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Ask Angi: Keeping useful household tools


Sometimes you can’t hire a pro to handle a job, or it’s a small thing you can handle yourself. Whatever the case, all well-prepared homes should be equipped with the basics to handle the kind of everyday tasks that can come up. You don’t need to get fancy, expensive equipment for regular home issues. In many cases, simpler is better. Here are six things that should be easily accessible in every home.

Basic toolbox

Keep a box with these essential basics: tape measure, claw hammer, utility knife, level, crescent wrenches, hex keys, a handsaw, pliers, multiple screwdrivers and a collection of screws and nails. Try to keep it organized and easily accessible; it’s very easy for a tool box to dissolve into chaos if you don’t keep things in proper order. You’ll thank yourself later on when you need to find a particular screwdriver for a task.

Fire extinguisher

Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher per floor. If you have only one, make sure it’s near the kitchen, where most home fires start. Look for an ABC-rated unit that will extinguish all fire types. Teach everyone in the home where it is and how to use it. While you’re at it, make sure your family has a plan to escape in the event of fire, and practice it.

Drill and drill bits

A battery-powered drill and driver is an essential home tool. Add a selection of drill bits in many sizes to be ready for whatever you need. The standard 12-volt cordless drill you can find at many big-box stores should provide more than enough juice for most home purposes.

Emergency supply kit

FEMA recommends keeping an easily accessible kit with these items for emergencies: three days of food for every person in the house, one gallon of water per day per person, first aid kit, flashlight, weather radio, basic tools, dust masks, plastic sheets, garbage bags, can opener, medicine, hygiene products and cellphone charger.

You can find more details from FEMA at Ready.gov/kit.

Stepladder/stepstool

A must-have for many household needs. Many injuries take place due to people using chairs or other inappropriate stand-ins for a ladder. Remember to practice ladder safety: Never go beyond its recommended top step, don’t try to reach just a few inches more, and have a buddy hold and stabilize the ladder for you.

Safety equipment

Keep plastic gloves, leather gloves, dust masks, ear protection and eye protection on hand. You never know when a job might call for them. It’s wise to use protection during a wide variety of tasks — a mishap during yard work or while using a drill can lead to eye injury. You can usually find safety kits that will include all the basics you need.

Tweet your home care questions with #AskAngi and we’ll try to answer them in a future column.