FAQ: In My Toolbox, Part One

By Kate Riley July 29, 2009

I’ve recently been asked by several readers what tools I consider essential to be a successful DIYer.  

Now some gals are proud of their closets full of designer shoes and clothing.  (Need I say MariahKimoraEvaPaula?)  Not me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes, handbags and shoes too, but I don’t have the budget to invest as heavily as the aforementioned celebs. 

In truth, if given the choice, I’d take the chair and chandelier in Mariah’s closet over that shoe collection.  But that’s just me.

mariah closet

But speaking of closets, there is one in my world that I like very much.  It’s not gilded.  It’s not glamorous.  It doesn’t have any shoes inside.  But I’m very fond of it. 

It’s my supply closet. 

cg supply cabinet

Oh, yeah, now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!  So many adhesives, paints, and brushes, it’s enough to make me teary.  I love my DIY supply closet. 

So to answer your question about necessary products, I’ll take this shelf by shelf.  These are the products on my shelves, but I consider only the items in bold to be essential. 

Top shelf cg

Shelf One: Rubber silicone sealant, crazy glue, wood glue, spray adhesive, light & medium spackling, acrylic latex caulking, rubber cement, white epoxy, grout sealant, metal polish, wood filler, tile & stone cleaner, and a caulking gun. 

Shelf Two:  Long handle paint roller, short handle paint roller, extra rollers, painter’s tape, disposable masks, paint thinner, stain/paint stripper, paint trays, recycled plastic containers for smaller paint projects. 

middle shelf

Shelf Three:   Craft paints in various colors, rags, coarse grade sanding pad, medium grade sanding pad, fine grade sanding pad, regular sandpaper, artist’s flat brush, artists filbert brush, natural bristle paint brush for oil based paint projects, synthetic angled medium brush (nylon or polyester) for latex painting, small synthetic paint brush, roll of plastic sheeting, roll of paper sheeting, spray primer, spray paints in various colors, spray paint gun, staining pads

Oh joy!  It’s my prized spray paint collection. 

spray paint

Bottom shelves:  Oil based and water based Zinsser primer, various metallic glazes, leftover paint for all the rooms in my home, Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane.   

paint and stain shelf

I also keep a supply of tarps on hand for painting and staining, as well as a stack of newspaper for all of my spray paint projects. 

Note: Even though I store all of these chemical in a closet, I do not seal it up tight to allow for some ventilation.  Something about stored up toxic fumes makes me a hint nervous.  So these doors are always cracked open a bit.   

And I haven’t even mentioned tools!  In Part Two, we’ll talk all about tools, including power tools, hand held tools, and craft tools. 

Not including tools, what supplies do you consider essential for your DIY projects?


  1. I heart your supply closet. I would take it over my clothes closet any day!

  2. This was a great post! My supply closet consists of a plastic Target bag filled with various junky items I've picked up here and there and save to use later. :) I do love my glue gun though. I loved seeing your (neatly organized!!!) space. :)

  3. Your space is VERY neat! My supply closet is my entire garage! My poor car has been moved to the carport for over a year!
    I found your lists very helpful. I look forward to your tool and craft list! I'm sure I'm missing out on something.

  4. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing all your DIY goodies. Can't wait to see what tools you use!

  5. Hey Kate-mora,
    That paint cupboard is so much more intriguing than an apartment sized closet full of Minolo's & tiny pink dog feather boas! I'd way rather get one of those fancy miter boxes than a pair of those red-bottomed shoes any day! Thx for the tour!

    m ^..^

  6. Have to say I'm glad you postponed your party, as I didn't have a project for it yet! As for the shoes, that's my husband's department. I bet once per week the delivery man brings us a box of shoes for the man. He's a psychiatrist, likes to dress well. Me, I loll around and garden in Russell Athletic shorts and sneakers (well, one steel boot for now) and whatever t-shirt was first in line on the closet rack! I'd much rather do things for my home. Now my supplies for decoupage and such, that's a different story. Shoes, don't care a thing for them.

  7. My essential DIY tools? Paint, paint, and paint. I know I should branch out a little, but in my mind nothing gives you more bang for your buck than a little paint. I can't wait to see your nailhead project!

  8. Now THAT is my kind of closet!! A closet full of endless possibilities!

  9. I would totally take that chandy and chair over the closet full of shoes.

    I love your supply closet. Amazing.

    I ALWAYS have to have aqua and red spray paint on hand. Always.

  10. I would have to add: fabric, scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, and batting to the list. A staple gun is great, too – but, that may fall into the tools category.

  11. What a wonderful collection. I suppose I should consider gathering all my stuff together, rather than having my Mod Podge next to my computer, fabric samples beside my bed, and spray paint in the guest room. :)

  12. I get much more excited looking at your closet than I do looking at all of those shoes!

  13. I really like your blog… I've been peeking in now and then but got so excited by that supply closet I had to finally comment! Mine looks pretty much the same. Did you mention plastic gloves? I try to keep some on hand but I get so distracted by the project, I forget to use them most of the time so I don't know why I bother!

  14. I love the shoes, but the creativity from the supply closet keeps me in "current fashion".
    Well at least around the house. Now if I could only create Shoes!!!!

  15. Thanks for the tour of your supply closet… Makes me want to go create something!

    I've just developed a love affair with spray paint. Don't know why I am just now discovery it's beauty, but I LOVE IT! Oh, and my paper cutter gets quite a bit of play.

  16. I have a small supply closet. I really need to kepp adding to it. There is no way I can compete with yours. :)

  17. I need to orginaze my space, too.
    Like some said, fabrics. I have 3 or 4 bags full of it.

    And I want to steal your spay paints & primer

  18. That is impressssssssssssssssssssive!
    I hope to have something like that one day!


  19. I love your supply closet! I love every thing organized… I'm not there yet, but I do love looking at it. one of my favorite supplies …Press and Seal Glad Wrap. I will line foam roller paint trays with it and when I am done pull it off throw it away and whole lot less clean up. I have also used it to wrap a brush in when I get interrupted me in the middle of a job.
    Have a blessed day

  20. I love your supply closet! I have to say that my favorite supplies are the paints in my garage. I'm not goin to lie though I also like Maraih's closet too. Although I could do it about 1/2 that size and still be happy.

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