the most important things you need in the house after divorce | S2, Ep. 10


Welcome to another episode of the exEXPERTS DIVORCE etc… Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re T.H. & Jessica. 

T.H.: I’m really excited. We are really excited. [Yes we are]. Today’s guest, Timisha, founded this awesome company called ToolBox Divas. Before I do a full introduction, I have to tell you how I found her. I was looking for an expert that could help our audience learn how to change the oil in their car, learn how to change a flat tire, and as I’m Googling, I see ToolBox Divas. First of all, love the name. Then I started watching her stuff and I’m like, I found my girl. I don’t even care what she does. She does stuff with the toolbox, she’s going to help a bunch of people, so welcome to our show Timisha.

Timisha: Hi! How are you guys?

Jessica: We’re good. We’re so happy to have you here. I would just want to add to what T.H. just said. We also when we first spoke to Timisha to convince her to come on and be a guest here, we just feel like she so fits in with us. Her personality, she’s so engaging and fun, so we hope you love her as much as we do because this is not going to be the last time you hear from her.

Timisha: Oh, thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. You guys are amazing.

T.H.: Thank you.

Jessica: Thank you. 

T.H.: Before we get into tools, can you just share with us briefly how did this even start? Where was the need that you found in your life that you needed to learn how to build and fix stuff?

Timisha: Well, honestly, all of this really started with a breakup years ago.

Jessica: As it often does.

Timisha: Well, I found myself by myself and my parents they lived too far away. I couldn’t exactly call my dad to come to help me do things. I was low on funds and I needed to fix something. Originally, I had just bought a house. It was before this house, before I moved here.

I’d just bought a house and I wanted to fix it up and do things, but my money was low and I didn’t have anyone else to call. I had to basically just make it work.

I would call up my uncle and call up my dad and just get advice on what to do. I started just getting in there and doing things and my first project was putting up crown molding in my living room

Jessica: That’s pretty ambitious.

Timisha: I did not know how to cut angles.

T.H.: It wasn’t like changing a doorknob.

Jessica: Right.

T.H.: It was putting up crown molding. Oh my god.

Timisha: Yeah, maybe I should rewind to that.

Prior to that, I was sitting there watching HGTV constantly. I was getting to the point I was like, I’m tired of watching these people. I need to do this myself and stop just watching.

I started doing this and one thing that I realized, well, I think I should have known this, I suck at angles. I made so many mistakes, but I found this kit that had these blocks that you put in corners that made it look like crown molding for dummies.

Jessica: Oh, that’s helpful.

Timisha: It was the best thing ever and I had put crown molding up in my living room and I was done.

Jessica: That’s amazing. I thought you were going to say you found these like YouTube videos that explained and showed step by step because I bet that’s what most people are doing, which by the way, they can be going to your YouTube channel and watching all the ToolBox Divas YouTube videos to learn all of the basics about what they need.

Timisha: That’s true, but at that time, YouTube wasn’t as popular. I mean it was, but this was maybe 10-15 years ago. YouTube was popular, but it wasn’t popular in that way just yet.

Jessica: Right, got it. Alright, so you put up crown molding, and then you’re like, check me out!

Timisha: Yes! Then I moved on to do a backsplash in my kitchen.

Jessica: Whoa, I mean, those are like major projects.

T.H.: Well, are they major projects? Or do they just sound major? I don’t know, Jessica and I guess if we put our mind to it, we could do it. I was just really proud that I put together this really big drying rack.

Jessica: I feel I could caulk something.

T.H.: I don’t know if I could do it right. I could do it, but I’m not sure it would look as good as what Timisha is going to do.

Timisha: No, no. I like to say there are lots of ways to accomplish the same job. Yes, there are some wrong ways, but for the most part [laughs]–

T.H.: The house might fall down and the door might fall off.

Timisha: You can get to the same result in so many different ways.

Jessica: Okay you do crown moldings, you do the backsplash, and you’re a full-on fix-it woman and totally feeling–

Timisha: Well, I wasn’t too fast at that point.

Jessica: To the average woman you’re like a full-on superwoman at this point. But even though you felt you still have things to do, at what point did you recognize with the skills that you’re learning and your personality, this could actually be a business?

