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July 25, 2015

What’s in Your Toolbox? Essential Items for Your New Home

Now that you’re a homeowner (or about to be one), you’ll need to lay in some important items that you may not have considered when you either lived in an apartment, with roommates or with your family. There are so many things that you would just reach for, never thinking about where they came from or how they got there. In a new series of blog posts, we’re going to talk about some of the everyday things you use all the time, but won’t be provided when you purchase a new home. You’ll need to put aside some additional cash around closing time – not just to get through the closing process itself, but also to outfit your new place. First up…Tools! They’re not glamorous or exciting for many people (contractors and builders excepted, of course…) but they’re most definitely essential. Now that your landlord isn’t on call for your maintenance needs, or your Dad’s garage is at best several miles away, you’ll need to lay in your own stash of “fix-it” equipment. Here’s what every home needs in its toolbox:
  • Hammer
  • Nails in several sizes
  • Screwdrivers (both Phillips head and flat varieties)
  • Screws in several sizes
  • Level
  • Cordless Drill
  • Tape Measure
  • Stud Finder
  • Saw
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Pliers (regular and needle nose)
  • Utility Knife
  • Putty Knife
  • Wire Stripper
  • Hex Key (also known as an Allen Key) set – also available in one handy tool
  • Combination Square
  • Extension Cord(s)
  • Flashlight or Headlight (for repairs in dark, cramped places)
  • Awl
  • Caulking Gun
  • Duct Tape
  • Super Glue
  • WD40
  • Sandpaper
  • Washers
  • Ladder
  • Safety Glasses
Many new homeowners haven’t had the opportunity to use many tools, or to try do-it-yourself projects. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to get the information that you need to pick up a tool and get the job done. Your Local Hardware Store Most towns have at least one store that offers project classes, seminars on common repairs or personal, one-on-one advice provided free to confused shoppers. Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware all do this, and many small, locally-owned shops do as well. Check into their class schedule or visit for a question and answer session. The Internet Videos abound on the Internet, and you’ll find several different approaches to almost any DIY task at your fingertips with a few clicks. REMINDER: START SMALL. Tackle simple tasks first, before moving on to more complex projects. And leave the more dangerous repairs (electrical wiring, plumbing, etc.) to the professionals. Your Neighbors This can be an incredible fountain of information! In many communities there’s “that guy” (or even “that lady”!) that builds, repairs and tinkers long past sunset every evening, and throughout most of the weekend. Hit the local expert up for some advice and guidance. Most people with a good, polished set of specialized skills love to share what they’ve learned. They’ll usually be flattered and eager to help. And another great idea… Get your children involved. Have them help you with simple tasks from a young age (passing tools or sorting nails is a great way to start) and give them more and more responsibility as they mature. It’s wise to teach them how to make simple repairs and handle creative projects that can bring joy to their lives. This is especially true of your daughters. In “the old days” women didn’t learn these things – they depended on the men to handle them. Today’s modern women often live alone and need to develop these skills in order to take care of their homes. Have the girls get dirty, too! Once you’ve collected your starter tool box, you’ll probably get bitten by the DIY bug and find many, many more “must haves” to collect as you go along!
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