First Apartment Checklist

By PropertyClub Team
Jun 24th 2020
Are you preparing to start a new chapter in your life and move into your first apartment? Our comprehensive checklist will go over the essentials, including what you'll want to buy before moving.

So, you finally did it. You graduated from school, got a job, and now, you’re ready to move into your new apartment. Congratulations! You’re officially going to be an adult now! Getting your first apartment is one of the most exciting parts of your young adult life, but it also comes with a lot of shopping and work.

Getting those apartment essentials can be hard to do, especially with all the new things you’ll need to buy for it. Need help making sure that you will have all the things ready for your move-in? Use this first apartment checklist to make sure you pick up everything you need, from the bare necessities to decor to make your new apartment feel like home. 

hash-markFirst Apartment Essentials: Furniture Checklist

You can’t start life in your new apartment without the basic furniture essentials to get you started. If your apartment isn’t furnished, make sure that you will have the following, at a bare minimum:

  • A bed
  • A mattress
  • Bedding
  • Bedsheets
  • Two tables
  • A step stool
  • Four chairs

This small list of the most important things you need for an apartment will give you enough to provide you with a dining table, a desk, places for people to sit, and a place for you to lay your head. It’s the very bare minimum for a typical one-bedroom apartment. If you have extra cash, it might be useful to splurge on a nightstand, some additional seating, a sofa, and a place for you to set your TV.

hash-markFirst Apartment Essentials Checklist: Sanitation

When you first set out to move, it’s normal to get starry-eyed over all the flashy new furniture and bedding you can choose. It is exciting. However, you still have to remember that every first apartment essentials checklist for renters also includes a slew of cleaning supplies too.

Cleaning supplies aren’t as fun or flashy as furniture or bedspreads, but they are still things every apartment needs. Here’s how you can make the most of your cleaning shopping spree by room type.

Bedroom/Living Room:

  • A Vacuum- We suggest getting a high-quality vacuum that doesn’t require bags. Bags add extra bills for your cleaning.
  • A Broom and Pan- Even if you have a fully carpeted area, having a broom will make it easier to clean your home.
  • Dusting Wipes- Whether it’s disposable wipes, a microfiber cloth, or a feather duster doesn’t matter. You just need to have that dust gone.


  • Dish Soap- You will want to have this before you need to wash dishes.
  • Stainless Steel Cleaner- This will be impeccably useful for cleaning your kitchen sink.
  • A Mop and Bucket- Even the most fastidious of cooks will need to mop down their floors once in a while.
  • Sponges- Sponges are a must for dishes.
  • Stove Cleaner- This is just basic cleanliness!
  • All-Purpose Cleaner- This is a type of cleaning agent that works well on countertops, cabinets, flooring, and tabletops.
  • Garbage Bags- You will need these sooner than you think.
  • A Garbage Can- Ideally, you will get one for your kitchen, one for your living room, and one for your bathroom.
  • Rags- Rags are incredibly useful in the kitchen, especially when it comes to wiping down flooring.


  • Bathroom Cleaners- You will need bleach, a tile cleaner, a tub cleaner, and some drain cleaner. 
  • A Plunger- You want to buy this before you need it.
  • A Toilet Scrubber- It doesn’t need to be a fancy one; it just needs to work.
  • Toilet Paper- Like with plungers, toilet paper is best bought before you need it.
  • A Shower Curtain- This will protect your apartment’s floors while you shower.
  • Bath Mats- Mats are excellent for preventing moldy floors.
  • Disinfectant- This comes in handy in the bathroom and kitchen!


  • Laundry Bins- Chances are that you’re going to need to have a spare change of clothes when you are done unpacking. It’s easy to work up a sweat!
  • Detergent- This will cost more at a laundromat. Buying your own is a must.
  • Stain Remover- It’s good to have handy, to say the least.

That’s a long list, isn’t it? It can get even longer. If you are known for having a sensitive sense of smell, we strongly suggest grabbing scented candles and air freshening spray. 

hash-markFirst Apartment Checklist: Functionality

Getting the cleaning supplies for your apartment is a must, but that’s not all you need to get. When people move into their apartments, they sometimes forget how many things just turn an empty apartment into a home. These items below will give you the bare minimum you need to have a functional apartment.


