Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Brian's Five Must-Have Tools

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Admittedly, I'm not the best when it comes to tools and home improvement projects. I have no idea what separates a Phillips head screwdriver from the other available varieties. And a visit to Home Depot completely overwhelms me. Fortunately for me, the move to my new appartment coincided with Brian Kelsey starting his gig as our "Morning Living" cohost. Since day two of him being here, I've been peppering him with questions about how to paint my apartment, how to effectively organize the space, etc. Today, I threw him a pretty easy challenge. What five tools must I have in my apartment to accomplish the very basic household tasks? Here are his top five:

1. 16 ounce hammer

  • A medium-sized hammer is perfect for accomplishing the day-to-day basics. Seeing as I'm not taking on any intense projects, a heavy framing hammer is too big for me. Along those same lines, a simple tack hammer is just too small and light to satisfy my needs. Simply put, a 16-ounce hammer is small enough to hang pictures but big enough to complete some smaller home improvement projects.

2. 16-foot tape measure

  • For my studio apartment, a 16-foot tape measure will really do the job. It's unlikely that I'll be measuring anything greater than this length. If you live in a larger home, you might want to purchase a slightly larger tape measure.

3. Multi screwdriver

  • This is the type of screwdriver that has bits in multiple shapes and sizes. It will give me the flexibility one would have with a variety of screwdrivers without taking up lots of space in my small, pink toolbox.

4. Pliers

  • Pliers, according to Brian, are a must. With a pair, you can do lots of different things, including pulling nails out of your wall and tightening simple things around the house.

5. Adjustable wrench

  • This will unscrew any size nut or bolt. It's also great for tightening and loosening anything. Just remember righty tighty, lefty loosey!

Comments (3)

  • Great basics! I'd also add a box cutter and a level - they'll easily fit with the fab five in the smallest toolbox.

    Not technically a tool, but a roll of duct tape will definitely come in handy too.

  • We just put together a small tool boxes for our daughters as they went off to college last week, and I think we had all Brian's "fab 5" plus duct tape and some cable ties (my husband uses these to keep computer wires from getting tangled, and to hold electrical cords in place).

  • This morning you talked about Wagner Ware.
    Other than the Cast Iron skillet, most of their pots are aluminum. Do you still feel it's practical/safe to cook with aluminum?

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