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Checklist: the 327-Step First Apartment Checklist

Sasha Sanders would be making her first apartment checklist. She graduated in 2019 from California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in Accountancy. 

Sasha had spent the last four years at the university shuttling between her dorm room and classes. Her focus was to get a job she didn’t hate.

Luckily, a few weeks after graduation, she got an accounting job offer in a Fortune 500 company in Tempe, Arizona. Sasha fitted in immediately, working in a field she has always felt is her calling.

Six months later, she was ready to move to her apartment from her parent’s place but was clueless on where to begin or the first things to buy.

If you’re in Sanders’ shoes — or almost in it — this first apartment checklist will help you move without friction. It covers everything you’ll need to buy for your first apartment.

Let’s start checking off this checklist.

First Apartment Checklist 1: What You Should Buy Before You Move

No one achieves a perfect apartment in a day. But you should start with the must-haves that you’ll need for your first apartment move.

Bedroom

Your bedroom should provide an instant feel of relaxation from day one. Here is everything you should buy before moving.

  1. Mattress
  2. Pillows
  3. Bedsheets
  4. Curtains
  5. Curtain rods and other accessories
  6. Cloth hangers
  7. Window blinds and shades
  8. Reading table 
  9. Reading chair

Kitchen

The kitchen is probably the second most crucial part of your apartment. It’s the area in your apartment you’ll probably need to buy things the most for before moving.

  1. Table and chair
  2. Plates
  3. Cups 
  4. Mugs 
  5. Water glass
  6. Cutlery set
  7. Trash can
  8. Dishtowel
  9. Kitchen cleaning supplies
  10. Food storage containers
  11. Pots set
  12. Coffee maker
  13. Sandwich maker 

Bathroom

Your bathroom is probably the first room you’re going to put to use after moving in — perhaps to shower away the move-in stress. So, buy everything you’ll need to make it functional from day one.

  1. Toiletries
  2. Shower curtain and accessories (liners and hooks)
  3. Bathrobe
  4. Bath towel
  5. Bath mat
  6. Soap holder
  7. Hand towel
  8. Personal grooming effects

Living Room

Your living room is likely to be the least used room in your apartment within the first few weeks you move in, so it might not be needing too many items. 

Here are the essentials you’ll need to buy for your living room before moving.

  1. Curtains and drapes
  2. Curtain rods
  3. Wall frames
  4. Ambient lighting

Other Move-In Essentials

Here are the other things you’ll need to get ready for your first apartment.

  1. First aid kit
  2. Cleaning supplies
  3. Light bulbs
  4. Torch and batteries
  5. Duct tape
  6. Screwdrivers
  7. Hammer

First Apartment Checklist 2: What You Should Buy For Your Bedroom

After moving in and settling down, it’s time to start transforming your bedroom into a sanctuary. The place where you begin and end your day deserves all the attention you can give it.

Bedroom Furniture

Here is the bedroom furniture you’ll need to buy.

  1. Bed frame
  2. Dresser
  3. Nightstand
  4. One seater couch
  5. Small coffee table or ottoman
  6. Chest drawer
  7. Hanging chair
  8. Underbed box or shelf 

Bedding Essentials

Here are bedding essentials you want to buy before or after moving into your new apartment.

  1. Two king-sized duvet covers
  2. Mattress topper
  3. Pillowcases
  4. Colorful throw pillows
  5. BBedsheets
  6. Blankets
  7. Comforters 
  8. Blankets

Bedroom Decoration Essentials

Your bedroom should feel new and inviting. Here are the bedroom decorations you may want to buy.

  1. Wall frames and paintings
  2. Artificial flowers
  3. Decorative wall shelves
  4. Bedside lamp
  5. Ambient lightings
  6. Wallpapers
  7. Center rug
  8. Alarm clock
  9. Flower vase
  10. Candleholder and candles
  11. Storage boxes
  12. Bookshelves
  13. Floor lamp
  14. Trash can

Home Office Essentials

Use this checklist to set up a functional home office at a corner of your bedroom.

  1. Mini office desk
  2. Office chair
  3. Reading lamp
  4. Desktop or laptop
  5. Electrical cables
  6. Portable chargers
  7. Surge protectors 
  8. Printer 
  9. Printer stand 
  10. File cabinet 
  11. Reusable water bottle
  12. Rug
  13. File organizer or binder
  14. Scotch tape
  15. Stationery 
  16. Wall shelf
  17. Binder clips
  18. Thump stack
  19. Stapler
  20. Glue
  21. Printing paper
  22. Notepads
  23. Pen and pencil holder
  24. Mobile phone holder
  25. Envelopes and stamps
  26. Office trash can

Other Bedroom Essentials

Here are other bedroom essentials you might want to consider for your bedroom.

