First Apartment Checklist – What to Check, What to Buy, Where to Go

November 9, 2022 / Posted in Finding a Home
Georgia Michaelson

Born and raised in St. Louis, Georgia Michaelson is a content writer with a specialty in moving and traveling. Her tips can help you relocate without a fuss

When thinking about living on your own for the first time, all that comes to mind is complete freedom. However, as good as it is, total freedom can be overwhelming which is why you might need some guidance. That’s why we have a great first apartment checklist that will help you stay on track and not spiral out of control on your way to complete independence.

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Being on your own with complete freedom is exciting, but try to stay organized

What are the must-haves for a first apartment? For starters, those are the basic things you need on a daily level. Later on, you can easily add more stuff, but for now, you have to focus on the basics such as kitchen utensils, bathroom essentials, and a mattress to sleep on.

Having a First Apartment Checklist Will Make Moving So Much Easier

Living on your own is a big step, a milestone if you will. It marks the start of a brand-new era in your life, an era of amazing stories, but also a period of great responsibility – you no longer receive the help of your parents, and you have to learn how to live on your own.

Whether you’re moving to college or just moving out of your parent’s house, it can be difficult, especially if it requires cross-country moving. That’s why we’re here to help you. You’ve probably brought all you could carry from your parent’s house, but after packing, there are still some things you need to buy later, such as:

  • Stuff for your bathroom,
  • A mattress,
  • Furniture,
  • Electronic devices, etc.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration during this process – all the items and supplies you have to buy, the cost of long-distance moving services, the cost of hiring an auto transport company, and all the other expenses. That’s why you should set your relocation budget and create a moving out for the first time list. Having a checklist will help you stay organized and on top of everything. You will be able to see everything you should do and get for your future home, all in one convenient place. We’ve prepared some things that must be on that list.

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A checklist is a lifesaver when it comes to relocating

How Do I Prepare for a New Apartment?

Emotionally, you can never fully prepare for a move. Physically, we’ve got you covered. Think about the things you need for your first apartment. We’re talking about the first apartment essentials. Since you’re probably in your twenties, chances are you’ll be moving from a house to an apartment and would have less space, but it still beats having to move into a college dorm.

We know it sounds like a hassle, but you will have to learn how to downsize remember, the key is decluttering. Be smart about what not to pack. You shouldn’t move the pool table or bring all of your high school medals and trophies. Donate unwanted items, and figure out which items you should sell and what to keep. You can always get packing services if you want the easiest way to pack.

Cleaning Before You Move in Is a Non Negotiable

When daydreaming about your place, one question must have popped into your head: what should I do on my first night in a new apartment? Unpacking or having a Netflix and chill type of night might sound tempting, but that’s not exactly what you should do.

The answer is simple – clean! Just think about who was there before you. Not to mention the mess left after cross-country movers and all those boxes. Thoroughly clean your new place and you will see it in a whole different light. It can make an apartment feel like a home.

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Cleaning before unpacking is mandatory

The First Room to Set up Should Be the Bedroom

It goes without saying that the most important room in the house is the bedroom. It’s where you will spend most of your time. Everyone needs a good night of sleep, especially after relocating. So it’s only logical that the first thing you will buy will be a good, comfy mattress.

After that, think about the bed frame, bedside table, and dresser. Unless you’re one of God’s favorites and you’re moving into a place with a walk-in closet, look for one of those as well. Pillows, sheets, and blankets should also be on the list. If you’re on a budget, you don’t have to own twenty throw pillows. Start with the basics. You can always add the details later.

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For starters, find the perfect mattress for you

Bathroom Essentials You Need to Get

Even though the bathroom is second on our list, it’s definitely a priority. You might think it will require the least amount of work because it already comes with everything – a tub, a toilet, and a sink. But there are so many little things you need to buy for your bathroom but often forget.

Let’s start with towels, products you use daily, toilet paper, a toilet brush, a shower curtain, soap, a toothbrush holder, a bathroom mat, a trash can, and cleaning supplies – those are just basic items you have to get as soon as possible.


Kitchen Essentials Everyone Needs in Their Home

When it comes to the kitchen, giving advice is tricky. Some people have never stepped foot in it to cook something, and they haven’t turned the stove on in their life. So it’s safe to say their idea of kitchen essentials is quite narrow compared to what essentials mean to a true foodie.

However, there are some universal items every kitchen should have, such as plates, bowls, mugs, glasses, cutlery, a minimum of two pots and two frying pans, dish soap, and a sponge.

