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Our life, experiences, and lessons learned

Buying a home for the first time is one of the best feelings in the world, the culmination of years of saving, endeavour and hard work. Unfortunately, getting the keys to your new place turns out to be just the beginning of the hard work…

There are two words every homeowner gets to know and love/hate over the course of their time in a property; home improvement. Humans like change, and to change something in a home usually requires undertaking a DIY project – and that involves tools.

If you aren’t particularly crafty or practical, the chances are that tools aren’t at the top of your shopping list. They should be. Homeowners often find that they require certain tools more often than they would imagine; it could be fix something that’s broken, to add something to their home or even just to adjust the layout a little.

However, the casual DIY’er doesn’t need the kind of tool arsenal a hardcore home improvement expert would boast, just a few basics to ensure that you can keep your home well-maintained and improve it if needs be.

The Hammer

The hammer is the workhorse of the toolbox, beautifully simple yet endlessly practical. Need to bash stuff? The hammer is your guy. Need to pull some nails out of something? Flip that bad boy round and use the claw!

But there are plenty of hammers on the market, so what should the casual DIY’er go for? Generally, a good all-round hammer should serve most basic purposes; usually a medium-sized steel hammer with a flat head will do the trick. Also pay attention to the hammer grip; if you don’t use hammers that often, you’ll need something that provides maximum grip and comfort.


There are three certainties in life; death, taxes and requiring a screwdriver at some point in your life. Screwdrivers are absolutely essential in any home as they’re so versatile; whether it’s tightening the screws on a shelf, assembling furniture or even just changing the batteries on a child’s toy, you’re bound to find plenty of uses for a screwdriver.

When it comes to choose screwdrivers, go for a mix of sizes and heads. You can pick up mixed sets from most DIY sets; try and get one set of mixed flat heads and one of mixed Phillips heads.

Step Ladder

Not a tool as such, but a piece of equipment you’re bound to get plenty of use in around the home, especially if your home has particularly high ceilings. Step ladders are ideal for DIY projects that require you to get up high, for a spot of redecorating or some outdoor work.

Depending on what you’re going to be using your ladder for, the kind of ladder you should be will vary. For indoor use, you’ll only need a three or four stepped ladder. If you’re planning to use the ladder outdoors for cleaning windows or gutters, however, you’ll need something a little bit bigger.

Spirit Level

The spirit level; it’s not something you’ll use every day, but you’ll glad you have it on the occasions you do have to dig it out of the toolbox.

A spirit level is a very practical purchase to make, helping you to make sure that shelves are put up straight and that pictures are hung straight. For home use, you’ll only need a small spirit level, which you should be able to pick up from a DIY store.

Tape Measures

A tape measure is an absolute essential in the home; it’ll help you measure out for new furniture, determine how much space you have when redesigning a room and figure out how much space you’ll need for new appliances.

When you’re not doing DIY, a tape measure can also be used to take clothing measurements.

Power Drill

And finally, the big one – the power drill. While power tools might seem like an elaborate expense if you’re not planning to carry out that much DIY, I can guarantee that a power drill will make your life a thousand times easier if you’re forced into doing a bit of impromptu fixing or replacing. Plus, you can also get screwdriver heads for power drills!

While power drills were once quite expensive, you should be able to pick up a low-end drill for around $15 at a major home improvement store.

Chris Smith is writing on behalf of Excel Compressors, who provide air compressors for a range of home and industrial applications.

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