Becoming a home owner means becoming responsible for a dizzying range of appliances, fixtures and home systems. While many items will require professional attention, it also pays to be able to handle a lot of the small stuff yourself. If you are moving from apartment living to a home of your own, stock your toolkit as soon as possible with the items below:

  1. A claw hammer.
    This tool is an essential and probably one you already own. If you don’t, look for models with shock absorption for easier use.
  1. A set of screwdrivers.
    You’ll need both flat head and Phillips (the ones with a head shaped like a plus sign) in a variety of sizes.
  1. A set of Allen keys.
    Also known as hex wrenches, these have hexagon-shaped heads and an L-shaped handle. They’re often needed when assembling furniture, bicycles or other items at home.
  1. A level.
    You can eyeball it when hanging paintings and shelves, of course. But, a level can allow you to get everything straight. Both laser levels and traditional fluid-filled levels are available and effective.
  1. A cordless drill. 
    This tool can make quick work of everything from furniture assembly to installing new locks and doorknobs.
  1. Pliers
    You should have at least needle-nose and tongue-and-groove pliers in your set. Small pliers can get into tight spots where your fingers won’t fit. Larger ones can do double-duty as wrenches.
  1. A tape measure.
    This is essential whether you are rebuilding cabinets or just figuring out where you should put your new couch.
  1. A staple gun.
    You could tack down items with tacking nails, but a staple gun is a lot quicker. Most people will not need a powered one; a manual staple gun is more than adequate.
  1. A putty knife.
    Apply caulk to windows, scrape away old paint or fill cracks with spackle. These are available in both metal and plastic models.
  1. An assortment of sand paper.
    Get sand paper in a few different grit levels to ensure that you can smooth rough edges or prep walls for finishing. Something rough like 80 grit is great for removing splinters. A much finer 400 is what you need for final smoothing.

When you are first buying these tools, it’s okay to buy items that are middle of the line. Cheap tools may not last, but more expensive ones are not necessary for most jobs. Over time, you can add to your collection as you find new things to fix and improve in your home.

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