Coming across something at home that can be quickly fixed happens very often . And leaving the task for another day because there is simply none of the required tools to do that fix happens very often too.
And the predictable cycle starts.
We forget about it or are to lazy to buy them at the hardware store. A few weeks or months later, we come across that problem that needs repair again. And the needed tool has yet to be purchased. And we delay the fix again.
Years can pass before anything is done to rectify that issue.
If you are lucky, little to no bigger damage occurred as a result of the delayed fix. But if the stars are not aligned in your favor, you could now be looking at a bigger problem needing a bigger budget for a bigger fix.
I can already recall a couple of incidents that happened to me personally which I regret not taking action immediately. If only I had the tools to take care of those fixes as soon as I discovered them.
Actually, for the regular homeowner, all that is needed are 11 types of tools. They would be sufficient to handle 90% of the fixes required at home.
And as you might have guessed, the remaining 10% are those categories of problems that require professionals and their industrial equipment.
So what are the basic tools to keep in your toolbox?
1) Screwdriver set
In the old days, I recall having just 4 screwdrivers at home. The flat-bedded end and the philips end. Both in big and small sized.
It was not often that we run into appliances or fixtures that require something else.
These days, having the 4-screwdriver set is blatantly insufficient.
Factories seem like they are challenging each other to make screws as inaccessible as possible to the end consumer. As if bragging rights are on the line.
I mean… just look at your iPhone for example. There’s absolutely no way you are going to open that thing with a regular screwdriver set.
The good thing is that there are multi-bit screwdriver sets easily available. These products come with a whole set of different ends that can be easily detached and attached to a handle. Effectively giving you the required type of screwdriver whenever you need it.
You definitely want to get one of those. They are convenient and makes common sense.
If you need smaller screwdrivers for, they are available in multi-bit sets also.
I strongly suggest to get them both. It feels empowering when you run into weird screw heads and know that they are not going to stop you from turning them.
2) Claw hammer
Don’t just get a hammer. Get one of those with a claw on the other end.
The typical toolbox is supposed to serve the purpose of packing as much tools in as little space as possible. This is so that you become an unstoppable fixing machine when called upon.
Choose one with a comfortable grip and weighs 16 ounces minimum for greater pounding power.
3) Measuring tape
Go for quality over affordability. Saying that, you don’t need to spend $50 on one that’s gold plated.
Don’t store one of those that are meant for tailors in the toolbox. It just won’t cut it when you need to use it.
Get a proper one that’s retractable, about an inch wide, and at least 25 feet long.
4) Power drill
There was a time a long time ago when I attempted to assemble a DIY cabinet from IKEA with a screwdriver and my bare hands.
I did get the job done. But the screwdriver did a job on me too as I ended up with blisters and sores. Yes, that was me while I was still an amateur.
If only there was a powerdrill sent from the heavens.
You should get one if you don’t intend to end up like me.
Get one full of features. Like:
- forward and reverse
- variable speed
- a flurry of drill bits and screwdriver bits
- Minimum 3/8 inch chuck
And you might also want to consider getting a cordless one capable of running on batteries too. Portability can be a lifesaver when the circumstances require it.
You don’t need to be a passionate woodworker to keep saws in the tool tote. You need then for general cutting.
A common multi-purpose hand saw is generally accepted as one that is crosscut and about 26 inches in length.
Saws also come with a variety of features these days. For example, there are those that can have their blades switched for sawing different materials.
If you predict that you might need to cut metal one day, consider getting a hacksaw too.
6) Utility knife
I’m not referring to the typical box cutters here. Although those would be nice to have in the box.
You want to get a strong and sturdy one that is retractable and with replaceable blades.
7) Spackle knife
This is one of those tools that you wonder why on earth you would need it when considering whether to buy it.
But once you get it, you’ll find that it’s one of the busiest tools in the toolbox.
It is often used for:
- simple wood smoothing
- and more
It also come with some amusing names. It can also be referred to as a putty knife, scraper, or spatula.
While we tend to keep flashlight all over the house (at least I do), it is good practice to keep a mini-flashlight in the toolbox too.
Sometimes you bring the box with you to a dark place or somewhere with insufficient light. intending to fix something. And only realize that it’s not bright enough to see things in detail.
Going back to you car or the bedroom drawer can be a huge hassle.
Just keep one in the box. That will alleviate all your anxieties.
This needs no introduction.
No toolbox is complete without a dependable pair of pliers. You might want to keep both a regular pair and one with a long-nose.
10) Adjustable spanners (wrenches)
With the mention of pliers, it’s best friend inevitably comes to mind.
You need this to deal with bolts.
Some people like to go with a full set in different sizes. But I still prefer those that are adjustable.
They save space and don’t you to carry the whole set of sizes when climbing up a ladder.
11) Spirit level
While we don’t use this often, it will play a critical role when you need to install something like a shelf on the wall.
Surely you want to avoid installing fixtures wrongly.
Get one with at least 2 bubbles, at least 2 feet long, and able to measure both vertical and horizontal surfaces.