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Apartment move-in checklist
Everything you need to outfit your new apartment
You’re ready to move into your first apartment, and now you’re starting to think about everything you need to live comfortably. Handsoap. Mixing bowls. A first aid kit. Even a plunger. When you start to look around, you’ll notice that there’s actually quite a bit you’re likely to need. Getting organized with an apartment move-in checklist ahead of time will help you prioritize the most important items without blowing through your budget.
We’ve put together some handy apartment move-in checklists for you below.
The essential move-in checklist for your first apartment
We’ll organize everything you need by room a little later on, but if you’re moving in now, here are the things you’re most likely to need right away.
Paper plates will work for a little while, but it’s best to get some basic dinnerware plates and storage containers early on. You can grab most of this at Target, and they usually have some pretty nice-looking stuff at reasonable prices (expect more, pay less, right?). You can also grab these from Walmart. (If you want to shop around online, of course, check Amazon. But Target offers most of their selection online, and their site is pretty easy to navigate.)
This one may seem a little obvious, but we aren’t talking about the bed frame and mattress (though you need those, too). We’re talking about bedding and pillows. More specifically: mattress covers, sheets, a comforter, pillows, pillowcases, and maybe some extra blankets if your apartment runs a little cold.
After a long day of moving, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to have your bed all made up and ready for you.
When you’re moving heavy things around, breaking down moving boxes, and just generally wearing yourself out, you’re more prone to injury. Hopefully, it won’t be anything major, but best to be ready in case your back starts complaining and you need some Ibuprofen.
Or, if you slice your finger, and though it looks like a murder scene, you just need to apply some pressure and a band-aid. Here’s what you should have on hand:
- Anti-infection ointments
- Rolled bandages
- Safety pins/sticky tape
- Rash cream
- Insect bite/sting relief spray or cream
We might put these at the very top of the apartment move-in checklist. You just never want to be in a situation where you don’t have toilet paper when you need it. Never ever. Grab these from Amazon or Target:
Hopefully, your landlord made sure your apartment was thoroughly cleaned before you moved in. But chances are good you might find a few spots that need a little more work. And frankly, even if the apartment is spotless when you moved in, doing your own cleaning before you use the bathroom or kitchen just feels good for our inner neat freaks.
You’ll be needing all these supplies later on anyway.
- Mop and broom
- Disinfectant spray/wipes
- Dishwasher and laundry detergent
- Toilet bowl cleaner and toilet brush
- Air fresheners
- Paper towels
The “Absolute Essentials” Checklist
|THE ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS|
|Kitchen Essentials||Rolled Bandages|
|Forks, knives and spoon||Rash cream|
|Cups and mugs||Insect bite/sting relief|
|Plates||Safety pins/sticky tape|
|Plastic storage containers||Toilet paper|
|Bedroom Essentials||Toothpaste and toothbrush|
|Bedframe||Body wash, shampoo, conditioner|
|Comforter||Mop and broom|
|First-aid Essentials||Dishwasher and laundry soap|
|Bandages||Toilet bowl cleaner and brush|
Kitchen and dining room essential checklist items
Unless you only eat out (budget breaker alert!), you’ll need some cooking supplies and a place to sit and eat.
Dining table and chairs
Before you start shopping, measure how much room you actually have. If you’re tight on space, check out some of the tables that have extensions. You’ll be able to add seating when you need it but keep it compact for everyday living.
A great way to add extra seating to your kitchen is to get a couple of bar stools to sit up against the counter. Overstock has a number of pretty affordable dining sets. Some of the expandable sets from Target are pretty good-looking, too.
Pots, pans, and bowls
Whether you’re an experienced chef or usually cook mac and cheese, we recommend grabbing some of the basics no matter what. You’ll want a saucepan, frying pan, and a large pot at the very least. If you can splurge, look for a complete set and get cooking.
Make sure you also have a few different sizes of mixing bowls. If you want to shop from home, check out Amazon for more options. If you’d like to spend some time inside a massive store and get both lost and fully outfitted, consider Ikea.
If you’re going all minimal, fingers will work for eating, but they’re not very effective at cutting. We recommend you grab a set of the basics below. (Pssst. You can usually find great deals on Silicone Cooking Kitchen Utensils bundles like this one at Amazon.)
- Spatula, whisk, mixing spoons, and serving spoons
- Various knives (cutting, paring, etc) and cutting boards
- Aluminum foil and cling wrap
General kitchen items
You moved in, you woke up in your new place, you head for the kitchen to start the coffee maker and… it’s not there. Disaster! Avoid it. Keep your eye out for deals on all of the following items off your apartment move in checklist:
Kitchen and dining room checklist
|KITCHEN AND DINING ROOM|
|Dining table||Aluminum foil|
|Pots and pans||Strainer/colander|
|Mixing and serving spoons||Blender|
|Knife set||Paper towel holder|
Bathroom essentials for your move-in checklist
Make sure your bathroom is completely stocked and ready to go with our apartment move-in checklist as soon as you move in. You’ll be sweaty from moving and want a shower. We’re sure of it.
Nearly everybody forgets this one. Walmart and Target both have great options. You can get something super basic that simply keeps the water out or shop from a variety of styles to tie your bathroom decor all together. (This shark one will really wake you up in the morning. Or maybe leopard print is your thing?)
If you shower, you’re going to get wet. If you don’t have infinite time, you won’t want to air dry. Get yourself some bath towels.
Bathroom trash cans are typically pretty small and can easily be tucked away beside the toilet or under a sink. Try to get one with a lid to keep everything out of sight.
