Tools for your first tool box

Tools for your first tool box-Charleston Crafted

Yay! You got your first tool box! But it’s empty. Whomp whomp. No fear, we’re here to help you fill it up. Your tool box is your on the go friend for completing projects. It doesn’t have to have everything, you just want it to be filled with things that you would commonly use to complete a variety of jobs. Your big big equipment, like saws, drills, power tools, etc obvi won’t fit in there, so here’s a list of tools for your first tool box.

Tools for your first tool box-Charleston Crafted

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • Stud finder
  • Plyers
  • Ratchet set
  • Scissors
  • Clamps
  • Wire cutters
  • Picture hanging kit
  • Trim head nails
  • Screws
  • Pencil

These are the most commonly used items on my day to day jobs that don’t involve power. Always have both types of screwdrivers because you won’t know what you run into. If you didn’t do it the first time, you’ll find sometimes people used a flat head and a Phillips to do the same job for some reason. Always have your measuring tape, level and pencil for properly measuring and marking your job. Hammers and nails are common. There are often so many things you need for the smallest job.

Take for instance this scenario- you want to hang a picture. Sounds easy enough, right? But let’s just count off each thing you will need- 1. measuring tape to determine where it goes and how far apart the nails go, 2. level to make sure you hang it… level, 3. stud finder to determine if you need drywall anchors or just nails, 4. pencil to mark where the nails go, 5. picture hanging kit or nails to hang the photo on, 6. hammer to tap the nails in. That’s SIX items needed just to hang a picture. Do you want to be running back and forth to the garage? Didn’t think so. That’s where the handy tool box comes into play.

What are some of the things you always keep in your tool box??

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6 MUST HAVE yard tools for the new homeowner

6 MUST HAVE yard tools for the new homeowner - Charleston Crafted

I got EXTREMELY lucky when we moved into our new house in that the very same weekend my dad was moving as well. What was lucky about it is that he had been accumulating tools and equipment for over 20 years at our old house and was moving somewhere he would no longer need any of it. So he gave me first serve at taking anything I needed from the shed.

As a new homeowner, I was not looking forward to the immediate large expenses of buying things to take care of our new yard. I was extremely lucky. But the reality is that I would have had to purchase tools if that situation hadn’t arisen. So my number one piece of advice for yard care tools is to see if you can get any hand-me-downs. If not, thrift stores are full of things like shovels, rakes, hedge trimmers, etc. Don’t feel ashamed to get an old tool if you need it immediately and then upgrade when you have the chance. With that, here are what I have learned to be the 6 must have yard tools for the new homeowner.

6 MUST HAVE yard tools for the new homeowner - Charleston Crafted

  1. Lawn Mower– if you have grass, a lawn mower will be your most immediate need, especially if no one has been living in the house for a while and let the yard go. This is probably the tool that has the most potential to be crazy expensive, so try to get one cheap, or make friends with your new neighbor for a few months. You can find totally decent new lawn mowers for not that much either.
  2. Rake– trees=leaves. A lot of leaves. If you have trees, you’ll need a rake. These are cheap and will go a long way. Even if you have a leaf blower, you’ll still need a rake to put the finishing touches on.
  3. Hose– any plants to water? Any tools to clean? Any buckets to fill? Every new homeowner needs a hose. This is a spot I learned from seeing my dad’s hoses over the years of my childhood that you should spend a few extra dollars to get a solid hose that won’t crack and kink. Cheap hoses are everywhere, but you’ll end up buying seven of them over time. If you are going to buy one, make sure you make it worthwhile.
  4. Weed Whacker– I never really knew the need for a weed whacker until I started mowing the grass in my yard and couldn’t get right up next to the fence. Guess we didn’t have that problem at my house growing up. If you want your yard to look pristine all the way up to the fence line, get a weed whacker.
  5. Post Hole Digger– this is such a smart invention. If you need to dig perfectly round, smaller holes, like for planting bulbs or putting in fence posts or any structure, use a post hole digger. These quickly cut through the dirt and give you a perfect hole.
  6. Wrecking Bar– without a wrecking bar, it would like have taken me at least five times as long to dig out the 14 scraggly bushes around our house that I’ve dug up (so far) on our property. This heavy piece of steel has a spade on one end and a poker on the other. It’s weight easily breaks up roots and makes it easy to pry up old stumps and roots.

What else have you found you needed since moving into your home?

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What to Thrift & What Not to Thrift

Whether you are first starting out decorating a home, redecorating on a budget, or just interested in decorating in a more environmentally friendly way, thrift stores and online yard sale groups can be a great way to get a deal. You can find lots of different types of items in those ways, but I have some advice on what you should thrift and what you should not.

That being said, thrift whatever you want! This is just based on my experiences. Some of the items on my don’t thrift list just require additional patience or tools.

What to Thrift and What Not to Thrift - Charleston crafted

WHAT TO THRIFT

  • Solid wood vintage furniture – sometimes, they really don’t make them like they used to. Vintage furniture can be the way to get great prices on solid wood dressers, tables, and more.
  • Something that you loved but has a scratched or damaged finish – sanding, staining, and/or painting are cheap and easy. You can do it! Items with damaged finishes are often your best bet for scoring a deal.
  • Something that you love the shape but don’t like the color – paint is your best friend. It’s cheap and doesn’t require special tools or skills. Look beyond the color when you are thrifting!

