Moving into your first apartment can be a truly incredible experience. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or you’ve just decided to move out from your parent’s home, the idea of having a whole place to yourself sounds exciting.

The thing is, it’s not easy figuring out where to start when moving into your first apartment. What exactly would you need to move in? What items would you get to make your apartment feel like home? And where are the best places to keep these items?

You have the questions, and lucky enough, we have the answers! That’s why we’ve made the perfect first apartment checklist to make moving in a stress-free task for you. If you want to know what to buy before and after you move in, you’ve certainly come to the right place.

Let’s get right into it!

Moving In Essentials: What to Buy Before the Big Move?


Spending the first few nights (or months, even) in your first apartment without having the essentials could leave you feeling uncomfortable or out of place. Usually, most people need to camp out in their new apartment for some time before all of their stuff arrives.

No matter what your reason is, you need to have several essentials readily available, so you don’t beat yourself over not having them later on.

It may seem overwhelming, but these must-have items will make the first days in your home convenient and enjoyable.

1. Mattress

It wouldn’t be nice to sleep on the cold, hard floor, so buying a comfy mattress and sheets should be the first thing you do. If you really like to feel relaxed, throw in your duvet, comforter, pillows, and anything else you think will make for a good night’s rest.

2. Important furniture

Say a family member or friend comes over to check out your awesome place. Where would they sleep? This is why it’s good to invest in important sleeping furniture like a couch or even a sleeper sofa before fully moving into your apartment.

And we can’t possibly forget your table and chairs! Except you’re a couch potato, it’ll be nice to have somewhere to eat that’s not on the sofa. If you feel this is too much, you can buy some barstools or even a coffee table instead. Renting is also a great option to try, especially if you’re forecasting shifting houses frequently.

3. Chargers

Carry all the chargers for every essential electronic device in your possession such as your phone, laptop, tablet, etc.

4. Or invest in some spare batteries

If you have any important items that are non-rechargeable, then hold on to some spare batteries so that you don’t get stranded.

5. Kitchen and food supplies

Buying takeout every day will cost you a lot of money in the long run, so why not get the necessary kitchen supplies so you can cook and eat comfortably? You don’t have to pack so much food, but get some easy-to-make staples like pasta and sauce, a few boxes of your favorite cereal and milk, bread and peanut butter, canned soup, etc.

You’ll also need to buy beverages like bottled water, tea bags, and coffee.

Depending on how long you plan on staying, you can buy some snacks too, especially those that don’t require preparation or refrigeration, like granola and nuts.

If you don’t want to use paper plates and cups, buy pots, pans, a strainer, a can opener, a vegetable peeler, knives, utensils, plates, kitchen towels, oven mitt, and whatever else you think will make eating and cooking easy for you.

6. Basic Cleaning Supplies

Make sure you have the basic cleaning supplies ready so that you don’t deal with too much to clean on the move-in day. Get glass cleaners, multi-surface cleaners like white vinegar, dish soap, rags, a broom and dustpan, paper towels, and trash bags.

7. A Basic First Aid Kit

It’s possible to get a few nicks or injuries as you move things around. We dearly hope you don’t. This is why you should be ready with Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, a thermometer, anti-inflammatory like Advil, tweezers, some antiseptic wipes, an Ace bandage, and a few ibuprofen.

If you have any medication you take daily, then you should stock up or ensure there’s a place you can get them near your apartment.

8. Keys

If you tend to lose your keys, get spare ones made and keep them in safe places that you won’t easily forget.

9. Clothes

Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Still, make sure you pack enough clothing for your brief stay before all your stuff comes in.

10. Toiletries

You may not be living in the apartment fully, but you need to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to pack important toiletries like soap, shampoo, moisturizing cream, shaving cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, plus towels and washcloths for cleaning up.

Also, get yourself a tube of sunblock. You most likely would spend a lot of time in the sun trying to run errands and getting yourself together before you finally move in.

11. A Small Home Toolkit

Don’t underestimate having basic tools like a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, some duct tape, scissors, and even a step stool. They can come in handy during your short stay and even move-in day.

