Toolbox Essentials: Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

After helping a friend remove cabinets and shelving from her pantry the other weekend, in preparation for a new washer and dryer, I got to thinking about toolbox essentials. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked on our house (though there are plenty of little things on the list) but helping my friend – a new home owner – brought me back to the first day almost 7 years ago that my boyfriend and I started working on our house. We had no idea what we were getting into and hardly any tools to get started. Then help arrived – family brought us some great starter tools: a hammer, a Wonder Bar pry bar for pulling up old wall-to-wall carpet, a 6-in-1 reversible screw driver, a decent tape measureheavy-duty contractor bags for trash, and a bucket buddy to store everything in. Over the years we’ve added many other tools – from chisels to a reciprocating saw to speciality items like a tile saw – and I’ve learned that there’s nothing like having the right tool for the task.

Our “bucket buddy” with a hammer, chisels and an adjustable wrench peeking out. In the background you can see the contractor bags and various screws, nails and wall-hangers.

My first “suitcase” of tools from my brother. The set includes an adjustable wrench, pliers, needle nose pliers, box cutter, flashlight, 6-in-1 screwdriver, level, box cutter blades, ratcheting screwdriver, hammer, wrench set, tape measure, mini screwdrivers, sockets, screwdriver bits. While the tools aren’t especially robust, this set has come in surprisingly handy and I still use it 9 years later.

Other items I love and use all the time, by task:

* For painting: good brushes, drop clothes and blue painter’s tape

* For everyday household stuff (e.g. hanging stuff on the wall): tape measure, level, power screw driver – don’t forget to always pre-drill! – drill bits, picture hangers, step ladder, stud finder

* For fixing those holes in your wall: lightweight joint compound, a couple putty knives of different widths, sand paper of various grades

* And for cleanup: contractor bags, dustpan and broom, shop vacuum, rags

We have the good fortune of living walking distance to Tag’s Hardware in Porter Square and driving distance to Home Depot in Assembly Square. There was a time when we were at both of these places several times a weekend. Now we have our own stockpile of tools for just about any task.

What tools do you think every homeowner should have? Is there a essential household tool you can’t live without? (An infrared non-contact thermometer?!)