12 Tools Every Single Mom Should Own

By Allison O'Connor

smiling woman with a drillWhen I bought my first home as a single woman, the very first housewarming gift I received was a Craftsman’s steel tool box complete with a set of tools from my father. I tried my best to muster an appreciative smile and “thank you” but all the while I was thinking, why the heck do I need this?! Well, to my surprise, that tool box still gets used a couple times a month more than 10 years later. And, I’ve even added a few tools to my collection since then.

Whether you own your own home or rent, having a few tools on hand for a quick fix can save you time and money you would otherwise have to spend hiring a handyman. And as any single mom knows, whether you’re putting together a crib for the first time or trying to take the batteries out of a toy, you will always need a screw driver. Here’s what else you should also have in your tool kit.

  1. Hammer with Claw:  Besides using this tool for the obvious nail pounding and removing, it also doubles as a weapon, although I don’t recommend sleeping with it under your pillow.
  2. needle-nose-pliersNeedle Nose Pliers: Your home’s equivalent to a good pair of tweezers. These pliers are ideal for grabbing and fishing out small objects and for pulling wire and cables through small holes.
  3. Utility Knife: This tool I use to slice open packages and cut through duct tape. But make sure you buy the model with the retractable blade. This is one of the most dangerous tools to leave lying around with the blade exposed.
  4. cordless-screwdriverCordless Multi-bit Screwdriver: One of my favorite tools that brought back the joy in screwing. For anything screw related – this is the tool. But if power tools are not your thing, then a set of handheld multi-bit screwdrivers will do just fine.
  5. Level: Must have for hanging pictures, mirrors, curtains and anything else where “almost straight” just won’t do.
  6. Locking Pliers: This tool is not just for fastening or unfastening a clamp, but can also be used to pull nails and screws out of walls and other hard surfaces. When my locking pliers went missing, I replaced my old ones with a new pair that had a wire cutter.
  7. tapemeasureRetractable Tape Rule: A 25-foot long tape measure is really all you need for small home projects like picture hanging, etc. Make sure you get one with a clip so you can fasten it to your pants. Just the thought of that makes me laugh!
  8. Nail & Screw Sets: You can find sets that contain both but if you have to buy them separately, make sure you get at least 4 different sizes of each. And while you are at it, throw in a picture hanging set too.
  9. Flashlight: My personal favorite is the MAG-LITE 2 cell-D Aluminum Flashlight. I use it not only for emergencies but also when working in dark, cramped spaces where a flood light won’t fit. In fact, buy two and keep one in your car.
  10. Extension Cord: Indoor/outdoor is best if you are a homeowner.
  11. Extension Ladder or Step Ladder: The rule of thumb is to purchase a ladder that is at least 5 feet taller than the object you need to reach. The last thing you want is to lug a ladder home only to discover it’s not long enough. Also, make sure the sales person shows you how to open, lock and close the ladder. Of course, if you have a fear of heights, opt for calling a handyman.
  12. drywetvacDry/Wet Vac: Anyone that lives in a flood zone wouldn’t be caught dead without one of these. But you don’t need to be submerged in water to realize how valuable this vacuum is. Not only does it suck up water, but also dirt, sawdust and just about anything else you don’t want to use your household vacuum for. There are even handheld versions that can be easily stored in a utility closest for apartment and condo dwellers.

And while you at it; don’t forget to get yourself a metal tool box to store all your new toys. Tool Belt optional!

Are you an expert picture hanger? Share your tips with our readers in the comments box.

More Articles for Single Moms
25 Cost Savers for Single Moms: Spring/ Summer Edition
The Green Toy Box
End of the Year Paper Purge