Things You Need For Your First Apartment: The Ultimate Checklist

African American female shopping for plates in retail setting.You found an apartment, you signed the lease, you wrote the check. Congrats, you’re now all ready to move into your first apartment! Except, wait a minute, you’re not. You need things to put in the apartment. And what, exactly, do you need?

Here’s a handy checklist of things you’ll need (or at least want, in all likelihood), organized by room, with extra blanks for YOU to fill in. Our suggested top priorities are in bold, but before you panic keep in mind many of these items can be bought cheaply second-hand or even picked up free.  And if we’ve missed anything, please let us know in the comments!

Entrance area

  • Welcome mat (for outside the door)
  • Small area rug (for just inside the door)
  • Wall hooks for jackets, keys, etc.
  • Small table or bench for shoe storage
  • Lamp, if there’s no other light source by the door
  • __________________________________
  • __________________________________
  • __________________________________

Living room

  • Couch, chairs, or other things to sit on
  • Coffee table
  • Bookshelves
  • Television
  • Stand for TV
  • Throw pillows for couch/chairs
  • Artwork
  • Lamp(s)
  • For more furnishing suggestions check out our Basic Furniture Checklist
  • __________________________________
  • __________________________________
  • __________________________________

guy buying groceriesKitchen

  • Food!
  • Silverware
  • Silverware organizer (drawer insert)
  • Dishes (e.g. plates, glasses, mugs, bowls, serving platters, etc.)
  • Trash and recycling cans
  • Pots and pans
  • Oven mitts
  • Spatulas, ladles, whisks, etc.
  • Container for countertop storage of spatulas, ladles, whisks, etc.
  • Dish towels
  • Dish drying rack
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Bottle opener and corkscrew
  • Plastic containers for food storage (e.g. Tupperware or Gladware)
  • Rolls of aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, and parchment paper
  • Paper (or newspaper) to line cupboards and shelves
  • Zip-top plastic bags of various sizes
  • Cutting boards
  • Toaster or toaster oven
  • Microwave
  • Coffee maker
  • Kettle or hotpot
  • Ice cube trays
  • Blender
  • Hand mixer
  • Can opener
  • Good, sharp knives (at least one large chef’s knife and a small paring knife)
  • Serving spoon
  • Colander
  • Additional free-standing shelves or storage, as needed (e.g. metal shelf units from Target or IKEA)
  • Dish soap and sponges/scrubbers
  • Trash can
  • Small area rug
  • For more kitchen essentials, check out our Starter Pantry and Staples Checklist, our Starter Equipment Checklist and Sam’s favorite kitchen equipment sources
  • __________________________________
  • __________________________________
  • __________________________________

Continued on page two…

Author My First Apartment
doug

Posted by

Doug Mack is a writer based in Minneapolis and the author of the travel memoir Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide (Perigee Books/Penguin). He has lived in apartments large and small, historic and modern, in Minneapolis and Chicago. Visit his web site at www.douglasmack.net or find him on Twitter @douglasmack.

Leave a Comment

Comments (23)

  1. Caitlin

    I copied & pasted this list into a spreadsheet to help me organize everything – what I have, what I want, and what I need. Thank you so much – super helpful!

    Reply
  2. Ms.Ty

    I will be needing a big checklist for bedrooms, bathroom, livingroom and the kitchen. Please help me Im a little nervous because this will be my first apartment but Im exicited too.

    Reply
  3. twogood

    I live in MD and plan to move to NJ within the next few months about a year ago I started my wish list and rented a storage unit. I have things in there that I think I will need for my apt. I am willing to share some stores where I have found some nice things: Gabriel Brothers in Aberdeen, Md, I bought $5 King size sheets new, kitchen rug for $1, a Coldwater Creek Mirror with the $250 price tag attached for $7 and Gabes has sidewalk sales where I have got kitchen utensils from Faberware, Ecko and Kitchenaid for $15 a bag. Scratch and Dent in Baltimore, I bought a Eco Motion Sensor trash can for $20 NIB and NIB Shark Rotator Vaccum for $60 and there is a Shop Smart Outlet that has similar deals as Scratch & Dent. There is also a shawnmart(dot)com that I buy haircare for $1. I think I have spent $500 in merchandise and have a value of $5000. Now I am trying to get the furniture…

    Reply
  4. rizenshine

    My sister is moving into a furnished sublet, so there were a ton of things we didn’t need to think about. But this list showed us how many things we hadn’t thought of yet. Awesome!

    Reply
  5. Renee

    I need a checklist for a childs room….I’m moving with my (19mo.old now) he will be 2 when we move

    Reply
    • Alex Alex

      Hi Renee,

      While we appreciate your interest, baby/toddler issues are generally outside the scope of our website. For more information on children’s rooms, check out our friend over at ChecklistMommy.

      Reply
  6. Nicole

    My husband and I lost our apartment and a lot of belongings (not IMPORTANT stuff, but a lot of small stuff like what’s on this list) in a tornado, and now we’re moving into a new place and this list is SO HELPFUL! It’s so hard to remember all of the little things up until you need them!

    Reply
    • Alex Alex

      Hi Nicole,

      Good to hear and glad to help. And very sorry you were a tornado victim, but it sounds like you’re making a great recovery. Happy Holidays!

      Reply
  7. Kayla

    Hi I am 19 and moving out of the house..* This is like a magic website and it helped me SO SO much!!* So thank you :)

    Reply
  8. Admin

    And we love your comment, Tiffany! We are so happy to hear that you find our checklists useful.

    Reply
  9. Tiffany

    I love this website. I have used these checklists every time I relocated and sold or gave away items in moves. Total plus and I always recommend these checklists!!!!

    Reply
    • Admin

      Hi Maranda,

      Did you click through to Page 2? All your bathroom essential are listed there. Have fun furnishing your place!

      Reply