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building a basic home toolkit 

You really can handle many minor repairs and home-improvement projects around your home - all by yourself.

And you don't need a garage full of supercharged tools to get the job done right. 

Just a basic toolkit is all you'll need. 

Here are the essential tools that you'll want to include in that all-important basic home toolkit.

The Toolkit Basics

You'll need a standard claw hammer; an adjustable wrench; a tape measure; several sizes of screwdrivers (both standard and Phillips head); a cordless drill and set of bits; and standard slip-joint, needle-nose, and wire-cutting pliers.

You'll also want a hacksaw for cutting metals and plastics; a medium-size pair of tongue-and-groove pliers.

A pair of locking pliers; a general-purpose wood saw; a putty knife; a utility knife; a small level; a utility light, and several long, heavy-duty extension cords.

Also, include a dependable flashlight; a battery-operated stud finder; and a plunger for minor plumbing fixes.

Your toolkit basics will come in handy for such routine repairs as stopping leaks at the base of a faucet (with your adjustable wrench) or for hanging shelves or pictures (with your hammer, drill, stud finder, tape measure, and level). 

Needle-nose pliers are just the thing for reaching into tight spaces, twisting small wires, and holding small metal parts and nails in place for screwing or hammering. 

Other Toolkit Items Likely to Come in Handy Around Your Home

Other tools for occasional projects to consider adding to your kit:

  • an electric saber saw
  • a set of socket wrenches
  • a circular saw
  • an electric palm or orbital sander
  • an assortment of paintbrushes
  • a staple gun

Finally, stock an assortment of nuts, bolts, screws, and metal washers; rubber washers for leaky faucets; duct tape; several sizes of nails or tacks; fine sandpaper; lubricating oil for door hinges; and a versatile glue.

Keep Your Tools Handy and Together

Keeping your tools together in a convenient place is the first step toward simplifying home maintenance.

  • For on-the-move repairs, stash essentials in a wide-mouthed carpenter's bag explicitly designed for toting tools.
  • Store extra screws and bolts in jars where they're easy to see. Secure lids to undersides of shelves so you can open jars with one hand.
  • Keep your workshop neat by mounting tools on a pegboard and drawing outlines of items to show where they go.
  • Short on space? Keep essential tools in a roll-up canvas bag. It's easy to stash in a hall closet or kitchen drawer, where it's always ready for quick fixes that are needed around the house.

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› Building a Basic Toolkit