First Apartment Essentials You Need for Your Big Move

A shadowy, minimally decorated apartment

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Moving out can be the most exciting time in a person’s life. Whether your long-term goal is to buy a house or rent a dream luxury apartment, you’ll likely start in the same place many others did: your first apartment. As you move out, you’ll likely notice you need more things than you thought. Some first apartment essentials may not even come to mind right away. Still, you can’t just avoid buying the necessities. Here are some of the ones you may have forgotten while packing up your room.

First Apartment Essentials: The Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and even if you don’t plan on dressing yours up, you should strive to cultivate a cohesive kitchen that serves you well. Figure out what your apartment provides for you, then make a plan to fill out the rest of the kitchen either gradually or all at once. You’ll be grateful for these first apartment essentials for your kitchen.

1. Basic Appliances

Your apartment complex will likely come with the big things, like a refrigerator and microwave. You may even have a dishwasher. However, smaller appliances you’ve taken comfort in, like air fryers or toasters, may have to come from you. They can be pricey devices, so try to map out which ones you must have and which you’d like to have after a while.

2. Place Settings

While relying on disposable plates and cups might be tempting to avoid an additional chore, it’s more cost-effective to own place settings for yourself, anyone who might live with you, and your future guests. If you’re living alone, you may want to have a set of at least four place settings so you don’t have to wash your dishes constantly.

Image is of an empty apartment with light wood floors and white walls, with a door leading to some trees outside. Some first apartment essentials would make it feel more lived-in and cozy.

You might think getting biodegradable materials is worth the investment, but it all goes to the landfill the same and takes up the same amount of space in a trash bag. It’s better for the environment just to wash your dishes. Plus, your guests will have something nice to eat on and utensils that can cut any meat dishes.

3. Cleaning Linens

Paper towels are nice, but you don’t want to use them for every spill. If you have a washer and dryer included with your apartment, getting rags and dishcloths is more effective to help you clean up messes and wash your dishes. These reusable cloths are better for the environment and might even match the decor in your apartment.

Even if you aren’t big on matching, these linens are part of expressing yourself through your apartment. If you’re big on Halloween, you can keep spooky-themed dish towels out year-round. It’s your apartment, so you choose what you want to display.

First Apartment Essentials: The Bathroom

Whether you’ll share a bathroom or have your own, you must be prepared for almost any situation or disaster. Aside from your toiletries, these first apartment essentials will be the most important items in your bathroom. It’s better to have them so you can be prepared whenever you need them. Plus, it’ll save you the time and effort of running out to buy them later on.

1. Plunger

A plunger is one of the things you don’t think about until you actually need it. Even though you’re renting, your apartment isn’t a hotel — you might not always be able to rely on management to unclog your toilet. Buy your own plunger and learn how to do it yourself. You’ll be grateful for the skill and potentially save yourself some embarrassment from calling someone to help.

2. Extra Toilet Paper

Toilet paper goes faster than you might think, especially when you live with someone else. When you move in, the last thing you’ll likely be thinking about is if there’s enough toilet paper to last you for the next few days. Always keeping extra toilet paper around, whether you’re just moving in or have lived there for months, can ensure you’re never in a bathroom emergency.

3. Cleaning Products

Your apartment won’t stay sparkling and new forever. You must buy the proper products to keep it clean because nobody likes a dirty home — and you likely won’t have as many guests if you have clutter and trash everywhere. Consider downsizing if you have too many items, as a more minimalistic approach is easier to keep up with. Still, no matter how much you own, you should have some all-purpose cleaner and a few more specific items, like glass cleaner or a heavy-duty vacuum.

You should know the differences between certain cleaning products before you bring them home. For example, disinfectant products are not household cleaners — they specifically target viruses and bacteria to eliminate from your household.

First Apartment Essentials: The Bedroom

Your bedroom is bound to be your oasis, which is why there are so many first apartment essentials you need to get proper rest so you can fully enjoy your new life. Adding a few things for comfort, both your own and any pets’, will reinforce the idea that your new apartment is home and a place to feel safe and comfortable.

1. Bedsheets

You shouldn’t be sleeping on your bed without sheets. They help you regulate your temperature throughout the night and can make you feel more comfortable when resting. You don’t need to have the highest quality possible to ensure you get adequate rest, but you should use every component of a sheet set: fitted sheet, top sheet and comforter or duvet.

Opt for a couple of different sets to replace the ones on your bed almost immediately after you wash another set. Since you should be washing your sheets once a week, having multiple sets ensures you never have to worry about not having sheets on the bed because you forgot to wash or dry something.

2. Quality Pillows

Though they might be a bit more expensive, quality pillows can be the deciding factor between getting a good night’s sleep and feeling exhausted the next day. The right pillow can even improve or eliminate snoring, which might heighten your quality of life overall. Don’t skip getting the most supportive pillows for you.

3. Pet Bedding

If you’re bringing a pet with you, you have to think of their needs. You’ll likely want them sleeping in the same room as you, so you’ll need to consider bedding. Your room will become your pet’s room, too, so you’ll want them to be comfortable. Consider bringing all their supplies and adjusting them as needed after you unpacked them.

A small list of what you may include for your pet in your room may look like this:

  • Soft Bed
  • Favorite Toys
  • Crate (if applicable)
  • Water Bowl

Pets are unique, just like humans, so there’s no easy way to tell what your pet may feel comfortable with in their new space. Remember that it may take them some time to get acclimated to their new environment, just like it will for you. The best you can do is make them comfortable to help ease the transition from house to apartment.

First Apartment Essentials: Miscellaneous

You might notice your checklist has to include things that go throughout your apartment and aren’t just assembled in a small area. These items are often non-negotiable first apartment essentials, as they are necessary to live well in your space but may not be at the front of your mind until you’re mostly unpacked — and then find yourself without them.

1. Curtains or Blinds

Your apartment might come with huge, open windows that provide you with enough natural light to get tasks done. However, you don’t want people peering in, especially at night. Proper curtains or blinds can protect your privacy while also looking nice and helping your apartment feel put together.

2. Furniture

Don’t make yourself sit on the floor. Good furniture can support proper posture and also keep you comfortable whether you’re watching television or eating dinner. You can slowly assemble the pieces to make your apartment feel like a home. As you save for the elements you want, you can find others through thrift stores.

Certain pieces of furniture shouldn’t be compromised. For example, a work desk and setup are must-have first apartment essentials, as they allow you to both work and play from home. You’ll be able to work on any personal projects with ease while also having a station in case you need to bring your work home.

3. Decorations

Your apartment is what you make it. If you don’t decorate it, then your home is just a little box you sleep in. Find decorations that speak to you. Over time, you may curate a beautiful collection that means something to you. Until then, you should pick out things from your room at home and spread them around your apartment.

If you find yourself lacking in wall decor, think of the following options:

  • Photographs of loved ones
  • Commissioned art from a local artist
  • DIY art projects you love
  • Renter-friendly wallpaper for a statement wall

Your collection should grow over time. Right now, if you want to decorate your walls, posters and art from big retailers might be the most affordable option. Above all, try to fill your space with art and items that delight you.

Move Into Your New Apartment With Confidence

When you prepare for a big move properly, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to live on your own. Whether you’re truly living alone or sharing with roommates, you’ll still have to be independent. These first apartment essentials can help you feel prepared to live alone like the true adult you are. Focus on what you can do right now — you have time to save money for upgrades that better fit your aesthetic. For now, just enjoy the fact that you can live freely in your own space.