As military families, it can feel counterintuitive to think about amassing a huge, heavy, and bulky collection of home maintenance tools to pack, load, store, and PCS every few years. However, the benefits of owning these tools might far outweigh any inconvenience they present.
By investing in the right tools you will effectively maintain your home which will leave you with pride of ownership, a well-maintained home, and potentially thousands of dollars kept in your own pocket by avoiding costly repairs.
Below are 10 of the most recommended items to have on hand as a homeowner:
A pressure washer can help you quickly clean large areas of all kinds of hard outdoor surfaces. You can use a pressure washer to spray off a wooden deck, siding, a car, or concrete surfaces such as a patio, walkway, or driveway. By keeping these particular surfaces clean, you are ensuring safety as well as cleanliness, often avoiding mold and mildew buildup especially if you live in a place with high humidity.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Many states require by law homeowners to have and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. As a general rule, it’s best to have at least one of each on every floor or story of the residence. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors not only save lives but can also help prevent major damage to a home before some small issue becomes catastrophic. Simply having these detection devices won’t do any good if you aren’t properly maintaining them by regularly checking battery life and connectivity to emergency management services.
Another popular tool many military families like to have in their personal arsenal is a carpet cleaner. Whether you rent or buy your own home, as you PCS, leaving the carpets in clean condition is a must. Most carpet cleaners pay for themselves after only a few uses as the initial investment is still usually cheaper than paying for professional carpet cleaning. Additionally, maintaining carpets with regular cleaning not only preserves the quality of the carpet but also can help by removing allergens from the home.
Perhaps you don’t consider HVAC filters a tool per se, but if you think of them as contributing to the overall efficient running of your home, then they certainly fit the bill. Regular maintenance of these filters benefits the whole household by providing clearer, higher-quality air. It benefits your wallet in that keeping these filters changed regularly improves your HVAC efficiency. If this is one of those easy to forget monthly tasks, many companies these days offer subscriptions so filter delivery can be automated.
A shop vac, also known as a wet-dry vacuum is an incredibly important tool for homeowners. While your normal upright home vacuum is meant for clearing tiny particles or pet hair from your floors, a wet-dry vac is perfect for the at-home hobby enthusiast. The power of a shop vac to pick up larger debris items is unmatched. They are also perfect for quickly getting up large amounts of water in case of a washing machine or toilet leak. The price of a shop vac is small in comparison to the cost of replacing or repairing damaged floors.
If you want to avoid having to call on an expensive plumber when the toilets or sinks get clogged, investing in a snake plunger is a great tool to have around the house. Different from a regular wooden handled, rubber suction plunger, a snake plunger can literally “snake” down deeply into a drain to dislodge a stubborn clog. Most household manual versions can be purchased for around $20 and they are small enough to store compactly.
Moving outdoors, another inexpensive home maintenance item that packs a powerful punch is a pair of old-school hedge clippers. Unless you are very sure of yourself and have experience with electric (read–dangerous) clippers, the analog version will get the job done. Maintaining your outdoor space by keeping hedges and shrubs clipped not only keeps the outside of your home looking nice but also provides clear views to the house and is a good way to remove small stray limbs that could pose minor safety hazards.
A basic ladder is another item that most homeowners should never be without. Whether it’s for checking on those smoke detectors or changing those HVAC filters mentioned previously or clearing out your gutters, a ladder can come in handy in a variety of home maintenance situations. There are all kinds of ladders that do all kinds of jobs, but according to HouseTipster, the average homeowner gets maximum use from a step ladder between 8-10 feet tall.
Small Indoor Essentials Toolbox
No matter the skill level or love of collecting tools in the garage, every homeowner should keep a small, indoor “essentials” toolbox. Think of this as a place to keep the most used, simple tools that you wouldn’t want to have to go rifling through the garage to find at a moment’s notice: thinks like a trusty tape measure, a small level, a hammer, various sizes and types of screwdrivers, as well as a wrench come in handy for anything ranging from hanging artwork upon PCSing as well as unscrewing a car-key fob to replace the battery. Build your own or purchase a small indoor toolbox already filled with what you need.
Small Indoor Essentials Items
Similar to actual tools, many homeowners find that having a safe, but centrally-located basket or bin of other home maintenance stapes comes in handy. Items like duct tape, bleach, vinegar, WD-40, steel wool pads, and GooGone can be lifesavers in keeping a home well-maintained. You have likely heard the adage that a small leak will sink a great ship. Maintenance through cleanliness and keeping items working in proper order means that you can often avoid a bigger fix, repair, or expense down the road.