Whether you’re a first-time homeowner, a novice at do-it-yourself home maintenance projects, or looking for a gift for someone who is just starting out on their own, here is a helpful list of the top 10 best purchases for easier, faster and cheaper home maintenance.
#10: Vacuum Cleaner With Multiple Attachments
Don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest vacuum out there when you’re stocking your first home with home maintenance supplies. Spend a few extra bucks for a model that comes with plenty of cleaning attachments. You’ll want an extension hose, at least one wand, and at least one brush.
Why? Well, for everyday home maintenance and cleaning, you’ll find that it’s much easier and tidier to get rid of cobwebs on your walls and ceiling with a vacuum wand than a dust mop, for example. You’ll also use your attachments to remove dust from blinds, debris from around the edges of your carpet, caked-on dust from window sills and crumbs from under the couch cushions. You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll use your vacuum attachments for home maintenance and cleaning tasks.
#9: Multi-Head Manual Screwdriver
Unless you’re an expert do-it-yourselfer, there’s no need to purchase a full screwdriver set. Instead, purchase a single screwdriver tool with multiple heads. You’ll find a variety of multi-bit screwdrivers in your local home and garden stores, often for less than $10. Look for one that has three pieces: A base or handle and two interchangeable inserts with bits on each end. Ideally, you’ll have two sizes of flat-head bits and two sizes of Phillips bits. Often, the insert not in use can be hidden inside the base of the screwdriver.
In one compact tool, you’ll have all you need for most ordinary, novice home maintenance jobs like replacing a light switch plate cover, putting together pre-fabricated furniture pieces, tightening an appliance screw or fixing a slamming screen door.
#8: Cordless Drill
If you’re slightly more savvy with home maintenance — or willing to give harder tasks a try — a cordless drill set with both drill bits and screwdriver heads will be a good investment. It’ll come in handy for hanging shelves, putting up blinds or curtain rods, installing doors or any other do-it-yourself home maintenance project that requires you to drill holes or involves many or very long screws.
#7: Step Stool or Even Better, a Ladder
You must-must-must have a step stool whether you’re a homeowner or a renter. How else are you going to hang those blinds, change light bulbs in ceiling fixtures or change the batteries in your smoke detector? Oh, sure, you can drag a kitchen chair around whenever you need a literal leg up, but that’s a lot of abuse to heap on a piece of nice furniture. Buy a collapsible step stool instead; it’ll be easily tucked away when not in use.
Even better, consider purchasing a six-foot or taller ladder, especially if you want to trim tree branches, clean your gutters, or paint your walls and ceilings. Often a ladder will pay for itself in one or two home maintenance projects. After all, professional gutter cleanings don’t come cheap, yet it is not a difficult task.
#6: Snow Blower
Snow blowers can be pricey, but oh, if you can afford one, you will feel so smug when you see your neighbors manually digging through shovel-full after shovel-full of snow to clear their driveways and sidewalks all winter long.
Aside from feeling smug, a snow blower’s practical benefits include reducing the physical stress and injury risks that the dreaded wintertime chore of snow removal mounts on your back, hips, shoulders and legs. It’ll also make snow removal go much faster, freeing up your time to do more important things, like building a snowman with your kids.
#5: Plumber’s Snake
It’s a dirty, often disgusting job, but you can bet at some point you’ll need it done: unclogging a plugged drain in your kitchen or bathroom. One too many potato peels down the garbage disposal or one too many hairs down the tub drain is all it takes, and if you’re at the mercy of a professional plumber, you can kiss $75 or more good-bye just for calling him over.
A hand-cranked snake or auger can loosen most minor clogs and save you quite a bit of money over its lifetime of use.
#4: Caulk Gun
Never heard of a caulk gun? It’s a dispensing device used to make applying tubed caulk easier, and an all-purpose one can usually be purchased for less than $20.
Why and where might you want to apply a line of caulk? Well, since caulk can be an effective sealant against water or air, you might want to caulk around a drafty window or electrical outlet in the wintertime, or around a sink faucet that is dripping into the cabinet under it. You can also replace the old, cracked or mildewed caulk around your tub, to keep your inner walls and flooring nice and dry.
#3: Tape Measure
Everyone should own a tape measure, and since you can usually find one for less than $10, there’s no reason not to.
You’ll use it for hanging shelves and pictures, for plotting landscape designs and gardens, and when you’re considering rearranging your furniture but want to make sure the couch will fit on a particular wall before you go through all the trouble of moving it. And if you need to replace a furnace filter or window screen you’ll have to measure the size you need before you can buy one.
#2: Weed Whacker
A weed whacker is on this list of Best Home Maintenance Buys simply because the author has spent the last four months pulling bags and bags worth of weeds by hand. And they keep growing back! Enough said.
#1: Lawn Bag Holder
Speaking of bags and bags of weeds, the single most useful outdoor home maintenance tool is also one of the least expensive: a lawn bag holder.
These are rather uncomplicated, often collapsible contraptions that make yard clean-up faster and less frustrating by holding open lawn trash bags for you. They sometimes look like this or like this. If you’ve ever raked a pile of leaves and had trouble getting them into a limp, empty lawn trash bag and there’s no one around to hold it open for you, you already know the value of a lawn bag holder.
Certainly, you can use a spare, large garbage can for collecting your yard waste, but if you are tight on storage space in your garage, a collapsible lawn bag holder is a much better alternative.
Now you’re ready to go shopping for home maintenance tools that will make your do-it-yourself projects and everyday chores faster, easier and, in some cases, cheaper.
Source: Author Experience in Property Management and Home Maintenance