Top Things You Need for Your First Apartment – The Ultimate Checklist of Essentials

Each year, about 14 percent of the total United States population moves at least once. A large portion of that vast migration activity are young people in search of education or better jobs. If you’re one of them, you might wonder what things you need for your first apartment.

Moving away from your parents and relocating to a place of your own means much more than writing a check and bringing your unpacked boxes in the middle of the living room. Here’s what you’ll need as an independent individual who has to fend for themselves.

Will Relocation be Worth the Trouble?

How to move out for the first time might be frightening – especially when relocating to another state on the other side of the country, far away from your family and friends. Even moving for love doesn’t make this process easier since you’ll be on your own, independent, facing things you didn’t even know exist.

Whatever your reasons for relocation are, one is for sure – you should be familiar with your moving budget if you want to avoid questions such as Should I move back home? Besides the moving expenses checklist, it’s good to create an additional list with all necessary belongings, the essential ones, and those that don’t need to be bought. They can wait several days or even months after settling in, when your financial situation becomes more stable.

We’ve prepared some moving tips to help you find out what you should obtain for your first apartment and how to avoid excessive relocation stress. Whether you’re just a graduate student looking for a job or someone who is looking for a career challenge, don’t worry. With our moving hacks for furnishing your first apartment, you’ll easily go with the flow.


Preparatory Step – Align Your Budget With Projected Moving Expenses

Purchasing all the essentials for a home is expensive, especially if you’re tight on budget and still don’t have a regular monthly income. After you count in your expenses related to reliable long-distance professional movers, their storage services, and auto shipping, your savings will be significantly reduced. That means some bigger pieces of furniture or appliances that are not vital for your day-to-day routine should wait for the right moment.

Buy furniture gradually and give yourself enough space to enjoy your independence

Things to Do Before You Move into Your New Place

If you want to enter your future living space with a smile on your face, take these precautionary steps so the moving crew can unload your belongings easily and you can settle in smoothly:

  • Replace all locks
  • Fumigate the rooms
  • Clean the fridge
  • Attach power strips to reinforce outlets before the furniture comes
  • Measure each room to make sure all the pieces will fit
  • Think about utilities – they should be set up in advance
  • Change your address
Your fridge will be probably require disinfection before moving in

Draw a Line Between Things You Need For Your First Apartment Right Now and Those That Can Wait

Fending for yourself means planning your monthly costs and having enough money for all your activities. This also means that you’ll be directly responsible for deciding which of your household items you won’t need to buy right now. The good news is that there are enough belongings you can bring from your childhood home or get from friends. Still, shipping expenses might be too pricey when it comes to long-distance relocations. So, balance the pros and cons, weigh out your possibilities and reality, and let your instinct guide you.

Of course, keep in mind that you’ll need to eat, sleep, bath, and clean your apartment in any case. With all this in mind, some essentials like kitchen-related items, nice bedding, or toiletries, shouldn’t be overlooked, while others can definitely be acquired later:

  • artwork
  • area rugs
  • small kitchen appliances you don’t often use
  • bookshelves
  • houseplants
  • tablecloths
  • lamps

What Your New Apartment Shopping List Should Include Before You Move

When relocating and starting from scratch, you might want to decorate and furnish your new place as soon as possible. It’s reasonable because making a cozy oasis will help you adjust the environment and accept your new lifestyle. So, in order to feel comfortable, make sure to purchase these belongings even before you move in:

  • Mattress (if you don’t have already one), mattress topper, pillows, and bedding
  • Hooks and nails
  • Step stool
  • Shower curtain
  • Toilet paper
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Coat/clothing hangers
  • A few kitchen essentials (mugs, plates, cooking utensil, one or two pots)
  • Batteries, power strips, and extension cords
Get enough supplies of toilet paper and don't panic

Start With the Kitchen Checklist: Appliances, Kitchenware, Dishes, and Supplies Are a Must

It’s a well-known fact that first-time kitchenettes are notoriously under-equipped. To avoid eating your cereals out of a coffee mug while your only bowl is in the fridge storing leftovers from yesterday’s lunch, you should be familiar with the idea of a basic kitchen set and what it should contain.

Kitchen Furniture and Essentials

The place where tasty meals are made is usually the area that requires the highest number of items that can be easily overlooked. So, follow our checklist and save yourself the trouble:

  • Dining table and chairs or bar chairs
  • Refrigerator and stove (if necessary)
  • Frying pan
  • Pots
  • Baking sheet
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Bowls
  • Eating utensils
  • Blender
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Storage containers
  • Plastic bags

Food Preparation Supplies – Condiments and Pantry Essentials

If you have a refrigerator, you’ll need to fill up with your preferred food, so be sure to buy your favorite fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and water. Besides, you should have spices and pantry staples to prepare meals to your liking:

  • Chili powder/sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ginger
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Canned soup, beans, chicken, and corn
  • Dried fruit
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Corn starch
  • Peanut butter
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vinegar

Miscellaneous Kitchen Essentials

They are small, but as you know, good things come in small packages. So, if you want to feel the real cooking atmosphere and become an expert in the kitchen, you must experience culinary failures sometimes. And these small things will help you remove all signs of mess efficiently:

  • Trash bags and trash can
  • Aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Multi-purpose cleaner
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Fire extinguisher

Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies

Cleaning is a process that no one likes, but it must be done. A kitchen is where leftovers and greasiness can be pile up quickly if you don’t clean each piece of equipment properly. Cleaning and maintenance supplies are something that every independent adult should provide on time, even before the relocation. As soon as you enter your cooking area, you will probably want to clean all tops and surfaces. Here’s the checklist of basic cleaners:

  • All-purpose surface cleaner for counters
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • DIY cleaners – vinegar, baking soda, lemons
  • Stainless steel cleaner for appliances, sinks
  • Sponges for dishes and surfaces
  • Paper towels, rags, microfiber cloths
  • Scrub brush for pots and pans
  • Bottle brushes
  • Dish gloves
  • Mop bucket
With our guide, you'll be ready to equip your kitchenette completely

Relaxation Starts With a Refreshing Shower in the Bathroom

After a long and exhausting relocation day, unloading boxes, unpacking your belongings, and settling down, there’s no better way to refresh your body and mind than by immersing yourself into bubble foam or taking a prolonged shower. But only with a well-equipped bathroom, your experience will be complete, because a well-stocked bathroom is sanitary and functional. Let’s find out what items you should obtain to furnish your bathroom properly.

