I was recently having a conversation with a good friend and colleague and the topic of toolboxes came up. He was telling me about a toolbox he was given by his father-in-law and about all the different tools he was given.
There were some tools that were very helpful and have gotten some serious use, but others had more of a story to them and haven’t seen much use while in his possession. It got me thinking about the tools I have and how I use some of them but couldn’t even tell you what the other ones are used for.
And if I’m being honest, I know I have used some of them in a way that was definitely NOT what the tool was designed for, but hey, heavy tool = hammer and pointed tool = bottle opener, right? Well, maybe not, but what tools should every homeowner have regardless of their mechanical abilities? It’s a good question so let’s run through some tools every homeowner should have along with some common uses.
Everyone’s toolbox should have a hammer. Heavy end to hit things, claw end to pull things, and a handle- that’s a hammer.
Hammers have a wide range of applications around the house and honestly, a cheap hammer will do pretty much anything an expensive hammer will do so you don’t have to break the bank on this tool. Some of the most common hammer uses include:
- Use a hammer to pound in a nail to build something
- Pound in a nail to hand a picture
- Tapping something into place
- Pound in a signpost for a garage sale or party
- Use the claw end to open a paint can
- Use it to demolish old furniture
- Use the claw to pull out a nail, tack, or staple (not a paper staple)
- A manly paperweight
- Meat tenderizer (a clean hammer is preferred here)
- Break a window in an emergency
- Break apart ice
Pretty useful to have! You should make sure to keep your hammer out of the reach of children, remember it’s a tool and can be dangerous if not used correctly.
Everything can be fixed with duct tape. Can you really fix anything with duct tape? No, but it is super useful. First things first though, is it DUCK or DUCT tape? Well originally there was duck cloth that was used in making clothing and shoes, but this was not an adhesive tape.
The duct tape we think of today came about in the 1940s as a rip-able tape that was used by the military to seal and unseal ammunition boxes. (Neat Fact: The inventor of duct tape was a woman) So where can you use it?
- Use it to patch anything plastic
- Waterproof something or seal a cracked plastic container
- Tape a box shut
- Use it to remove a splinter that is sticking out
- Use a piece as a lint roller
- Protect a surface from abrasions
- Temporarily hem clothing together
- Tap seams on piping, venting, or ductwork
- Subdue an unwanted guest by laying a lying piece of duct tape upside down on the ground to trap insects and ants (duct tape has also been used as handcuffs, but let’s hope your intruders are limited to insects)
You need to have screwdrivers in your toolbox (Not the drink so put the orange juice and vodka away) Every toolbox should have at least two screwdrivers, one that is a flat head style and one that is a Phillips style (tip looks like a +).
It doesn’t hurt to have a couple of different sizes of screwdrivers, but at least have these two types in a medium size. Here is where you are going to need them:
- Remove the replacement battery cover on toys
- Use the flat screwdriver as a pry bar
- Insert a screw to hang a picture
- Assemble furniture
- Tighten handles on pots and pans
- Replace outlet covers or tighten doorknobs
- Install a towel bar
The most important tool you need in your toolbox may be a measuring tape. Measuring tapes are basically retractable rulers and come in a variety of lengths. Now it may not seem like something you are going to need a lot but you will be surprised how often it will come in handy. Plus, it will help you cut down on mistakes.
Here are some things you will need to measure:
- Measure the space you have for furniture
- Find out what size your mattress is-king, queen, full, etc. so you buy the right sheets
- Measure the space you have for new appliances
- Check the height of your ceiling so you buy the appropriate size Christmas tree
- Find out if the vehicle you want to buy will fit in your garage
- Find out what size curtains or shades you need
- Track how fast your kids are growing (or how fast you’re shrinking😉)
Your toolbox is also going to need a can of universal lubricant to solve those nasty squeaks. A can of universal lubricant can save you a lot of hard work and works almost instantaneously. You may not realize it, but sometimes when something makes a terrible sound it isn’t broken, it just needs a little lubrication.
Here are some household things you are going to need to keep lubricated:
- Garage door hinges, chains, and springs
- Bike chains and pivot points
- Squeaky door hinges
- Cabinet door hinges
- Door locks
- Drawer slides and pull-out guides
- Sliding door runners and rollers
- Reclining chairs and couches
When picking out the lubricant make sure it is 0-ring neutral (meaning it won’t degrade plastics or rubbers) and that it is a universal lubricant.
I also recommend finding a clear lubricant that won’t stain whatever you are spraying it on. I personally recommend Wagner Universal Ceramic Lubricant, it is long-lasting, clear, 0-ring neutral, and doesn’t have a nasty odor!
Every toolbox needs something nostalgic. This might be a tool from a close friend, relative, or mentor. The best part is that you don’t have to know how it works or where to use it. It is just an awesome connection to someone important in your life and has great memories associated with it. And when it comes a time, you can pass it on to someone important and help them get a start on their own toolbox.
The items in this list will help you solve almost any issue you run into as a homeowner and solidify your role as a handyman. Now, this is a basic starting list, and yes there are a ton more tools that are useful to have, but it really depends on how comfortable you are fixing things.
So, make sure you everything on the list and you’ll be off to a good start — WAIT a minute — I knew I was forgetting something. #7 A TOOLBOX is also a pretty big bonus because you are going to need a place to store everything otherwise (trust me) you will constantly be searching for your tools. That maybe should have been #1.