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How to be handy around the house when you can barely hold a hammer

red screwdrivers

Photo by Allan Washbrook

Do you think that most home repairs are ‘out of your league’, and think they should be left to a professional to fix? We are all aware that our home is one of the most expensive things we will ever spend our money for, so it doesn’t matter if we rent or buy it, we should always take good care of it. However, most of these home repairs can be done with little or no experience at all. Actually, you would be surprised by how much you can actually take care of problems yourself.

If you are a beginner always make sure you have done some research before you tackle home repairs on your own, especially when dealing with electricity. Plus, if you don’t already own a tool kit of your own, now is the time to invest in building your essential toolbox. So, whether you consider yourself to be ‘handy’ or not, gathering some basic tools and storing them in a suitable place when you need them will be helpful, as well as learning some basic tricks on how to deal with home repairs.

7 essential tools for home repair and DIY projects

This list of handy tools will make pretty much everyone want to do the basic home repairs:

Hammer

Even if you want to stick to investing in just a few tools, one of them should be a hammer. This tool will be your best friend in doing most of your little home projects or simple repairs. Its pounding action is essential, especially if you want to put pictures on the wall or bang a nail into something. The key is to find one which is comfortable, meaning it’s not very heavy, and it doesn’t have to be too big.

stanley claw hammer
Claw hammer View on Amazon

Screwdriver

The second toolbox essential comes in various sizes, and you need it for everything in your home which contains screws, which means basically everything. A screwdriver will help you take apart electronics, replace light switches and even swap bulbs in some light fixtures. We recommend having a couple different sizes for various purposes. It doesn’t need to be very expensive unless you are planning to do a lot of home projects.

General Purpose Soft-Grip Screwdriver
General purpose screwdriver set
View on Amazon

Pliers

This tool helps you grip something that you otherwise can’t with your bare hands. It will allow you to hold something in place while you work on it or pull something apart. Many people opt for two pairs of pliers, a standard set and a needlenose set for the projects that require more precision.

Pliers Set 3-Piece Set
Pliers 3-piece set
View on Amazon

Utility knife

Since a bread knife isn’t meant for opening boxes, you should consider adding this essential to your tool box. You can use a utility knife to cut anything you won’t use your good kitchen knives for. It’s unsanitary and dangerous as well. Utility knives come in different styles and sizes, and you should find one that is easy for you to use. 

stanley utility knife
Utility knife View on Amazon

 Stepladder

Perhaps stepladders don’t qualify as tools, they are rather devices that support the use of tools. However, if you need to get a little higher in order to change a lightbulb or to get the right position to use a screwdriver, you will be happy to have a stepladder. They are very practical when cleaning out gutters and painting spaces that are high. If you are a person who isn’t very comfortable with heights, opt for a smaller ladder. They are convenient and very easy to store. All in all they are worth the investment, and can last for a very long time when cared for properly.

stepladder
Stepladder View on Amazon

 Handsaw

Just like screwdrivers, handsaws are the types of tools which you might consider diversifying. If you need to cut wood or plastic, go for a basic handsaw, and if you want to cut metal, you will need a hacksaw. Both have a wide range of uses around the house. However, if you should choose between these two, invest in the one for cutting wood first, since those jobs appear more often.

Universal Woodsaw
Universal Woodsaw View on Amazon

 Multi-tool

 If you don’t want to bother gathering these tools separately, a multi-tool kit is a great option. There are a variety of options available online, but most of them come with at least a set of pliers, and a few screwdrivers. Make sure you check out what they include and whether they are worth the price. The great thing about this type of mini tool boxes is that they can be easily stored in a car or a drawer somewhere for easy access.

DIY Home Household Toolkits for Daily Repair and Maintenance
Multi-tool kit View on Amazon

Level up your home repair ‘game’ with these effective tips!

Everyone should know their way around a toolbox. It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment or a house, it’s important to be able to take care of the basic repairs by yourself. Besides, if you’ve been calling a plumber every time your sink gets clogged, it’s time to stop throwing your money away.

Knowing how to fix things on your own will give you self-assurance and a bigger sense of ownership over your home. Check out these practical tips on how to deal with basic home repairs!

1.    Unclog a drain

There are a few things you can do if the drain is clogged. First, you should try the ‘using kitchen ingredients’ way, i.e. clean it with a mixture of hot water, vinegar and baking soda, or alternatively a commercial unblocker. A few good glugs should clear soft blockages, such as product or grease.

Liquid Drain Unblocker
Liquid Drain Unblocker
View on Amazon

However, if it doesn’t work, the next thing to do is use a plunger. Make sure you own two, one for the bathroom and the other one for the kitchen. Then, fill the sink half-full of water and plunge the sink drain just as you would a toilet, by pumping the rubber part to create suction. And last, if this doesn’t work, check the trap.

Place a bucket under the pipes and unscrew the trap, which is the curved piece of pipe that connects your sink to the vertical pipe. Empty the water, clear any clogs, return the trap to its place by reattaching it to the other pipes. And then if this doesn’t work you can finally call a plumber to fix the problem.

2.    Hammer a nail instead of your hand

 Hitting the nail square on the head isn’t always as easy as it seems. So, in order to avoid hitting your fingertips while driving a nail into a hard material that requires a greater amount of force, use pliers. You can set the nail and place and hold the rod with the pliers as you hammer away. It’s a safer and probably faster way to get the job done. 

3.    Change a showerhead

 The first thing to do when removing the old shower head is to turn a wrench counter-clockwise to loosen its notch. Next, screw off the old head with your hands. You will need a towel or an old rag soaked with vinegar or a bit of alcohol to scrub off any residue around the old shower head stem. Then, wrap the end of the stem pipe with several layers of Teflon tape and use your fingers to smooth the tape. 

Add the replacement head, and make sure to tighten it onto the pipe clockwise by hand. It’s time to check for leaks, so turn the shower on. If it’s spouting, be careful and proceed to tightening with a wrench gradually in order to prevent over-tightening.

4. Tighten a loose door hinge

 Have you noticed your interior doors sticking or scraping? It might be time to tighten its hinges. First, find and remove loose screws in the hinges. For each removed screw, get a wooden matchstick. Then, dip it in carpenter’s glue and drive it into the screw hole. Then break or cut off the parts of the matchstick that stick out. The next thing to do is drive each screw back into the patched hole. Now the matchstick-glue combination should hold it secure.

Carpenter Wood Glue
Wood Glue View on Amazon

5.    Clean your paint brushes yourself

Whether you have just finished painting the walls at your home by yourself, or you are about to and your paint brushes are rigid with dry paint, it’s very helpful to know that you can clean them up very easily. After all, there isn’t anything that vinegar can’t do. Get an old, deep enough sauce pan and pour in it enough white vinegar to submerge the bristles. You might not see the paint dissolve before your eyes, but once the vinegar cools and you wash the brush, the paint will fall right off. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat it as many times as necessary.

Handle home repairs on your own and save some money in the process!

While you can always call a professional when something breaks, be aware that you can take a lot of problems yourself, even if you have zero experience in handling home repairs. Once you try, you will find out that a great deal of things can be fixed with just a little bit of research and a few inexpensive supplies from the hardware store. Of course, some things should be taken care of by a repairman, especially where safety is concerned, but if something is broken, check if you can fix it yourself before you call a professional. Your budget will thank you for it!

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