By Patricia L. Garcia
When you move into your newly built home, you’re likely to get all sorts of gifts from family and friends: cook- and bakeware, decorative items like lamps or picture frames or even gift cards to your favorite home goods store.
But, what’s often left out is tools. You’re certainly not going to need your tools for any home improvement projects any time soon (that’s why you bought new!), but you’ll still need some basic tools for putting new furniture together, cleaning appliances or even changing a lightbulb. If you don’t already have a proper toolbox together, here are the top 10 tools every homeowner needs in their toolbox:
You’ll need both a flathead screwdriver and a Phillips head (the “star one”) for just about every home project you do, from painting (flatheads are good for opening the can) to putting furniture together (Phillips to the rescue!).
“You will come across a variety of screws in your home on various parts of your equipment that will require one or the other type of screwdriver,” says Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada, a home inventory software company in El Dorado Hills, Calif. “Screwdrivers will help fix things around the home quickly, from everything like switchplates to cleaning out a hot water heater.”
2. Tape Measure
You’re moving into your new home, so chances are you’re buying new furniture. Make sure everything fits perfectly with a tape measure, says Jerry Saliba and Craig VanDecar, owners of C&J Custom Builders, Inc., in Albany, N.Y. Or, perhaps you need to make sure which size of window curtains or shower curtain to buy or how much paint will be necessary for a job — a tape measure will be your best friend in these cases.
Tape measures come in a variety of sizes, so you can find the right one for all jobs. (There are even very tiny ones that you can carry in your car or purse.)
Have you ever tried to hang photos without a hammer? There’s a reason why a hammer exists and that’s because shoes with big heels are not an appropriate way to nail something into the wall (once a heavy-heeled shoe was all I had!).
“A hammer is handy for a lot of things around the home: to quickly hang small pictures, to assemble small pieces of furniture that might require a hammer, to remove cracked tiles and to pull down items using the claw portion of the hammer,” Dodson says.
4. Power Drill
A power drill is a lifesaver when it comes to all sorts of projects, particularly when it comes to projects that require long screws. “A cordless drill can be used to quickly assemble any pieces of furniture that you buy or to hang heavy frames and artwork on the wall,” says Dodson. “A cordless drill can speed up your time to correctly tackle certain projects.”
Do not get caught without one. That’s all you need to know.
Hands down the best tool you can use to ensure that pictures or wall art are hanging straight. There’s nothing worse than hanging a picture slightly askew and having to stare at it like that, says Saliba and VanDecar.
A level is also useful for making sure you’re hanging your curtain rods straight too. Really anything that needs to be straight, a level will help.
7. Putty Knife
Saliba and VanDecar suggest a putty knife for “any of those unforeseen holes or ‘dings’ to be able to spackle” in any spots. A putty knife will help keep any fixes neat and easy.
A wrench is similar to a screwdriver in that it will come in handy in many situations. Use it to remove tight bolts, to secure nuts on furniture or to adjust or unscrew hoses on your clothes washer.
You can’t go wrong with pliers, which can be used to hold things firmly while you continue to work on an area or item in your home to fix it, says Dodson. You can also use pliers to easily bend wire and other similar items, she says.
Personally, I find pliers useful in holding nails in place while hammering them in — no more hitting your fingers!
10. Extension Cord
All new homeowners should have an extension cord somewhere in the house, says Saliba and VanDecar. “An extension cord is not only useful for powering something inside the home, but for any landscaping work that requires tools outside as well.”
The Great Outdoors
Don’t forget your yard when it comes to filling your toolbox. Though not all outdoor items will fit in your toolbox, you should have a hose, sprinkler, spade, shovel and wheel barrow, suggests Jerry Grodesky, managing broker in Farm and Lake House Real Estate, based in Buckley, Ill.
Nobody likes to have to run into the hardware store mid-project in their gardening or exercise clothes. Having the proper tools before getting started will make it easy to handle gardening and landscaping jobs, no matter how large or small.