-handed scissors are designed so that a right-handed user can easily see the line being cut along, whereas a left-handed user may not be able to see as well. A right-handed action with such scissors tends to force the blades together, producing a more effective and cleaner cut, whereas a left-hander’s cutting action may force the blades apart, reducing the effectiveness and often resulting in ragged or creased cut. The molding of the handles may also be less comfortable for a left-hander than a right-hander. A right-hander can easily see how this feels by using regular scissors with the left hand.
Other than scissors, other items which often prove inconvenient or difficult for left-handers include: can-openers, potato-peelers, corkscrews, kitchen knives, measuring cups, rulers, pencil sharpeners, some school desks, notebooks, chequebooks, computer mice, computer keyboards (particularly the number pad), cameras, video cameras, watches, fishing reels, golf clubs, car ignitions, factory machinery, etc.
Most fire-arms are design to be used by right-handed people, as are most power tools, saws, etc, which can lead to potential dangers given that the right-arm and hand of a left-hander is usually weaker and less finely controllable. Many musical instruments also provide challenges to left-handers (see the section on Handedness and Music).
The difficulty of using some of these everyday items is likely part of the reason that left-handers have garnered a reputation for awkwardness and clumsiness. If they look less-than-elegant in carrying out particular tasks, the reason is probably that the task is physically more awkward for a left-hander, and they have not received any instruction on how a left-hander should approach it.
Paradoxically, though, the need to use right-handed tools may actually confer some advantage on left-handers, as they tend to develop more flexible hand use, and stronger or more dextrous non-dominant arms and hands, than right-handers. Typically, in order to cope with right-handed tools and accoutrements, they also need to develop more self-reliance and creative thinking at an earlier age than right-handers.