Toothbrush holder and soap dispenser
Bathroom clutter builds up. Keep your toothbrush clean and off the counter or sink with a toothbrush holder. Make sure you have a soap dispenser or a bar of soap in a soap dish. (We know — these might seem a little obvious, but when you’re in the middle of a move and trying to outfit your place for the first time, it’s easy to forget.)
Turn wet hands into dry hands with some hand towels. There are a lot of different colors and quality levels, so shop around a bit. Or you know, use your pants to dry your hands instead.
Cold floors after a warm shower are blah. Go with a simple but knubby floor mat or check out some of the more luxurious ones, like a memory foam floor mat, that feels like heaven for your toes.
|Shower curtain||Trash can|
|Shower curtain liner||Toothbrush holder|
|Bath towels||Soap dispenser|
|Hand towels||Floor mat|
Apartment bedroom move-in checklist
You sleep here. You might even work in your bedroom. Maybe it’s even where you go to escape your roommates. Make it a place of peace.
(Correctly sized) dresser
There’s nothing worse than hauling a dresser up a flight of stairs — or spending hours putting one together — only to discover that it’s just too big. Figure out what size dresser will work best in your space and then look around for something that’s nice looking, affordable and has a drawer set-up that matches how you like to organize your clothes.
Overstock has some pretty decent and affordable options. And, of course, they deliver.
It used to be that we used nightstands to hold a lamp and a book. Let’s face it — now we mainly use it as a place to charge our phones overnight. You can get some pretty simple and compact nightstands that barely take up any space. Or you can buy a sturdier option with drawers and fancy hardware. Check out some of the options on West Elm, and Overstock.
More pillows, sheets, and comforters
If you’ve already got the basics — great! If you aren’t one of those people that gets all your wash done in one day, consider getting an extra set of bedding. You can find a variety of pretty good bedroom sets on Overstock.
Hangers and a hamper
We don’t know anyone who has complained about having too much storage available in their bedroom. Keep things off the floor with hangers for clean stuff and a hamper for dirty stuff. You can get a million hangers for super cheap. And you can get a hundred nonslip velvet ones for super cheap, too.
Lamp and fan
Maybe the light of your phone screen is enough for you. But if you want a little more light to read by or you want your space to feel a little cozier, don’t forget a lamp.
There are a ton of options: modern metal ones, glass shade ones, attach-to-the-nightstand ones, and our favorite, a mini-chandelier one. (If you run a little hot at night and don’t have an overhead fan, don’t forget to snag a desktop fan, too.)
|Sheets and comforter||Desktop fan|
Main living space essentials
Last but not least: Your living room. Most people spend the majority of their time in their living rooms, so make this space great! (If you look at the apartment move-in checklist below and only see dollar signs, aka it all sounds expensive, check out our article on when (and how) to rent furniture for your apartment.)
Sofa (or couch)
Arguably the most important piece of furniture other than your bed, your sofa is likely to get a decent amount of use. It’s where you’ll plop down to hang out with friends — and it might be where they crash for the night, too.
Couches can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars, so do some strategic thinking about how long you intend to have it, what kind of wear and tear you expect, and if the style is something you can live with for a long time (or not).
Finding the right TV, just like the right sofa, can take a little searching. You’ll want to think about size, how far away from it you’ll sit and if you plan to mount it on the wall (check with your landlord!) or set it on a media console. There’s no shortage of options available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
Side tables and other extras
You might be happy with just your couch. But if you have people over pretty frequently or want to be able to set a beverage on something other than the ground, you might want a few additional pieces of furniture.
Consider a coffee table around your couch. For additional seating, take a look at recliners and bean bags. Need to lighten up your space? Floor lamps.
Living room checklist
|Coffee table||Lightin – floor lamp|
|Sheets and comforter||Desk|
The complete apartment move-in checklist
Here it is: Everything we’ve talked about above in one place. The master apartment move in checklist. It may look like a lot (and frankly, it is). But by planning ahead and considering what you need most, you can shop around for the best deals and prioritize how you spend your budget.
|Forks, knives and spoon||Spatula|
|Cups and mugs||Whisk|
|Plates||Mixing and serving spoons|
|Plastic storage containers||Aluminum foil|
|Pillows||Paper towel holder|
|Anti-infected ointments||Shower curtain liner|
|Rolled Bandages||Trash can|
|Rash cream||Toothbrush holder|
|Insect bite/sting relief||Soap dispenser|
|Safety pins/sticky tape||Floor mat|
|Toothpaste and toothbrush||Pillows|
|Deodorant||Sheets and comforter|
|Body wash, shampoo, conditioner||Hangers|
|Mop and broom||Lamp|
|Disinfectant spray/wipes||Desktop fan|
|Dishwasher and laundry soap||Living space|
|Toilet bowl cleaner and brush||Sofa|
|Air Fresheners||Coffee table|
|Paper towels||Sheets and comforter|
|Kitchen and dining room||End tables|
|Dining table||Additional seating|
|Chairs||Lightin – floor lamp|
|Pots and pans||Desk|
Using checklists to make your first-time move easier
Be sure to use our apartment move-in checklist for each individual section to make your move as smooth as possible or the master checklist for all-in-one convenience. As long as you can check off every item on our lists, you’ll be in great shape to move in and have your apartment ready in no time.
Another great option is to start adding things to a list app like Evernote, Google’s Keep Notes, or Apple’s Reminders. For things, you choose to buy in person, save yourself some time by organizing the items on your list by section. This will help you avoid running back and forth all over Target when you’ve left the first aid section but forgot a box of band-aids.
Moving to your new place can be one of the most exciting times in your life, especially if it’s your first move! Our complete move-in lists will help you get everything you need for it. Have fun!
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