If you’re like most New Yorkers, your apartment’s toolbox is comprised of leftover screws from your last IKEA purchase and maybe a pair of scissors. It’s only when you decide to do a DIY project, such as hanging photos in a thoughtful, measured way, that you realize your toolbox is sorely missing some key items.
Unless you plan on doing some bigger DIY renovation projects in your apartment, it’s not necessary to drop $150 on a stocked toolbox with a million nuts and bolts you’ll never use. Here are 10 essential tools that every New York City apartment should have when hanging decorative items, assembling furniture, and working on simple repairs:
1. Multi-Head Screwdriver
Screws come in so many different shapes and sizes, and sometimes a flat or Phillips-head screwdriver won’t work when trying to assemble a more complex piece. A multi-head screwdriver stores a variety of bit types within the handle. It’s like owning multiple screwdrivers in one.
These can run from $10 to $40, depending on brand and style. To step it up a notch, you can save yourself twisting effort by buying a ratcheting screwdriver, such as this one: Megapro Ratcheting Screwdriver
2. Electric Drill
My roommate and I recently purchased a floating island from Lowe’s and attempted to put it together with a Phillips-head screwdriver. That method lasted all of about five minutes before we decided to make a run to the hardware store and invest in an electric drill. I recommend a drill that is cordless and compact. And they are cheaper than you think, like this $25 model by Black & Decker.
Get a claw hammer with a rubber handle, as the claw portion will come in handy when removing nails from the wall and the rubber handle will reduce vibration and provide a secure grip. These can range from $12 to $35, depending on brand.
4. Tape Measure
Tape measures are heavy, bulky, and difficult to use. Save space in your kitchen drawer and download a tape measure app on your phone instead. For iPhone users, there’s an app called Measure that uses the phone’s camera to take measurements. For Android users, I recommend downloading the ARCore Ruler or AirMeasure apps.
See Rentals in Manhattan Under $3,000 a Month Article continues below
To ensure your shelves, art, and picture frames are completely straight when decorating, you can spring for an actual bubble level, which comes in a variety of sizes and costs, such as this 9-inch, $3.25 model. Or you can use an app on your phone. The iPhone’s Measure app has a leveling option and for Android users, I recommend downloading the Smart Ruler app.
6. Adjustable Wrench
Leaky faucets can be common in New York City apartments, and an adjustable wrench will help fasten it into place. A wrench can also come in handy when tightening bolts on furniture, fastening hooks when hanging decorative items, or bending/straightening metal objects.
7. Channellock Pliers
Channellock pliers, also known as tongue-and-groove pliers, are primarily used for plumbing and electrical repairs. They are made from high-carbon steel and have a locking feature that helps tighten or loosen an object.
8. Duct Tape
Duct tape can be used to temporarily patch a rip in a window screen, mend a crack in a bathtub, or cover a hole in a wall. If your apartment has hardwood flooring, duct tape can also be used on the bottom of furniture to keep it from scratching the floors.
9. Utility Knife
A utility knife is far sharper and more precise than a pair of scissors, particularly when lining cabinets with contact paper or cutting plastic, cardboard, or linoleum.
10. Step Stool
A step stool will be a handy object to have around when fixing light fixtures, hanging art, or painting hard-to-reach areas. I recommend buying a Command hook to hang the step stool out-of-sight behind a pantry or closet door.
See Rentals in Brooklyn Under $3,000 a Month Article continues below