by Staff Writer
You had it so easy in the dorms. An RA or Dorm Mom made sure that repairs and maintenance were taken care of. But if you've moved off campus into your first apartment, you'll need to take care of those things yourself. With a basic tool set, you can handle the occasional fixes as well as assemble flat-pack furniture. Put these tools on your list of back-to-school supplies and you'll be ready for quick fixes and repairs when they come up.
Hammer: When you first move in, you'll want to start by decorating the place. College students around the world have tried to hammer nails with a shoe or a rock, but you may want to break with that tradition and have an actual hammer. It doesn't need to be very big; a standard 10-inch claw hammer will be sufficient. Before you hang anything, make sure that your landlord lets you put holes in the wall. Each hole may cost you a few dollars from your deposit when you move out.
Screwdriver set: Tightening drawer pulls, assembling some furniture, sometimes even changing batteries: These are all tasks that may require a screwdriver. Screwdriver sets with interchangeable bits let you work on screws of any size and drive that you would typically see in an apartment. If the bits store in the handle, it will be small enough to easily stash in your junk drawer. Look for a set with a ratcheting screwdriver, so you can tighten and loosen screws without re-seating the driver head for every turn. Magnetic driver heads help prevent screws from slipping, which can help make the task easier.
Allen wrenches: Almost all flat-pack furniture is assembled with an Allen wrench. Many packs come with the ones you need, but a backup set can prevent a frustrating return trip to the store if it's missing. Allen wrenches need to be just the right size to work, so you'll want to have a set of about 10 pieces to be covered for any situation.
Utility knife: Opening the boxes you carefully taped shut at your parents house will be so much easier if you have a utility knife. You can then use it to break down the boxes and store them in a closet until the school year ends and you need to move again.
Rubber mallet: Some jobs need a gentler touch than a hammer can give. From assembling furniture to easing open a stubborn kitchen drawer, some simple tasks are made even easier with this tool. You could also use a rubber mallet instead of a hammer if you are prone to accidentally hitting your finger.