When you move into your first apartment, you may not think you’ll have much use for tools. After all, if your sink is clogged, you’ll just call the office and put in a maintenance request. But the maintenance man doesn’t always move as quickly as you might like, so it’s good to have some basic tools around for quick repairs and other tasks.
Following are some must-have items for your beginner’s toolkit:
Hammer and Nails
Unless you prefer bare walls, you’ll need a hammer and nails to hang pictures and artwork in your apartment. Brass nails are among the most versatile, because they can support a decent amount of weight and are extremely difficult to bend, even when you’re a little sloppy with a hammer.
Tape Measure, Level and Pencil
You’ll need a tape measure, probably before you even move your furniture into your new apartment. You can plan the layout of rooms by measuring what items will fit in particular spaces. And when you hang items on walls, a tape measure is essential for anything that requires two nails. For example, if you’re hanging a large mirror that has a picture hanger on each upper corner, you’ll need to measure the distance between the two hangers and use your pencil to mark that distance on the wall, for accurate nail placement. You can ensure the nails are parallel by measuring from the top of the wall to each nail. When you’re finished, check your work with a simple bubble level. Then admire yourself in the mirror.
Pipe Wrench and Bucket
There may come a time when you have to take apart a sink trap. Ideally, you should let maintenance handle this task. But if you drop your favorite ring down the drain and start to panic, you may feel better knowing you can retrieve it yourself. Don’t forget to put the bucket under the sink before disassembling the drain pipe.
Extension Cords and Power Strips
The outlets in your apartment may not be exactly where you want them to be, so you can pretty much count on needing one or two extension cords. Invest in a good power strip, and use it to power your laptop, TV or any electronic you can’t readily afford to replace. A power strip will protect your electronics during a power surge or lightning strike.
Cable Tacker and Staples
If you don’t like tripping over extension cords and power cords, then you’ll love a cable tacker! This glorified staple gun has rounded staples that secure cords to the floor or to baseboards.
Get one flathead screwdriver and one Phillips screwdriver. Especially if you buy assemble-it-yourself furniture, both of these tools will come in handy.
You’ve probably seen those cheap little tool kits that allegedly have everything you need. Don’t buy one of those. The kits are cheap because the tools are shoddy, and you really don’t want a hammer falling apart as you use it. If you’re having a housewarming party and guests ask what they should bring, drop a hint about the tools you want.