Here’s the perfect present for the apartment dweller on your gift list, whether it’s your child, your neighbor (particularly the one who forgets to return things) or maybe even yourself: Apartment repair tools, or perhaps an entire toolkit.
We’re talking about the basics. Tools that will make quick work of hanging pictures, assembling furniture and handling minor repairs. You can buy them new, either individually or in a preassembled kit. Or, take a look at secondhand stores or even through your own overflowing supply. Before gifting, clean off any rust with a penetrating lubricant and a scrubber. Just don’t “economize” by giving cheap, fragile or broken-down tools. They won’t last.
Here are 10 tools that are perfect for a starter toolkit:
- Hammer: Choose one that will fit the recipient’s hand – not too light, not too heavy. Get one with a claw head to pry out nails.
- Screwdrivers: You need both a Phillips-head screwdriver for screws with the x-slot in the head, and a standard flat-blade for screws with a straight slot. The #2 is the most common Phillips size used in the home.
- Pliers: Handy for all sorts of gripping, bending and turning, pliers can prevent a whole lot of anguish – and even finger pain. Needle-nose pliers can fit into tight spaces. Slip-joint or adjustable pliers can hold objects of varying sizes. Both are nice to have.
- Tape measure: For hanging pictures, sizing furniture or measuring for curtains. A metal, self-retracting tape measure of 15 to 25 feet allows one person to measure accurately without a helper.
- Flashlight: It doesn’t have to be kept in the toolbox, but everyone should have at least one flashlight in the house, fully-charged or with new batteries. Multi-LED lights provide bright, long-lasting illumination. A small flashlight fits in a pocket or purse, a large one shines over a wide area, and a headlamp will free both hands for difficult tasks.
- Utility knife: A great all-around cutting tool. Many have replaceable blades that can be retracted or folded for storage. A segmented blade has a tip that can be snapped off when it grows dull, exposing the next sharp segment for use.
- Pencil: Better than marking up walls with a ballpoint pen.
- Duct tape: Repairs just about anything, and it’s available in many decorative colors and prints.
- Multitool: This can be a great single tool for a variety of emergencies, especially when kept handy in a pocket, purse or glove box. Depending on the tool, it may have knife blades, screwdrivers, pliers, bottle openers, files and more. Don’t settle for a cheap one that will break on the first use.
- Toolbox: Even an empty toolbox makes a great gift for the renter with screwdrivers and nails rolling around in various drawers. Or, get the box and fill it with everything above. A compact size makes it easy to store in a location that’s convenient and accessible.
Still have room in the box? Add a level, wire cutters, putty knife, adjustable wrenches or wrench set, nail and screw assortments, electric drill with bit set – there’s no end to the number of tools the do-it-yourselfer can find a use for.