Vol.2, No.8

A toolbox checklist for renters

Building a tool box takes time and patience, but these are the essentials for any renter of a house or apartment.

Essential tools
Moving in to a rental house or apartment means that you are not responsible for many of the repairs that may need to be done. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't have tools on hand in case something breaks, especially if it is something that you own. There is no need to have a lot of extra space to contain this simply, yet effective toolbox that will come in handy, no matter the item that needs fixing.

First, you'll need a box. A small stepstool like toolbox is probably the best bet, this can be stored in the linen closet, or even under the bed and just pulled out whenever a tool is needed. A place for everything and everything in its place is how the saying goes. There a few tools that are necessary to have: a hammer, a flat head screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver and measuring tape. The measuring tape should preferably be the mechanical type that winds back into the holder. The hammer doesn't have to be fancy, either. You can purchase one at the dollar store that is sufficient for small repairs or wall hangings. The screwdrivers can also be purchased at a dollar store, or for a few dollars more, an interchangeable version can be bought at home improvement stores or in the tool section of most department stores. These are just the basics, now it's time to assess your needs to make this toolbox a reality.

If you enjoy having artwork and pictures hanging on every wall, then picture hangers are mandatory for the toolbox. These can be purchased at any arts and crafts store, department, grocery or hardware store. Perhaps you have quite a few knick-knacks lying about; if this is the case, shelving is the way to go. Most likely, drywall anchors will be necessary to hang up the shelf. The shelf is easily made from a flat piece of wood or metal set upon a set of brackets. Drywall anchors are bits of plastic that hold weight in the drywall sheet and then a screw is screwed into the plastic piece over whatever needs to be fastened to the wall. Otherwise, searching for the stud is necessary. This is tedious and unnecessary thanks to drywall anchors.

Dealing with drywall, you will want a pair of safety glasses. These are clear, wraparound plastic (either soft or hard) glasses that protect your eyes from dust and flying debris. It is recommended to wear anytime you are dealing with tools. Eye protection is very important. Another item that may come in handy while dealing with drywall is a dust mask. This fits over the nose and mouth and keeps dust from being inhaled, which can irritate the nose, throat and lungs. Dust masks are usually disposable and only good for a limited time, as the moisture from exhaling softens the material and makes it less effective in keeping dust out.

A level is also necessary to ensure proper shelf mounting; otherwise, all of your knick-knacks will go sliding off the shelf. There have been great advances in levels, and now a laser level can be purchased. Laser levels are the same idea as a regular level except, instead of having someone hold the level steady for you while you make your marks on the wall, you can use the laser level, which attaches to the wall and then make your marks as necessary. The beam also turns around inner corners if you want to extend the line.

There isn't much necessary to make sure that you have an all purpose tool box, and some people may feel that a socket wrench set will come in handy. You probably don't need every tool ever invented, but these basics (hammer, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, picture hangers, drywall anchors, dust mask, laser level and safety goggles) will keep you well prepared.