  1. Closet organizers
  2. Extension cords
  3. Television
  4. Video player
  5. Sound system or wireless Bluetooth speaker

First Apartment Checklist 3: What You Should Buy For Your Living Room

The living room is where you welcome guests and loved ones. It’s your first attempt to impress them, so make it welcoming. Design the space to reflect your personality and tell visitors stories of who you’re inside.

Living Room Furniture

Here are the living room furniture pieces to buy and check off your first apartment checklist.

  1. Sofa set
  2. Coffee and side tables
  3. Media or TV stand
  4. Bookshelves
  5. Side tables
  6. Accent chairs

Living Room Entertainment Essentials

Entertainment systems can impact how much you enjoy spending time at home. These are the essential.

  1. Television 
  2. Video player sets
  3. Sound system
  4. Video game

Living Room Decoration Essentials

Improve your living room allure by investing in the right decorative accessories. There is a class in simplicity. So, keep your living minimalistic and avoid cluttering the spaces.

Here are the decoration essentials to buy for your living room.

  1. Wallpaper (helps makes the living room space inspiring)
  2. Flowers
  3. Wall shelf
  4. Center rug
  5. Floor lamp
  6. An artistic chandelier or overhead lighting

Entry Area Essentials

These essentials help prevent tracking dirt, snow and rain into the apartment. If you have an entry area, then consider investing in them, and in the other essentials.

  1. Coat hanger
  2. Welcome mat
  3. Umbrella holder
  4. Boot and shoe storage
  5. Live or artificial flower plant (helps add character and charm to the entry area)
  6. Doorbell

First Apartment Checklist 4: What You Should Buy For Your Kitchen

You already set up a functional kitchen when you moved in. 

Your focus after moving in should be to improve the current collections and invest in the right kitchen gadgets and other essentials. 

Avoid spending on things you don’t need at the moment. Use this after-move checklist to buy everything you need for your kitchen.

Kitchenware Essentials

Buy more of this kitchenware to improve what you already have. You could buy the ware in matching sets or buy them in pieces to match them as you like.

  1. Dinner plates
  2. Salad plates
  3. Serving utensils
  4. Mugs
  5. Cereal bowls
  6. Serving platters
  7. Large stock pots
  8. Saucepans
  9. Deep frying pans
  10. Muffin pan
  11. Skillets 
  12. Baking dish

Other Kitchen Essentials

This kitchen starter kit will make your kitchen more functional. Tick them on your first apartment checklist as you gradually add them to your kitchen collections.

  1. Kitchen cleaning supplies
  2. Baking sheet
  3. Cookie sheet
  4. Kitchen knives
  5. Cutting board
  6. Measuring spoons
  7. Mixing bowl
  8. Colander
  9. Foil 
  10. Window blinds
  11. Plate organizer
  12. Cup organizer
  13. Spoon and fork organizer
  14. Knife organizer
  15. Serving spoon organizer
  16. Bottle opener
  17. Kitchen scissors
  18. Corkscrew
  19. Ice cube tray
  20. Funnel
  21. Measuring cups
  22. Potholders 
  23. Dish drying rack
  24. Spatula
  25. Cabinet paper (for lining shelves)
  26. Dish soap scrubber
  27. Plastic bags (for storing foods)

Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen appliances make cooking seamless. Investing in a suitable gadget can cut down on the time you spend cooking — freeing up valuable time for other pressing needs.

  1. Washing soap dispenser
  2. Water filter
  3. Electric blender
  4. Instant pot
  5. Microwave
  6. Oven
  7. Mixer
  8. Coffee pot or kettle
  9. Dishwasher
  10. Water purifier
  11. Hand-held blender
  12. Juicer
  13. Electric chimney
  14. Pressure cooker
  15. Ice cream maker
  16. Knife sharpeners
  17. Air fryer
  18.  Electric grill
  19. Meat grinder
  20. Meat thermometer
  21. Whisks
  22. Vegetable peeler
  23. Grater
  24. Can opener

First Apartment Checklist 5: What You Should Buy For Your Dining Area

Whether in your kitchen or anywhere else, you’d need a place you can dine in peace. You’ll be spending a lot of time in your dining area, so make it cozy, clutter-free and full of styles.

