Toolbox Tour: DIY Must Haves Part 2
Last week I started a mini-series about what tools I use and consider ‘must-haves’ (here). As I mentioned in that post, these are the must-haves for an amateur or just a regular old homeowner. Sometimes I read blogs where they are building dining room tables and built in bookshelves and I get totally jealous that A) they have such cool tools and B) that they have the math skills to plan that sort of stuff. But I don’t own any big or expensive tools and I’ve been able to do a lot of projects so I should be happy with what I have.
In that spirit, here are the tools I own and use most often:
I used an IKEA hammer that came in tool kit for like 8 years and it worked just fine. It was eventually replaced when my friend was using it and the hammer head literally bent in half (it looked awesome) and he went and bought me a new hammer. I have no idea what kind of hammer this is but it works just fine!
I haven’t sung the praises of a level yet on here but I love a good level. Perhaps it is my proclivity for gallery walls or my compulsive need to fill every. single. wall. with art but my level has become my best friend. Why? Because I’ve realized either my head is on lopsided or I just have no sense of what is straight because I’ll hang something, think it looks straight, decide on a whim to test it with a level, and then realize how insanely off my eyes are. This happened several times before I realized that I should just use a level every time I hang something. I also use it about once a month when I go around and straighten all my pictures (shutting doors, house settling, and people walking by all tend to make pictures go crooked after a few weeks). Bet you didn’t think I could get a whole paragraph out of a level did you? Also, please note that, ironically, the level is not straight in the picture above. I needed a level to tell me that my level wasn’t level!
I survived without a drill for a long time. I hand screwed screws into the walls or used a hammer and nails to hang stuff for many years. But about the time I moved into this house my Dad said he had an extra one I could take and I am so so grateful to have it. Having a drill is one of those things you don’t realize you need until you have one and then you can’t imagine your life without it. Especially since my house has plaster walls and I have to pre-drill holes so as not to crack the plaster. I think drills can be sort of expensive but I’ve been perfectly happy with my second hand one so it may be something you can look for on craigslist.
I use my tape measure a lot. Like once a week a lot. Because I like to rearrange my stuff and let’s be honest buy a lot of new stuff, I use my tape measure to make sure things will fit. Everyone should have a tape measure because using your arms to measure something does. not. work. Trust me on that one.
The above tools are the basic tools that most people will need in the course of a year. I use my screwdrivers the most but I use the needle-nose pliers a surprising amount as well. The wrench and pliers are more specific but when you need them you need them, no other tool will suffice.
I got this tool box a few years ago at Target for like $15 or something. Toolboxes aren’t all that necessary if you just have the few tools above, but I really like having one to keep everything together and also for this:
The top section of my toolbox has all these little compartments that are good for holding nails, screws, and other miscellaneous items. You don’t need to keep all these little bits and bobs around but many times I have needed a screw and I have been able to find it in my toolbox and not had to run to the hardware store. I’m not actually sure where all these screws came from. I think I bought a few kits of screws and nails and then also a lot of these are the extras that came with furniture.
Are you a tools-having sort of person? Or would rather leave that up to someone else?