Best DIY Tools – Be Ready for Anything
Essential gear for makeshift solutions
Some products have so many uses that you just have to keep them on hand. Even if you don’t have an immediate need for them, you will sooner or later. Here are a few favorites.
Whatever the problem, duct tape is the solution. There are dozens of different versions: light-duty, heavy-duty, transparent, glow-in-the-dark…. If you’re only going to keep one roll on hand, get the expensive, heavy-duty stuff. It sticks better. The only thing you shouldn’t use duct tape for is ductwork. That was its original purpose, but foil tape works much better.
Seal boxes shut, tie down a load or wrap up unruly objects for storage. Keep a roll in the garage and you’ll use it regularly. There’s a lot of wrap on a roll, so even if you’re a heavy user, it will last for years.
When nothing else works, one of these pads probably will. The material they’re made from was originally used for insulation. But it also provides very aggressive, very fine abrasion; that means it scours away surface stains without damaging most surfaces. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and Scotch-Brite Easy Erasing Pad are two common brands.
Just keep a little pack of them in your junk drawer and you’ll find unexpected uses for them. Shown here, for example, a couple bumpers will silence a toilet tank lid that rattles when kids stomp down the hall.
Until you have it, you won’t understand how desperately you need it. Aside from insulating pipes, it provides bump protection when storing table leaves—and in a hundred other situations. Pipe insulation’s close cousin, the swim noodle, is thicker and better for some tasks, like stopping a hatchback from bashing into the overhead door.
They’re great for holiday decorating and a hundred other fastening jobs. And they’re so cheap that you can keep stashes in several strategic locations: garage, kitchen, laundry room. Wherever you put them, they’ll get used.