Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Corynn
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Moving into your first apartment you will need so many things! here is a detailed first apartment essential list you can follow when shopping for your new apartment.
When Should You Start Shopping For Your First Apartment?
I highly suggest starting as soon as you know you’re planning on moving. shopping for your first apartment can take time and lots of money.
Really try to separate your purchases, or let other family members know you’re moving, and if they have anything you can take from them!
Before you start shopping, highly suggest signing up for an Amazon Prime subscription! You get deals on everything and fast shipping. Plus you can use the boxes to help you move! Click here to grab yours today!
I have a whole apartment shopping list you can use! Down you can find more info:
What are Some Good Affordable Furniture Brands to Buy From For Your First Apartment?
While looking for furniture for your first apartment, you don’t want to splurge too much on a couch. Make sure to look for an affordable although durable couch. Remember this is going to be your very first couch, later on, you will be upgrading your sofa in the future.
Here is a list of places you can purchase a couch;
What Are Things I Need In My Apartment?
Lots of things! I highly suggest purchasing the basic items you need for now and then adding them as you go along. You can find most of our apartment essentials on Amazon (which I also did!) and other places too! Such as the Dollar Store, Walmart, Target, and even secondhand stores!
This list will be divided into categories;
Apartment Essentials List: Kitchen
The kitchen is probably going to need a lot of items. Here are the essential items I started off with:
1. Cookware Set
Once you live on your own, you’ll be cooking a lot more! look into investing in getting a good quality cookware set that will last you a long time!
2. Knife Set
Instead of purchasing individual knives, take the punch and grab a whole knife set.
I currently use a Farberware knife set and it truly is the best knife I ever used (and yes I have tried Cutco!) Great quality for an affordable price!
Look for plates that are long-lasting and durable for cutting food, and are dishwasher safe.
Looking for something to eat cereal out of? These bowls from Crate and Barrel are my favorite bowls to use. Easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and has a nice design.
If you talk to anybody who has moved out on their own or with their partner. They always say you’ll lose your cutlery!
I really try my best to keep our account of our culture but sometimes you lose a spoon or two!
Remember to look for a cutlery set that is dishwasher-safe! Or else your spoons and forks will rust over time.
6. Cutting Board
You need a set of cutting boards to withstand chopping, slicing, and prepping meat.
You want to look for a set of cutting boards that are BPA-free and be washed/sanitized easily.
Please don’t be like me and buy four to five different tongs. You just need to start off with one or two!
8. Cooking Utensils
From spatulas to serving spoons. You want to have a small set on hand to help you with your cooking needs.
This set comes in various different colors to help go with your color scheme in your kitchen.
9. Coffee Maker
Now that you’re responsible for your own household bills, it’s time to limit the coffee runs. The first purchase I made for my first apartment was a Keurig.
This has helped us save hundreds of dollars each month by making our coffees/teas at home!
Depending on what is on your apartment lease, you can either get a toaster or a toaster oven.
a toaster is a more small space friendly for kitchens with limited space.
11. Baking Set
Nonstick baking pans are an apartment essential! If you love baking or need a baking sheet for your dish. Grab this simple baking set to have on hand.
12. Kitchen Towels
Another thing to add to your first apartment shopping list is a set of kitchen towels.
I suggest purchasing at least 5-7 kitchen towels to always have on you. Helps with any spills and for cleaning up the kitchen afterwards.
13. Cooling Racks
Want to protect your counters from any heat damage? Look into getting cook racks.
You can use these cooling racks to cool down your baked goods and rest a hot pot or cake pan on top.
Super easy to clean and lasts such a long time.
14. Oil Dispenser
I truly struggle with pouring oil or vinegar out of the large bottles we buy from the grocery store. So I invested in oil/vinegar dispensers, and it has been a lifesaver in my kitchen!
15. Salt and Pepper Shakers
Need something to store your salt and pepper in? Look for a set of salt and pepper shakers. Keeps the salt/pepper fresh and so compact that it can sit well on top of your counter and/or stove!
16. Paper Towel Holder
A paper towel holder helps with not unraveling so much and just allows your paper towel to look neat and tidy on top of your counter.
17. Dish Rack Or Mat
If you don’t have a dishwasher, then you can look into getting a dish rack. Helps keep the dishes dry, and has a sprout that lets out the excess water at the bottom.
If you can limit counter space, look into getting a drying mat. You can use the mat and then roll it up afterward.
18. Pre Cut Parchment Paper
Raise your hand if you ever struggle with getting the perfect-sized parchment paper on your baking pans.
Well, I struggle HARD. One day I found these pre-cut parchment paper sheets and I have been using them ever since!
(Although kudos to you if you know how to use the roll of parchment paper!)
Once you move into your new apartment you’ll be washing a lot of dishes. All the brand new plates, pots, and pans. Scrub Daddy has the perfect set of sponges you can have in your apartment.
Not only is it great for cleaning dishes, but also anywhere else in your home.
