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Tape measure: You can use a simple cloth tape you roll by hand. A retractable steel measure with locking mechanisms and grip is more expensive but also easier to use and store.
Cordless drill and bits: This tool is great for everything from putting up shelves to more ambitious projects like building a deck or installing hardwood flooring.
Hammer: Hammers come in different sizes and weights and with different faces and ends. But for most projects, the traditional claw-end style will work. Consider also a non-marking rubber mallet, which is good for tapping stubborn windows open and fixing minor dents.
Pliers: Again, there are many different types, but the most useful are adjustable and needle-nosed pliers. These can be used for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts, as well as for bending wires, small pipes, etc.
Clamps: These keep your projects from moving while you paint and are essential when you glue something.
Safety goggles: Geeky they may be, but you need them for most home cleaning, repair or building jobs. They protect your eyes from nails, screws, bolts, wood, plastic or liquids.
Toolbox: Your toolbox can be a simple plastic bucket or six-quart basket or a heavy-duty steel chest with storage drawers for all your tools, screws and whatnots. Whatever you choose, make sure you return tools to it after each picture you hang or light fixture you tightenotherwise, you'll spend more time searching for your hammer than using it.
You can probably get all of these items for less than $100, but don't skimp on quality. If you start out with the right stuff, your toolbox can last for many yearsand homesto come.
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