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When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.

  1. Cordless drill. A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month.

  2. Drain cleaners. Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.

  3. Shop-vac. No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.

  4. Loppers. Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.

  5. Flashlight. You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace

  6. Adjustable Crescent Wrench. You probably don’t need a full set of wrenches, just get one or two adjustable wrenches; since its jaws may be adjusted to fit nuts and bolts of different sizes. Some self-adjusting wrenches are self-ratcheting, meaning you don't have to remove them from the bolt to tighten it.

  7. Hammers. Two hammers should be enough to start your toolbox. Get one heavyweight and one lightweight. Rule of thumb: The size of the hammer should correspond with the size of the nail. The bigger the nail, the heavier the hammer should be. For outdoor projects and big construction projects go for a basic claw hammer. A pin hammer is a lightweight hammer used to drive in small fasteners such as panel pins and tacks.

  8. Tape Measure. A retractable, lockable tape measure is a tiny tool with a ton of uses. You’ll find it indispensable when you need to measure for window blinds, rugs, furniture or hanging artwork. Get one that is at least 25’ in case you have to measure a room’s square footage or need to do some measuring in the yard.

  9. Step Stool. Yeah, you can just stand on a chair, but you’ll find a sturdy step stool necessary for everything from changing lightbulbs to dusting the cobwebs out of corners to hanging drapery.

  10. Scraper/Putty Knife. Putty knives are not just for applying spackle. They are super useful for removing old decorative coverings or scraping down loose, flaky surfaces.

  11. Plunger. Even if you’re a renter without the need or desire to do any home improvement, you should own this tool for obvious reasons.

  12. Pliers. Buy a set of pliers that has a variety of types and sizes. Locking pliers are a good multipurpose gripping tool. Get channel-lock pliers for larger pipes and valves. Small needle-nose pliers are great for getting into tight spaces and also handy if you’re a crafter. Electrician’s pliers have a fine point and can usually strip and cut wires.


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