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In Repairing Your Home, Don’t Break Your Body

June 15, 2010

While you’ll never hear me say you’re too delicate, small, fragile or weak to strap on a tool belt and get to work, I will say this:

 Be careful doing it, you’re a woman.

 While that may sound contradictory or even sexist, there is a very good reason for my concern: Tools are for men.

 In fact, it’s likely that every tool you’ve ever seen in any hardware store anywhere was made for men, with a man’s body and size in mind.

 The good news is that there is now a whole line of tools made just for women (www.tomboytools.info/joey)  and I have a bunch of tips to share with you about finding the right ones, working safely and making sure you stay healthy enough to drill another day.

 The Right Tool for the Job is a Women’s Tool: Women differ structurally from men. Our upper body strength is typically, well, in our lower body. Even if we have a very strong upper body, it can be difficult to handle a too-heavy tool safely. Look for lighter tools made specifically for women. Check the grips and handles for comfort. Make sure each tool you choose is balanced (not inclined to tip forward or backward while in use). Also, adjust the torque on your power tools ahead of time so you don’t hurt your wrist from the force.

  1. Bend Your Knees: Lift objects correctly. Keep whatever you are lifting close to your body, bend at the knees and put one foot slightly forward for balance.
  2. Pain = Stop: Keep your arms and wrists loose, relaxed and not over-stretched while working. And just as I wish for you in all your undertakings, if it hurts – stop.
  3. Be a Fashion Don’t: Always wear eye protection – no matter how dorky you look. If you must, you can try on the new, more stylish safety glasses. Just don’t forfeit your eyesight for fashion.
  4. Sit Down on the Job: Instead of bending over, kneeling or squatting, find a low stool and sit. Do DIY in comfort.
  5. Protect Your Insides Too: Wear a mask when working around construction dust. Never forget your ventilation mask when working near chemicals.
  6. Don’t Be Shocked by DIY: Do not work around any kind of water when holding or near electrical tools. You don’t even need to see obvious wetness. A damp surface or your own perspiration can cause electrical shock.
  7. Even Out Your Weight: When carrying tools, whether in a bucket, on a tool belt or in a tool chest, distribute the weight equally between your right and left hands and/or arms. Carrying excessive weight on one side can cause back and muscle strains.

 With these tips in mind and some good common sense, you can repair basically everything without breaking, bruising, cutting or pulling some piece of yourself. And that’s important. After all, your wholeness, your healthiness, your well-being is what picking up a tool belt (correctly!) is really about; the knowledge and ability to take care of yourself in all possible ways.

4 Comments
  1. July 2, 2010 12:19 pm

    Your headline “in repairing your home, don?t

    • July 2, 2010 9:32 pm

      I’m not sure what the problem is. You can check out my site to see if that works. If not, let me know and I will forward you a copy. http://www.toolboxtomgirl.com should have the whole thing loaded for you. Thanks for letting me know – I will also check and see if there is something I need to fix.

  2. July 4, 2010 11:37 pm

    Great post. Though it kind of reminds me of the time my mom wanted to re-do the kitchen floor when I was fifteen. I have no idea why she thought we could chip all of the linoleum sheet off with hammers and chisels alone. Needless to say I slept well that night, but was pretty sure I had broken myself the next morning. Score one for going out and getting the correct tools and being comfortable the next day!

    • July 5, 2010 1:54 pm

      Tabatha,
      I can only image how you felt the next day. I have learned the hard way to do it right. Thanks for sharing.

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