Timisha: That actually came years later when I bought my second home, which was a complete fixer-upper. I moved to the Washington DC area and the housing market here at that time was, and still is, just way different from how it is down south.

In order to afford a home, I had to basically buy something that was a disaster. It’s my home now [laughs].

Jessica: Which by the way, it looks amazing, but I totally get it. I can totally relate. The apartment that I bought last year is a complete gut job, and the same thing, you’re going to get a better deal.

T.H.: Except that Timisha went into it saying, I’m going to fix up this house.

Jessica: And I went into it saying I’m going to hire a contractor.

T.H.: Right. You and I and almost everybody else would be like, you got a guy?

Jessica: You’ve got to get a guy.

Timisha: You’ve got a guy, okay.

T.H.: I want to get a girl. I want to get a gal.

Timisha: Yes, there are a lot of female contractors these days.

Jessica: Are there?

Timisha: They’re a little harder to find, but they’re around, here and there.

T.H.: When you’re fixing up this first home of yours, were you looking at it like this is a playground for you and getting excited with each new project you do? I put the drying rack together, I’m good. It’s not what excites me, and that’s not where my passion lies, but this is clearly where your passion lies. Is this always something you always liked to fix things and put things together? Was this always something that you liked to do?

Timisha: Yes, and it just grew. From me fixing up things in the home, after grad school, I went to community college and studied carpentry. Then after community college, I started studying and I joined this tool library in Baltimore.

I started learning more about woodworking and making furniture. That’s when I really just started trying to do a lot of things on my own and fine-tune what I had learned in school and on my own.

Jessica: It’s like you found this hidden passion almost that you didn’t even know you had that you may not have even come across, had the circumstances been different.

Timisha: Honestly, in the back of my mind, I always thought I want to do this, I want to do that, but I never would actually get up off the couch and stop watching TV or pinning it to Pinterest. I was just like you know what, I’m done. This is making me so unhappy. On a Friday night, I’m sitting here just watching TV and wishing I could do that at home or had a home that looked like that. No, I was like, okay, I need to just figure out what I can do on my own.

T.H.: Let’s just stop right there because that was your aha moment, and that’s when things turned around. There are so many people out there who have maybe never worked or just don’t even know where their skills or passions lie.

The truth is, if you just go into your every day, and explore the things that you like to do in your day, that makes you happy, those are probably the things you should explore. That’s exactly what you did, and that’s exactly what our audience needs to hear. You can do it.

If you want to do it, you can do it. It’s like going to the gym. The hardest part is getting there. Once you’re there, you’re there, right?

Timisha: That’s true. That’s absolutely true. And honestly, for a long time, I was trying to figure out what’s my purpose. I tell you, I’d be in church and the pastor would be talking about you need to know your purpose, find your purpose. And I’d be thinking, well, it’d help if you would tell me what it is.

T.H.: Right, give me the tools to figure it out.

Timisha: But no one actually tells you what your purpose is. It kind of has to be something that you just you discover on your own. But once you find your purpose, everything is easy.

Jessica: Right, because you’re so engaged and you’re feeling so passionate about it. Let’s continue with your story. You’re fixing up your house, you’re figuring all these things out, time passes and you come to the realization that these are actually skills that you can pass on and teach to other people and that would be gratifying to you. Tell us how you turned it into ToolBox Divas?

Timisha: I would constantly have girlfriends come and ask, well, can you come to help me do this? Can you come to help me do that? And honestly, I did it for a while, and I did it for food. And I was like, no, I’m not doing this anymore for food, my waist is not appreciating this [laughs]. And so I was like, okay, so a friend of mine was like, well, what are you going to do with this energy? How are you going to channel this? I was like, huh, well, maybe I could charge people? I don’t know.

But it got me to start thinking about maybe I could be a DIY coach. I started off as a DIY coach and I set up a website.

I would encourage people to email me if they need coaching to do something on their own. One of the things that I found was I saw that Google likes websites that are constantly changing. One of the ways that I could do that was by starting to blog. I figured if I started blogging about some of the things that I was doing in my own home, Google would like that and put my website in front of people so people would call me to be their DIY coach. I realized that people didn’t really want you to be their DIY coach; they want you to actually just do it.

Jessica: They want you to be the guy.

