This time around, we’re talking about household must-haves and their many uses. Everyone, depending on where they live, and the kind of projects they find themselves faced with most often, have a handful of must-have items that they use to keep the house in one piece. Whether it’s a leaky faucet, squeaky door hinge or even an unidentified hole in the wall, there are items that can make dealing with these projects easier. Everyone’s selection of emergency items, most likely stored under the kitchen sink, will look a little different but we thought compiling a list might help you add to or consolidate the cabinet while making sure that you’re prepared for pretty much any household mishap.
This list could go on for ages if we let it, so consolidating the list to “must-have” categories was no easy task. Our strategy is to combine recommendations from reputable sources with our experts’ 40 years of knowledge in the hardware and repair industry. Each item can be useful to anyone from homeowners and renters, to single people or large families. With a grain of salt, here are the items that we deemed most worthy of a spot under the kitchen sink!
Before considering the materials that you need or how extensive a project might be, safety and protection have to be a priority. However small the chance of injury, there are some situations where it’s not safe to jump in without taking protective measures. What you’ll need changes depending on the project, but a few things to always have on hand are gloves, masks and eye protection.
Gloves: “Disposable gloves can help protect your hands from chemicals, harsh detergents, paint, etc,” said Vivian Young, senior content manager at Good Night’s Rest. There are many types of gloves, both disposable and reusable. Many gloves are made with latex, but non-latex gloves are a great option for anyone with an allergy to latex. There are also powder free disposable gloves, which can be found in most convenience stores. To leave less of an impact on the environment, reusable gloves are a great option that can be purchased in different sizes and materials.
Masks: Before starting a repair or project, consider whether particles or chemicals will be in the air while you’re working. If so, something to cover your nose and mouth can prevent sickness and irritation down the line.
Eyewear: Similar to our reasons for having a mask on hand, eyewear is equally as important for keeping particles and chemicals out of your eyes while working.
WD-40: What respectable source compiling a list of household supplies wouldn’t start with the item that many people identify as the holy grail of easy fixes. Since its creation After 39 failed attempts at making an industry-altering solvent and degreaser, WD-40 hit the shelves and became a staple in most homes going back to the 1950s. Since then, users of the oil-based spray have found countless uses for it. Some of them are obvious like spraying a rusted, squeaky hinge but other uses will most likely shock the average homeowner and make us wonder how people came across some of these uses.
Even a leaky faucet can be fixed with a combination of a new o-ring (the bit used to seal the pipe) and WD-40, according to Derek Hales, Editor-in-Chief of Modern Castle. We’ve noticed that people instinctively reach for WD-40 for some applications where it’s not the best lubricant for the job.
Silicone Spray: It’s hard to deny that WD-40 can be useful to have around the house in certain situations, but there are some applications that we don’t recommend the use of an oil-based spray to resolve. With grease comes potential buildup and a cringy feeling whenever you accidentally touch the area that you sprayed. In many cases, we find that silicone spray can be a better alternative when working on door or window tracks that just aren’t operating as easily as they used to. It doesn’t leave any residue or buildup in its wake, which you certainly don’t want on a sliding glass door track, but also has the same water displacement powers as WD-40.
Wax or Teflon: It may be hard to believe, but I swear it’s a truth that we all live by at SWISCO.com. Wax can be a lifesaver to have on hand if you’re fresh out of silicone spray and just don’t have time to make a run to the hardware store. Our track lubricant can be used like a glue stick and applied to any window or door track to create a smoother surface for rollers and various hardware to ride. Though our lubricant has a Teflon base, candle wax can also be used in these situations with slightly messier, but similar results. In any case, having an assortment of lubricants on hand means that you’ll have the right fix for any sticking, squeaking or stuck piece of hardware in your home.
The next step to stocking your arsenal for under the kitchen sink is to make sure you’re prepared to mend any broken appliance or hardware until you can properly repair it or swallow the fact that you might need a replacement down the line. Using the right adhesive for any project is of vital importance, which is why some people find it useful to have a glue kit on hand.
“There’s not one glue for every repair project!” said Young. “Before you apply or buy glue, research which one works best for the material you want to bond. Wood, glass, metal, plastic, ceramic, paper, stone, rubber, leather, etc. all react differently to various adhesives. Other factors to take into consideration are bond time (how long it takes to set), how to store it clog-free, water-resistance, and if you need a flexible bond for materials like vinyl, cushions, etc.”
TOOL BOX (and what to put in it)
Having a tool kit on hand is important for anyone, whether you live in a dorm room and it’s your first time away from home, or you’ve been living in the same home for the last 30 years. I got my first tool kit in college. It was about the size of a shoe box, pink and bailed me out of more annoying situations than I can count. You never realize until you’re on your own how many times a hammer or Phillips head screwdriver becomes a necessity to get through daily life.
The first step is determining how extensive your toolbox needs to be. That will be a big part of choosing the right tools or if you can get away with buying a small starter kit and adding to it as time goes on like I did. If you’re just starting out and want to cover the basics, a lot of the basics can be purchased from budget-friendly stores.
“Check out the home section in your local dollar store,” Young said. “For a dollar, I bought several mini screwdriver sets that I keep on hand for those quick fix projects.”
A big part of choosing or building the right tool kit for your home is including tools with diverse uses. Consider the situations where you either repeatedly needed the same tool or a time you were in a pinch and didn’t have the right tool for the job. If you put together a lot of furniture, an assortment of screwdriver bits are a necessity in your toolbox. If you’re trying to save money on constantly calling out the plumber for a chronically leaky faucet; wrenches and clamps might be a higher priority.
“A measuring tape is an essential tool for any fixer-upper or contractor,” said Kershan Bulsara, Manager at Roofmaster. “Whether you’re cutting a wooden board for a carpentry piece or you’re identifying the slope of a roof for a new project, you can’t get the job done without proper measurements. Without measuring tape, it is nearly impossible to get accurate calculations, and a miss-measured material will lead to errors in the project, which will end up costing you, even more, to fix in the long run.”