20. Ziploc Bags
Ziploc bags are such a staple to have in your apartment. You can store not only snacks but also hardware pieces, help with organizing and so much more!
21. Oven Mitts
Protect your hands at all times when taking items in and out of the oven with these oven mitts. These oven mitts are better than traditional oven mitts.
With the grips on the inside and a more claw-like design, it’s easier to grab your hot pan.
22. Spice Containers
Going to the grocery store, you’re gonna find that a lot of the spices you purchase all come in plastic bags now rather than in containers.
Grabbing spice containers is not only great for the environment but also to keep everything looking cohesive inside your kitchen cupboards.
Not sure what spices to buy? Check out my blog post on Creating Your First Apartment Grocery List.
Colanders all come in different shapes and sizes. It entirely depends on what you will be doing with it.
Personally, I believe you just need two. A large one for fruits, vegetables, and cooked pasta.
Another a small one for rice, and straining any sauces.
24. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Stainless steel mixing bowls are honestly one of my top 5 favorite apartment essentials I have in my kitchen. These are great for baking, and cooking, and can withstand high temperatures.
25. Measuring Cups and Spoons
When I moved into my first apartment, I made the mistake of buying plastic measuring cups/spoons instead of stainless steel ones.
The reason for that is the number for the measurements tend to fade away on plastic ones. Unlike stainless steel, where the measurements are engraved on the top or on the sides.
26. Glass Measuring Cups
Another top favorite of mine is glass measuring cups. They’re heat resistant and leveled pretty well for dry and wet ingredients.
My grandmother had hers Anchor Measuring cups for AGES and never saw chips or the numbers fade!
27. Glass Containers
I take these to work all the time and I can use them in the microwave, and to help store any dinner leftovers. Plus they’re super easy to clean.
Something to drink your coffee and hot drinks in! You can purchase these simple porcelain mugs or look into getting glass mugs!
29. Glass Cups
You want to make sure you have a few glass cups. you never know if you’ll be having a guest in the future, or may break a couple while washing dishes. (Something I have done many times)
Ikea has a great variety of glasses at an affordable price.
30. Wine Glasses
If you plan on hosting or just need a pick-me-up around happy hour, you’re going to need some wine glasses!
I highly suggest getting a couple of sets due to how fragile they are. I broke two on move-in day.
31. Small appliances (to help you cook)
With our bus schedules, we don’t always have time to make a big meal for dinner. Look into getting small appliances that can help you with cooking.
Yes, a good ole grater. I tried the different gadgets and still use a traditional grater for shredding cheese and slicing vegetables.
33. Ice Trays
If your fridge doesn’t come with an ice maker, look into grabbing a couple of sets of ice trays.
34. Brita Water Pitcher
Purchasing a Brita water pitcher has helped us so much with the use of plastic water bottles. Before we used to buy cases and cases. Now we just use a Brita and our reusable water bottles.
Don’t forget the Brita filters! The simple ones last up to 2 months!
Apartment Essentials List: Bathroom
The one area in your first apartment that doesn’t need a lot!
1. Shower Curtain
A simple shower curtain can bring your bathroom together. Look for a shower curtain that is water-repellent and doesn’t build up mold.
2. Shower Liner
Look into getting a shower liner to help protect your bathroom floors preventing water from falling on the ground and creating mold. Similar to your shower curtain, you want to look for a liner that prevents mold build-up.
3. Shower Caddy Stand
A shower caddy stand is great for placing your shampoos, conditioners, and body wash on. Super easy to install, and keep your bathtub area tidy.
4. Toilet Bowl Brush and Plunger Set
A toilet bowl brush and plunger set is a great idea to limit storage in your apartment. I highly suggest looking into getting a silicone toilet brush rather than a bristle brush. Limits the growth of bacteria.
5. Toilet Paper Container
I notice toilet paper tends to carry a lot of lint around the air. So I decided to go with a container to place our toilet paper. Way more sanitary and protects your toilet paper in the bathroom than the ones that keep it open.
6. Trash Bin
Look for the trash bin that comes with a lid! I got a few packages of scented garbage bags to put inside our bathroom garbage bin.
7. Towel Set
Investing in a nice towel set is great for your skin and prevents leaving pieces of lint on your body.
In addition, if you’re planning on having guests. I would look into getting another set of towels.
8. Bath Mats
I really love our bath mats! They’re made out of memory form that helps with absorbing water. Machine washable and easy to dry.
Grab a few containers to organize your bathroom. It could be glass jars, plastic baskets, and or acrylic organizers. I use some underneath our sink.
Apartment Essentials List: Bedroom
You want to make your bedroom the coziest place in your entire apartment. This is where you’ll be getting your beauty sleep at night!
1. Bed Frame
You want to ensure you get a bed frame that suits your sleeping needs. Do you tend to stay up for a bit to read a book? Then I suggest getting a bed frame with a headphone for back support.
Take some time to feel what type of mattress you want. Do you need a firm mattress? Soft mattress? This helps with having any back problems and a good night’s sleep. My husband and I got the Oki Oki mattress and have no complaints!