Timisha: They want me to be the guy or girl [laughs]. And so I found that I was blogging and doing tutorials more than I was actually coaching in person. Honestly, that actually then led to virtual coaching more so. I started doing this TV series for local TV here where I live, and it just started growing from there. I started doing Facebook Live, and that’s when Facebook Live was huge and just getting started then.

Jessica: And so now is the business people hiring you to go and do work and things that they need to be done, or is the business more people paying you for you to be able to teach them the skills to do it themselves?

Timisha: It is more a more of the latter. Also, someone will submit their project to me, and if I like their project, then I’ll go and help them. And with the help of a sponsor, we might makeover a room or we might build a piece of furniture together.

Jessica: That’s amazing.

T.H.: I love that.

Jessica: One of the things that T.H. and I have talked so much about, I know she was telling you briefly at the beginning of this call that she’s been learning to do some tasks around the house lately. She sent me a video last week of her changing out the toilet seats in some of the bathrooms while by the way, her partner/boyfriend/live-in lover, he’s literally standing behind her. I can hear his voice. He’s a contractor. I can hear his voice and I’m watching her doing the work and I’m like, what the hell is happening here? What am I even watching? But we’ve been having an ongoing–

Timisha: It’s 2021.

Jessica: She’s preparing for you Timisha. She was preparing her skills for this call. 

T.H.: Well, we ordered the toilet seats because they were cracked. He took them and he took the screwdriver getting ready to go change them. I go I want to learn how to do it. He goes, you do? I’m like yeah, I mean, how complicated can this be? Except I didn’t know there were tabs at the back. That’s a game-changer. If you know the screws are under the tab, anybody can change a toilet seat. That’s my tip of the day, everybody, there you go. Also, make sure if it’s an elongated toilet that you get the elongated seat otherwise–

Jessica: Oh my god.

Timisha: You’d come up short literally.

T.H.: That’s my tip of the day. But I am learning from him and you guys will all see one day I helped. ‘Helped’. He allowed me to take the first four hits on the house that we’re building as we were knocking down the original house. I got to crush the roof and the garage and the whole thing was so exciting.

Jessica: She was literally driving a bulldozer.

T.H.: There’s an art to it as there is to everything. I’m sure Timisha your craft is so much better than the first day you did it, but there’s definitely an art to knocking down a house. I was just playing and not hurting anybody including myself. And then my partner actually knocked down the house. But I’m game to learn things now I’m into it.

I think it’s really empowering for women in particular, and there are many men out there who should also feel empowered by learning how to do shit around the house and build stuff.

But stuff has to get done and you have to know that when the water is overflowing, you’ve got to know where the water shut off is. Timisha, if you’re living in a home and it is different living in an apartment, what are the things you need to know? When I was single, newly separated, with my kids in a new house, I had the handyman honestly show me how to do the stuff I needed to do.

So you share with our audience, what are the things you need to know how to do if you’re going to be in your own home?

Jessica: Or at least the top three things.

T.H.: Right, the top three things.

Timisha: You named one of them. You need to know where the water shutoff valve is, but not just for the main one for the house. You need to know where it is for the sink in the kitchen, and you need to know it for the bathrooms. If something starts flowing, you need to be able to cut that off.

T.H.: Okay, that’s number one.

Jessica: It is number one, but I just want to ask a follow-up to that. Is it the kind of thing where they’re generally in a similar place? If I move into a new house, will wherever that valve is in a similar place to where it may be was in my last house, or not?

Timisha: No. With older homes, it’s even more challenging. In some older homes, they may not even have a cutoff valve in the kitchen or each bathroom area. You might have to have that added.

Jessica: How would someone find that if they’re in a home by themselves? What are the clues to go search for it?

Timisha: For the main shutoff valve, you want to go look maybe in your utility room, or maybe where your hot water heater is. For your kitchen, you can actually just go under your kitchen sink and see if there is a knob that you can turn the water on and off with. If there isn’t, you want to have a plumber come and install one.

Jessica: Oh, that’s good to know. If you don’t see a shutoff valve, you need to have someone come and put one in.

T.H.: What I also did when I moved into my house because I had it inspected before I moved in, I followed the inspector around the house because he checks for all the basic things.

Timisha: That’s a good thing, yeah.

T.H.: I mean, with the shutoff, mine was actually behind a wall in a bedroom in the basement. It wasn’t in the utility room. It was next to the utility room, but you would never know where the hell it was. They opened the panels and there it was. Okay, that’s number one.

