Be Your Own Handyman
Buying your own home is quite a milestone, but there's a lot of work involved in maintaining it. Owning means you've got to become your own handyman—and fast. For big renovation jobs, it will probably make sense to rent equipment you don't plan on using again, but for the mundane problems that plague every house, there are several essentials you'd be a fool to do without. Read on for our list of must-haves for every homeowner.
Even if your home is simply swimming in electrical outlets, sooner or later you're going to need an extension cord. Note, however, that not all extension cords are created equal. Different tools and appliances draw different amps of current to power up, so your extension cord will need to be powerful enough to conduct the required electricity. For safety's sake, never use indoor-rated cords outside. Instead, opt for an outdoor-rated extension cord like this one. Available on Amazon; $14.99.
Stretching and straining to reach the top shelf is almost asking for injury, so play it safe by keeping a stepladder close at hand. When you buy, pay attention to the ladder's load capacity; you'll want something that can support the weight of anyone who may use it. This option from Rubbermaid is a great choice for tight spaces. Not only does it give you a little extra height, but it easily folds up and out of the way. Available on Amazon; $36.45.
A must for any toolbox, utility closet, or glove compartment, the tape measure proves itself indispensable again and again, whether you're doing some rough construction or rearranging furniture. Nowadays, even the cheaper tapes are quite accurate, and as ever, the quality models are likely to last a lifetime. Get a few, so you've always got one nearby that you can grab at a moment's notice. Available on Amazon; $32.48.
Complaints from your homeowners association and diminished curb appeal aside, letting autumn leaves blanket your property is a bad idea: It's only a matter of time before a lawn suffocates under a carpet of leaves. Some people find reasons to own an array of fall cleanup equipment, but at the very least, you need a leaf rake. Get one with a hardwood handle and flexible metal tines. We like the Ames True Temper Kodiak 24-Tine Spring Brace Rake. Available on Amazon; $39.09.
Related: 5 Rakes Every Homeowner Should Know
Broom and Dustpan
Don't underestimate the importance of this household staple! Whether it’s getting at those in-between areas that a vacuum can’t quite reach or providing a safe way to clean up after broken dishes and other mishaps, a broom and dustpan are must-haves for any home. Available on Amazon; $19.
Related: How To—Clean Your Cleaning Tools
Doormats do double-duty as both simple decorative elements and solutions that prevent visitors from tracking muddy shoes through your home. Look for doormats that stand up to moisture and dirt but still give your entryway a boost of welcoming style. Available at Plow & Hearth; $40.
Laundry day doesn't have to be a total chore. Save yourself serious time when it comes to washing clothes by sticking a double- or triple-bagged hamper in the closet. When clothes come off at the end of the day, you can immediately sort them rather than putting it off until you need to throw in a load. Available at The Container Store; $59.
Don't get caught without a power drill. A small mechanical drill and driver can save you time, effort, and frustration in around-the-house projects as you get settled in your new abode, and help you tackle ambitious DIYs for years to come. Available on Amazon; $189.
A good-quality hammer will be your number one tool in tackling a bunch of different household tasks, from hanging picture frames to light demolition. Make sure to invest in a hammer that has a comfortable grip and a sturdy rip claw, which is used for demo or removing large nails from wood. Available on Amazon; $9.89.
Related: How To—Use a Hammer
Don't be caught unprepared. A plunger will help you out of many an embarrassing moment—no plumber required. And despite what you may think, it's not just for the toilet, either. When other methods fail, a plunger can be used to help clear up a clogged drain or shower. A model like this, which comes complete with a stand, can be stored in the bathroom so anyone can discreetly clear up the problem without any drama. Available on Amazon; $8.98.
Related: The Right Way to Plunge a Toilet
This humble hero of the toolbox may not have all the bells and whistles of a power tool, but it's sure to make nearly any home improvement project easier—from drywall repair and roofing to grouting and caulking. The sheer versatility of a utility knife makes it a must-have for any homeowner. Available at Amazon; $14.70.
Provided you remember to keep a stock of batteries, a flashlight will be your best friend in a pinch. It's essential during power outages and a handy helper when working in tight corners, basements, or under the hood of the car. Many folks love Maglite models like this one because they're both affordable and reliable. Available on Amazon; $27.35.
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