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Basic Tool Kit


Here are some tools no household should be without.


  • Hammer: A 16-ounce hammer is a good choice. But you may want to add something lighter, like a 12-ounce hammer, for small jobs.
  • Screwdriver: A 4-way screwdriver offers an assortment of tips and sizes in one tool.
  • Utility knife: This tool is indispensable. Buy one that has a retractable blade, and buy plenty of extra blades.
  • Measuring tape: Buy one that is at least 25 feet long. If it is an inch wide, it will be sturdier than narrower styles; this is important when you need to extend it to measure tall windows or between walls.
  • Saw: You can buy one that is small enough to fit in your toolbox. Make sure the blade has a cover so it is protected -- and so are your hands!
  • Putty knife: This inexpensive tool can be used for everything from spackling to prying out nails.
  • Pliers: Buy more than one kind. Try to include long-nose pliers, cutting pliers, and groove pliers.
  • Goggles: Keep these wrapped in a piece of flannel cloth with your tools so the lenses won't get scratched.
  • Cordless drill: Choose one that comes with a wide assortment of drill bits and screwdriver bits. This won't fit into your toolbox, but you should have one on hand.
  • Assortment of nails, screws, hooks, wire: Put these in a plastic container that has many small compartments.
  • Work gloves: Consider keeping two pairs, one for light tasks and one for heavier tasks.


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Martha Stewart Living, Volume 12 February/March 1993