Stock Your Toolbox: The Dorm Room Starter

by Randy Murray on September 14, 2011

I just sent my youngest daughter off to college. Among the myriad things she packed for her dorm room, I made sure she had a basic toolkit to handle some of the most common tasks.

In the little red canvas bag we packed the following:

  • A medium sized claw hammer
  • A 16′ tape measure
  • A screwdriver with changeable bits for multiple sized Phillips and standard screw heads
  • A needle nosed pliers
  • One roll of black electrical tape
  • A small box of assorted, nails, brads, hangers, screws, and tacks
  • One small adjustable wrench
  • A set of Allen wrenches.
  • A level

Since this is for a dorm room and you’re not supposed to nail anything into the walls, I also included an assortment of 3M Command fasteners. They hold well and can be removed without residue or marring the surface.

You might also consider a small but powerful flashlight, a wire stripper/cutter, and a stud finder (the little magnetic kind will suffice).

You can put together a little kit like this for under $30. Having the right tools handy when you need them can be priceless.

Read other Stock Your Toolbox articles.

The Stock Your Toolbox: The Dorm Room Starter by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mari September 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

Such a thoughtful father you are, Randy! Since your daughter is an art student she surely is equipped with X-acto knives and blades, but other students might want to add a utility knife to their toolbox.


Randy Murray September 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

The utility knife, as you know, is a BIG difference from the X-acto. The X-acto is great for control and fine work, but the utility knife will cut deep and you can use it without worrying on big, rough material.

When I dropped her off at school I used the hammer, the screwdriver, the level, and the measuring tape to help with here initial dorm room setup. I’m sure she’ll use all of the tools at some point in the year.


Mari September 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

Just pointing out that a blade comes in handy. Knowing how to use it is altogether different: respect the blade or you’ll learn the hard way. With your help your daughter sounds prepared for her tomorrows.


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