Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

The Ultimate Family Household Goods Shopping List

Home Maintenance and Improvement

You don't have to be a Mr. (or Ms.) Fix-it to know that a household needs a basic tool set, including a hammer, nails and screwdriver. Of course, it's just as important to have a broom, mop and sponge to keep your home fresh, clean and free of harmful germs and bacteria. Stock your garage or hall closet with other seasonal tools, like a rake or lawn mower, to keep your yard and porch space neat and tidy. Want to live in the cleanest house on the block? This list of items will help:

  • Mop: A mop and mop bucket will leave your hardwood, laminate and tiled floors clean and shiny, and by using water, soap or another disinfecting product, bacteria and germs will be kept at bay. You can also use an automatic or electric mop, such as the Swiffer WetJet or Shark Electric Steam Mop.
  • Broom: A broom keeps floors free of dust bunnies, and when there's a smaller mess to clean up, a dust pan and brush will do the trick.
  • Toilet brush: Purchase a toilet brush that's made to clean hard-to-reach areas inside the bowl, and be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and arms from bacteria in the toilet, as well as the harsh cleaning products.
  • Vacuum: This indispensible tool will rid your carpet and rugs of dirt and dust, and a handheld vacuum will help you clean obscure and out-of-the-way places, such as between your car's seats.
  • Claw hammer and nails: Every household needs a claw hammer -- they come in handy when something breaks or needs to be fixed. Be sure to have plenty of nails in various sizes to ensure that you're ready for any project.
  • Screwdrivers: Screws are in almost every wall, object and piece of furniture you own, so a flat head screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver or all-in-one screwdriver are all great tools to have.
  • Multi-tool: A multi-tool is an essential gadget for most homeowners because of its many uses. It's like large Swiss Army knife for grown-ups, and it contains multiple blades of various shapes and sizes that are joined in the center by a pair of pliers. It can substitute as a kitchen knife, wrench and even a bottle opener!
  • Lawn mower: Any homeowner with a yard to manicure will need a lawn mower to keep grass neat and short. Tools like shovels, garden hoses and hoes also make yard maintenance easier.
  • Ladder: To complete difficult outdoor tasks that are hard to reach -- such as cleaning the gutters -- purchase a ladder (and make sure you have a friend or family member hold it steady on the ground while you work).