How to furnish your first apartment without breaking your budget or losing your mind

Now that my boyfriend and I have moved into our new apartment, we’ve discovered we need a bunch of things we didn’t budget for. – stupid little things like a toilet brush and hand towels and a vacuum cleaner. Nothing terribly expensive, but it adds up quick.

Don’t be us. Before you move, make a very detailed list of all the things you use on a daily, weekly, and “before Mom comes over” basis.

Here’s a creative visualization technique to make sure you don’t miss anything. Grab a pen and a notebook. Flip to a fresh sheet of paper. Uncap the pen. Poise the nib at the top of the page. Close your eyes.

Your alarm is beeping. (What’s that? You always use your roommate’s alarm, but you’re moving into your very own studio? Better scribble down “alarm clock”)

You roll out of bed. (Hardwood floors? Might want to look into fuzzy slippers.)

Stumble to the kitchen. What’s for breakfast?

If you want cereal, you’re going to need a bowl and a spoon. Do you have dishes and utensils? We didn’t. If you’re on a shoestring budget, your friendly neighborhood Goodwill is the place to get dishes. Wash the stuff you buy before you use it. Soak it in diluted bleach if you’re really nervous about germs.

You get the idea. Walk through your day, baby step by baby step, just to make sure you have Q-tips and a bedroom garbage can and a bath mat (Ha! You didn’t have a bath mat on your list, did you? DID YOU?) and stuff like that.

Then think about the things you might do once a week, like wash the dishes (Got sponges?) and do laundry (Got detergent?).

Now pretend your mom is coming over. You want to vacuum the huge Halloween-looking cobwebs off the ceiling (vacuum), scrub the toilet (toilet brush), dust the dust-caked windowsills (lemon Pledge)….

you get the idea.

“But I’m not creative,” I can hear some of you whining. “I don’t wanna envision my day.”

Fine. Make several lists, one for each area of your abode. Kitchen, sleeping area, living area, bathroom, etc. Now write down every single thing that belongs in those areas. Don’t forget to mentally open the drawers and the closet. (Do you have clothes hangers?)

Now tack an extra $200 onto your budget. More if you have luxury tastes or are allergic to secondhand stores.

If my boyfriend and I had done these things before we moved, our bathroom floor wouldn’t be constantly covered in puddles (because we would have bought a bath mat) and we wouldn’t be using an old t-shirt for a potholder.

You forgot potholders too. Admit it.

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Author My First Apartment

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Outdoors/adventure writer. Living proof that you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl.

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Comments (6)

  1. Avatar Megan Sadler

    believe it or not, i didnt forget a single thing. Oh and by the way i like going to Youtube and watching routine videos. oh she got coffee–, that reminds me i need to get a coffee mug to go with my keurig! ;) Except for me my i need this and i need that turned into $15,000.00 sigh guess im going to ikea for that couch and other furniture lol.