These are challenging times, and it never hurts to be prepared. You’re buying extra toilet paper and water, but it might also be a good idea to have a basic set of tools at your disposable.
If you are intimidated by tools, here are nine tools to keep on hand. There may be project or profession-specific additions, and that’s fine. Just bring them into your system instead of piling on top of your system. For one-time-use tools, consider borrowing from a friend.
For a basic set of tools, however, you can’t go wrong with this collection. New homeowners, college students in their first apartments or anyone looking to adopt a “handy” lifestyle, this is for you.
A reliable hammer. A hammer can be used to drive or remove nails and start small demolition projects. Opt for a 16-ounce model, as they are the most versatile.
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Set of screwdrivers. Phillips screwdrivers have been around since 1936, and their companion flatheads are also very much still in use. You will want a couple of sizes to handle all of your jobs. I like this set of 6 ergonomic screw drivers. You can get away with one Phillips and one flathead if budgeting is a concern, but you’ll be glad you have a selection of sizes if you can swing it.
A tape measure. “Measure twice, cut once” is the adage that old-timers have passed down for generations. I am always surprised at how often I use a tape measure; I even find them preferable to a ruler as they aren’t so stiff. It isn’t necessary to have a giant variety unless you measure 30 feet! One that fit comfortably into your hand is best. This is one that I like. If you find that your people take your tape measure, consider one with your monogram like this one.
A crescent wrench. I have a love-hate relationship with crescent wrenches. On one hand, they replace a slew of other wrenches. On the other, I’ve experienced wobbly jaws that won’t hold their shape to the point of driving me crazy. This is a good one that will take care of your needs.
A cordless drill. Even if you have nice screwdrivers but a drill can be a real lifesaver! Find one with multiple speeds and a reverse function. Always keep an extra battery on hand that lives on the charger. It’s no fun to pick up the drill and discover that your only battery is dead. We are a DeWalt family but whatever drill you get; you definitely want a set of bits too. Here is one that has it all.
A level. I know there are level apps for the iPhone and Android but seriously, get yourself a good 24” level. I like to have a couple as sometimes 24” is too big. This is a great starter set. Remember the whole “measure twice, cut once” thing? This will help with that.
A handsaw. I don’t have many uses for a saw and you may not either. When I need one, though, I like to have one on hand. If you are like me, a small carpentry saw is all you need.
Vice Grip. Behold, your extra set of hands! When you need both hands to work on something but a third to hold it still, vice grips are like the assistant you didn’t know you had! I prefer mine in a storage bag to keep them together, like these.
Here’s a quick note before you go out and assemble your collection. Don’t be afraid to spend a few dollars on quality tools. If you have to invest in a top-quality Craftsman hammer then spend less on other tools. As the others need replacing, opt for the best you can afford.
It is also nice to have a household tool kit if the bulk of tools are stored in a shop or are otherwise difficult to access.