Young woman marking off checklist while sitting on sofa surrounded by boxes at new apartment.

Your First Apartment Checklist: Moving Essentials

A lot goes into moving to your first apartment, and it’s easy to forget things. So we put together a handy moving essentials checklist!

Moving out and into your first apartment is an exciting milestone. But now that you’ve signed the lease on a space all your own, what do you fill it with? While your parents probably supplied all the essentials when you lived with them, you’re on your own now, and it’s easy to miss things. So, we’ve compiled a packing checklist to help you buy, thrift, or commandeer the most important things you’ll need, room by room.

A full bed piled with comfy pillows and blankets
Photo by @dunelmuk

√ The Bedroom Essentials

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to take your bedroom set with you. But if your new bedroom is too small or you’re looking to upgrade from your childhood furniture, here are some of the things you’ll need:

  • Mattress and pillows – this should be number two on your list, after toilet paper. You’ll want a place to crash after a hectic day of moving, and the floor is not ideal.
  • Bed frame, dresser, and nightstand – you can purchase a set at most furniture stores for a discount if you’re looking to buy new. Otherwise, yard sales and thrift stores are great places to check out if you don’t already have furniture. Easily slap on a coat of paint to make pieces more cohesive or to your tastes.
  • Bedding, sheets, and pillowcases – make sure you check which bedding and pillowcase sizes will fit what you have, and pack extra blankets.
  • Mirror – this is only an issue if there isn’t already one in the bedroom, but you’ll probably want at least one full-length mirror in the home.
  • Laundry hamper – tempting as it may be, it’s better not to leave your dirty clothes in a heap on the floor. Having a laundry hamper will keep your space neater. It can also help you determine when you’re due to throw a load in the wash.
  • Closet hangers – unpacking your clothes is one way to make a space feel more like home. Plus, getting ready is easier when you aren’t digging through boxes for things.
  • Blinds or curtains – grab these ahead of time if you can get the window measurements. You’ll definitely want privacy and a way to block out light when you’re sleeping.

Photo by @sferralinens

√ The Bathroom Essentials

This room should come mostly furnished, and you’ll just need to pick up some odds and ends. Check out our blog post on Tips and Tricks for Organizing Under Your Bathroom Sink to make the most of your space. You should be able to buy a lot for this room as you go, but some things you’ll need right away include:

  • Toilet paper – number one item on the packing list and the first thing you should unpack when you move in.
  • Towels – you can usually buy a set online or at a department store. If you want extras of anything, they can often be bought separately, too.
  • Toothbrush holder and soap holder – you may also be able to find a matching set of these, alongside your towels, to keep your bathroom cohesive.
  • Bath mat – another item you can usually match your towels to and something you’ll surely want so you don’t slip or track water on the floor.
  • Shower curtain – unless the shower has a glass door, you can pick up a cheap shower curtain, liner, and hooks at any department store.
  • A plunger and toilet scrub – maybe not something you’ll use right away, but you don’t want to find yourself without one or the other when you need it.
  • Toiletries – these will vary from person to person based on your regimen. Typical items include a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, q-tips, tissues, body wash, and hair care products. Basically, anything you use on the daily.

Photo by @casadeperrin

√ The Kitchen Essentials

Possibly the room that needs the most furnishing. The kitchen should come with all the basic appliances, like a fridge, stovetop/oven, and maybe a dishwasher if you’re lucky. But it is less likely to come stocked with anything else. While you don’t need to buy everything for the kitchen all at once, there are several things you’ll want to have right away:

  • Small appliances – these will depend on the individual and available storage space. Some common cooking appliances include a microwave, toaster, coffee maker, tea kettle, hand mixer, blender, crockpot, or instant pot.
  • Dining table and chairs – it is always a good idea to have some sort of formal eating space that isn’t the couch. This can be as small as a breakfast nook with a couple of chairs if you have limited space.
  • Utensils – so you aren’t stuck using your hands, you’ll want to grab a set of forks, spoons, and knives. You’ll also need cooking utensils, like a spatula, a knife set, serving spoons, and so on. Think of the most common utensils you (or your parents) use and add them to your list.
  • Dishware – this includes things like glasses, mugs, plates, and bowls. You should get multiple sizes and at least a couple of each to start. You’ll also want to check to see what’s microwave- and dishwasher-safe if you plan on using these appliances.
  • Cookware – separate from dishware, this includes your pots and pans, baking sheets, cutting boards, measuring cups and spoons, etc. And you’ll want several sizes of each to make different dishes. You can usually find variety sets at a reasonable price, especially if they are on sale.
  • Dish towels – there will always be some dishes you’ll need to wash by hand, even if you have a dishwasher. And dishtowels are useful for drying your hands or cleaning up spills, so you don’t waste paper towels.
  • Trash bin and garbage bags – even if no other room has a garbage can, the kitchen will need one. And you’ll want to have trash bags at the ready, so you can clean each room as you move in.
  • Food storage containers – whether you save and reuse takeout containers or find a bargain on a nice Pyrex set, you’ll need something to store leftover food in.
  • Groceries – it’s a good idea to have some odds and ends on hand in case you can’t make it to the store immediately. For example, snack foods that don’t need to be refrigerated are ideal, as are unopened condiments and spices you know you’ll need.

√ The Miscellaneous Essentials

Outside of things you’ll need for each room, there are several items that are good to have but maybe aren’t room-specific. Some of these include:

  • A toolkit – chances are you’ll have to put together some of your furniture yourself. Having a small toolkit can save you tons of trouble. Most toolkits come with the basics, like a hammer, measuring tape, and screwdrivers.
  • Command strips – your apartment might not allow you to poke holes in the walls to hang things. Command strips offer a convenient alternative.
  • Cleaning supplies – detergent, cleaning sprays, and paper towels are a given. You’ll also want a vacuum, broom, dustpan, and maybe even a mop if you’re dealing with hardwood flooring. Dust cloths and sponges will come in handy, too, for cleaning certain surfaces.
  • Sewing kit – it’s ok if you’re not great at sewing. Keeping a small kit around with some thread, needles, scissors, and safety pins is still smart. You can easily look up online tutorials for mending minor tears.
  • Power strips – chances are you’ll have more things to plug in than outlets available, which can be frustrating. So, having a few power strips will come in handy and save you the hassle of constantly switching plugs.
  • Batteries – it’s always good to have backup batteries, especially for your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a flashlight if the power goes out. And if you don’t have these three things, better add them to your list.
  • Fire extinguisher – up there with the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, this is a safety essential. You’ll want to ensure you have at least one fire extinguisher that is up to code. Kerp it in an easily accessible place.
  • First aid kit – accidents happen. So it’s important to have essentials like band-aids, anti-bacterial ointment, painkillers, and such on hand, just in case.

√ Your Storage Needs

If you’re moving far away or your parents are giving you “the boot” and not all of your things will fit in your new apartment, consider getting a self storage unit. Prime has storage facilities across the country and offers convenient apartment storage solutions for just about any need. Storing seasonal clothing? Outdoor gear? Your gaming collection? We have space for it all! Call us or visit our website to find a storage unit near you.

And if you need even more moving ideas and packing tips, check out our blog! We’ve got info on How to Transport Furniture Properly, Getting Ready for Move-In Day at Your New Apartment, and more.

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Tagged as  Moving