5 Basic Tools New Homeowners Should Keep in Their Toolkit
Buying a home is a thrilling time in your life. It's a time for new beginnings, new memories… and new work. Whether you're building your dream home or renovating a fixer-upper, you'll need a determined spirit and a few essential tools to complete numerous household tasks. While a tool shed stocked full of specialized equipment might be excessive, you will need enough tools to complete ordinary tasks like hanging a picture frame or repairing a squeaky door. When moving, it's easy to forget about things like a ladder or a utility knife. Plan ahead and eliminate the stress of not having the right screwdriver head exactly when you need it!
What Tools Should a New Homeowner Have?
If you're just getting started in your new home, having a basic set of tools is essential. These 5 will work as a starting point to complete most home maintenance tasks:
- Screwdriver (with screws)
- Hammer (with nails)
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Safety gear
The likelihood of buying furniture listed as "some assembly required" for your new home is pretty high. The likelihood that the necessary tools are somehow missing from the packaging? Equally as high. The average household handyperson should have a screwdriver with interchangeable heads. An adjustable screwdriver has all the types of heads you need and takes up significantly less space than a set of different screwdrivers. Additionally, effortlessly finding the right shape head will make those assembly tasks that much easier.
Just like missing tools, it's fairly common to open a package only to find that you're missing the final screw that will hold your masterpiece together. Along with your screwdriver, keep a few spare screws of different sizes on hand to eliminate the frustration of running out of hardware. You can purchase an assorted set of screws from any hardware store, so that you're prepared for any mishap.
When it comes to hammers, there are many styles, shapes, and weights. Which is best for general household projects? HGTV recommends starting off with two types of hammers of different weights for different projects. A claw hammer, which is the hammer most people picture, features a claw-like shape on the back used to pull up nails. It is a little heavier and should be used for bigger projects. For indoor tasks, like hanging up lightweight photo frames, a pin hammer is gentler and will have less of a chance that you bust a hole in your wall. A general rule is to match the size of the nail with the weight of the hammer.
You've picked out the perfect credenza for your dining room, and you're sure it'll fit in between the door frame and the adjoining wall. But when you bring it home, the outer edge protrudes about 2 inches into the other room. Proper measurements can prevent simple mistakes like this from ruining your decor. Buy one tape measure for the house and one to bring with you when you go out shopping. As you move in and decide which furniture will make the room pop, take accurate measurements, and then double check the measurements while you're in the store.
For months, you packed things into boxes and taped them shut to protect your stuff during the big move. While unpacking, taking the time to open each box without the proper tools is frustrating and time-consuming. Invest in a utility knife before moving into your house and you'll find plenty of other uses for it to justify the purchase. Use it to slice open all your boxes and other packaging. By definition, a utility knife is meant to be useful, so it should be no surprise that you'll need it one day and be glad you invested in one.
You might have fallen in love with your new home, but you may not experience the same emotions upon realizing the previous owners left behind months' worth of dust to clean up. If you plan on doing any light construction work to your home, safety gear is a necessity. Painter's masks, safety goggles, rubber gloves, and even coveralls should make their way onto your move-in checklist. Safety gear helps keep that dirt out of your clothes, eyes, and mouth.
Other New Homeowner Tips
From moving day and beyond, buying a home is an exciting journey. Aside from a toolkit, here are some other items new homeowners should consider packing for their first week in their new home.
- Toilet paper: Often forgotten, toilet paper is something that numerous people wish they had on move-in day. It's no fun having to run out to the store in the middle of unloading just so you can use the bathroom.
- New or rekeyed locks: How many people have you given a copy of your house key to over the years? There may be someone out there you don't even realize still has it! The same can be said for your house's previous residents. A complete stranger could have a key to what is now your home, allowing them to walk right in undetected. It may seem like an overwhelming task to rekey or replace locks, but the added safety is worth it.
- Emergency supplies: You probably had a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, flashlight, and other emergency preparedness supplies in easy-to-find places in your old home. While moving in, make sure to prepare a similar kit for your new home!
All new homeowners should do research to invest in a homeowners insurance policy that suits their needs. It may not be required by law, but many mortgage lenders will require homeowners insurance before they approve you for a mortgage. If you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, start your search for homeowners insurance with NJM today!