Tools fascinate me. I could spend all day wandering through Home Depot pining after stuff I have no idea how to use. It’s a sickness. I generally exercise admirable restraint and only buy a tool when Bruce, who does know how to them, has requested something specific as a gift.

We have quite a supply of both hand and power tools and I hope you do too. If you are just starting out. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Tools are expensive if you have to buy them new. If you find cheap, new tools, pass them by. A cheap tool won’t do the job properly and can be dangerous. If you are on a budget, look for second hand tools from Craig’s list or at estate sales. I would much prefer a well-cared for, used tool to a new on made in China. Once you have a tool you have to take care of it. The requirements are different for each tool but in general, you need a dedicated storage spot. You need to get in the habit of returning a tool after every use. A good tool left out in the rain is a travesty. Don’t do it. Many tools need sharpening. If you have one that does, either learn how to do it from an expert or pay to have it done. Many tools need to be kept oiled. Use the recommended oil and do it religiously. Do not use a tool to do a job it was not intended for. Please, do not buy one of those silly sets of tiny tools designed for the lady of the house. If I was that lady, I’d poke you with them. They’re useless.

Every house needs some basic tools. A set of screwdrivers, both Philips  and flat head will come in handy. You need two hammers, one regular and one ball peen. An all-metal  hammer with a heavy rubber handle cover is best. A wrench, some pliers and and some wire cutters will round out a beginner’s tool kit. There are hundreds of other tools that are nice to have. As you learn to do more of your own home repairs, and you should, you will need more tools. Purchased one at a time, they won’t break the bank. Properly cared for, they should last a lifetime.