Start a toolkit and get hooked for life

You may not be a DIY enthusiast now, but there are many everyday situations you will encounter as a new homeowner or tenant that require you to have at least a few basic tools on hand, and that’s how it starts.

Although you can probably change a plug with a nail file or a knife, it’s a lot easier with a screwdriver – which can also be used for all sorts of other tasks. Similarly, a hammer comes in really handy when trying to hang pictures, and a tape measure is really useful when trying to decide if a new piece of furniture would fit the space you have available.


Besides, the more small repairs and alterations you are able to do yourself, the more money you will save. And there is plenty of how-to advice available on the internet these days, even if you are usually all thumbs. This will of course require you to expand your “repair kit”, and experts suggest you gather at least the following items:

  • A can of Q20 for oiling hinges and unsticking locks
  • A roll of duct tape
  • A pair of pliers and some wire cutters
  • A utility knife
  • A putty knife
  • A straight edge
  • A small spirit level
  • A plunger
  • Some picture wire
  • Some strong string
  • Some cable ties
  • Sandpaper in fine and rough grades
  • Screws and nails in various sizes
  • A bottle of wood glue
  • A can or tube of contact glue
  • A tube of waterproof silicone sealer

Also on your list should be some items that will make your forays into basic home maintenance easier and safer, including some rubber gloves, a strong torch or work light, some safety glasses, a pair of ear protectors, and a first-aid kit.

With this little lot, and some expert advice from your favourite handyman site, YouTube instruction video, or magazine (see‎, you’ll soon be able to take many household items apart, mend them and put them back together, cut cables to length, trim and lay carpet, reseal your bath, change door locks, unblock a sink, and handle a host of other household “chores” that you might previously have paid someone else to do.

The more you do and the more confidence you gain, the more you’ll probably want to do. Successful DIY (yes, that’s what this is now) is known to be addictive, and you’ll know you’re hooked when you start thinking about buying an actual toolbox to hold all your gear.

However, you’d better not buy a small one. The minute you start thinking about putting up shelves, you’ll need space for a drill and possibly a saw or two. And then there’s that electric sander you need to speed up the repainting or revarnishing jobs, the set of Allen keys for assembling flat-pack furniture, more screwdrivers, the rubber mallet, the tile-cutter, a crowbar… you get the idea.

Come to think of it, perhaps what you really need is a workshop.


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Since 2003 BetterLife Home Loans has been SA’s No.1 Bond Originator, handling the entire home loan application process on your behalf – free of charge! Our aim is still to source the best interest rate for you by submitting your home loan application to all the major banks. There is no easier way to apply for a Bond or Home Loan in South Africa!

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