October 2010: Toolbox

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 Nothing is more frustrating than embarking on a home repair or improvement project and discovering you don’t have the right nail, nut or hanger for the job. Having to schlep to the hardware store for one measly 10 cent screw is never satisfying. You can avoid this recurring problem by stocking your toolbox with a few fastening and hanging essentials. Here’s what you should gather in advance to cover a variety of bases:

Nails, screws and tacks: Collect these types of fasteners in various sizes and colors as they may be visible depending on your job. Also, remember that if woodworking is in your future, you’ll need wood nails and screws designed specifically for that material.

Nuts, bolts and washers: These items typically are for heavy duty fastening of doors and gates and are needed in precise sizes for those jobs, but it’s good to have a few around just in case.

Picture hooks, braided picture wire, screw eyes and wall anchors: This is where I get caught unprepared most often. Fill your toolbox with the variety of hooks and hardware available to hang and secure artwork and wall décor of various sizes, shapes and weights. 

You can load up on these items individually and probably save a few bucks, or you can find nail and screw kits or picture hanging kits for under 10 dollars that come with an assortment of these things often in their own little carrying case. Either way, you’ll be better off than realizing, three eggnogs in, that you don’t have a big enough screw to hang the final touch on your holiday display.–Katherine Ludwig

Install hardware wide and high to enlarge the appearance of your window. And remember, curtains are a great way to add color to a rental’s otherwise dreary palette.

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