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14 Things You Need for College if You Rent an Old House or Apartment

If you rent an off-campus house or apartment that isn't shiny and new, be prepared to take on some occasional repairs and fixes. Always check with your landlord prior to doing anything like drilling into walls, hanging extra shelves or working on the plumbing because you could lose your damage deposit if you don't get their OK. However, if you're willing to do some of the small fixes yourself, your landlord might even be appreciative!

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The ToolkitSeregam/Shutterstock

The Toolkit

Exactly what your tool kit contains is up to you, but no matter what, you'll need something better than a drawer to store your tools. And it should be large enough to hold all of your tools but small enough that it isn't unwieldy.
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Good HammerFamily Handyman

Good Hammer

A sturdy hammer is essential. But not sure what hammer to choose from the huge selection available to you? We can help narrow down the choices.
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On the Level

On the Level

Sure, you know that a level is an absolute requirement when hanging shelves and pictures, but did you know that you might need one to level any furniture that you have to assemble if the floor is uneven?
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WrenchesFamily Handyman


A set of wrenches will come in handy for a variety of tasks, such as assembling a bed, adjusting your swivel desk chair or doing a quick tune-up on your bike or oil change on your car.
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Screwdrivers are even more useful than hammers. And a huge kit of screwdrivers isn't necessary, though. You just need a No. 1 and a No. 2 Phillips, plus short, medium, and large flat-blade screwdrivers. Magnetic tips are awesome, but make sure you have a couple with non-magnetic tips if you plan to use them when working on electronics.
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Cordless DrillCourtesy of Black + Decker

Cordless Drill

A cordless drill/driver can make repair work easy for things like a loose railing or door repair. Plus, a cordless drill is tougher to misplace than a set a screwdrivers. And of course, someone could always borrow it and forget to bring it back, but it's not going far since it'll need recharging.
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Drill BitsFamily Handyman

Drill Bits

A set of drill bits should include bits capable of drilling through wood, masonry and metal.
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An Assortment of Hardware

Get yourself a box of assorted hardware, available at hardware stores and home centers. And the collection should include two or three sizes of wood/drywall and sheet metal screws as well as an assortment of small brackets and eye hooks. Drywall and cement anchors are also usually included in these kits.
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Dependable Flashlight

You really need a flashlight that's more than just a flashlight. Ideally, it'll have multiple functions and plug into the wall so it's always charged and ready. What's even better is if it automatically turns itself on when the power goes out.
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You Might Need to PaintFamily Handyman

You Might Need to Paint

If previous tenants painted the walls of your house or apartment garish colors or if no one has painted since cranberry red was popular, your landlord might agree to let you paint. And if they won't let you paint common areas, perhaps they'll at least agree to let you paint your bedroom walls. Also, if your landlord won't supply the painting equipment you can pick up what you need, and if you take care of it, you'll won't have that expense the next time you need to paint.
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Smooth Rough Edges with SandpaperFamily Handyman

Smooth Rough Edges with Sandpaper

The edges of wooden railings, window sills and other wood trim in older buildings is often chipped and can cause splinters. And a few swipes with some sandpaper will fix it right up and if your landlord OKs it, you can apply stain to mask the repair.
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First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

Always keep a first aid kit on hand for emergencies. Aspirin, ibuprofen, bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, tweezers, scissors and tape are bare minimums. A couple chemical heating pads and ice packs are also highly recommended.
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Duct Tape and Rubber BandsAnteromite/Shutterstock

Duct Tape and Rubber Bands

If you live in an older building, duct tape and rubber bands are essential. And these two fixer-upper mainstays can help hold together almost anything that's cracked, split or broken.
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Rubber Mallet

Rubber Mallet

Whenever you need to tap or pound something that you really don't want to damage, use a rubber mallet instead of a hammer. It's one of the must have tools for home. And in a pinch, you can take a rubber foot (used on chair legs to protect the floor) and slip it on a hammer and use it as a mallet.

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