Use this checklist to design a dining area that reflects your personality.

Dining Furniture

Investing in a quality dining table can enhance your dining enchantment. Here is the dining furniture to buy after moving in.

  1. Dining table
  2. Dining chair set
  3. China cabinet or a sideboard
  4. Wine bar storage

Dining Decoration

In different studies, Rutgers University and Harvard University found that having flowers at home increases compassion and happiness, reduces depressions and anxiety, and energizes people. 

So, use them and other dining decorations to make the dining area more alluring and energizing. 

  1. An area rug
  2. Photos, frames, and paintings
  3. Flowers
  4. Wall shelf
  5. Drapes, curtains, and blinds
  6. Curtain rods and accessories
  7. Ambient overhead Lighting  
  8. Candle stand and candles or battery-operated candles for fire-safe options
  9. Tablescape

23. Other Dining Essentials

Here are the other essentials to buy for your dining area.

  1. Wine mixers
  2. Trash can
  3. Hand towel
  4. Wine glasses
  5. Wine collections

First Apartment Checklist 6: What You Should Buy For Your Bathroom

Your bathroom is also the ultimate judgment zone. Guests and people are going to judge you based on how they perceive your bathroom. 

Use this checklist to keep things in order.

Shower and Bathroom Essentials

You already have most of your shower essentials sorted out before moving in, but you could add to the collection to make it more functional.

  1. Soap dispenser
  2. Toothbrush holder and paste dispenser
  3. Toilet lid cover, anti-slip mat and shower curtain set
  4. Flowers
  5. Toilet tissue holder
  6.  Personal grooming products
  7. Medicine cabinet

Bathroom Cleaning Essentials

The activities that go on in the bathroom make it vulnerable to an overwhelming army of germs. Don’t move in unprepared. Use these bathroom cleaning essentials to keep your bathroom healthy.

  1. Disinfectants
  2. Hand gloves
  3. Toilet brush
  4. Toilet bowl cleaner
  5. Grout brush
  6. Tiles cleaner
  7. Plunger 
  8. Detergent
  9. Glass cleaner
  10. Floor scrub brush
  11. Disinfectant spray or wipes (to kill germs on doorknobs, flusher, sink and shower handles)

Bathroom Gadgets

Here are bathroom gadgets you might want to consider for your bathroom. Of course, they are optional.

  1. Aqua notepad
  2. Toilet bowl light (illuminate your toilet bowl at night)
  3. Towel warmer
  4. Waterproof Bluetooth speaker 
  5. Bidet toilet seat
  6. Portable space heater
  7. Chemotherapy shower
  8. Waterproof shower TV (you can listen to the news while taking a shower)

First Apartment Checklist 7: What You Should Buy For Your Medicine Cabinet

It’s always helpful to have essential medical supplies. A well-stocked medicine cabinet helps you prepare for a swath of inevitable aches, injuries, and symptoms.

However, call your physician before administering medication.

Fever and Pain Relievers

Here are pain relievers you should buy for home use.

  1. Paracetamol
  2. Ibuprofen
  3. Acetaminophen 

Skin and Wound Care

Use these supplies to treat minor skin wounds and skin-care treatments.

  1. Petroleum jelly (for minor burns, dry skin and eczema)
  2. Lotion
  3. Hydrocortisone 1percent (for insect bite, sting and rashes)
  4. Antibiotic ointment (bacitracin and Neosporin)
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Antifungals
  7. Calamine lotion (for minor skin irritation)
  8. Disinfectant (Dettols and alcohol wipes)
  9. Hydrogen peroxide
  10. Soap (for disinfecting cuts)

Allergy Relief

Add these allergy relievers to the medicine cabinet.

  1. Antihistamine (runny and itchy nose, irritated eyes or skin, sneezing) 
  2. Saline nasal spray (for the blocked, stuffy, itchy or dry nose)
  3. Allergy eye drop

Cold Care

These essentials will help you fight cold and cough.

  1. Cough syrup
  2. Menthol rub
  3. Honey (for cough)

Supplements

iHerb and Bodyunburdened.com recommend these nine essential supplements (1). Check them off your first apartment checklist as you add them to your medicine cabinet.