Must-Have Bathroom Accessories

Although not among the top-ten to buy, bathroom accessories will provide both style and functionality to an essential room of your home:

  • Soap dispenser
  • Soap holder
  • Toothbrush holders
  • Small towel rack
  • Plastic or fabric shower curtain
  • Wastebasket
  • Tissue paper holders
  • Tumblers
  • Toilet plunger

Hygiene Products and Toiletries

Supplies of toilet paper and personal grooming supplies are necessary to make your daily activities more relaxed and carefree. In addition to toilet paper, make sure you have these items as well:

  • Toothbrush
  • Hand soap
  • Bath soap
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
  • Storage for toiletries
  • Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizing gel

Cleaning Supplies That Will Make Your Bath Shine

If your bathroom receives a quality deep clean, it will require less frequent scrubbing, and you and your guests will feel cozy and comfortable in it. To give an extra shy to your bathroom, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Toilet brush and bowl cleaner
  • Spray bottle with tub and tile cleaner
  • Cleaning products (all-purpose cleaning spray and glass cleaner)
  • Sponges, paper towels, clean rags
  • Broom or dustpan
  • Rubber gloves
  • Stiff brush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Steam or microfiber mop
You don't need to buy pricey products and accessories to transform your bathroom into your own oasis

Make Sure to Equip the Bedroom With All Essentials Necessary for a Good Night’s Sleep

After a good sleep, everything looks better. So, equip your bedroom with quality pieces of furniture and don’t skimp on it. If you save money on some other furnishings in order to get the best mattress you can, you’ll see it’s worth every penny.

Should You Buy a Mattress Before Moving?

A sleeping bag is a perfect solution when you’re waiting to buy a new bed. Still, it can’t last forever. Nothing compares with a comfortable and soft mattress. And there’s much more to it than comfort issues. Studies showed that poor sleep is linked to higher body weight and other health issues. Even more, it can affect concentration and productivity. So, the next time you face the lack of focus at work, maybe it’s high time to buy yourself a quality mattress.

Closet Organizers and Storage

Besides the top-notch mattress, there are more items needed for the bedroom:

  • Closet organizers, such as boxes, shoe racks, hangers
  • Lamps
  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Under-bed storage – it’s perfect for storing large towels, sheets, or blankets
To sleep or not to sleep?

With or Without a TV in the Living Room? It Depends on Your Priorities and Budget

While it’s not utterly necessary, a TV is definitely something you’re likely to possess in your new place. Still, there are more critical things, such as essential utilities, that should take precedence over cable TV and the internet. After you transfer your utilities and make sure you have electricity, water, and gas, think about entertainment. Controlling your budget and choosing the priorities are the characteristics of adults and independent individuals.

Furnish Your Living Room the Way You Like to Spend Time

Having a comfortable sitting nook is a perfect solution for the living room, so take into consideration the following pieces of furniture:

  • Bookshelves or wall shelving
  • Lamps
  • Coffee table
  • Tabourets, lazy bags, and other creative sitting alternatives
  • Area rug
  • Houseplants
With plants, your living space will become prettier

The Entrance Area Makes the First Impression

Last but not least, the entrance area will be the first part of your new home when friends and family start coming. So, make it more inviting by placing some of the following items in it:

  • A welcome mat
  • A small rug
  • Wall hooks for coats and jackets
  • Shoe rack
  • A lamp in case your entrance is too dark
Entrance area welcomes your guests so be sure it's inviting and cozy

Odds and Ends

Some items can’t be categorized anywhere, but still are important in everyday life. These miscellaneous are usually taken for granted, but if missing, you start realizing how important they are:

  • Drawer organizers
  • Flashlight
  • Light bulbs
  • Batteries
  • Candles
  • Matches and lighter
  • Storage solutions

First-Aid Kit

The first-aid kit is one of these must-have miscellaneous items, especially when you’re moving and dealing with tons of preparations, fixings, or adaptations. We all know how easy it is to cut your finger on a paper sheet, and that’s what can happen when opening boxes too. So, here’s what your first-aid kit should contain:

  • Ace bandages
  • An anti-inflammatory gel
  • Band-aids
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Gauze pads
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Cold medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Cold pack and muscle pain relief ointment

Basic Tool Kit

To prevent possible injuries, it’s good to have a starter toolkit on hand. When it comes to assembling shelves and furniture, you’ll achieve a win-win situation with proper tool kit. So, the content of your basic tool kit should have the following:

  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers
  • Allen wrench kit
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Stick-on wall hooks
  • Batteries
  • Extension cords or outlet adapters
Your basic tool kit is a must

Feel Like Home in Your First Apartment

As soon as you get rid of boxes, you’ll start to feel “homey.” And it doesn’t matter whether your living space is decorated and furnished completely or not – being involved in the process of planning, calculating, and having expectations is enough to fill you with happiness. Every beginning is hard, but a step-by-step strategy will bring your wishes and reality in balance. Thinking about things you need for your first apartment is important, but take your time, and through daily habits, you’ll be able to find out what you really need and what are the fruits of your desire.

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