Perhaps you’ve recently moved into your first place. Or maybe quarantine has given you the time and drive to get on top of all those household jobs you’ve been avoiding. Either way, you’re after some advice and we’ve got plenty to give.
Taking care of a house is a real adult responsibility. I don’t know about you, but I swear that some people were born knowing how to fix everything and what products to use for cleaning each part of the house.
When I first moved out, I was clueless. I scoured the internet for advice on everything from changing a lightbulb to fixing up my floors. (By the way, if you want help with fixing up your floors, take a look at this site. It covers all aspects of floor maintenance.) The advice was great but I always seemed to be missing one item or another.
To save you from falling into the same trap, I’ve gathered together a list of things you should have in the home to keep on top of home maintenance.
An Essential List of Essential Items
- A flashlight.
I know that most phones nowadays have a flashlight but make sure you have a separate one you keep for power cuts or dark rooms. If the power goes out and your phone dies, then you are stuck in the dark.
The other great thing about flashlights is that they tend to be easier to hold in cramped or awkward places. You can also lay them down and have full use of your hands whilst still getting light in the right place.
- A ladder.
It doesn’t need to be a huge, multi-part ladder. But do make sure you have a step ladder in the house. They come in handy when you’re changing light bulbs, painting, or heading up the attic.
Chairs and stools are fine for reaching cupboards but for DIY jobs or taller jobs, stick with the ladder. It is safer and easier.
There are lots of different kinds of screwdrivers out there. Some are only useful for very specific purposes like working with tiny electricals.
At the bare minimum, you’ll want to have a large and a small flat head screwdriver and a large and a small Phillips screwdriver. The difference between a flat screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver is the tip.
A flat screwdriver has a single flattened tip. A Phillips screwdriver has a cross-shaped tip.
For a more detailed look at screwdrivers and what you’ll use them for, check out this article.
- Claw hammer.
Useful for bashing in nails, hanging picture frames, and removing nails a claw hammer has a slotted claw on the back. This allows you to rip the nails out when you accidentally put them in the wrong place!
- Nails and screws.
It’s funny how often people overlook these little bits of hardware. I think it’s because we are so used to furniture being supplied with the necessary screws.
The problem arises when you need to make or repair something and you’ve just got a drawer full of odd and spare screws from all your different flat pack furniture.
It’s best to get a range of sizes so that you are prepared for any eventuality. You should be able to get a variety pack from your local hardware store.
- Duct tape.
Duct tape fixes everything. It might not be pretty but it will hold everything together while you sort out a more permanent solution. I’ve used duct tape to fix a rabbit enclosure, hold a downpipe together, and stop my bathroom sink from falling apart.
I only wish duct tape could hold everything in my life together!
- Wire wool.
Not only is this stuff excellent for getting baked-on food off of your pans and dishes, but it works wonders for DIY projects too.
Wire wool is great for use in rodent holes. They hate the texture so they don’t chew through it. You can also use wire wool for cleaning the oven and your tools, preparing surfaces for varnishing or staining, aging wood, sharpening scissors, and getting crayon off your walls.
Microfiber cloths are great for cleaning just about anything. Always have a pack of these laying around. You can throw them in the washing machine when they’re dirty and reuse them time and time again.
- Dustpan and brush.
You should try and get a good quality dustpan that has a firm lip that molds to the floor. This means that most if not all of the debris ends up in the pan instead of still on your floor.
It’s also a good idea to have a separate dustpan and brush for different areas. You don’t want to use the really dirty garage dustpan on your nice clean living room floor.
There are lots of different kinds and brands in the mop market. You can get squeegee mops, towel mops, spin mops, and the traditional cut-end mop. Mostly, it comes down to personal preference.
A handy tip is to look out for machine washable mop heads. This will save you money over time as you won’t be buying replacements every few weeks.
This isn’t a comprehensive list but it is a great starting point. If you have these things in the house you’ll be able to tackle most maintenance tasks.
Of course, you’ll need to buy cleaning products to go with these tools, but that feels like a different list altogether!