If you've got big dreams for turning your home into a haven, but the idea of actually executing any of those plans yourself feels overwhelming, we totally hear you. DIYing home projects can seem intimidating, but according to home improvement author and editor (not to mention, former carpenter) Philip Schmidt, conquering that intimidation factor all comes down to doing your research and taking your time.
"Sure, it's possible to make a real mess of things — especially if you forget to turn off the water or electricity — but if you take the time to investigate the problem and do a little research (yay, internet!), you'll often find that everyday repairs and upgrades are more doable than you think," he says.
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While you're doing that research, you'll discover another key element of DIY home projects: using the right tools. To get you started on assembling your own toolkit of essentials, Schmidt shared his recommendations for the basic tools to have on hand in order to become your own handyman — and every single one can be found at Walmart.
Once you stock up and put those tools to good use, you'll be a pro in no time. "With each DIY project, you'll build knowledge and confidence that will speed up your work and will likely inform your next — possibly bigger? — project," Schmidt says. Keep scrolling to start building your own home-DIY starter pack, and get a few of Schmidt's expert tips.
Basic screwdrivers at the ready
Having a screwdriver handy is useful for your everyday fixes — assuming you have the right size. Schmidt recommends adding a few different ones to your toolbox. "As a minimum, get a standard-size and small-size flathead, #1, #2 and #3 Phillips screwdrivers or drill bits. Having the right size screwdriver — such as a #1 Phillips for tiny screws — means you're less likely to strip screws," he says.
Try this tool: HART 6-Piece Screwdriver Set, $9
Wrenches in all sizes
Thinking of buying a ready-to-assemble cabinet or changing your bathroom faucet? Then you'll need Allen wrenches or adjustable wrenches.
"You need both metric and standard sizes for sockets and Allen keys," says Schmidt. "Allens are used for set screws on faucets, the hardware on ready-to-assemble furniture and most parts on a bicycle. Sockets are essential for nuts and bolts in tight spaces, and they're more secure than a standard wrench."
Try this tool: HORUSDY Hex Key Set, Allen Wrench Set Inch/Metric 30-Piece, $17
Pliers for detailed fixes
When you need to tighten appliances that come with nuts and bolts, having a selection of pliers can be a lifesaver. While adjustable pliers are popular, Schmidt suggests starting with tongue-and-groove pliers, "which are also amazingly handy for plumbing projects and random household jobs like removing stuck jar lids," he says.
Try this tool: HART 4-Piece Pliers Set, Chrome Vanadium Steel, and Chrome Nickel Steel, $25
Drill like a pro
"For power tools, you don't need top-of-the-line, but stick with mid-grade or better," Schmidt says. "Bottom line: Cheap tools fail when you need them most, and they never last as long as higher-grade tools. Make DIY projects like mounted mirrors and wooden shelves seem effortless with a cordless drill
Try this tool: 21-Volt Cordless Drill Set, $39
A jack-of-all trades saw
While it may not cut through super thick materials, you can use a jigsaw for most cutting jobs, according to Schmidt. "A jigsaw is the ideal saw for beginners because it's so versatile and easy to use," he says. "It makes straight cuts, curved cuts, interior cutouts (with the help of a starter hole for inserting the blade), and you can buy blades for almost any material: lumber, plywood, plastic, metal, tile, and more."
Try this tool: TACKLIFE 6.7 amp 3000 SPM Jigsaw with Laser & LED, $37
Level like a carpenter
Measuring a straight line for mounts and other tasks that require accuracy is difficult without something to keep it leveled. "A standard carpenter's level with the little bubble vials makes the difference between a professional-looking job and something a landlord would be ashamed of," Schmidt says.
Try this tool: HART 24-inch Aluminum I-Beam Level, $13
Electrical testing lifesaver
Changing light fixtures and switches might sound like contractor work, but with an electrical tester, you can handle it on your own. "You use a voltage tester to make sure the power is off for electrical work, so it's essential for replacing switches, hanging light fixtures, fixing lamp cords or adding new outlets," Schmidt says.
Try this tool: Sperry Instruments STK-001 2-Piece Tester Kit, includes a Non-Contact Voltage Tester and GFCI Outlet Tester, $23
Cut with more accuracy
No matter how many knives you have in your knife block in the kitchen, it's worth picking one up that's just for around-the-house projects. "A utility knife may be the world's most universally used tool," Schmidt says. "It's made for cutting, of course, and it's much safer and more accurate than using a pocket knife or (God forbid) a kitchen knife."
Try this tool: HART 2-in-1 Safety Utility Knife, $9
Want more inspiration on how to put build your DIY Starter Pack? Check out Walmart's one-stop resource for everything you need to get started here.