WHAT NOT TO THRIFT

  • Anything upholstered – fabric and soft materials tend to absorb stains and smells more than wooden or hard pieces. You can certainly DIY re-upholster things (for example a dining room chair seat isn’t too hard) but anything major, like a couch, will require skill and time to do right, plus, fabric can be expensive.
  • Anything you can’t wash – comforters or large pillows can seem like a good buy, but if they won’t fit in your washing machine, think twice. What seems fine at the store can stank like dog once you get it home. Febreeze can only do so much 🙂
  • Things that are just cheap – everyone needs to fill their space, but don’t buy something that is not your style and that you can’t fix up, just because it’s cheap. You’ll end up either hating it and replacing it, or hating it but leaving it there.

What do you think? What do you and don’t you thrift?

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Why We Didn’t DIY Our Kitchen Floors & How To Save Money on Lowe’s Installation

How to save money on Lowe's floor installation - Charleston Crafted

Our kitchen makeover is totally under swing and last week we got our floors re-done. Some people that I talked to were surprised that we didn’t DIY them. I wanted to share the before and afters and tell you why we didn’t DIY them and give you some awesome tips for saving money on flooring installation done by Lowes!

How to save money on Lowe's floor installation - Charleston Crafted

We bought our house in July and the previous owners replaced all of the flooring except the kitchen. The rest of the downstairs is a Pergo laminate flooring. We love the color and texture of it. Since we are trying to run the same materials in our whole first floor to make it feel larger and more cohesive, I definitely wanted to run these same floors into our kitchen.

Why didn’t we DIY them? It might sound kind of strange but we didn’t want to DIY them because it was such a small space. If it was our whole first floor it would be worth it to rent the equipment and learn the technique to lay the floors. For this small space, it just didn’t seem worth it to us.

Secondly, we really didn’t want to touch the tile removal. It was all 1990’s tile and we are on a concrete slab. We felt super un-confident about removing it and getting it smooth. I knew from the sound of the project that it would end up falling on Sean and it seemed like a big project for one guy.

How did the process go? We went to the flooring counter at Lowes. We gave them some information and they sent a woman out to come measure (using a fancy laser beam) the next week. Those numbers gave us a specific quote.

Make sure that you ask for an itemized quote. We saw the below items that we knew that we could DIY:

  • Move all furniture from the space- $40
  • Disconnect fridge water line- $35
  • Move fridge and stove from space- $75
  • Remove and reattach the toilet- $70
  • Remove and reattach the quarter round- $140
  • Delivery fee (from local Lowe’s)- $80

TOTAL SAVINGS: $440

After that, we went to the flooring counter again, had them adjust the quote to take off the things we wanted to DIY, and then paid for the order in full. In the end, all we opted to pay for was the tile removal and laminate install. A couple of days later an installer called us to schedule the install. It ended up being about 3 weeks out.

A week later, we went by Lowes and picked up all of the flooring. The installer told us to let it acclimate inside the house for a few days so we just stacked it in the front room.

The weekend before the install, we removed the floor molding and the toilet. The quarter round was very easy to remove using a pry bar and a hammer.

The night before the install we moved the fridge and the stove. We plugged the fridge in in the dining room so we didn’t lose any food.

How to save money on Lowe's floor installation - Charleston Crafted

How to save money on Lowe's floor installation - Charleston Crafted

The contractors removed the old flooring and installed the new flooring in less than six hours. It was really loud (especially removing the tile) but it was over quickly and they did a great job doing everything and cleaning up all of the mess.

How to save money on Lowe's floor installation - Charleston Crafted

After they were done, we still had to replace the fridge and stove and also re-hang the quarter round. We were actually able to re-use 75% of the old quarter round which saved us $80 in pieces that we were able to return (they were $4 for each 8 foot piece).

How to save money on Lowe's floor installation - Charleston Crafted

How to save money on Lowe's floor installation - Charleston Crafted

We love love love having our laminate floor in the whole first floor of our house now. By DIYing a few things, we were able to have the projected professionally done on a budget.

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Where Do I Start Decorating In A New Home?

Where Do I Start Decorating In A New Home? via Charleston Crafted

 

When we moved in July, we knew that we wanted to makeover our entire house. Some rooms, like the kitchen, needed major work, while other rooms just needed paint and decor. However, our time and money are limited. We needed to know where to focus and where to start when decorating our new home. Here is my advice, it’s what we did and it worked great for us!

Where Do I Start Decorating In A New Home? via Charleston Crafted

First, address anything un-safe or un-livable. This should be done prior to move in. For us, the day after closing on the house and the day before we moved in, we had the whole HVAC system replaced. It wasn’t a fun way to spend money, but it was full of black mold and so very nasty.

Now the fun part. When it comes to decorating and design, I suggest that you start with the master bedroom. It might seem unimportant compared to more visible areas of your home, but hear me out. Your bedroom is your sanctuary. Even when everything else is in chaos, it’s so important to have a beautiful, comfortable place to retreat to at night, especially if you are escaping messy renovations or projects elsewhere in your space.

You first new furniture? A king bed and mattress. The first room you paint? Your bedroom. Trust me, you will appreciate it during phase three.

Phase three is all of your public spaces. Living room, kitchen, entry, dining room, deck – where ever you plan on entertaining. You’ll have to prioritize these by budget and time requirements and by how bad they each are.

Finally, work on other more private spaces. Guest bedrooms, kid’s rooms, laundry room, play rooms. You’ll get to them, but you probably want to work on the areas that your guests will see first.

This is the method that works best for us. I would love to hear what you think and what has worked best for you!

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