Based on personal experience, there’s a very good chance you’ll accumulate most tools on an as-needed basis. However, in an effort to save you a panicked trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s on a Sunday night at 10pm (it always feels like it’s at night, and always a rush job), consider some of the following items for your toolkit.
First off, pick up some of the standard hand tools. I’m talkin’ hammer, screwdrivers (or a single screwdriver with the alternating heads), pliers, wrenches, tape measures and maybe even a utility knife for good measure. You can’t even begin to imagine the number of times you’ll fall back on these essentials. If you’re on a tight budget, you can even get the majority of these secondhand at flea markets or garage sales.
Next, buy a multi-purpose wall-mount kit. These things come packed with screws and nails of various sizes, along with a number of methods in which you can hang up pictures, paintings, wall clocks, etc. Truth is, you’ll probably find yourself reaching into this for the occasional nail more than anything else, so you might want to consider even grabbing a small pack of nails just to replenish your supply.
Grab a ladder, too, preferably one of the standard 6-foot ones. You don’t need an insane contractor ladder that allows you to reach the roof. This is really only meant for activities like cleaning gutters, changing outdoor light bulbs, and the occasional indoor use for ceiling fans, light fixtures, etc. As an added point, make sure the base isn’t going to damage your floors when working indoors, so look for ones that have the firm plastic or even soft rubber feet on them.
And hey, while you’re up there cleaning gutters, do you want to worry about cuts and scrapes on your hands as you blindly reach in? I’m going to guess no. Pick up a nice pair of work gloves for less than $10, and spare yourself the headache of scrubbing dirt out from under your fingernails for the next few days.
Does that picture look crooked, or is that shelf even? Better pick up a level. These things come in various sizes, but you can likely get away with just a six-inch or 12-inch model. Anything bigger than that would more likely be used for contracting work. Not to mention, tucking away a 3-foot level becomes a bit of a challenge.
Last but not least (and my personal favorite), is the Sawzall. This thing has saved me time and effort more times than I’d like to admit. For little projects like trimming back bushes or shrubs, this thing will knock it out for you in no time. I more recently got some use out of mine when a neighbor’s tree decided to give up on life and crash into my yard (thankfully no one was hurt, and no damage to fences was incurred). So, I grabbed the Sawzall from the garage and busted out three hours of work I didn’t anticipate needing to do.
At the very least, I spared myself a trip to the store, thanks to keeping this (and other tools) on hand.