If you’re like me, you’ve been at a friend’s house and been asked, “as long as you’re here, do you think you can look at this switch that’s flickering?” or, “…loose baseboard?” or, “…thing with a broken doohickey?” Maybe no one would invite me over if this wasn’t the case, but I don’t mind. I get some free food and beverages and I get to do some problem solving. To that end, I have an EDC (Every Day Carry) version of my workshop stowed under the back seat of my truck.
This is a DIY basic that every homeowner (or renter or apartment dweller) should have.
They are lightweight, versatile and not too pricy. This one also holds a charge, so it’s ready when I need it. With a basic set of drill bits from 1/16-inch to ½-inch and an assortment of screwdriver bits and socket drivers you can get a lot of jobs out of the way without digging deeper into the bag.
3/8-inch Drive Ratchet
This combo tool from Craftsman’s MACH Series saves a lot of space in the go-bag because of its multi-functions.
It’s a push twisting screwdriver, a ratcheting screwdriver and obviously a 3/8-inch drive ratchet. It also pivots to reach awkward angles. It came in a nicely organized plastic case, with slots for all the metric and imperial sockets and a variety of driver bits. To fit it all in the bag I just keep them in separate zip top bags.
When you don’t want to put the ratchet together, and the drill driver is too much gun, these little guys are perfect. Attack switch plates without fear of splitting the plastic, adjust little set screws, open a can of paint.
I carry both the slip joint and groove joint (or water-pump) pliers because they have different points of leverage and sometimes one is better than the other.
The slip joints are good for small nuts and bolts, the groove joints were designed for plumbing fixtures. Either can also crimp, twist and pry. And sometimes you use both at once to hold one side of something still while you twist the other.
Yes, I know these are also pliers. These long nosed pliers are from the electrical family rather than the plumbing family.
Useful when rewiring a switch or lamp they can also poke, tweeze and hammer. I use them for all those things, but in my kit, mostly they cut wire, hence the label. These also have a little built in LED light to shine on your work, which I have yet to break.
Tape Measure and Pencil
This is a tape measure and a pencil. I use them for measuring and for writing down the results. Not very sexy, but that’s what they do.
Duct Tape, Baling Wire and WD-40
If it moves and it shouldn’t, duct tape it. If it doesn’t move but it should, WD-40 it.
I didn’t make that up, but I have a few things to add. Don’t use duct tape anywhere you don’t want it to be permanent. It’s not designed to be removed. This is not masking tape. Artfully applied, baling wire is a solution to all kinds of problems. It can be wrapped around two points and then twisted to draw them closer together.
“This is just a quick job. I won’t even have time to hurt myself.” That’s when you hurt yourself. Protect your eyes and your hands. It only takes an extra second.
You may have noticed there’s no flashlight or utility knife here. That’s because those aren’t in the bag. I have multiple flashlights in the truck and multiple sharp bladed implements within arm’s reach at all times. I’m also not a car guy or an electronics guy, so people don’t ask me to fix those things. Your EDC is a reflection of your skillset, so build your go-bag with that in mind.