12. Flashlight or Headlamp

It’s always good to carry candles or a flashlight in your first apartment. If there’s ever a power outage, the above will keep you from banging into stuff and stumbling in darkness.

13. Important Documents and Phone Numbers

It’s good to be well prepared, so you should bring along important documents such as your driver’s license, passport, lease (if applicable), etc. You’ll also need some paper and pens to make to-do lists.

Make sure your contact list has the phone numbers of your moving company, your financial institutions like your bank and insurance company, your landlord, etc.

14. Credit Card/Cash

Don’t forget to carry your credit card(s) along. Keep some cash with you as well, in case something pops up, and you need to take care of it quickly.

15. A treat

Let’s face it: moving into an apartment isn’t easy. With all the heavy lifting and walking around that awaits you during move-in day, nobody would blame you for trying to treat yourself first.

Do anything that makes you feel relaxed, like reading a book, enjoying a good movie, or even sipping some wine. It’ll go a long way in relieving stress and helping you get accustomed to living in your new apartment.

Moving In Essentials: What to Buy After You Move In


Now, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of this blog. This section contains a full first apartment checklist for you to refer to after you finally move into your home.

We’ll be listing out the essentials you need for each room in your apartment.

1. Your Bathroom Essentials

You’ve probably envisioned what your first bathroom would look like, right? This list may not contain everything you feel you need, but at least it’ll give you a head start.

  • Toiletries (lotion, mouthwash, facial moisturizers, face wash, shampoo)
  • Toilet paper
  • Toilet seat (we can’t stress the importance of getting a new toilet seat)
  • Toilet brush
  • Body and hand towels (it’s always good to have an extra set in case you have guests come over)
  • Facecloths
  • Toothbrush holder; toilet paper holder
  • Soapdish
  • Shower organizer
  • Shower curtain
  • Towel bar or hooks, if not already installed
  • Small vanity mirror
  • Air freshener
  • Bath mat
  • Plunger
  • Cleaning supplies like heavy-duty cleaner and/or bleach (we’ll talk about this more later on)
  • Trash bin
  • Hairdryer
  • Medicine cabinet
  • Laundry basket
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Personal products (makeup, curling iron, hairdryer, floss, sunscreen)

2. Your Kitchen and/or Dining Essentials

Whether you have your dining room in the kitchen or elsewhere in your home, you’ll still need to hold on to this list of kitchen essentials.

  • Pots and pans
  • Kettle
  • Plates and bowls
  • Drawer organizers
  • Coffee maker (if you’re a regular coffee drinker)
  • Eating utensils like forks, knives, and spoons
  • Drinking glasses and cups, mugs
  • Cooking utensils like a spatula, a large spoon, cutting knives
  • Cutting board or chopping boards (preferably wooden types because they last longer)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Blender
  • Microwave (popcorn, anyone?)
  • Toaster
  • Oven
  • Pizza pan (just in case)
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper (this is great for baking)
  • Oven mitts
  • A large garbage can
  • Dish sponge (an iron sponge is also very useful for washing pots)
  • Dish towels and/or paper towels (you can get as many as you want)
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Dish soap
  • Dish drying rack and drip tray (if you don’t have a dishwasher)
  • Dining room table and chairs
  • Table cloth
  • Tablemats
  • Table runner
  • Tinfoil
  • Ice trays
  • Can and bottle openers and corkscrew
  • Rolling pin
  • Whisk
  • Colander
  • Tongs
  • Ziploc bags
  • Food storage containers
  • Stepping stool (for all the shorties in the house)
  • Placemats
  • Pet dish and pet food for your furry friends

3. Your Bedroom Essentials

This is where you may be spending most of your time — so make it yours. These essential items will start to make your first apartment bedroom a cozy and comfortable place to fall asleep at night.

  • Bed frame
  • Mattress and a mattress topper
  • Pillows and pillowcases
  • Comforter
  • Bedsheet sets
  • Hangers
  • Nightstand
  • Wall mirror and/or full-length mirror
  • Blanket or Duvet
  • Curtain rods and curtains, or blinds
  • Dresser
  • Shoe rack
  • Clothes rack
  • Laundry bin, hamper, or bag
  • Alarm clock
  • Bedside/reading lamp
  • Under the bed storage bins

4. Your Living Room Essentials

No first apartment checklist would be complete without living room essentials. As this is the first room a guest would come in contact with when visiting your apartment, you have to make sure it looks really good. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you!

