Basic tool kit

There is no point in tackling any job around the house if you don't have the correct tools, you will just get angry and frustrated. If getting divorced meant that your ex spouse got the toolkit you will need to beg, borrow or buy the basics.

The right equipment for the job
You can’t tackle any DIY job without the right equipment.  You need to make sure you have the essentials and what you didn't get in the divorce settlement will have to be bought.  Specialist tools can be hired.

screws being driven into woodScrewdrivers, like screws, come in all shapes and size. There are two common head types – slotted, with a flat straight tip, and Phillips, with a cross tip.  It’s sensible to have a small selection of both, including an electrician's screwdriver for coping with the small screws found in plugs.

A hammer is, fairly obviously, used for knocking in nails but it is also useful for assembling and dismantling things that need a bit of brute force.  The claw hammer is the best all-rounder.  The claw part is used for pulling out old or badly driven nails.

A pair of pliers can be used for all sorts of useful gripping and pulling jobs.  They also function as makeshift spanners for small nuts and bolts, and their jaws will cut wire.

An electric drill is essential for drilling holes in wood, plasterboard and brickwork.  There are different types and sizes of drill bits, the pieces that fit into the jaws of the drill and actually cut the hole. Most holes that you make will require plastic wall plugs to be inserted to allow the screw to grip tight when being fastened into the wall.

A tape measure, preferably a retractable steel one that is long enough to measure the length of a room, will save much guesswork and return journeys to the DIY store.

Finally, whether you’re changing a light bulb or climbing up through the attic ceiling hatch, it’s always useful to have a set of sturdy step ladders at hand.  Now if you have all this simple tool stuff you will be able to tackle most domestic DIY problems.  But what about the big stuff?   If something goes terribly wrong that you really can’t cope with then apart from panic, what can you do?

Well, for the big three here's what you do first:

Go straight to your Consumer Unit (that's what was called a fuse box) and switch the whole thing off.  For some curious reason 'up' is on and 'down' is off.  You can also disable parts of the house by sitching the relevant labeled switch. 

The gas cut-off point usually consists of an on-off lever on the gas pipe near to the point where it enters the house. Horizontal is off and vertical is on.

As well as individual cut-off points (under sinks etc), you will be able to stop the water supply to your house at a stop-cock located near where the mains pipe enters your home.

Getting a man in man fixing a boiler
This is probably the wisest option for those lacking confidence in their DIY skills.  In any case it would be judicious to have a list of phone numbers on hand for essential tradesmen – plumbers, electricians, gas engineers – especially those that offer 24 hour call-out service.  Trying to find somebody at 2 o'clock in the morning whilst water pours through the bathroom ceiling is much to avoided.

The best solution is to go for personal recommendation when possible, and always insist on the relevant professional accreditations.  

Large items, such as boilers, can be covered by maintenance plans which can be tailored to your needs.  However, they can be expensive so shop around and drive a hard bargain!

Getting this domestic maintenance thing organised is not too difficult.  Get a few good tools and know where stuff is like the gas cut off.  Always have a decent torch handy should the lights go out plus a stock of candles and the matches to light them.  Keep a bottle of wine in easy reach so you can spend the time profitably whilst you wait for help to arrive.  


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