A tool kit for basic needs
Houses are like men. They need attention.
And, the older they get the more demanding they become.
But, of course, you can temper your response to their needs as you see fit.
However, whether you live in an old house or a new one, or are simply flatting in someone else’s, you will need a basic tool kit to get by. The three articles in the category 'Developing a toolkit' in the Contents List of this website outline three levels of household tool kit — one for flatters or small apartment dwellers, a second for a house and section owner who wants to do basic DIY around the home, and the third for enthusiastic DIYers who love experimenting.
Buying tools can be a bit of a minefield these days because cheap manufacture
and planned obsolescence in modern tools make it very hard to choose a quality tool that will last you well. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for in tools. Beware buying a cheap pack of hand tools. They are often made of ‘muck’ metal and will not last longer than one use. For this reason, don’t be afraid to buy old basic second-hand hand tools in the local market or second-hand store. Thirty years, and more, ago tools were made of steel and were intended to last. Many of these are still as good as new and could be the best cheap buy you ever make.
Weigh up your budget against how often you think you will use a tool and buy
accordingly. If a $28 power drill is made to last 28 minutes then you will get a
good four years’ use out of it if you use it only 7 minutes per year. If, however, you intend to save money by doing most of your own household repairs you should spend considerably more on your drill because it will save you money
in the long-term.
Fix-it gadgets for flatmates
(See also 'The average do-it-yourself kit' and 'The advanced tool kit' in the Contents List of this website.)
The following kit is designed for survival at a basic level. It's for people who really aren't the least bit interested in tools — but who strike odd situations where they actually need one! Keep these tools at hand, somewhere in a kitchen drawer, if you don't have a tool box.
Snap-blade cutting knife
To cut packaging open, cut the tape off the back of a picture frame or to slice the advertising off a favourite calendar.
To shorten a wire on the back of a picture frame, or cut a packaging wire.
Retractable metal tape
A girl’s best friend for working out whether the dressing table in the furniture shop will fit between the bed and the wall. A boy’s best friend for measuring everything!
Use this to nail up a picture hook, crack open Brazil nuts on your old chopping board, or tap a loose board back in place. Make sure you buy one with a handle that suits your hand size. See How to use a hammer like a professional
This is the best option to cover a wide variety of needs, from attaching or detaching pictures or mirrors, or tightening up a wobbly leg, window catch or saucepan handle. With a pack of drills and screwdriver bits, this tool will cover most needs. It’ll even help in some polishing or sanding jobs if you’re feeling energetic. Preferably, invest in a two-speed drill with reverse — fast speed for drilling; slow speed for screwing; and slow-speed reverse for unscrewing screws.
Choose a drill where the weight and balance feels best for you.
See How to use a power drill
Pack of drill bits and screwdriver bits
This is the cheapest option for covering the wide range of screw heads and sizes used in average modern houses. If you haven’t got the right bit for a job, see the range of bit types in 'How to use a power drill'.
For all those little jobs where you need to grip something firmly and pull, e.g. undoing a tight knot or pulling a staple. If you’re feeling flush, buy a pair of long-nosed pliers as well — always handy (to pull your gold chain up from the shower plug-hole).
For undoing nuts. The shifting part will cover a range of sizes. A big spanner and a little spanner should serve you well for life.
No, not for coffee making, but for helping unblock hairs or chicken fat from a hand basin or sink. This is a big, black rubber suction cup on a wooden handle that you can buy from the supermarket or hardware store.