Timisha: And the panel needs to be accessible. Mine actually was nailed shut.

T.H.: What!

Jessica: So what’s your number two tip that everybody needs to know if they’re living in a freestanding independent home?

Timisha: The number two tip is you need to have one to two–I’d say two fire extinguishers, one in the garage and one in the kitchen.

Jessica: Why in the garage?

T.H.: Do you need to know how to use it by the way?

Timisha: Well, in the garage, for me in the garage sometimes I might be working with fire [laughs].

Jessica: Oh my god.

T.H.: Do you need to know how to use it?

Timisha: Yes, you do.

T.H.: Also, for me to sell the house, the fire marshal had to come in and make sure my fire extinguisher was certain spot and blah blah blah. If there’s a fire, I don’t know how to use the fire extinguisher, and you don’t have time to read the directions. Make sure you check it out.

Jessica: Read it before you first buy it.

Timisha: I’m sorry, I missed it.

Jessica: I was saying when you first buy your fire extinguisher and bring it home, review the instructions for it.

Timisha: I didn’t do that. But one of the things I did find that was easy is they now make a fire extinguisher that looks like a spray bottle like an aerosol can.

Jessica: Amazing.

Timisha: Now that I have them in aerosol cans, I keep them around everywhere.

Jessica: That’s really smart. Okay and then what would be your third most important must-know tip for people at home?

Timisha: You should also know how to read each of the areas on your electrical panel. You need to know what each leads to. This is kind of an offshoot, have one of those switches that will tell you whether or not something is hot or not. This is one of those moments where I can’t remember what it’s called.

T.H.: You made in the fuse–?

Timisha: A fuse detector. Well, it’s not a fuse detector, but you need to have a label on your fuse box next to each area. You want to have one of those electrical gadgets that if you push it into an electrical outlet, it tells you whether or not is hot or not.

Jessica: Oh right, for an actual outlet to know if you plug something in and it’s not working properly, then you may not be sure if it’s whatever the appliance is versus the actual outlet itself. I know what you’re talking about. You can get those at Home Depot and you can literally plug it in and you hold it up there and it’ll tell you if your outlet itself is the problem.

Timisha: Yes, but also say your fuse box isn’t fully labeled, it allows you to be able to track back to figure out what area that fuse works for. My house was so old and that box was just so messed up that I had to literally go through and turn off and on each fuse area to figure out where it was. I would go and check if the power on my living room. Is the power on in my bedroom? Is my refrigerator working? Is my stove on a separate fuse? What I learned was my house was poorly run. It also will alert you to whether or not you need an electrician to come in to make any changes. Through that, I realized that I didn’t have enough power to support all the modern appliances in my home.

T.H.: I also had more than one panel. I had a panel that was upstairs. I didn’t realize I had more than one, and when my power went off upstairs, I went into the basement. It wasn’t working for anything. Then I found it behind my bedroom door.

Timisha: Oh wow.

T.H.:  And then there was another separate one in the garage because my garage was detached, so you might have more than one panel. I learned how to do that and I relabeled all of mine because I couldn’t read his or her handwriting that was there before so I relabeled all of it. I felt pretty proud when I would go down and I’d be like, oh, I tripped the whatever. I’m going to just flip the switch back and now I’ve got my microwave back again.

Timisha: Yeah, that was one of the things. I can run my microwave and iron clothes at the same time.

Jessica: Right, now you have the electrical supply. But those are really good tips for people to know. I live in an apartment and in the city, but obviously, I still have to have an electrical box. In this temporary apartment that I’m in right now, I did have electrical issues in the beginning and some of the outlets weren’t working. I was able to go to the electrical panel, and I don’t know why I know this, but I do know that all the switches should be in a row.

If there’s one switch that’s a little bit in the middle, that’s probably the one if you flip that back on. I also was proud that I was able to troubleshoot that which is really important. But I also remember one of the first things I did after my first divorce when I moved into an apartment on my own was I bought a toolbox. Now, it’s pink because it’s me, but I really felt how many times are you in a situation and you need to have a screwdriver, or you need to have pliers, or whatever it is, and I was here on my own. Anyone listening, whether you’re a guy or a girl, I mean it’s definitely important to have a toolbox in your home.

