Ultimate move-in kit

The tools every homeowner should have on hand
Peter O. Whiteley

Fix-it chores seem to increase exponentially when you first move into a home. That means repairing and patching walls, painting, hanging pictures and towel bars, adding dimmer switches, tightening loose screws, fixing leaky faucets, and assembling furniture. To speed my son through all those tedious tasks, I put together this portable repair kit for him when he bought his first house. It cost about $300, not including aspirin and bandages.

What you need

Start with a 5-gallon bucket and the Bucket Boss 35 (to hold tools), then add the basics:

  • 25-foot tape measure
  • Gloves
  • Dust masks
  • 25-foot extension cord
  • Stud finder
  • 12-volt cordless drill
  • Drill-bit set
  • 16-ounce hammer
  • Six-screwdriver set
  • Nails and screws
  • Picture hangers
  • 24-inch polycast level
  • Three-piece plier set
  • 8-inch crescent wrench
  • Hacksaw
  • Handsaw
  • 10-inch pry bar
  • Utility knife
  • Scrub sponge
  • Tape: Duct, electrical, masking
  • Twine
  • White glue
  • WD-40

For specialized tasks

  • Bathtub caulk
  • Circuit tester: A device for checking electrical circuits
  • Combination square: For 90° and 45° angles, includes level
  • Hand clamp: Holds wood pieces together while glue dries
  • Teflon tape: For tight, dripless plumbing connections
  • Two- to three-wire adapter: For plugging a three-prong tool or cord into a two-prong outlet

Paint-related

  • Spackling paste
  • 5-in-1 painter's tool: Serves as a spackle knife, scraper, paint-roller cleaner, and can opener
  • Assorted sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Painter's tape
  • Assorted paint rollers