Building a Basic Toolbox

As a responsible homeowner, you are no doubt well aware of the myriad issues that can arise in your home. From plumbing problems to landscaping woes, the old saying “a homeowner’s job is never done” couldn’t be more true. Having the right tool to take on these handyman projects is crucial, but what tools should occupy your toolbox space?

Not every home project requires the loving touch of your friendly neighborhood home remodeler. There are some DIY projects you can undertake – so long as you have the right experience and the right tools to do so.

Depending upon your level of handiness, you may or may not have the essential tools that every homeowner (handy or not) should have on hand. If not, never fear – we have a list of the basics in the following paragraphs.

Before we begin our homeowner tool list though, a brief caveat – if you are not comfortable undertaking a particular home improvement project, are not experienced at DIY, or the task involves a potentially hazardous element (such as electrical work), we strongly advise you to consult with a home remodeling service, such as the team at Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling.

Essential Homeowner Tools

Knowing what to include in your homeowner toolbox is only half of the battle – the other half is funding it. Depending upon where you do your shopping, what brands you buy, and so forth, a fully equipped toolset could cost you a pretty penny. To help with the cost you may want to consider some cost-cutting measures.

Some homeowners look for second-hand tools, and while this is certainly an option, you should always be wary when purchasing hand-me-downs, as condition and quality can quickly become an issue. If possible, try to purchase your tools new – consider it an investment in your home’s future.

Asking for tools for birthdays or Christmas is a great way to fill your toolbox and helps loved ones figure out what to get you as a gift – something they will be grateful for. Better yet, ask for gift cards to your favorite hardware store so you can pick out the tools yourself.

Another way to save money is to purchase tools during sales. Memorial Day weekend and Black Friday are ripe for the picking and you can get some great deals during these times. Remember, you do not need to purchase every tool you will ever need all at once; picking up pieces here and there is perfectly fine for most homeowners.

Now that we have discussed funding your homeowner tool kit, let’s look at what goes inside the basic toolbox.

  • Screwdrivers: Screwdrivers are one of the most versatile of tools. In addition to tightening and loosening screws, they can be used for a plethora of applications, including opening paint cans and can be used as a chisel. There are two basic types of screwdrivers – the flat-head and the Phillips-head. In addition to the different types, screwdrivers come in a variety of sizes as well – some small enough to fix glasses, others large enough for industrial machinery (you probably won’t be needing one of those). Your best bet is to purchase a screwdriver kit that comes with an assortment of screwdrivers. Spend a little extra to get a comfortable grip and magnetic tips – you will thank yourself later.
  • Pliers and Wrenches: Pliers are a must-have for homeowners. They can be used for many purposes and come in several different sizes. Your best bet is to purchase an adjustable plier that has a locking mechanism – more commonly referred to as a plier wrench. In addition, you will want to pick up an adjustable crescent wrench for working with nuts and bolts.
  • Hammer: If you do not know what a hammer is, back away from your home project and call in the pros. A good, sturdy hammer is a mainstay in every DIYer’s toolbox. The traditional claw hammer fulfills many needs, and, like every other tool on our list, comes in different sizes. A good grip is essential for a good hammer, so make sure you pay attention to this element. Rubber mallets are also a good addition to your box as well.
  • Tape Measure: Tape measures are a great tool to have on-hand. Measuring furniture, marking off where to cut pieces of wood, and so forth are typical uses for a tape measure.
  • Saw: If you undertake a home improvement or DIY project, sooner or later you will need to cut something. Whether that is wood, metal or plastic, a good hacksaw is the right tool for the job – that and a little muscle grease.
  • Level: A level does what you might think it would do – it provides a means to determine if something you are hanging or cutting is even, or “on the level.” Spend a little extra for a more rugged model to ensure it survives any falls and lasts for a long time.
  • Drill: Drills are one of the “fun tools” a homeowner can pop into their toolbox. They serve a variety of purposes, including drilling holes, acting as a sander, grinding and more (if you have the right bits). They come in the cordless and corded variety. The cordless variety offer a level of convenience (you don’t need to plug it in), although the corded electric drill has its benefits as well – namely that you do not need to charge the battery for use.
  • Safety Glasses or Goggles: No one expects an accident to happen, so prevention is key.  Eye protection is the best defense against eye injury and potential blindness.  Safety glasses help protect the soft tissues of the eyes from impacts as small as dust particles from drywall or sawdust to paint sprays or chemicals to flying or falling objects.

Additional simple, but useful, tools and supplies can also include small items that are easily misplaced without a dedicated spot for them (your tool box!): pencil, flashlight, clamps, scissors, pocket knife or multi-tool, utility knife, safety kit etc.  At the end of the day, there are many tools that you could, and should, eventually add to your homeowner tool kit. In the meantime, the above list should help you tackle most DIY home projects without needing to make a run to the local hardware store.