Every woman should have basic tools. Items that are necessary for the simplest DIY projects. I know perfume and candy are great, but if you will start an "I WANT" list now and make sure your family knows this is your Christmas/Mother's Day/Birthday/Valentine Day wish list, you will have everything you need in a year's time...trust me.
Years ago I ask my dad for a "tool box" filled with tools for Christmas. My mother was mortified...but I wanted tools. Hanging a picture with a shoe and using steak knives for screwdrivers just didn't cut it.
Today I visited my neighborhood Lowe's (again, my fav! Check them out at lowes.com) in Springdale and the "tool guy," Austin, graciously helped me gather up all the tools a woman might need for the simplest DIY projects or home improvement tasks. There are THOUSANDS more tools, and then all the electrical and plumbing and HVAC tools, ect.....but these are the basics. I tried to find some pretty pink ones, but they didn't have any so I just stuck with the tried and true...tools I have in my tool box and garage and pretty much use every day!
I asked Austin if Lowe's has a "gift registry." No...just gift cards. Good enough for me! Ask my kids...tools and John Grisham books...pretty much my favorite gifts!
I'll try to break these down by my "absolutely necessary" to "you really want this." I will tell you that the highest priced item is $119! And I have provided the pricing on the items pictured...you may find a comparable item a bit cheaper...but remember, if you want a quality tool that will last a lifetime, cheap isn't always best!
Tape measure All different brands and styles. I would suggest a good quality 30'+ model. I keep a tiny "keychain" type in my purse for measuring when I am out and about, but get a good solid one for your tool box! $13.97
Utility knife/blades: A MUST...have to have one. But get the flip out, quick change kind and buy the big 50+ count package of blades. A sharp blade is a must and they have to be changed often and easily. Years ago we had to take a little phillips screw driver to loosen a little screw to change out the blade on our utility knives. Trust me, DO NOT use an electric drill to tighten the screw if you are stupid enough to buy one like that...sure fire need for stitches! $8.98 for the knife and $11.98 for the 150 ct. blades.
Hammer: Hammers come in different weights and for different purposes. Trust me, you do not want a big ole' 24 oz. framing hammer. Pick them up, play with them. I wouldn't suggest the lighter weight ones, but a good 12-16 oz is a decent size for most projects. Find one that you feel comfortable using. $6.98
Screw drivers: You really only need a Phillips (point looks like a little star) and a flat head. But we found a nifty little 19 in 1 set by Kobalt. Neat little deal with all kinds of interchangeable bits. $9.98
Pliers: Gotta have an assortment, especially needle nose. Kobalt has a nifty 6 piece set for $19.98. But you could probably buy one general plier and a needle nose plier for a tad less. (BTW, I googled pliers...also can be spelled plyers...guess it is like grey/gray...who knows...I get a red squiggly line regardless of how I spell it!)
Speedlight Square: This is a little triangle looking thing. Great for drawing straight lines before cutting or angles...tons of uses! $4.18
Carpenter Square: This is a big "L" shaped metal thing...again, great for squaring things up and I use it a lot when I sew to make sure I draw straight/square lines. Also great for cutting foam! $11.97
Stud Finder: Have you ever tried to find a stud (okay, not a MAN, but a wood stud in your wall behind your sheetrock!)? If you are trying to hang a shelf or secure a bookcase or just about any project that requires locating a "stud" (again, haha) this is a must....trust me, not all framers use a tape measure and not all wall studs are 16" on center (lesson for the day...2x4 wall studs are SUPPOSE to be 16" on center) Nothing fancy, but definitely doable for $10.98
Nail Punch: Trust me...there will come a day when you will come across a nail that is sticking out of a piece of wood...and hitting it with a nail and hammer won't cut it. Get a general nail punch! $3.27
Clamps: Okay, good clamps are not cheap. A double set of 10" clamps is $19.98 and a 36" clamp is $39.98. And I usually use 2-3 36" clamps when I fix dressers and chairs and such....24" is probably the smallest I would get....the smaller ones are pretty useless Necessary and expensive evil, I know! I wish I could say that something else will work. But unless you want your dresser to lean and your chairs to wobble, you just have to bite the bullet and get some. You can find less expensive, but they are "cheaper" for a reason. In the end, you will be happy with a good quality clamp.
Palm Sander: Gotta have one if you are ever refinishing/painting furniture. Just gotta. $39.97
Level: A 2' level will suffice....and you will need one at some point! Trust me $24.98
Corner Level Laser: Austin said it was a nifty tool...the laser will "go around corners" so if you want to hang stuff at the same height on two separate walls...personally, I would just measure from the ceiling or floor, but it looks like a nifty tool for the price. Definitely on the bottom of my long list.
Safety gear: I am the worlds worst at wearing safety gear....protective glasses, ear plugs, gloves, masks. But make the minimal investment and save your eyes and ears. Lowes has all types...play with them and find ones you find are comfortable. I will tell you that I have prescription glasses and I bought cheap ones to work in so I wouldn't ruin my good pair...money spent wisely!
Okay, time for the pricier but YOU REALLY WANT THIS items:
Cordless drill/screwdriver: Just an absolute must IMO. I use the heck out of mine. I'm too stinking old to unscrew crap manually! The Dewalt set with the drill/2 batteries/charger is on sale at Lowes for $99 several times a year. Last year I bought myself a new set for Father's Day ;)
Bit set: If you are going to have the cordless drill, you have to have the bit set. I actually bought the one pictured because it was an AWESOME deal...four boxes of every kind of drill bit and screw bit you would ever need for $24.97
Skill Saw: Again, IMO a must. But honestly, if you ever need plywood or anything cut, the wonderful guys at Lowes will do it for you if you have your measurements. When I built all my built-in bookshelves, they cut all my plywood for me. (I'm terrified of table saws...story for another time) But I use my skill saw all the time! If you are going to cut any piece of wood, you have to have a skill saw or a chop saw. $89
Chop Saw: I personally couldn't live without mine...actually I have two...but I guess you can. Put it on your gift list because it is the most expensive at $119 for a small one. Word of warning though...the blade guard is there for a reason...do not take it off and if you have long hair, pull it back before using the saw. Just trust me on this!
Compressor/nailer/stapler combo: You really NEED a small compressor. And since the one pictured comes with a nail/staple gun, why not. The compressor not only works on the nailer/stapler (which you will need for just about any DIY project) but you can also use it to blow off dust, air up car/bike/boat tires, blow spiders out of the garage. And I can tell you from experience...there is not a manual or electric stapler on the market that will set a staple flush if you are trying to recover chairs...these little puppies will use a 1/4" x 1/2" staple that will! Does it ALL! $99.00
Jig Saw: I use mine a lot...and you will probably stumble across a time when you will too. Eventually you will want to get one! $99.97
I will add more as projects dictate...but you WANT this stuff...trust me.
Personally, I don't know why Lowes doesn't have a wedding/baby/graduation registry. They carry WAAAAAY more than just tools....mirrors, lighting, flooring, storage stuff, appliances small and large, yard stuff...you name it, they have it (okay, not groceries, but Sonic is right down the road!) Love, love, love!
And again THANK YOU manager Jonathan and "tool guy" Austin for all your help! Love you guys!