Buying good quality garden tools is a great start. They usually do a better job, and are more enjoyable to use. But if you'd like them to last a lifetime, then a bit of maintenance is important.
We've put together a Tinker and Fix Tool Maintenance Kit to include everything you'll need to keep your garden tools in top condition. The kit includes:
A Garden Tool brush. This is a wooden handled, stiff bristled brush which is specifically designed to use regularly to clean soil from digging tools (e.g. trowels and spades). The wooden handle also has a chisel end to scrape off dried on soil.
A large brass brush. You shouldn't need to use this as frequently as the garden tool brush, but, for more stubborn jobs, like removing surface rust, this brass brush comes into its own.
200ml Boiled Linseed oil + a lint free cloth. If your tools have wooden handles they'll appreciate a rub over with Boiled Linseed Oil. We tend to do this once a year in the spring on all our garden tools and then sporadically on specific tools that look a little "dry" through the year. You only need a small amount and the lint free cloth makes it easy to apply.