  • Dishes- You will need to put your food somewhere, right?
  • Pots and Pans- These are a must if you want to cook your own food. 
  • Cooking Utensils- This broad category includes a spatula, ladles, whisks, measuring cups, and pasta spoons.
  • A Colander- If you want to drain your pasta, you will need this.
  • A Microwave- Though it was once a bonus, it’s now a staple in every typical home.
  • A Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot- Many people wouldn’t consider this to be one of the things every apartment needs, but it’s still an excellent tool to have. This will let you make hot meals while you’re out and about...and will even keep them warm for you.
  • Eating Utensils- Knives, forks, spoons, and chopsticks will make sure that everyone is served.
  • Drinkware- A small set of glasses is more than enough in most cases.
  • A Knife Block- Cutting your meat and veggies will require more than just your typical knife in many cases.
  • A Fire Extinguisher- If your apartment doesn’t come with one of these, you need to invest in one. This is one of the few things for your apartment that can save your life.
  • Food Storage- Some sandwich bags and some Tupperware will suffice.
  • Oven Mitts- Fans of baking won’t forget these.
  • Cutting Boards- Ideally, you will have separate cutting boards for meats and veggies. However, a single cutting board will suffice.
  • Bakeware- A casserole dish and a couple of cookie sheets will do, at a bare minimum. 

Living Room:

  • A Television- Though it’s technically not a mandatory part of your home’s setup, having a TV in your apartment will make things a lot easier in terms of entertainment.
  • Your Electronics- It’s the modern age. Everyone has electronics that they use regularly. We strongly suggest getting them packed. 
  • Surge Protectors- Almost every home is going to need to have at least one multi-outlet surge protector to ensure that everything is powered up well. Most will need two or more to function.


  • Coat Hangers- Coat hangers are a must for closet storage and keeping your clothes pristine. 
  • Clothing Storage- Whether it’s hanging shelves, a cabinet, or a chest of drawers doesn’t matter. You will need a way to store your clothes in your room. 
  • Lamps- Technically, you will need lighting for every room in your house. Lamps add ambiance and make it easier to keep your home looking snazzy.
  • Your Clothes- You can’t forget these things, can you?


  • Towels- If you take a shower and don’t have something to dry yourself off with, you’re going to feel a little awkward, don’t you think?
  • Soap and Shampoo- Though you could always buy these locally, it’s often useful to just pack them with you, so you don’t have to deal with extra work. 
  • Toothbrushes and Toothpaste- Much like with your soap and shampoo, these can be picked up locally or brought from home. 
  • Assorted Toiletries- We all have our own self-care routine. So, make sure to pack things like deodorant, acne medication, any prescription meds you may need, plus body lotion.
  • A First Aid Kit- This might seem unnecessary, but being able to administer first aid in the event of a serious fall or accident can save your life. Safety experts agree that this is one of the essential apartment necessities you can have in your bathroom.

hash-markSo What Do You Do After Your Essentials Are Moved Into Your New Apartment?

Crazy as it is to say, this first apartment checklist is just the bare minimum you need to ensure that you have everything you need to function in a small apartment. If you are looking to make your apartment a little cozier, chances are that you are going to need more than just the basics. 

That leads us to a final say on the most common “extras” first-time renters get excited about.

Decorations: Necessity or No?

Decorating your apartment, for most of us, is both a luxury and a necessity. It’s your way of making your home your own and adding personality to your place. If you want to get the most out of your first move-in, we strongly suggest packing (or buying) these goodies:

  • Wall Art- Posters and paintings can make a massive impact on your apartment’s ambiance. 
  • Plants- Succulents are popular, as are indoor herb gardens.
  • Vases- If someone gets you fresh flowers, a vase will turn into a must-have. 

hash-markReady, Set, Move! 

Now that you’ve got your apartment necessities checklist, you can get started moving. Don’t worry—this checklist sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. With a little work and organization, you’ll be able to move in without a hitch.