First Apartment Essentials: Checklist and Guide

Has the time come to move into your first apartment? If it has, you are probably jumping with joy right now – this is the time where you can finally break free and be your own man (or woman). But, as you sit in your new home, taking in all of this freedom, you will probably start having thoughts like – do I even have kitchen towels? This is when you will realize that moving into your first apartment is more than just packing your clothes into boxes and signing a lease. Whether you like it or not, you will have to equip your apartment with tons of stuff, sooner or later. However, doing that is expensive, and you probably do not have that amount of money yet. Do not worry, you only have to equip your apartment with some of the most essential things. And, today, we will share with you our checklist and guide on first apartment essentials. So, if this is something that interests you, keep on reading.


One thing is for sure – we all have to eat. So, unless you plan on ordering take-out every night (which, let us warn you, will eat away your entire budget), you must buy kitchen essentials. Hopefully, you already have a functional kitchen that is well-equipped with all the necessary appliances like a fridge, a stove, and an oven. If you do, all that is left to buy is:

  • one pot and one pan
  • oven-safe dish
  • plates and bowls
  • forks, knives, and spoons
  • ladle and spatula
  • cutting board
  • garbage can
  • skip bins
  • dish towels and sponges
  • oven mitts

Keep in mind that none of these items have to be of top-notch quality. That is, you do not have to spend a fortune on the first apartment essentials, especially if you are on a budget. 99% of all of these items you can find in the dollar store or at Goodwill for a relatively cheap price. Moreover, do not waste your money on decorations and stuff – if you absolutely have to decorate your kitchen with various different knick-knacks, at least check out some affordable home decorating tips and use them- the Internet is full of those.

Living and Dining Room

And now, let us move on to bigger things – furniture pieces. Some apartments come equipped with furniture and some do not – it all depends on the accommodation you found and on the money you spared for rent. If you do not have any furniture, try to buy the following things:

  • bed
  • sofa
  • coffee table
  • dining table and chairs
  • lighting

If your budget is tight, there is nothing wrong with postponing this furniture purchase. Sure, you do not want to eat your dinner on the floor or sleep on a fold-out sofa, but that too is not the end of the world. Wait a bit until you have some money saved, or ask your parents or some relatives if they have some extra furniture pieces they can lend you. You can pack them with ease, load them into a car, and save yourself a ton of money that way.


We spend a third of our life sleeping. Thus, it is important to at least have a good bad or good mattress. But, just as previously mentioned, it won’t be the end of the world if you spend a couple of weeks sleeping on a couch or on a fold-out sofa. Then, when you have enough money, treat yourself with the following things:

  • bed
  • nightstand
  • dresser
  • hangers (for the dresser)
  • lamps
  • sheets
  • blanket
  • duvet and duvet cover
  • pillows

If you rented a studio apartment and if you do not have a separate space for your bed, you will have to make the most out of your living/dining room. As you will be sleeping on your sofa, consider getting those soft memory foam covers so that you could sleep more comfortably. Also, when buying furniture for this area, buy those multi-purpose pieces. For instance, in many decorated contemporary homes, you can find ottomans that serve as tables, chairs, and storage spaces, for instance. Or, you can buy coffee tables that have plenty of space for storage under them.


When the time comes to leave the family nest, unfortunately, you will find yourself struggling to make ends meet. Who can blame you – with all the bills and all the furniture and household knick-knacks you have to buy, it is normal to run out of money. The good news is that you will not have to buy anything particular for your bathroom as most apartments do come equipped with a functional one. But, besides the bathroom pieces like the toilet, shower, and washbasin, you will still need:

  • new toilet seat
  • toilet brush
  • bathmat
  • shower curtain
  • plunger
  • towels

These are all, of course, the most basic things you will need in any bathroom. We strongly advise you not to cut corners and to change the existing toilet seats and brushes – you do not know who the previous tenants have been, so play it safe! Then, when you find yourself having more money, you can also buy a soap dispenser, toothbrush holder, small trash can, etc.

Cleaning Supplies 

When people move out for the first time, no one thinks about cleaning supplies. But, they too are a must, an expansive must. Just think about it – you will be moving into an apartment in which somebody else lived. If you care about your hygiene at all, you will certainly clean every corner of that apartment before you even start taking your stuff inside and unpacking it. Thus, be sure to put cleaning supplies on your First Apartment Essentials checklist. For starters, you will need:

  • vacuum
  • broom and dustpan
  • mop and bucket
  • microfiber cloths
  • rubber gloves
  • cleaning sponges
  • garbage bags
  • disinfectant spray
  • all-purpose cleaner
  • laundry detergent
  • dish soap

Once you buy all of these, then turn to more ‘specialized’ cleaners like oven cleaner, floor cleaner, etc. Of course, while you are at the drugstore, do not forget to also buy toiletries like toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner, shower gel, and everything you use for your day and night routine.

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