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Basic Tool Kit

Martha Stewart Living Television

There is nothing more frustrating than starting a project only to discover you are missing the right tool -- and those last-minute trips to the hardware store slow things down considerably. Taking the time now to assemble a well-stocked toolbox will really pay off later. Here are some tools no household should be without.

You can fit all of these things into a traditional metal toolbox, but Martha suggests you consider using a large plastic storage container. Available in an array of colors and styles, these will fit nicely into your color scheme and decor.

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.

Work gloves: Consider keeping two pairs, one for light tasks and one for heavier tasks.

Assortment of nails, screws, hooks, wire: Put these in a plastic container that has many small compartments.

All products available at your local hardware and home-improvement stores.

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