The house-proud home owner needs more than one toolkit to keep up with odd jobs around the house and yard. These are the basics you will need to have handy in tool kits ready for jobs in the home, workshop and garden.
Your household toolkit should be kept in an easily accessible spot in the kitchen or den. It’s handy for making quick repairs around the home, hanging curtains, fixing loose doors and so on.
- Retractable tape measure: You will use this a lot, so get a strong, well made tape measure about 25 ft in length. Retractable makes it easy to wind up and store.
- Screwdrivers: You will need both flathead (straight edge) and Phillips (cross head). You will have both types of screws in your home. Get them in the most common sizes around your home and an assortment of replacement screws as well.
- Utility knife: A good strong metal one with a retractable blade.
- Duct and masking tape: One large roll of each.
- Hammer: Get a good quality claw hammer, you don’t want the head flying off while you are working and causing damage or injury. Add an assortment of nails.
- Pliers: Handy for a number of small jobs, including holding nails in place while you hammer (saves your thumbs!) Get a blunt nosed pair and a needle nosed pair. One pair should have a cutter.
- Optional extras: A cordless electric drill, all purpose glue and small saw or hacksaw. A stud finder is a handy thing to have if you are putting up shelves.
Your workshop toolkit will be better equipped than your household toolkit, so you can get started on projects to improve your home and garden. Consider hiring extra tools that you may not use on a regular basis to help you finish a job. Also consider the nature of your projects – if you work mainly with wood, a welder may be an occasional hire item. If you work mainly with metal, a welder will be a necessity.
- Variable speed corded drill: Able to cope with bigger jobs than your household cordless, also used for sanding and grinding.
- Saw: What type of saw you have depends on what you will be doing with it. If it’s just for odd jobs, a hand saw will do. If you cut timber or fire wood on a regular basis, consider a circular saw.
- Spirit level: Let’s get this straight – you will need this! You can get a spirit level built into a T square, combining two handy items.
- Adjustable wrenches: For removing and tightening bolts and gripping anything that needs to stay still.
- Assorted screwdrivers – Phillips and flathead: These you will tend to gather as you go along, in a variety of sizes.
- Nails and screws in assorted sizes.
- Wire cutter: Scissors do not do a good job. Have the right tool.
- A good quality claw hammer: Always keep one in your workshop because it’s guaranteed you won’t be able to find the one you keep in the house.
- Metal files: For coarse and fine work.
- Ladder or stepladder: Make sure it is sturdy and firm. Safety first!
- Goggles and masks: Again, safety first.
- Optional or hire extras: Electric sander, welder, generator for stand by power.
There are a few standard items that are essential for good gardening. You gardening toolkit need never be any bigger than this.
- Shovel or spade: Usually the first thing to buy and use. `Test drive’ a shovel before you buy. Make sure you are comfortable with its weight and height. Buy a good quality shovel with a good metal scoop. Anything else just won’t last.
- Hoe: Again, test it to make sure the handle isn’t too long, or that it isn’t too heavy to be comfortable.
- Rake: Metal lasts longer although cheap plastic rakes do the job. Bamboo or wooden rakes generally fall apart quickly.
- Small garden set: A hand trowel, fork and weeder for planting out, removing weeds and aerating the soil around a plant.
- Garden snippers: For pruning small branches, rose bushes and dead heading spent flowers.
- Watering can: For spot watering and when water use is restricted.
by Gail Kavanagh