building a basic toolkit 

You really can handle many minor repairs and home improvement projects around your home all by yourself - and you don't need a supercharged toolkit to get the job done right.

This list of frequently used tools at home can help get you started creating your personal home toolkit:

  • a standard claw hammer; 
  • an adjustable wrench; 
  • 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 to Consider:

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

A Well-Stocked Toolkit Will Simplify Home Repairs

Your toolkit will come in handy for routine repairs such 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 Tools to Consider Including for Occasional Home Repair Projects:

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

Finally, Stock These Items to Round Out Your Toolkit

  • 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; 
  • a versatile glue; and 
  • a container of liquid drain opener.

Keep Your Tools Handy and Together

Keeping your tools together and in a convenient, easily accessible place is key to simplifying home maintenance. Here are few ideas for stashing your tools:

  • For on-the-move repairs, stash essentials in a wide-mouthed carpenter's bag designed specifically 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? Then 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.

› Building a Basic Toolkit