  • Floor and table lamps
  • Coffee table
  • Chairs
  • Sofa
  • Side and end tables
  • Area rug
  • Coasters
  • Television
  • Television stand
  • Stools
  • Bean bag chairs or a couch
  • Decorative items like picture frames, houseplants, candles, vases

5. Your Cleaning Essentials

Your apartment will definitely need a thorough cleaning after moving things around so much. These cleaning supplies will ensure that you have no traces of stains, spots, or cobwebs in your home.

  • Garbage bags
  • Cleaning sponges
  • Soft rags and microfiber cloths
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Glass cleaner like Windex
  • Stain remover
  • Stainless steel cleaner
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Bucket
  • Compost bin
  • Lining paper for the bottom of drawers
  • Swiffer duster and sweeper
  • Vacuum
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Mop and mop bucket
  • Rags
  • Windex
  • Toilet scrubber
  • Toilet bowl cleaning solution
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bathroom cleaning spray
  • Multi-purpose liquid cleaners like Lysol or Mr. Clean
  • Wood cleaner, if you have wood surfaces
  • Baking soda and white vinegar
  • Hand soap

6. Eating Essentials

One of the hardest things to decide when living on your own for the first time is what to stock in your pantry and fridge.

From the very first day, stocking your fridge with the basic food items will help you save money for the bigger items that your apartment needs.

You may not need everything mentioned in this next list, but it’ll help you have an idea of what you should buy later on.

For the pantry

  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Canned or dried beans
  • Sugar
  • Coffee and tea
  • Cereal
  • Quick-cooking oats
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • Cooking oil
  • Grains (quinoa, lentils, farro, etc.)
  • Canned soup
  • Canned tuna
  • Dried pasta and pasta sauce
  • Coffee
  • Snacks like pretzels, chips, granola, popcorn, crackers

For the fridge

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Cheese
  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Jam or preserves

Spices and Condiments

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic and chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Pickles
  • Cinnamon
  • Minced onion
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Barbecue sauce, hot sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Maple syrup
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar (white, red, apple cider, balsamic)

For Baking

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking soda and powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Shortening
  • Yeast

For the freezer

  • Frozen pizza
  • Yogurt
  • Single-serve dinners
  • Cheese
  • Juice
  • Meat/poultry/fish

6. Miscellaneous Items


Miscellaneous items may seem random and small, but your home may not feel truly complete without them. Here are some miscellaneous items that you may need to buy to make life easier after moving into your first apartment.

  • Decorative pillows e.g throw pillows
  • First aid kit
  • Iron or steamer, with an ironing board
  • Sewing kit
  • Flashlight
  • WiFi router
  • Extension cords and outlet adapters
  • Speakers
  • Key hooks
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries (AAA, AA, and D are the most common)
  • Light Bulbs
  • Space heater
  • Fan
  • Air conditioning
  • Candles
  • Rugs
  • Coat Rack
  • Door Mat
  • Scissors
  • Umbrella
  • Tape
  • Stapler
  • Chip clips

7. First-aid Essentials

You may have some basic first aid items, but you still need to add a few more things as well.

  • Band-Aids
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • An anti-inflammatory such as Advil
  • Thermometer
  • Sterile gloves
  • Gauze and cloth tape (for deep cuts)
  • Ibruprofen and Aspirin
  • Thermometer
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Antihistamine cream or tablets
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes

8. Home Toolkit Essentials

Having a basic home toolkit available is very important. Not everything requires a maintenance request, these tools will come in handy later on.

  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers (flat-head and Phillips-head)
  • Allen wrench kit
  • Pliers
  • Measuring tape, duct tape, transparent tape
  • Step ladder
  • Glue
  • Wire cutters
  • Level
  • Nails and screws
  • Stick-on wall hooks or command hooks
  • Small fire extinguisher in case of an emergency

Well, there you have it! We hope this first apartment checklist is of big help to you as you embark on this new journey.