You Don’t Need All the Kitchen Related Gadgets

If you love cooking, you’re probably used to your old kitchen that has all the gadgets and appliances your heart could desire. Sure, get a garlic press and a lemon squeezer, but you don’t have to own every knick-knack and gadget under the sun.

A pasta machine, juicer, or rice cooker will take up a lot of your space. We recommend managing without them for a while if you don’t have a lot of space or funds. Of course, there are always some small apartment ideas that will help you use every inch of space wisely.

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Don't go overboard with stuff you won't use

Don’t Feel Obligated to Have a Fully Equipped Living Room

Since you’re just starting on your own, from scratch, don’t feel pressured to have a living room that looks like a page in Architectural Digest. Get items and furniture you truly love and that you can afford. Do it at your own pace and enjoy decorating your place.

Don’t get a cheap set you don’t love just to get it over with. Save money and buy a piece every month or so. Start with a sofa, add a coffee table, a lovely lamp, some shelves, and a TV. Later on, you can accessorize it with paintings, pillows, rugs, and plants.

Where to Find and Buy Furniture and Other Items

Furnishing apartments from scratch can be pricey. That’s why people have found creative ways to decorate their homes for less. Besides buying furniture in a regular store, you can also buy it at thrift shops, find online deals on sites like Kaiyo, and be on the lookout if someone is trying to get rid of a piece of furniture.

Hit a few garage sales. You can repurpose old furniture, turn it into a DIY project, add your personal touch, and make it look brand-new again. You can decorate however you’d like. Take it step by step, don’t stress over it, don’t feel rushed, and enjoy every moment of independence.

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Enjoy decorating your home

Get Emergency Supplies

You’ll be completely on your own for the first time, so be sure you are prepared. Your to-do list should definitely have a section reminding you to get emergency supplies – a first aid kit containing the following items:

  • Band-aids,
  • Medicine,
  • Antibiotics and pills,
  • Disinfectant sprays,
  • Rubbing alcohol,
  • Thermometer,
  • Sterile gauze.

We also recommend getting pepper spray, especially if you’re a woman. You could even double up on everything and keep a kit in your car, assuming you hired a car shipping company that transported your car to your new place. Here’s how you can make a first-aid kit on your own:

Update Your Address and Change Your Personal Documents

When relocating, an important thing to do is remember to update the address on your documents – your ID, passport, health insurance, and driver’s license. Also, don’t forget to forward mail to your new address, as well as any monthly subscriptions. You don’t want your parents to continue receiving your mail. Before you leave, cancel any memberships you have.

Other Home Essentials You Should Think Of

Besides the obvious things we have already mentioned, there are some additional things we would like to remind you to add to your list:

Get a vacuum cleaner

It’s such an obvious statement, but it’s one thing people often forget to buy until they really need it. Cleaning supplies aren’t just chemicals. You should also buy a vacuum, a mop, a bucket, gloves, etc. This is a good place to also remind you to get an iron and an ironing board.

Get a toolbox

Everyone needs to have a toolbox in their home, even if they are planning to call the handyman for everything. No one expects you to become a professional repairman, but you should know how to change a lightbulb or drive a nail into the wall. That requires basic tools and supplies like batteries, flashlights, lightbulbs, extension cords, matches, candles, hammers, screwdrivers, scissors, etc.

Have an air conditioner installed

If you’re relocating in January, it might not be a priority at the moment, but at some point, you will have to get an air conditioner if your landlord doesn’t provide one.

Secure your new home

Being home alone often can cause a lot of stress, so any form of protection that makes you feel safer is welcome. The first thing you should do is change the locks if they haven’t already been changed after the last tenant. After that, be sure you have smoke detectors that work properly, and get a fire extinguisher. A smart idea would be to make a deal with your parents or a friend to check up on you at the end of each day.

Create a plan of chores

Don’t forget you’re living by yourself now. That means you have the burden of all the responsibilities and housework. Now you are the one who needs to buy toilet paper, take out the trash, clean the kitchen, and pay the bills. No one will do it unless you do it, so make a weekly plan for those activities.

Say Goodbye to Everyone and Start Counting Down the Days Until You Become Independent

Now that you know what you need for the first week in a new apartment, the final step is to send out the moving announcements. Figure out who to notify you’re relocating, find the perfect way to celebrate your upcoming freedom, and descend into adulthood. You could also throw a farewell party. If you want to make the move go as smoothly as possible and stress-free, hire long-distance movers, sit back, relax and daydream about your solo life.

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