Before I became a homeowner, when I thought of tools, I thought of heavy duty power drills, wrenches and screwdrivers, and the, you know, capital T Tools. However, I’ve quickly come to learn that the handiest tools you can have around often aren’t technically considered tools at all, but they’re just as valuable to DIY home projects, if not more.

When you have these common items on hand, it becomes one less thing you have to run out and buy to get a project off the ground. Keeping these four unexpected tools around is essential for any homeowner. They’ll come in handy way more often that you think they might.

Razors

When I moved into my house, I loved the colors that the walls were painted—most of them were white but a couple, like in the bathroom and back hallway, are a deep midnight blue that I loved. The only problem was that the walls hadn’t been touched up in what looked like ages and there were definitely a few left-over crayon scribbles thanks to the little ones that inhabited the house before me.

Razors are incredibly handy when painting around fixtures such as sink handles and windows. If you’re like me and pay less attention to the details than you should, you don’t have to panic if you get some paint on a window or a door handle. With a razor in your arsenal, all you have to do is wait for it to dry and scrape it off. Same goes for things like scraping off extra grout when you decide that your bathroom needs deep grey grout instead of old, discolored white grout but have a hard time staying in the lines.

Putty Knife

The process of decorating an entire house is quite different from the process of filling up a studio apartment it turns out (who knew!). I’m particular about my surroundings, but often I have to try something out before I can decide if I really like this painting in that room and the like, which leads to plenty of little nail holes that need to be filled. If you have a putty knife on hand, the hole filling process goes way smoother (literally) than it does if you try to do it with your fingers.

Bonus: When your foster dog chews a hole through one of your pocket doors and you have to patch it with wood putty, your putty knife will save the day as well, and take the edge off an already frustrating situation.

Fine-Grit Sandpaper

Whether you’re roughing up a surface in preparation for a coat of paint (turn out it makes a big difference, folks—it helps the paint stick better!), have decided to build yourself a desk out of reclaimed wood that needs a little finishing, or you’re removing a scuff off of some wood paneling, fine-grit sandpaper is just the thing you need.

Wood-Handled Broom

Seems like it’s not useful for much beyond sweeping, right? Wrong. When my garbage disposal was on suddenly on the fritz one morning, the first thing that the YouTube video I was watching, to try to fix it without having to call in (and pay for) a professional, suggested doing was swiveling a wooden broom handle around it to try to knock loose anything that might be stuck in it and preventing it from spinning.

I had very low hopes that the problem would be that easy to solve, but I did as instructed. Then I removed the handle, flicked the disposal on, and to my surprise, it began whirling around like nothing was ever wrong and I had never been happier to have a wooden broom on hand.

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