You Got Your First Apartment! Now What?

Portrait of a happy family during move in

You’ve just signed the lease for your first apartment, that’s awesome! There’s a lot to do between now and move-in day, most importantly, figuring out what to bring with you. Now is the time to really be thoughtful and smart about what to prioritize and what to buy or get rid of before your big move.


As with any move, there are a few things to consider such as: do you have roommates, are you bringing any pets, how much storage is there, and what kind of budget do you have? While this is just a starting point, all of these are important to consider.


If you have roommates, you can easily split up the shopping list and divide and conquer, and if you are bringing pets, their needs will be high on the priority list. To help make this process a little easier, we’ve provided a list of first apartment essentials below.

Kitchen Essentials



Even if you aren’t a gourmet chef, you’ll need to use your kitchen a few times a week at least. There are certain basic items every kitchen needs in order to be functional for your upcoming move.

  • A set of pots and pans: you may not use them every day, but a frying pan and two pots, small and large, are good to have to keep it simple.
  • Baking sheet: Who doesn’t enjoy the scent of fresh-made cookies in their new kitchen? If you plan to do any baking, make sure to include a pair of oven mitts!
  • Mixing bowl and measuring utensils: A good place to start for basic cooking and baking supplies is a bowl, a set of measuring spoons, and a measuring cup.
  • Knives and a cutting board: Serrated, chef’s, and paring knives are good to have when you’re starting out. A cutting board is a great idea for renters to prevent any cut marks on counters.
  • A strainer: One of the easiest meals to make on a budget is pasta of any kind, we recommend including a strainer in your kitchen supplies
  • Cooking and eating utensils: For cooking, it is best to start with a spatula and a large spoon. Just one set of forks, knives, and spoons is enough to start with in any living space.
  • Coffee maker and mugs: For those who can’t live without their morning coffee, a coffee maker is a requirement. You may already have a favorite mug or set of mugs to bring with you, but if not, we suggest starting out with just one or two mugs.
  • Dishes and drinkware: Keep your cabinets as clutter-free as possible and consider only bringing two plates and two bowls, you can always buy more later on. Bring about four glasses, and possibly a wine glass or two if you enjoy an occasional drink. Don’t forget the corkscrew if you do!
  • Leftover or meal-prep containers: If you make your meals for the week ahead of time or just want storage for leftovers, a set of containers for food storage is a great idea. A helpful tip: keep smaller items you’re not sure how to transport, like jewelry or even your eating utensils, inside these containers when you move!
  • A garbage can with a lid: A lidded can is always recommended for the kitchen so that any extra smelly trash will be hidden and less likely to attract bugs.


Bedroom Essentials



The bedroom is one space you may want to put extra thought and money into. A good night’s sleep is important and you want to have a space that makes you feel comfortable and at home, especially for your first few nights in your new apartment.

  • A bedframe and mattress: While both of these can be expensive, they are also important to put extra thought into. If you want to save these for later, consider bringing a comfortable air mattress for the first few nights until you can really settle in.
  • Sheets and pillows: One set of sheets and two pillows is a good place to start. Of course, if you sleep better with a lot of pillows, bring as many as you like, but we recommend starting simple for the moving process.
  • Comforter or duvet and cover: Even if you are using your temporary air mattress, we still recommend having an extra layer of comfort for cooler nights.
  • Storage: This can be another more expensive purchase if you don’t already have a dresser or closet. It is a good idea to have a set of drawers for extra storage in your bedroom to minimize clutter and keep clothing or beauty supplies organized.
  • Hangers for your closet and a laundry hamper: Even if your apartment has in-unit laundry, you’ll want to keep dirty clothes in one place and have hangers at the ready when putting clean clothes away.
  • A lamp: Some apartments can have little to no lighting in bedrooms, so having a lamp or two for your space is a good idea.
  • Curtains: While many apartment windows have blinds, you may still want the added darkness of a set of curtains in your bedroom.


Bathroom Essentials



When moving into your new apartment’s bathroom, of course you’ll need your toiletries. There are a few items that you may need to keep your bathroom clean and organized.

  • Bath and hand towels: Two of each are our recommendations when starting out. You may also want to consider a wall hook if your bathroom doesn’t already have a hook or a towel rack.
  • Shower curtain and liner: Apartments occasionally come with a shower liner already in place, but these can be pre-used and old. Even if the liner is new, it is a good idea to have another for later. Remember to buy hooks or rings if your shower doesn’t come with them!
  • Bathmat: No matter what state the floor is in, you should always have a bathmat outside your shower to catch the water when you get out. Having at least one bathmat in the bathroom is a good start when you first move in, and you can always buy an extra one later on.
  • Toothbrush holder: It is important to have proper storage for your toothbrush, especially if you have multiple to keep organized.
  • A small trashcan: Having a small trashcan in the bathroom is always a good idea.
  • A plunger and toilet brush: You never know if there will be a plumbing problem in your apartment, so it is best to be prepared with a plunger on-hand. Having a cleaning brush helps to make cleaning up after those plumbing problems easy.


A Few Extra Recommendations


Here are just a few more suggestions to keep in mind when you first move into your new apartment:

  • A desk and chair: This is important especially if you plan on working from home and need to have a workspace set up as soon as possible.
  • A first aid kit: You never know what could happen during the first few days in your new apartment, especially if you have any furniture to put together. Having a first aid kit in your apartment is highly recommended.
  • A tool kit and spare batteries: Having a basic tool kit in your apartment may save you a call to maintenance. We also suggest having a flashlight or two and a package of extra batteries in case of a power outage.


Need a pre-move-in clean?



New apartments are so exciting and full of potential. But when you first enter your new space, there can be evidence of previous tenants all over the place. Do you want to make sure your new apartment is spotless before you settle in? Could we have the right services for you and your new apartment? Find out here and contact us for your pre-move-in clean!


Get notified of new articles

53,398 home owners are already subscribed to Cleanzen Blog. Leave your email to get our weekly newsletter


No charge. Unsubscribe anytime.


Cleanzen Blog Comment Policy

We welcome revelant and respectful comments. Off-topic comments and spam will be removed.