Congratulations on moving into your new apartment! All the effort learning how to find a place to rent paid off, and now you found the perfect home. But what are some key things you need for an apartment when you’re starting out? If you’ve never lived in your own place before, you are probably lacking most new apartment essentials.

No matter what apartment community you choose, you’ll need a few important items to get started. Creating and using a first apartment checklist will help make your apartment functional and, more importantly, feel like home.

Why Use A First Apartment Checklist?

Moving requires extensive planning. There are a thousand decisions to make and probably just as many things to buy, especially if it’s your first apartment. From picking the right apartment community to updating your kitchen and bathroom knobs, moving into your first apartment can be overwhelming.

Having a checklist can also help you stay on budget and prioritize the new items you want to buy. For example, if you aren’t working from home, maybe you don’t need to purchase a desk and chair right away. If being able to entertain is important to you, you’ll want to set aside some money for a dining table or to upgrade your balcony space.

If you’re wondering, “What do I need for my first apartment?” you can use a list to stay organized as you take inventory of what you already have and note what new apartment essentials you still need. Cross these must-haves off your first apartment checklist to make sure you aren’t stuck without a shower curtain or scrambling to borrow a can opener from a neighbor. Without a comprehensive checklist, there’s a possibility that you’ll overlook at least some of what you need for your first apartment.

Use this list as a template to create your own, so you don’t miss a thing as you settle into your new home.

What Do You Need For Your First Apartment

If you have lived in your own space before, you might have most of the basics, but if you are a new renter you are probably starting from scratch. Luckily, there are plenty of places to shop and stay on budget. First and foremost, you can find great deals at big box and discount home furnishing stores like HomeGoods, Kirkland’s, and TJMaxx.

First-time renters on a budget should also check out online furniture marketplaces like Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook, 1stdibs, or Chairish, and Sotheby’s Home. Go to garage sales, or thrift shops for unique-to-you furniture finds on a budget.

Or go the true budget route and ask family and friends if they have any furniture, artwork or decor pieces they aren’t using anymore. If you’re extra crafty, you can turn those cast-offs into treasures with a little elbow grease and creativity.

Here’s a list of new apartment essentials.

Apartment Bedroom Essentials

Your bedroom is your sanctuary, especially if you’re living with roommates. The goal is to create a space that maximizes comfort while maintaining functionality and providing you with storage if you need it.

If buying a bed is at the top of your things-you-need-for-an-apartment list, this is one item you don’t want to skimp on. You want the best quality mattress you can afford, and you want to buy a brand new one, not a used one. Save money on other furnishings and get the best mattress you can.

Also, buy two sets of bedsheets to start, that way you have a clean set to put on your bed while the other set is in the wash.

  • Bedding—Mattress, pillows, sheets, pillowcases, mattress protector, duvet insert, and cover or coverlet/quilt
  • Furniture—Bed frame, headboard, dresser, nightstand(s), bookcase, desk and desk chair
  • Closet—Hangers, shoe rack, laundry hamper, storage bins, baskets, etc.
  • Décor—Mirror, rug, curtains and curtain rods, lamps, artwork
  • Fan or space heater

Apartment Kitchen Essentials

Known as the heart of the home, the kitchen is a room with many moving parts. But kitchens in first apartments are notoriously small, so you have to think strategically when outfitting that first apartment kitchen. Find things that can do double duty, and keep the one-use items like a melon baller or garlic press out of those drawers and cupboards.

Whether you’re cooking, entertaining, or dining, there are numerous components needed to make your kitchen tasks a delight instead of a drag. This one comes with a caveat: the price of non-essential kitchen items can add up quickly, so be realistic about what you’ll use before buying up the whole list.

  • Safety & Cleaning—Fire extinguisher, dishwasher detergent or pods, dish soap, dish brush or sponge, trash can, trash bags, recycling container, hand towels, dish drying rack, paper towels, paper towel holder
  • Organization and food storage—Aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, chip clips, can opener, corkscrew, magnets, food storage containers, fruit basket
  • Dining Items—Cups, glasses, mugs, silverware and silverware organizer, plates, bowls, salt & pepper shakers, placemats, serving utensils, serving bowls and platters (check out our post on budget table setting ideas)
  • Cooking and Baking Tools—Oven mitts, spice rack, cutting board and knives, measuring cups, measuring spoons, vegetable peeler, grater, spatula, ladle, whisk, mixing bowls, colander, pots and pans, baking sheet and pans, skillet
  • Kitchen Electronics—Blender, coffee maker, toaster, hand mixer, toaster oven, kettle, slow cooker or Crock Pot, pressure cooker, microwave

Apartment Living Room Essentials

Your living room can be a tricky room. Your personal list of new apartment essentials will depend on how you intend to use it the most. Are you more likely to be entertaining guests, snuggling up with a good book, or binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix?