  1. Zinc (promote immunity)
  2. Vitamin C
  3. Activated charcoal (for food poisoning and bloating)
  4. Magnesium (ease headache, muscle cramping and promotes a restful night sleep)
  5. Elderberry (for flu, cold and immune-boosting)
  6. Echinacea (for colds and immune-boosting)
  7. Ginger (for nausea, stomach ache, heartburn and indigestion)
  8. Vitamin D (improves low mood)
  9. Oil of oregano (antibacterial)

Tools and Supplies

Here are the must-have tools for your medicine cabinet.

  1. Digital thermometer
  2. Bandages of different sizes
  3. Gauze and medical tape
  4. Tweezers
  5. Masks 

Other Essential Drugs

Here are some of the eMedicine health recommended essential over-the-counter medications (2) you should have in your medicine cabinet. 

  1. Aspirin (for arthritis and first-line treatment for heart attack and stroke)
  2.  Loperamide (for diarrhea)
  3. Melatonin (for insomnia)
  4. Benzocaine (sore throat)

First Apartment Checklist 8: What You Should Buy For Cleaning and Laundry

Unless you intend to rely on a laundry service or laundromat for all your cleaning and washing needs, you’d need cleaning supplies to remove stains and wash clothes.

Laundry Essentials

Here are all the laundry and cleaning essentials you should buy for your apartment.

  1. Liquid detergent
  2. Powder detergent
  3. Baking soda (this is a natural fabric softener)
  4. Borax
  5. Chlorine bleach
  6. Color-safe bleach
  7. Washing soda
  8. White vinegar (softens water)
  9. Stain removers
  10. Fabric softener
  11. Coldwater starch

Laundry Gadget Essentials

Here are essential laundry gadgets to make laundry more effortless, efficient and joyful.

  1. Washing machine
  2. Portable cloth washer (if you travel a lot)
  3. Ironing board or ironing mat
  4. Dryer rack
  5. Iron
  6. Steamers
  7. Laundry bags
  8. Waste basket (for used clothes) 

Home Cleaning Essentials

Use this checklist to get your home cleaning supplies and gadgets.

  1. Scrub brush
  2. Rubber glove
  3. Vacuum cleaner
  4. Dry-cleaning sponge
  5. Disinfectant
  6. Broom
  7. Mild abrasive
  8. Dust mop
  9. Mop bucket
  10. Trash bags
  11. Duster
  12. Glass and window cleaner
  13. Liquid soap
  14. Supply caddy
  15. Disinfecting wipes or spray
  16. Microfiber cloths

First Apartment Checklist 9: Additional Necessities

Here are the additional necessities you should buy after moving into your first apartment.

Home Toolkits

Here are the essentials you should buy for your home toolkit. Cross them off your first apartment checklist as you add them to your collections.

  1. Screwdriver set
  2. Measuring tape
  3. Toolbox
  4. Pliers set
  5. Utility knife
  6. Putty knife
  7. Hand saw
  8. Adjustable wrench

Utility Essentials

You want to check these utility essentials off your first apartment checklist as quickly as possible.

  1. Water and sewer
  2. Electricity
  3. Gas
  4. Waste pickup and recycling
  5. Internet
  6. Satellite and cable TV
  7. Telephone

Research utility providers and ring them up. If you are renting your home, you could ask the homeowner or real estate company for a list of the providers that service your area. 

Ensure to understand all the utilities your rent cover before signing the lease agreement.

Safety Essentials

Your home probably has smoke detectors and other safety devices, but if it doesn’t, consider installing them as soon as you move in. 

Use this safety toolkit to prepare your home for fire and other emergencies.

  1. Fire extinguisher 
  2. Smoke detector
  3. Carbon monoxide detector
  4. Gas leak detector
  5. Emergency escape kit

Miscellaneous

Here are the other essentials you should not forget to buy after moving in.

  1. Shoe rack
  2. Air fresheners for every room
  3. Sewing kit
  4. Command hooks
  5. Space heaters 
  6. Raincoat, boot and umbrella
  7. Light bulbs
  8. Electric socket extension
  9. Candles
  10. Doormat
  11. Coat rack
  12. Stapler
  13. Fans
  14. Key hook

Wrapping It Up

Moving into your new apartment doesn’t have to be challenging. This first apartment checklist ensures you enjoy the process and embrace the new beginning.

It covers everything you’ll need to buy for your new apartment. 

Of course, you don’t have to buy them all at once. You could begin your new life with the items in the First Apartment Checklist 1 and then buy the others gradually when you move in.

Remember to cross off your checklist as you add items to your home.

Download the Printable Checklist Here.