6 Things You Absolutely Need as a New Homeowner, According to Reddit

published May 28, 2024
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One of my favorite places to find home design inspiration, product recommendations, and DIY tips is Reddit. Not only is the platform full of real-life people sharing their actual experiences and thoughts, but it’s also divided up into communities — called subreddits — that are niche enough to cover basically any interest or task you might have. Some of my favorites, as the owner of a midcentury house, include the Gardening, Mid-Century, and Home Improvement subreddits. One other I find myself returning to again and again is the Buy It for Life subreddit, where users share their favorite products that have exceptional quality and warranties — products that you can, as they say, buy for life.

Recently a thread in the Buy It for Life subreddit caught my attention: One user wrote that they were a new homeowner and needed help stocking their house. They asked others for their best suggestions of must-have tools that were “BIFL” (buy it for life). The thread reached over 200 comments, and it’s worth a skim — but for the short version, here are the very best suggestions. 

Water Shutoff Key

The top answer on the thread was a water shutoff key — something I was surprised to realize I don’t actually own! This will help you turn off the main water supply to your home if something goes (very, very) wrong. You can pick up a steel one from your local hardware store for under $20.

A Ladder … and a Step Stool

Anyone with a home will probably, at some point, need to reach something high, like the gutters, the ceiling lights, the branches of a tree to pull out a tangled balloon (I know this one from experience). Having a sturdy, well-balanced ladder is key in those situations, so it’s no surprise that a ladder was another recommendation on this list. And right below that: a step stool. I personally think both have been crucial in my own home! A step stool can cover most indoor tasks and is a lot easier to transport than a full-size ladder.

A Plunger

“Plungers make great housewarming gifts,” writes user u/tubluu. It’s true: If you’ve ever been in a position where you needed a plunger and didn’t have one, you know that it can be worth its weight in gold. For toilets, make sure to get one that has a more spherical shape, which provides better suction (and therefore better unclogging power).

User u/thewrights11 makes another great point: “With plungers, it’s helpful to have one for each bathroom and make sure you have at least one of each type — both sink and toilet.”

A Fire Extinguisher

Another great housewarming gift, says user u/CrabbyAtBest: a fire extinguisher. “Whenever a friend says they don’t have a fire extinguisher, that’s my housewarming gift,” they write. “I think it says ‘I care about you, even if you don’t, moron.’” Keep a fire extinguisher close at hand in the kitchen, where you can use it to smother any potential grease fires.

An Electric Screwdriver

A drill is a common recommendation for new homeowners, but a more lightweight tool might get more use for many. User u/benpeterson recommends an electric screwdriver for small projects at home — specifically, the Milwaukee M4 electric screwdriver

A Wet/Dry Vacuum

A good vacuum cleaner is important, but there’s a lot it can’t do — namely, deal with anything wet. That’s where a wet/dry vacuum comes in handy. As user u/akbrim says, “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used a ShopVac for one thing or another. Wasn’t something I thought I needed, but my dad recommended it and he was dead-on correct.”

Below, user u/vikraej adds, “This is one of the few tools that when you need it, you sometimes need it urgently. We wait to buy tools until the need arises, but a Shop Vac is an exception. It’s also our go-to housewarming gift for friends buying their first home.”