3. Mattress Protector
I needed to find a mattress protector that wasn’t going to slip off our mattress and keep our bed cool. I found this zip-up mattress protector and it works so well! it’s a bit of a hassle to put on however it stays on until wash day!
Don’t sleep on IKEA furniture. We had this dresser for two years and it still works well! It does take a while to assemble though.
The bottom of the drawers is still intact and can fit tons of clothes inside.
Another apartment essential item you need for your bedroom is pillows. Really make sure you find the pillow that can help you get a good night’s sleep!
In addition, if you have allergies, look into purchasing a hypoallergenic pillow. Prevents you from waking up in the morning with a stuffy nose.
Silk pillowcases protect your hair and skin while you’re sleeping. Regular pillowcases tend to tug and break your hair.
7. Pilow Case Protector
Just like your mattress, you want to also protect your pillows. A pillow protector protects your pillow from dust mites, pests, and dust. I highly suggest pillow case protectors for people who have allergies.
8. Bed Sheets
Look for bed sheets that suit your sleeping needs! For our bed sheets, we looked for a set of sheets that are cooling and breathable.
One thing I had to get before moving into my first apartment was a nightstand. I needed an area close to my bed to place my water bottle, lamp, books, and some snacks.
10. Small Lamps
I love having a lamp on top of our nightstand. quick and easy to turn on whenever we have to leave the room or just to read.
This lamp from Ikea plus their E26 light bulbs last for YEARS. We installed our light bulbs in May 2021, and two years later they are still going strong.
I’m not a big fan of the velvet hangers. I notice they tend to leave marks on my colored clothes. I decided to opt in and get the plastic hangers with grips on the sides. Prevents your clothes from slipping off the hangers and onto the floor.
If you’re anything like me, I need a blanket all year round. From the coldest days in winter to the hottest days in summer. I’m always using a blanket. Look into finding an all-season comforter that will help you not overheat at night.
13. Trash Bin
I have a small trash bin in our room for any garbage we need to put away. Such as makeup wipes, and empty product bottles.
14. Laundry Basket
We have two of them and are great whenever we have to do laundry. Easy to clean and can easily carry to a laundry mat. (If you don’t have your own washer and dryer).
I suggest buying laundry bags to line up inside the hamper.
Apartment Essentials List: Living Room
The living room is one place I like to make comfortable and help maximize the storage in my apartment.
I wanted to find a sofa that was going to be both comfortable to sit on and have additional storage. I found the perfect couch on Wayfair.
Unfortunately, it’s not available anymore, but I found an alternative one to ours.
2. Coffee Table
Another furniture piece that could potentially be turned into storage. your coffee table! You can store items underneath in a basket, or find a coffee table that includes additional storage inside.
If you’re not looking to pay a large amount of money for a TV, my biggest advice for you is to shop the sales.
By shopping the sales, I was able to find our TV for less than $300!
4. TV Stand
I need a TV stand that is going to be sturdy, can hold our TV properly, and includes storage.
We got this one from IKEA, which stores so many of our items.
This apartment essential is totally optional. If you are moving into a place with hardwood floors, a carpet can help with scratches and keep your feet warm.
6. Throw Blankets
You’re going to be watching tons of movies and shows on your couch. Look for the comfiest throw blankets you can find! We currently have 2-3 in total.
7. Tall Lamp
Similar to our night lamps. This lamp from IKEA also lasted us for more than two years. I haven’t changed the light bulb since I took it out of the box!
(IKEA E26 light bulbs are so good!)
Apartment Essentials List: Extras
Here is a list of extra items you need when you first move into your new apartment.
You need to grab a set of curtains for your living room and bedroom. Look into measuring your apartment windows first BEFORE buying any curtains.
I made the mistake of buying curtains before moving in and they were too big!
2. Decor Items
You can spruce up your apartment with little decor items. Such as pillows! you can place these on top of your bed or on your sofa.
Need more decor ideas? Here is a list of decor items you can find on a budget!
3. Tool Kit
On the very first day you move into your apartment you will be needing a tool kit. You’re going to be using it for building furniture or fixing any small repairs.
4. First Aid Kit
Better to be safe than sorry! Always have a first aid kit on hand for yourself and any other guest that may come over.
5. Power Bar
When I moved into my apartment I first realized the lack of outlets we had around our place. So my husband and I bought a couple of bower bars for our living room and bedroom.
We have a total of 3-4 power bars.
Do you work from home? Or just need a place for your computer to be? I found my desk at iKEA. It’s compact and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Not sure what essentials you need for your desk? Check out our blog post of a list of the desk must-haves you need!
This is a great list to follow when you’re shopping for your new apartment. Remember, you don’t need to buy everything all at once. Only purchase the things you need and go from there.
For example, if you work from home, look into purchasing a desk sooner than later. Also, not everything needs to be expensive. Find the best deal for your buck and upgrade as you go along.
Need More info? Here is a list of first apartment essentials you can check out;
And what to do 30 days before you move out.