Living one year as a homeowner does not make us experts, but we sure have learned and are still learning a lot! One of the biggest adjustments we made those first few months of being in our new house was all of the extra chores and jobs that had to be done when we were the landlords. We’d always rented apartments before, and whether they were new or old buildings, small or spacious, with a yard or a balcony, we always knew who to call whenever there was something that needed fixed or maintained. But in a house, that responsibility is yours, and each of those jobs requires some sort of equipment or tool. Sure we had a hammer, tape measure and screw driver, we did hang pictures and put together IKEA furniture, but there are plenty of other things that just make maintaining a home easier.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 things that we have had to purchase since moving into our first house a year ago. We’ve purchased much more than this I’m sure, but these were the basics that we found we needed as the seasons changed and different projects surfaced just to keep up with the house.
- Toolbox: I had a tiny plastic toolbox that came as a cute pre-packaged set from Target. I think I got it for my first college apartment, again to be able to hang some pictures. But as we started to accumulate “real” tools for our home improvement projects, we found that we were ready for the grown-up version. Phil got this really great toolbox for Christmas (made in the USA to boot) and we have enjoyed having a better place to store our most-used tools.
- Power Drill: We never really had a use for this while we were in an apartment, but I can’t tell you how many times this has been out of the box in the last year. Sure you can borrow one from friends or co-workers, but it has been nice to have our own when we’ve wanted to start a project on a whim some Saturday night (yeah, we’re cool like that!).
- Shop-vac: This is not a necessity if you have a vacuum (and I hope you do), but for our dirtier projects, it’s been nice to have the shop-vac so I don’t have to worry about cleaning out my nice Dyson after a dry-wall job, etc.
- Buckets & Rags: Having a stash of work buckets and rags around the house has been a life-saver. From holding all the weeds you’re pulling in the yard, to catching scraps during a patch job, to cleaning up after you’ve just drilled through three layers of brick, you can never have enough. Start saving those old t-shirts now!
- Ladder: We have 10 foot ceilings in our house, so we learned quickly that if we wanted to change a light bulb, paint a room or hang a picture, we would need more than our cute little 3-step-ladder. It seemed like such a big item to have to get right off the bat, but we never would have made it without one.
- Lawnmower: Surprise! Unless you are hiring a lawn service or a neighborhood boy to mow your lawn for you, that grass will grow pretty tall and unruly in no time without a lawn mower. Depending on the size of your yard, hopefully you won’t need anything too fancy. Ours was a hand-me-down and I know there are always plenty of postings on craigslist so try to buy used if you can.
- Broom: Again, we never had to maintain sidewalks or porches before, but there is something nice about having a well-swept walkway to show that you take pride in your home.
- Hose: Whether you’ve got a green thumb or not, you will use a hose in the spring, summer and fall. Not only are we watering plants around our yard, we’re also able to take care of cleaning things after a big project outside, rather than in a sink in the house. It will come in handy.
- Rake: I wish it were still as fun as it was as a kid, to rake up that pile of leaves and jump right in, but whether you’re making it a game or not, raking leaves in the fall is a part of owning a home with a lawn.
- Snow Shovel: Disregard this is you live somewhere that doesn’t see snow, but here in Ohio we certainly see our fair share each winter. I opted for a metal shovel this year and I purchased it early! You never know when the first snow will hit and you don’t want to be stuck with an ice-covered, snow-filled walkway or driveway.
It may not be an exhaustive list, but those are the 10 items we think you will need as a new homeowner. For every house and every situation this list will look a bit different, but this is what has worked for us. I never thought I would see the day when I would be hemming and hawing in the aisles of Lowe’s over which snow shovel to buy or what hose length will work for our yard, but once those decisions are made, it’s nice to know that we have the basics for maintaining our home.
Other homeowners out there, am I missing anything critical from this list? What would be on your top 10?