Whether you’re buying a new home or you already own a house (or heck–rent an apartment!), there are home essentials (what I call the “home necessities list”) that everyone should have.
The other day I had opened the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink for a refill of dish liquid, and what do I see?
A freakin’ pool of water.
It looked like it had been wetting… then drying… then wetting again for a little time.
I crawled on my knees and turned into Inspector Gadget and figured it must have been a worn faucet, then agonized over the $100 I was going to have to spend to replace it.
Thankfully, when I called my brilliant husband at work, he quickly waved me off, saying, “Oh, it’s just the screw. Tighten it up.”
Well, what do you know…. He was right.
But what bothered me is that I wasn’t sure how long that water had been leaking underneath!
Then I remembered these little green leak detectors I had, wishing I had placed one under the sink. But I hadn’t.
That’s what sparked me to write this post: The Top 10 Best Practical “Must-Haves” for the Home.
Having had to fix a lot of stuff around here on our own, plus doing a lot of home improvement projects, I’ve been mentally gathering a list of favorite things around the house, and I’m always excited to tell you about them because I think they might help you at home, too.
And the best part is that I personally own or have used each of these things, so I can tell you the good, the bad, and the “just-so-you-know”s!
Best 10 “Must-Have” Home Necessities
Before you skip over these because they look like toys, STOP. These are not toys! In fact, these little water alarms can save you hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars in water damage. You sit them in places where unexpected water leaks can happen–behind your toilet…beside the washing machine…next to the water heater…. basements. And if your home even thinks of springing a leak, these Leak Frog sensors spit out loud, annoying sounds. EEEEEK! EEEK! The minute they’re removed from the water, they stop. Let me tell you…I have used them in my house and they’re godsend. My old washer had leaked and this beeping noise let me know right away. Now if only they can make one that sends you a text message, too, in case you’re away from home….I’d totally buy that! Retails $69.
There are cheaper versions, like this Leak Bug. I haven’t used those, so I can’t vouch for them yet. But it’s cheaper. Might be worth trying this one! Retails $15.
I despite cleaning. Especially toilets. It’s just really gross. Being the only female in a house full of dudes, the scent and sight of pee around the toilet is an everyday phenomenon. My Homeright Steam Machine is the best thing ever for steaming the heck out of the nastiness, especially in cracks where you can’t really get to. I’ve also used for cleaning my oven with no harsh chemicals (see my oven cleaning video HERE), steam cleaning the gunk off my sofa and minivan floors…and its uses could go on and on. Seriously the best cleaning tool for your home ever (especially if you’re moving into a new home and you want to “de-gross” the previous owners’ left-over nastiness!). Retails $79.99
I know–power tools are scary, especially if you’ve never used one before. But the least frightening is the jigsaw, in my opinion. It’s best for getting started with because you can cut wood (and other materials) for building a bunch of projects. Watch here to see the jigsaw in action. I had made a DIY lazy susan organizer, but you can easily use it for making shelves, DIY wall art, and other home decor. These are only about $40, but during holidays and stuff you can easily get them for $30. (P.S. Check out RYOBI Holiday Headquarters for other power tools deals). Retails $30-$40
I bought this Home Owner’s Journal year’s ago when we bought our first home (a 2-BR condo) and I started doing DIY projects to it. I couldn’t remember all the paint colors we’d used, or the measurements of the rooms. So this was a good place to keep track of paint chips, room measurements, etc. It’s a little outdated because it came out years ago, but it’s still helpful for having a one-stop place to record all your home details. Retails $11.95.
(P.S. I’m hoping to be creating my own DIY journal to be released in 2016, which will include space to document and track your DIY projects, too, not just your home improvement projects!! If you want to be emailed when more info is available, just sign up here!) .
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Swiffers are rip-offs. They require batteries along with refills and cleaning pads. Talk about wasted money. So when I found the O-Cedar spray mop mop, I loved that I could add my own soap and water (or vinegar and water) without all those perfumes. It doesn’t use batteries (just a spray nozzle handle), and, I can toss the microfiber cloth in the wash and reuse it, which you can’t do with Swiffer. I keep mine sitting in the kitchen for quick cleanups. And it’s light enough that my little sons can help clean. Retails $25.99.
