Many of the common home improvement jobs we run into during the course of owning a home are of the small variety: little touch-ups on our trim, patching some dinged-up drywall, and stuff like that.
In and of themselves, these jobs take 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there. But, unfortunately, many of these little jobs require some specific tools. If we don't have the right tools on hand, the tendency is to put the job off, to wait on it until we get the right supplies.
And when we do that, it doesn't take long for the jobs to pile up into mountains of work. Suddenly the 20 minute job is joined by 14 other 20 minute jobs and we find ourselves looking at hours and hours of work.
Having the right tools on hand means you can accomplish jobs quickly and easily. You can basically cross them off your "To-Do" list before you even put them on. And best of all, compiling this "emergency kit" of "Must-Have" tools should cost as little as $50.
Let's Get to the List
ROLLER FRAMES. We recommend that you have at least one 9" roller frame and one 4" roller frame in your kit. Most folks already have one or more of these, but if you don't, then you'll want to make sure you pick up one or more. Having a 9" roller frame is great for those larger areas you need to paint. And the 4" frame is perfect for small jobs and touch-ups.
4" ROLLER TRAY. Besides making sure you have a standard 9" roller tray on hand, you should also buy a handful of disposable 4" trays as well. These 4" trays are great for all sorts of little touch-up work and other small projects. They clean up well and will easily last you through 3 or more paint jobs. Best of all, they usually retail for just over $1.00.
SPACKLING COMPOUND. Another key component for your "Home Repair Emergency Kit" is an 8 oz containter of White Lightning Lightweight Spackling Compound. It's easy to work with, it dries quickly and resists shrinking and, best of all, it's a breeze to sand! Having a tub of this stuff on hand at all times means you're always ready to patch a ding in your drywall or fill nail holes.
6" and 10" JOINT KNIVES. However, though plastic knives will work out alright for most patching work, you'll probably want to invest in one or two drywall joint knives. These are 6" or 10" knives that run between $4.50 and $7.25 and they're very handy to have if you're filling any large areas--a definite must-have in your kit.
TAPE. Always have a roll of safe-release painter's blue tape from 3M around. Sure, you could purchase cheaper rolls of tape, but the safe-release tape is nice because it can be used on so many different surfaces. It's the only tape I know of that can perform well on walls, trim, freshly painted areas, and wallpaper. Regular tape is limited as to where it can be used, but the safe-release 3M tape can be used in almost any situation you encounter. And, as an added benefit, this tape offers remarkably crisp cut-in lines.
DROPCLOTHS. Besides masking tape, we'd also recommend that you purchase a 12' x 15' or so plastic dropcloth. These aren't expensive and they can be used for any number of little jobs that come up: from protecting your floors while you're painting to protecting your furniture from dust if you're doing any remodeling.
SANDPAPER. One of the easiest tools to overlook is sandpaper, yet it's something that we used in many typical home repair projects. Whether you're repainting, patching walls, or painting furniture, sandpaper plays a critical role in the process. So get your hands on six to ten sheets of 220 grit, 150 grit, and 120 grit paper. Those are the most commonly used grits and having a stock of each one on hand will help you out immensely.