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According to this column by Twin-Falls Idaho Times-News columnist Steve Crump, the vast majority of tools are simply toys.  He cites a “back-to-basics, simplify-your-life nonprofit organization” (his words) that polled “home improvement experts” about the tools actually needed to maintain a typical 2,000 sq. ft. home on a quarter-acre lot.

“Technically, anything more in your significant other’s toolbox [he’s talking to women, apparently, whom he feels don’t need tools at all] has to be classified as purely recreational,” he writes.  Read on past the jump to see the tools he and his “nonprofit organizations’ home improvement experts” feel you need.

Here’s their list:

  • 1 push lawnmower (and not the kind of push lawnmower with an engine)
  • 1 leaf rake
  • 1 bow rake
  • 1 hand-cranked fertilizer/herbicide spreader
  • 1 claw hammer
  • 1 crosscut saw
  • 1 rip saw
  • 1 cordless power drill
  • 1 power sander, belt or disk
  • 1 pair of pliers
  • 2 screwdrivers, slot and Phillips
  • 1 32-piece socket wrench set
  • 1 locking wrench
  • 1 chain-pipe wrench

So there you have it.  Anything else, Steve says, “Falls in the same category as his boat, his snowmobile, and his $28,500 Dodge Ram SRT10 truck with Viper V10 engine.”

“He gets toys, while she gets a blender” [Times-News, magicvalley.com]


10 Responses to Idaho’s Times-News Columnist: Tools = Toys

  1. Greg Smith says:

    I think push, engine-less, lawn mowers are underated. Why go through all the hassles with a gas lawn mower if all you have is a 10×10 patch of grass (a lot more common out west with mostly xeriscaped lawns).

    As for the rest of the list. It’s a good place to start.

  2. Michael Walters says:

    My wife would laugh at that list, she had more tools than that when we got married. The function of many tools is to save time, because as we all know, time = money. They also can help out with reducing stress.
    Back when I did more home repair type work I had to fix many problems that were caused by someone attempting to fix something without the right tools.
    In my experience, more tools is better. And we all know that a man armed with experience is never at the mercy with a fellow with a theory (or an axe to grind).
    So ladies, don’t buy your man a tie or a belt that he’ll never wear. Buy him a tool for Christmas, after all Jesus Christ was a carpenter!

  3. James says:

    2 screwdrivers?!?!?

    One size does not fit all. If you try to use one phillips-head driver with all phillips screws you encounter, you’re going to have a bad time. Also, what about when you encounter robinson screws? I know they’re not too popular in the US, but they’re *everywhere* in Canada.

    I also call BS since there’s not one of the following *absolutely essential* classes of tools:

    – measuring
    – squares
    – levels
    – chisels

    How could you possibly justify buying a power sander without having any of the above beforehand?

    You also need the following (unless you’re the type who looks in the yellow pages for every little job):

    – Reciprocating saw
    – Jigsaw
    – Hand plane
    – Miter box and saw (a power one is nice, but you don’t really need it unless you do a lot of crosscutting or trim work)
    – Hacksaw
    – Basic plumbing tools (pipe cutter, torch, etc)
    – Basic electrical tools (linesman’s pliers, strippers, circuit tester, robinson 1,2,3 and assorted standard drivers)
    – Set of hole saws for your drill

    I would certainly like to find out who these “home improvement experts” are. Too bad columnists are not required to cite sources.

  4. Nick Carter says:

    I think the key is he says “the tools actually needed to maintain a typical 2,000-square-foot home on a quarter-acre lot.”

    So I guess he’s the sort of guy who has no hobbies. Too bad for him. Also he doesn’t make a living with tools, and probably doesn’t know anyone who uses tools. He also doesn’t know any women who use tools, and has a sterotypical marriage.

    It sounds like he watched a couple of episodes of “Home Improvement” as research for his essay. I say, ironically, “What a tool.”

  5. Roscoe says:

    He could probably do his job with just one notepad and a #2 pencil, but I’ll bet he has a drawer in his desk with all kinds of pens and highlighters in it. He even seems like he’s enough into his hobby that he has serious hobby journalist tools like a dictaphone and probably even a laptop.

    Who cares if other people enjoy making and taking care of things enough to buy more and better tools to do the job?

  6. dac says:

    One pair of pliers? What kind of pliers?

    Two screwdrivers? What if you need to remove a hinge from a door? You’re going to strip your #3 hinge screw out and end up spending a lot more time and money than just buying a #3 driver.


    He’s full of crap.

  7. Chris Ball says:

    The bit that gets me, aside from the part where you couldn’t change out a lightswitch, much less a water heater with that list, is that one of the 15 manditory tools is a fertilizer spreader (or maybe it’s apropos). I think his hobby is actually encroaching on his list (or all the professionals he asked were gardeners). I would put a strap/chain wrench rather far down the necessary list too, all things considered. Realistically I would also say someone working against this list should have a #2 posi as well, after all it seems pretty clear that Ikea furniture is in the cards.

  8. Eli says:

    What a jackass! He should be liable for all the divorces that use his column as ‘evidence’. Good call on completing his tool crib w/ a furniture purchase. This is the type of guy whose wife always calls our house to come over and ‘help’ fix their stuff.

  9. melvin says:

    I think the key is he says “the tools actually needed to maintain a typical 2,000-square-foot home on a quarter-acre lot.”

    Even allowing for that there are a few glaring omissions. Off the top of my head: some kind of measuring device (if only to make sure you’re spreading that fertilizer correctly; the equipment to sharpen those saws and the lawnmower; and a least one ladder (lightbulb changing and gutter cleaning).

  10. Leslie says:

    I know this is an old post, but I had to give a woman’s perspective on it.

    “What women don’t understand is that Home Depot and Lowe’s are the largest toy stores in the world.”

    HA! Maybe it’s just the company I keep, but well more than half the women I know would much rather receive a gift certificate from HD/L than Macy’s, and it wouldn’t just be for paint and curtains. One woman I know from an old house online community told her beloved that she’d rather rent a big dumpster than to get the diamond he’d planned to buy her. Tools are ALWAYS at the top of my wish list for birthdays and holidays (though sometimes a kitchen tool might be at the very top). And we’re at that age when a “hot date” with my honey means dinner out someplace casual plus an hour or three meandering through the aisles at Lowes.

    That said, I agree with everyone else on the absurdity of his list. As the owner of a 2000+ sq ft house on a 1/4 acre lot, there’s not only no way that we could do the amount of work that we’d do with just that set of tools, and our relationship would certainly not survive the frustration of having projects that could take 2 hours take two days because of all the manual labor and the frustration and the materials and human carnage from not having an appropriate tool available.

    I think that this tool list more than anything reveals this guy to be someone who probably calls a contractor for pretty much anything beyond the easiest basics, but still fancies the idea of calling himself a “DIY” kinda guy.


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