If you are moving or have recently moved into your first apartment, pick up your smart phone and add a calendar event called “Pick up a tool box”. It does not matter who you are, what your gender may be, or what you do for a living. If you live on your own you should have a tool box. There are certain things you should always have access to even if you never plan on using them. It’s like a safety pin. I couldn’t imagine my life without having a stash of them but I rarely, if ever, need one.
If you need to get a toolbox you have plenty of options. You can pick them up inexpensively at your local dollar store, Walmart, Target, Home Depot or Lowes. You can usually find a starter kit with most items included. You can also find them at yard sales or on craigslist. My husband found one at a yard sale for $5. We call it the magic tool box because it was a best-case scenario. It’s like a big win on “Storage Wars”. It was a well-stocked kit that we imagine got on the wrong side of a bad relationship. [Side note: If your relationship is in jeopardy, get your tool box to a safe place before things unravel.]
You may have a family member with an overflowing workshop. Your father, uncle or grandpa (or for my children, their mother) might have a few extra items in their garage/workshop. If you are putting your kit together, here is the “bare minimum” list needed:
- A hammer for putting up pictures. (It can also double as a weapon if it’s kept by the flashlight in your nightstand.)
- An all-in-one screwdriver for tightening anything. We use them on door knobs, drawer knobs/pulls and switch plates. I like having an all-in-one because you never know when you will need a larger or thinner phillips head screwdriver.
- Needle-nosed pliers are heaven-sent when you need them the most. You can retrieve jewelry dropped into a hard to reach place. You can safely remove items from your garbage disposal.
- Locking pliers for the times when you are doing something tedious and you need a third hand.
- A set of allen wrenches are great when putting together IKEA furniture. (Could also be used for unlocking the motor on bottom of a garbage disposal.)
- A small socket wrench kit (ratchet set) is a life saver if you need to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts, especially if the nut/bolt is in a difficult spot or if it is really difficult to loosen.
- Flashlights – multiple flashlights. You should have one by your bedside, one in your car and one in your toolkit. You never know when you would need to see behind/under your dresser, (looking for an earring or a dropped part to an electronic?) or when a storm could knock out your power.
- A small level is a must-have if you ever hang photos, shelves, artwork, etc. Also good for knowing if surfaces are level.
- A tape measure is used when trying to center artwork on a wall, when shopping for window coverings, or when shopping for, or placing furniture in any space. Knowing the measurements of a room, a wall, a window, or the clearance of a door swing is necessary.
- Duct Tape seems cliché and silly but I’m not kidding when I tell you I have several rolls of this stuff. I have different colors and designs. I use it for projects, art, or if you need something held in place. It’s another way to have an extra set of hands. There are some humorous ideas as well. (feel free to share!)
Use your tool box when you want to hang a picture, put together a new piece of office furniture, or want to hang curtains. If you have a service request, want to pay your rent, or want to chat with a neighbor, use Camden’s tool kit, mycamden.com.
If you live in a Camden Community you are doing business with an organization that is on Fortune’s List of Best Places to Work for the fifth consecutive year. They aren’t just the only multi-family company on the list, but they are number 7 on the list. That’s a pretty big deal. What does that have to do with your first tool box? All this means is that you won’t need to use your tool box on your apartment. Camden employs the most talented and committed maintenance professionals in the industry. When employees have extreme job satisfaction they perform better and treat people nicer. They Live the Promise and Honor the Values. It just means you have a better chance of being cared for in a way that will exceed your expectations.