I usually prefer to use regular hand rollers when I paint, but in my experience, there are times when using those rollers absolutely sucks: 1) when you’re doing ceilings, 2) when you’ve got a big room, and 3) when you’re trying to paint in stairwells that are 15 feet tall! For those times, I use the EZ Twist Paint Stick because I can suck the paint up into the body, which means less refills and faster and safer painting. I once painted my stairwell above my stairs with it (watch the video here), and I loved that I didn’t have to keep climbing down the ladder to re-load the paint. I admit that I hate cleaning it out, though. I’m a “just throw it away” find of paint roller girl (I know–totally wasteful!). But once you get the hang of properly washing out rollers, it’s not so bad cleaning it. If you’ve got any room makeovers coming up with ceilings, big walls, or awkwardly tall spaces, this paint stick helps! Just be careful on the ladder! Retails $29.99.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have ruined stuff in my garage (including my grass!) from spraying paint outside! The little flecks get everywhere, and then hubby gets pissy at me about it…. Like I can control the spray…sheesh. LOL. I recently tried out the Homeright spray paint shelter (watch the video tutorial here) and really liked that I was able to paint outside in my grass with less overspray everywhere. The only problem is the learning curve on being able to set it up–I had such a hard time! HA! But once you master it the first time, the following set-ups are much quicker. If you plan to work outside on spray painting pieces of furniture for your home, this is a must-have. Retails $54.
I love, love, love these paint brush covers! Just snap your brush inside to save it for later, no washing required until later. Your brush is still wet and ready to use! I used to get “creative” with saving brushes by wrapping them in plastic and storing them in the fridge, only to forget about them 6 months later in the back of the fridge, harder than week-old bread. HA! The only caveat with the paint brush cover is that you will notice a drying of the paint if you leave it for obscene amounts of time, like a whole month. But a week?? You’re covered! Retails $4.99.
I picked up one of these a couple years ago after meeting Duluth Trading Company at a blogging conference and absolutely loved it. It’s a basic milk crate, but it’s got this sturdy canvas cover that slides right over the crate and has a gazillion pockets for all your tools and gadgets (38 pockets outside, 10 pockets inside). It’s handy to keep nearby when you’re working on something and moves with you. The only caveat is to be careful that you don’t place small things on the inside where they can fall through the holes (duh). Stupid me spilled a box of nails inside and you can imagine having nails falling out every time I picked up the crate. HA! If you’re handy with sewing, you could get a cheap crate from the thrift store and sew a knock-off! Retails $49.95
Don’t even think of using these wipes on a baby’s butt. They’d scream in pain! These heavy-duty wipes are lined with scratchy scrubby backs to them so you can scrub paint, oil, and everything else imaginable off your hands and surfaces after projects or doing work around the house. I used them at an Amy Howard at Home painting workshop recently and they were magical! I can’t tell you the countless times I have left the house with paint on my hands and nails because I couldn’t get it off. These knock that problem right out! Retails $9.97
One of my readers actually gave me one of these! It has all these little screwed in secret screwdrivers. This thing has been awesome to have in the kitchen “junk drawer” for those moments when you need a quick tool (like opening up my 4-year-olds Thomas trains to put in fresh batteries. HA!). I think this would also be good to keep in your car emergency kit (see mine here), especially if you need to take apart a piece of furniture from the side of the road to fit in your car (wink wink). Retails $8.59.
Additional Recommended Home Necessities
To spare you infinite scrolling, check out my Amazon store for more home necessities! Things like moisture meters…hygrometers for measuring the humidity in your home…and more…
What are YOUR top 10 “must-haves” for the home?
I know there are tons and tons of other really great “must-have” home necessities, and I’d love to hear what your favorites are! Leave a comment below to add your own to the list!