Essential Tools for Homeowners: A Cautionary Tale

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Home Improvement

Ever spent a snowy afternoon perusing Pinterest? Ever said to yourself, wow, that idea looks neat! I should do this!

And when the weather breaks, you realize spring is only eight days away, and it's time to get this project party STARTED.

With the stars in your eyes and plans in your hand, you wander into the glittering aisles of your local home improvement store. What is this wonderland, you muse inwardly. Walking about, you don't see one set of tools; you see many, so many, many many sets of them at different prices. "How may kinds of Allen wrenches can one store sell?", you ask aloud, which prompts the lady next to you to look at you funny. Never mind, stay focused.


You soldier on into another aisle. What in the wonderous what what is this--the clearance aisle? Now we're talkin'! Do I need a belt sander? It's on sale for 40% off and hey, I may need it someday. And that man over there is looking at it, too. Lookin' at it like it's the last Coca-Cola in the desert and he ain't had nothin' to drink in three days, that's how he's lookin' at it. No one out shops me, you say to yourself. How fast can I pick this up and casually fast-walk to the checkout?

Hold on...c'mere...I've got it...waitaminnit...OUCH! I just pulled a muscle! My back!

This thing is heavy and YOU CAN HAVE IT EARL! KEEP IT OKAY?!

This continues. Aisle after aisle after aisle... and before you know it, it's two hours later. You've got no idea what to get or even why you walked in in the first place. The next thing you know, you're sitting at the local Skyline Chili, furiously scarfing down as many chili dogs as they can bring you. It will be okay, you say to yourself, as the server brings over your 15th chili dog and refuses to make eye contact with you. The other servers whisper amongst themselves, looking over at you with a mixture of pity, amazement and a little bit of fear.

Maybe they're placing bets on how many you're going to eat this time.* 

I know. I've been there. It's okay. Shh, shh... 

*And for the record, it's 37, Sheila, okay?! 

Wait, what were we talking about again?

Ah, yes: tools.  In a moment of post-chili-dog clarity, I have compiled a helpful list for you.


Start with these, and then maybe add more tools as needed.


♦ Ball-end  and Allen wrenches ♦ Bolts ♦ Box wrench ♦ Brads, nails, and spikes, various sizes

♦ Channel-lock pliers (water pump pliers) ♦ Cordless drill/screwdriver ♦ Curved claw hammer ♦ Digging spade

♦ Duct tape ♦ Extendable-handle rake ♦ Glue gun ♦ Hoe ♦ Lag screws, machine screws, sheet metal screws, wood screws

♦ Level (2-inch with aluminum housing) ♦ Lopper ♦ Magnetic tack hammer ♦ Open-end wrench ♦ Pipe wrenches

♦ Pliers, needle-nose and locking long-nose ♦ Portable tool box ♦ Pruning shears ♦ Pry bar ♦ Pump water vacuum (wet/dry vac)

♦ Saw ♦ Screwdrivers, Phillips and flathead ♦ Socket wrench with a ratchet handle ♦ Sledge hammer ♦ Spray lubricant ♦ Staple gun

♦ Strap wrench ♦ Tape measure ♦ Torx screwdrivers ♦ Trowel ♦ Utility knife with a retractable blade ♦ Wire cutters ♦ Work flashlight


Now, before you spend yourself into oblivion, let's make one thing clear: you don't have to spend a fortune on tools. If you are budget conscious, be sure to check out local garage sales, thrift stores and even good ol' Harbor Freight tools. In the Indianapolis area, you can find some good deals at American Freight, too. And if you don't mind quality used products, check out the tools on Amazon's Warehouse Deals

What projects are you working on? What are your tales of triumph?

Let me know.

 And also, there's nothing wrong with outsourcing this, particularly if you pulled a muscle in your back.  

Our Client Resources page may be able to help. 


Miriam Odegard

Real Estate Broker/Owner, Odegard Real Estate Group 

United Realty Indianapolis

1425 East 82nd Street, Suite 200

Indianapolis, IN 46240

text/mobile:  (317) 220-5397


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