But Timisha, if someone didn’t want to buy a whole toolset, what would you say would be the three most important tools to have in your house that could cover most of the ground of things that you’d be working on alone. Like a hammer?

Timisha: I would say the most important thing to have is your basic Phillips and flathead screwdriver. You want to have them in a couple of different sizes, but you also want to have a drill, a good drill, not a wimpy girly drill.

Jessica: I don’t have a drill!

T.H.: –an electric drill? Oh, an electric screwdriver. I do have not an electric drill, sorry.

Timisha: Yeah, you can use an electric screwdriver but just a regular basic manual one even from the Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree has some really good ones. But a drill with a kit of different drill bits will get you very far. And a good hammer.

Jessica: A good hammer, right, exactly.

T.H.: That’s intimidating, a drill. It’s intimidating for me. I like the electric screwdriver better I think.

Timisha: But the drill will allow you to hang curtains.

T.H.: Yeah, I’m not there yet.

Jessica: We’re not there.

T.H.: You know what we need to do? We need to learn how to use a leveler.

Timisha: Okay, yes.

T.H.: They’re always–here. He’s got antique ones, and they’re everywhere because my curtains are not going to be perfectly straight. The rod’s not going to be straight. That’s why it’s intimidating to me. You have to have multiple people and that’s a whole project we can talk about another time

Timisha: Actually, a level is actually pretty important. You can get a really small level or a big level. And nowadays–

T.H.: And now there are lasers. Don’t they have lasers on your phone and stuff that show if it’s in a straight line?

Timisha: Yes, on the iPhone, which I cannot figure out how you turn the ringer off on this by the way. They have a level on it. I just got an iPhone last week so I saw that it had–

Jessica: Welcome to the 21st century, Timisha.

T.H.: She didn’t need it! Look at how resourceful she is and she didn’t need an iPhone. Now, what’s she’s going to do?

Jessica: We could teach you a few tips.

T.H.: That’s right.

Timisha: Yeah, like learning how to text.

Jessica: Right, well, that’s some good really practical information. The most important things people need to know when they’re living in a home by themselves, which is obviously very common after divorce. The most important tools to have because you go to IKEA–well, I guess IKEA is a bad example because you don’t really–well, I guess I needed a hammer when I–

Timisha: No, but you use one to put the frame together.

Jessica: No, you do, but they have most of the pieces, but I did have to use a hammer to hammer in some of the little wood pieces. But the truth is you need to have some basic tools around to be able to start your new life, post-relationship, or whatever the case may be. But what we’re going to do is we’re going to do another episode with Timisha where we actually are going to be having her demonstrate how to how to do a few basic tasks so that people can watch and really learn from the ToolBox Diva herself.

T.H.: We’re going to see how Jessica and I fare. We’ll each have our own tools ready to go, and we’ll see if we can be coached if we’re coachable.

Jessica: That’s right.

Timisha: You guys, this stuff is so easy. I mean, you guys I know you’ve got it.

Jessica: Yeah, well, we’ll see. You can judge us when the time comes.

T.H.: We appreciate the good faith though.

Jessica: That’s right. In the meantime, I want to say that on our exEXPERTS website, there is going to be a whole experts page as we do with everyone, that’s all about Timisha and ToolBox Divas. It’ll have all of the information on how to access her social, her videos, her website, and reach out to her if you want to try to be one of those lucky people that has a project that she might actually help you with in person. Or learn how to do it directly from her because this really is a service that we think is essential and we promise you’ll have fun doing it with Timisha.

Timisha: Well, that’s a requirement. You have to have fun.

T.H.: You have to have fun or you’re going to have to fly her in to where you live and hire her.

Jessica: That’s right because she’s the girl. You don’t need a guy.

T.H.: You’ve got a girl.

Jessica: That’s right.

T.H.: You’ve got a diva.

Jessica: Thank you Timisha so much for your time today. We can’t wait to do the next one with you.

Timisha: Thank you, guys. I had so much fun. I really enjoyed it

Goodbye: For everyone out there listening, if you know anyone at all who would benefit from what we talked about today please share this episode and everything exEXPERTS.  Be sure and click to subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and please follow us on social media @exEXPERTS Divorce etc… on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and our website at  Thanks for listening!

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