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Homeownership can be tough. Whether you own a new house or you’ve had one for years, there’s often a surprise waiting just around the corner.

But don’t panic. If you’re confused about anything from the right tool for the job to checking for termites, we’ll help. Starting today we’ll be giving you weekly advice on everything you need to become a true do-it-yourself homeowner.

Jennifer Berno plant bucket toolbox

Be creative with how you keep your tools organized. Jennifer Berno from HGTV Magazine uses colorful hanging planters to store her tools. Photo by Alison Gootee.

As the child of two aircraft mechanics, nothing frustrates me more than not having proper tools for whatever project I may be working on. And while you may not ever need a duffel bag full of different-sized wrenches (like at my house) you certainly should  have a complete set of basic tools. It doesn’t cost a lot either – you can get a pretty hefty set of tools that will meet most of your needs for under $150.

Here are a few items to get you started:

  • Hammer
  • Torpedo Level
  • A screwdriver set or a multihead screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers – needle nose and vise grips
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Pry bar
  • Hand saw
  • Painter’s tape – good for marking areas without marring surfaces!
  • An assortment of various nails, screws and fasteners
  • Pencils, pens and a notebook for marking and making notes
  • Safety goggles (your eyes will thank you later!)

And for heavier projects, plus bonus points and overall homeowner glory:

  • Cordless drill
  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw

Remember, your tool box doesn’t have to be complete in a day. If dropping over a hundred dollars on tools all at once is out of your budget, try picking up an item or two every time you visit the hardware store. Either way, you’ll be glad you bought them!

What’s in your toolbox? What skills do want to learn? Leave us questions/comments about how we can help you have the best house on the block!



7 Responses

  1. Sydney says:

    I agree, every home needs a basic tool kit.

  2. Toni G. says:

    I have a hammer, screwdriver and pliers. I know I need much more now.

  3. Lili@HGTV says:

    I feel so lucky that my stepdad gave me an entire tool box full of tools when I moved into my first apartment. Granted it was all his cast-offs, but it was just what I needed to get started. I've slowly replaced pieces when I had the money or need to do so. Parents, remember this for your kids!

  4. [...] Let Rome, a great tool collection isn’t acquired in a day. If you want to have tools that are durable and reliable it might not be the best ideas to drop hundreds of dollars in one day.   Home Survival Skills: The Perfect Toolkit [...]

  5. [...] Read the full article here: Home Survival Skills: The Perfect Toolkit [...]

  6. wing nuts says:

    I have a hammer, screwdriver and pliers. I know I need much more now

  7. Lili@HGTV says:


Jessica YonkerJessica Yonker is a editor for HGTV.com and a professional glitter handler. She loves decorating her friends' homes without their permission and practicing for her inevitable appearance on Chopped. Like...


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