The Ultimate First Apartment Checklist

The Ultimate First Apartment Checklist

The Ultimate First Apartment Checklist

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You did it! Whether you’re finally moving out of your parent’s house or you just graduated college, welcome to adulting! Coming from someone who was in your shoes not so long ago, having more space than just a bedroom to call your own is the best feeling. You’re probably feeling a mix of excitement, nerves, and maybe even a little overwhelmed. If this will be the first time you’re living on your own, you might be packing up your 10×10 bedroom and realizing just how little belongings you have.

Well, I am here to help! I’ll let you in on what you really need for each room and what not to waste your money on!

For Move-In Day  

Preparing for move-in day may be the most important task you’ll take on! It’ll take some time to unpack and get everything situated, so make sure to have these items handy.

Here’s what you don’t want to forget:

  • Toilet Paper 
  • Handsoap
  • Paper Towels
  • Trash Bags
  • Bottled Water (don’t forget to bring extra for your move-in day helpers!)
  • A change of clothes or overnight bag, so you don’t have to dig through all your boxes your first night!

For the Entrance

This area is the first thing you’ll see when you walk in the door and will inevitably end up as a catch-all spot. Ensure you have enough functionality to keep your entryway organized and give a great first impression to any guests you have over!

  • Shoe Mat/Storage
  • Key Hook
  • Coat Rack or Wall Hooks (if you don’t have a closet)
  • Mirror (for those last-minute checks before you walk out the door)
  • Small table (mail, keys, wallet)

A living room with a small chair, table, and reading lamp. 

For the Living Room

This room is where you’ll be hanging out with your friends or even by yourself. You’ll want to have enough seating and storage in this space!

  • Couch and Other Seating Options
  • Coffee Table
  • TV Stand
  • TV
  • Lamps (a lot of apartments lack overhead lighting)
  • End Table
  • Curtains (if needed)

Some extras to get once you’ve settled

  • Throw Pillows/Throw Blankets
  • Shelf/Bookcase
  • Artwork
  • Ottoman
  • Speaker
  • Plants

Related: How to Best Light A Living Room Using No Overhead Light

A kitchen corner with a sink and white cabinets. 

For the Kitchen 

The kitchen might be the place where you need the most items. However, your kitchen might not have the most space. Just because there’s a gadget for everything doesn’t mean you need it. 

Dishware and utensils

The amount of each item you need depends on how many people you’re living with and how much overall storage space you have. I would suggest between 4-6 place settings for your first apartment. They don’t have to be expensive. Just keep an eye out for ones that are dishwasher/microwave safe!

  • Dinner Plates
  • Small Plates
  • Cereal Bowls
  • Mugs
  • Drinking Glasses
  • Forks
  • Knives
  • Spoons

Pots and pans

Again, this assesses your storage space! You want to be absolutely certian that you have enough sizes to fill your cooking needs, but pots and pans can take up a lot of space. I highly suggest picking up a set of pots and pans. A set will give you a pretty good variety while not giving you so much that they’re left in your cabinets collecting dust.


Your apartment will probably have an oven and refrigerator, but here are some extra gadgets to consider!

Tools and supplies

Spices & pantry

What’s in your pantry is ultimately reflective of the foods you enjoy and your lifestyle, but here are some items that are great to have on hand!

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Go-to Spices (Mine are garlic powder, Italian seasoning, onion powder, cinnamon and 
  • Oil (olive, coconut, vegetable)
  • White Sugar
  • Flour
  • Brown Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder

Miscellaneous kitchen items

  • Trash Can/Trash Bags
  • Sponges
  • Dish Soap
  • Oven Mitts
  • Dish Towels
  • Dish Drying Rack
  • Silverware Organizer (make sure to look at the size of your drawer!)

Related: Moving In Together: A Complete Guide

A living room with a gray couch and a coffee table holding potted plants.

For the Dining Room/Area

This area may be in your kitchen, or maybe you have a separate designated space for eating meals. Make sure to take note of the size of your eating area!

  • Table
  • Chairs
  • Artwork/Other Decor

For the Home Office

Suppose you’re working from home or still in school and have space. Set up a designated work area! Even if you make your way to the couch some days, having a workspace will help your productivity and keep you organized!

  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Lamp
  • At this point, it may be an excellent time to remind you to make sure you set up internet services!

Are you moving to a new apartment, home, or condo and want to make sure you’ll have everything you need in your new residence? Take a look at the top-quality articles, lists, and plans offered by Nestrs, or reach out to them today at to learn more.

A bedroom with blue walls, hanging lamps, and a freshly-made bed. For the Bedroom

Since your bedroom is no longer your entire living space, you can make this your sanctuary. The place where you can relax and retreat! 

  • Bed (you could do just the platform frame or one that has a headboard)
  • A mattress (if you’re looking for a great mattress, I highly suggest this one)
  • Nightstand
  • Dresser
  • Pillows (I LOVE these)
  • Bedding (Get at least two sheets sets, and you can thank me later!)
  • Mirror
  • Lamp(s)
  • Curtains (if needed)
  • Hangers
  • Hamper
  • Fan
  • Artwork/Decor

Related: 8 Simple Steps to Make a Bed Your Guests Will Love

For the Bathroom

  • Shower Curtain w/ Rings to hold it up!
  • Shower Liner (if you get a machine washable one, it’ll save you some extra cash!)
  • Bath Towels
  • Bath Mat
  • Hand Towels
  • Wash Cloths
  • Personal Toiletries
  • Trash Can
  • Toilet Paper
  • Plunger (Your future self will thank you)
  • Toilet Brush
  • Over-the-Counter Medications (Tylenol, Advil, Tums, etc.)
  • Air Freshener

Cleaning Essentials

  • Glass Cleaner
  • Multipurpose Cleaner
  • Paper Towels/Microfiber Cloths
  • Mop
  • Vacuum
  • Broom
  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain Remover
  • Shower Cleaner
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner

A living room with a white couch and gray shelves covered in pots and plants. Home Toolkit

Don’t be like me and end up using a high heel to nail up some artwork.

First Aid Kit

Safety Essentials

  • Batteries
  • Lightbulbs
  • Flashlight
  • Fire Extinguisher (Apartment may already be required to provide)
  • Smoke Detector (Apartment may already be required to provide)

Miscellaneous Items 

  • Step Stool
  • Tape
  • Umbrella
  • Modem
  • Router
  • Filing Storage (To organize all that adult paperwork stuff)

Final Thoughts

I hope this checklist helps you feel more prepared for this new journey. We are celebrating this next chapter with you and cheering you on as you make your way into the adult world! Just try to take it all one step at a time; YOU GOT THIS!

Are you considering opening up your own short-term rental or starting an Airbnb? Take a look at the top-quality tips, tricks, lists, and plans offered by Nestrs, or reach out to them at to learn more today.

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