Everyone Needs a Basic Tool Kit

One of the Philly Fixers Guild’s goals is to enable a shift away from a disposable device culture and a move toward a “maintenance and repair” mindset.  The first step in making this a reality is to build a simple-but-useful tool box you can call your own.  With some basic repair tools and a bit of knowledge at your disposal, you’ll be less likely to think, “toss it and buy a new one” and more likely to attempt a repair.  Here’s a great recipe for a tool kit that everyone should have on hand:


For Basic Maintenance and Repair:
  • Screwdriver with changeable bits
  • Basic Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Pipe Wrench (invaluable for plumbing emergencies)

These tools are the bare essentials. They will allow you to disassemble most things, hang a picture, or tighten almost any loose screw or nut.  I’ve never tested one so I can’t speak to its quality, but: Ikea sells a tool kit with most of these items for a cheap $7.99!  (Ikea actually sells a lot of basic tool kits for very reasonable prices)  They may be a good place to start.


For Miscellaneous Electrical Repair:
  • Needle-nose Pliers (also usually have wire cutting function, too)
  • Wire Stripper
  • Electrical Tape
  • Twist-on Wire Connectors (for safe/easy household electrical connections)
  • Voltage Tester (tests for live circuit before replacing switch or receptacle)

Having these tools (and the basics listed earlier) on hand will enable some very simple but effective electrical work.  I’m talking about replacing a light switch, wall sconce, or a lamp cord.  More advanced electrical maintenance should only be performed by trained electricians.  It goes without saying: electricity can be DANGEROUS, so BE CAREFUL!  Power should ALWAYS be shut off before any work is started.  Electrical shock is only one of your worries, you can potentially start a fire if you connect things improperly!


Other Useful Tools to have:
  • Tape Measure
  • Level (good for hanging frames/pictures)
  • Electric Drill/Driver and basic set of bits (sometimes you just have to drill a hole!)
  • Hacksaw (useful for almost any cutting job)

These miscellaneous tools are ones that you probably don’t NEED to have initially, but you’re likely to end up needing them at one point or another.

As you gain repair and maintenance experience, you’ll quickly realize what other tools make fixing-life easier.  The ones listed here are really just enough to get you started.  Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, we all know little problems crop up in appliances, electronics and vehicles; you can fix MOST of these problems yourself!  Having a basic starter tool kit available is really half the battle.

As always, you can click on the “ASK A FIXER” link below for some quick advice on getting started!


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