Not everyone admits to actually being handy around the home. Sometimes people have a tendency to talk themselves out of doing anything simply because they think they can’t do it. Most of the time however, people don’t make any attempts because they don’t have the right tools, much less know where to begin in purchasing tools. If you fall in to the latter category, this article is for you. Here I will help you get started by walking you through your very own basic home tool kit list.
Why Build a Tool Kit?
I suppose one way of doing things yourself is to simply buy one tool at a time, only as you need them. This could end up being more of a chore with a result of just not doing the project altogether. Building a tool kit for around the home is and should be an essential for everyone out on their own – whether renting, leasing, or owning the home. Having a basic tool kit can empower you to be able to do most anything around the home, which could save you a small fortune over hiring a contractor to do the work for you.
Common Projects Around the Home
With a basic home tool kit, there are countless projects and fixes that you can do, ranging from the simplest tasks such as changing light bulbs and hanging pictures and wall art, to replacing light fixtures and sink faucets. There are so many things that can be done with a little do-it-yourself know-how, there should be very little reason to have to hire anyone. This means saving money, and who doesn’t want to do that? Did you know that to replace a light bulb, that some light fixtures require a phillips head screwdriver? What if you want to hang wall art or a shelf that requires more than one support? How do you know if you installed them level or not? With a basic home tool kit, you will have the right tool for most jobs around the home.
The Tool Kit List
If you have ever been to a department or hardware store and walked down the tool aisles, you may have gotten a bit overwhelmed with what you saw. Especially if you have little to no knowledge or experience with tools. You were perhaps intimidated at some of the prices as well! If you want to buy a pre-built kit, one can be purchased for less than $20. If you want to start building your own, one that you can customize to your liking, I will give you a small list of tools to get you started and explain what they can be used for.
Probable the most common of all the tools, the screwdrivers will be your go-to. There are two types, phillips head, which has a 4-point tip, and a slotted, which has a flat head. Both styles come in different sizes. With the phillips head, the most common sizes range from 0 to 3, with 0 as the smallest, and 0 as the largest. For this kit, we will use sizes 1 and 2. The slotted screwdrivers come in different sizes as well. The most common sizes for these are 3/16″ (5 mm), 1/4″ (6 mm), and 5/16″ (8 mm). These measurements denote the width of the ‘blade’, or flat tip of the driver. If storage space is an issue, there are many options such as combination screwdrivers. One such item would be the Klein #32477 10-in-1 combination screwdriver, which includes 2 different sizes of slotted and phillips head drivers, square head bits, torx bits, as well as 2 sizes of nut drivers.
What can be a better explanation for a hammer than the thing that pounds other things? Hammers come on many sizes and shapes for many things. Most common around the home will be found a claw hammer and a ball peen hammer. The claw hammer is so named due to the “claw” that it boasts, allowing the user to pry apart stubborn items or pull nails out of wood or whatever else they may be in. Ball peen hammers have a ball shape on the back side which can be used for different tasks such as finishing nails without damaging the finished surface. Hammers come in many weights as well. For our kit, we will include a 12 ounce (relatively small) claw hammer.
As with all the other tools, levels come in a myriad of sizes. Levels for the most part will have at least one flat edge (for keeping straight lines), and a viewing tube in the middle. When that bubble holds between the 2 lines, it is level! This is essential for hanging pictures and shelves. It is possibly one of the most important tools you will own.
Another versatile tool to own. Adjustable wrenches, or “knuckle busters”, can take the place of many sizes of wrenches, which makes it the perfect starter for your tool kit.
Hex-key wrenches are worth their weight in gold (not in a literal sense). They are sets of “Allen Wrenches”, which are shaped as hexagons along the length of them. And yes, hex-keys come in a great many sizes. When you see screw heads that have a little hexagon-shaped hole where it should fit a phillips head or slotted screwdriver, you know you have the right tool with the hex-keys.
You may not use these very often, but you will be glad they are in your tool kit when you need them. They are like pliers, only they have a small robust cutting head. Yes, these also come in many sizes. Instead of ruining your scissors, these can be used to cut the picture hanger wire, among many other things.
- #1 x 4″ Phillips Head Screwdriver
- #2 x 4″ Phillips Head Screwdriver
- 3/16″ x 4″ Slotted Screwdriver
- 1/4″ x 4″ Slotted Screwdriver
- 16′ x 3/4″ Tape Measure
- 9″ Torpedo Level
- 8″ Adjustable Wrench
- Standard Set Hex-key Wrenches
- Metric Set Hex-key Wrenches
- 8″ Diagonal Cutters, Straight Head
- LED Flashlight
- Safety Glasses
Tool Kit Storage
Although some folks could just designate a kitchen drawer to stow their tools, if you are like me, you don’t have that liberty. My suggestion is to purchase a tool box. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or bulky, only enough to contain your tool kit and store it neatly wherever it is convenient for you to retrieve when needed. Two important rules apply when choosing a tool box:
- Make sure it is longer than your longest tool (this way the tools will lay flat inside it)
- Make sure the tool box can hold twice as many tools as you have (this will allow for holding more tools that you will acquire over the years)
Are you Ready?
Alright, you are now ready! Get your tool kit together and your next step will be to start having fun doing-it-yourself around your home!