Regardless of how you’ll be using your living room, you’ll want to strike a balance between seating/lounging areas, storage, and open space (to keep it from feeling too cramped). Here are a few living room essentials to get you started.

Apartment Bathroom Essentials

It’s easy for the bathroom to become an afterthought. But you will probably be starting and ending each day in this space, so you want your bathroom to evoke a sense of positivity and be set up for efficiency.

If you have a roommate and are sharing a bathroom in your first apartment, keep your personal toiletries in your bedroom and use a caddy or carrier to take them back and forth. The last thing anyone wants is to find out their roommate is using their deodorant or bar of soap.

In addition to personal toiletries and products, consider adding these items to your bathroom “must-have” list.

  • Towels, washcloths, hand towels, shower curtain, liner, hooks and bath mat
  • Storage containers, drawer and/or shelf organizers
  • Soap holder, toothbrush holder and makeup mirror
  • Toilet paper, plunger, trash can and toilet brush

Apartment Laundry Essentials

Regardless of whether you do your laundry in your apartment or you have a common laundry room, you’ll need the same supplies. It’s easy to know where to store your laundry supplies if you have your own washer and dryer. If your washer and dryer are outside your apartment, we recommend keeping all of these essentials corralled in one space for easy access.

  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener or dryer sheets, bleach, stain remover
  • Laundry basket
  • Coins or other payment methods (if using a communal laundry room)
  • Steamer or iron, ironing board and drying rack
  • Sewing kit

Apartment Entryway Essentials

A well-appointed entryway can make the difference between a chaotic day and a calm one. It’s another space that’s easy to overlook, but trust us, even just a few items can create an efficient entryway that smooths your entrances and exits.

  • Small table or bench, key holder, mail holder
  • Coat hanger or hooks
  • Doormat and basket or container for shoe storage
  • Artwork, mirror or accent pieces for the table such as a candle or plant

If your apartment doesn’t have a designated entryway, you can easily create the illusion of an official entryway with a bookcase. Just remove the top shelves and install hooks on the underside to hang coats, leashes, or umbrellas. Add a few baskets or bins on the bottom shelves to store shoes out of sight. Voilà, instant entryway!

Apartment Cleaning Supply Essentials

While it’s not always the most fun chore, keeping your apartment clean makes a huge difference to the general feel of the space and is essential to living healthy in your new apartment. Not only will a clean apartment keep potential pests and strange odors at bay, but consistent cleaning also ensures that you’ll get your security deposit back when it’s time to move.

Have these useful items on hand to keep your apartment in tip-top shape. For a bigger refresh, check out our tips and tools for spring cleaning.

  • Vacuum, broom, dustpan, mop, bucket
  • Sponge, cleaning rags, dry duster, rubber gloves
  • All-purpose cleaner, dusting spray, bathtub/shower cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, bleach, disinfectant spray, air freshener

Miscellaneous Apartment Essentials

And lastly, here’s the list of general new apartment essentials and items that don’t belong in any particular room. They’re the things you need for an apartment that you won’t think about until you are in a situation where you absolutely need them.

If you add these items to your first apartment checklist, you’ll be prepared for any situation.

  • Tool kit (hammer, screwdrivers, level, nails, screws)
  • Flashlights, light bulbs, extension cords and power strips, matches or lighter
  • Scissors, tape (masking, clear, duct), damage-free hooks (such as Command)
  • Batteries of all sizes
  • Tape measure, memo pad, thumbtacks, paper clips, rubber bands, super glue
  • First aid kit with pain reliever

The Most Important Thing To Check Off Your Ultimate First Apartment Checklist

Before collecting all the items on your first apartment checklist, you need to find the perfect apartment community. If you’ve begun to figure out how to rent an apartment but haven’t found the perfect place, consider visiting one of Southern Management’s communities or attending one of our open houses.

At Southern Management, our team’s number one priority is giving our residents the highest quality care and service. Each future resident is treated with the utmost respect as they try to find their perfect apartment. Our uncompromising level of customer service leads to long-term relationships with our residents.

As you compile your ultimate checklist of things you need for an apartment, don’t forget to make Southern Management a necessity!

Call (703) 902-9555, or contact us to set up a tour of any of our apartment communities.