10 Non-Tools to Keep in Your Toolbox
Marko Metzinger/Studio D
To save hardware from scratches when assembling furniture, I stretch a rubber band over the head of the screwdriver first. The rubber provides a buffer between the metals so they don't scrape.
Resealable Plastic Bags
If I'm painting and want to take a quick break, I put my wet brush in one of these sandwich bags so the paint won't dry out or drip while I'm away.
It's my secret ingredient for getting latex paint off skin. Just rub some on your hands and arms after painting, and the splatters come right off.
If a screw or nail rolls behind a heavy piece of furniture, tie string around a magnet and drop it where you think the hardware might be. When you hear a click, reel the string back in.
Use it to draw a perfect circle. Cut a piece about two inches longer than the circle's radius. Pin one end to the center of your drawing surface, tie a pencil to the other, pull the string taut, then draw the circle around the pin.
A toothbrush's small head is the ideal size for brushing away dust and fingerprints from hinges and other hardware after installation. Rest assured: This isn't the one I use on my teeth!
An old fork works great for pulling thin nails out of a wall. The space between the tines provides a better grip than the back of some hammers, and most stainless steel versions don't bend out of shape.
Shims are thin pieces of wood used to fill space or level an object, and toothpicks make great small-scale shims. They're just right for padding tiny gaps, like a screw hole that's become too big.
Empty Water Bottle
In a pinch, it can double as a level. Fill it up to one of its ridges with water, then set it on top of the object you want to make level. If the water doesn't line up with the ridge, the object isn't straight.
Try it when you need to get a good look at hard-to-access spots, like behind a piece of bulky furniture.