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First Apartment Checklist: Everything You Need for Move-In Day

Happy couple starting a new life
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Deciding what you need for your first apartment can be overwhelming — get yourself organized by creating an apartment checklist. Don’t want to forget the essentials, like toilet paper and cleaning supplies? Add it to the list. Are you bringing along a furry friend? Make sure to include your pet’s needs as part of your apartment essentials.

This comprehensive checklist will help you gather all your first apartment essentials to get you ready to move into your new home.

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Your room-by-room must-haves

To ensure that your apartment checklist includes all the must-have items, consider approaching your list on a room-by-room basis. Here is what you will need for the different rooms in your apartment.


The kitchen is one of the most important (and expensive) rooms in any home. Consider starting your checklist with the kitchen in mind.

  • Refrigerator: you’re going to want a fridge. If the apartment you’re moving into doesn’t come with a refrigerator, you may want to buy a mini fridge of your own 
  • Microwave: if your apartment doesn’t come with a microwave, consider buying your own small microwave, electric cooker, or hot plate
  • Pots and pans
  • Strainer 
  • Dinnerware set: a few plates, bowls, and cups  
  • Cutlery set: at a bare minimum, you’re going to need at least one fork, spoon, and knife
  • Basic cooking utensils: measuring cups and spoons, stirring spoon, a few knives
  • Cutting board
  • Oven mitts
  • Baking sheet
  • Dish towels or sponges
  • Trash can and trash bags
  • Cleaning supplies: dish soap, dish detergent (if you have a dishwasher), all-purpose cleaner
  • Kitchen furniture: if your kitchen comes with an island, consider shopping for a couple of barstools
  • Dish drying rack or mat
  • Chip clips

MYMOVE pro tip

The cost of kitchen utensils adds up quickly. Ask your family and friends if they have any kitchen supplies that they haven’t touched in years. You can also try your local dollar stores and thrift shops for a cheap solution.

Living room

You (and your guests) will be spending a considerable amount of time in your living room. Take the time to gather the necessary living room essentials to make this room comfortable and functional.

  • Couch: if a large couch is out of your budget, consider buying a small loveseat, futon, or beanbag
  • Coffee table 
  • Lighting: standing lamp or one – two small table lamps 
  • Curtains
  • TV
  • Entertainment stand or TV mount

MYMOVE pro tip

You can save quite a bit on furniture by thrifting. Consider looking for secondhand furniture in places like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, local yard sales, and thrift stores.


Your bedroom is where you relax after a long day, so make sure you have the right essentials to make yourself feel comfortable and relaxed.

  • Mattress: you spend more time in your bed than anywhere else in your home. Consider investing in a comfortable new mattress for your apartment.
  • Bed frame
  • Bedding
  • Nightstand
  • Hangers
  • Dresser
  • Laundry hamper

MYMOVE pro tip

Apartments never seem to come with enough storage space. If there’s room in your budget, consider grabbing a few plastic storage containers and a closet organizer or two to help keep your space clutter-free. 


Don’t overlook the bathroom! The last thing you’ll want to do on move-in day is make a trip to the store for your bathroom supplies. Save yourself some stress and check these items off your list early.

  • Shower liner, curtain, and hooks
  • Bath towels
  • Washcloths
  • Bath mat 
  • Hand soap
  • Plunger
  • Toiletries
  • Small trash can
  • Shower organizer: (if your shower lacks built-in shelves)
  • Toilet paper
  • Cleaning supplies: disinfectants, cleaning brushes/sponges, disposable wipes, toilet brush

MYMOVE pro tip

Look for situations where you can buy bathroom supplies in sets to save a little money.

Other apartment essentials you won’t want to forget

While you will need many items when you move into your new space, there are specific apartment essentials that you simply cannot do without. As you budget and plan your time, make sure you prioritize the following necessary items.

  • Power strips
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Light bulbs
  • Scissors 
  • Tape
  • Document folders
  • Batteries
  • Curtains
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Mop and bucket
  • Step stool
  • First aid kit
  • A small toolkit
  • Can opener
  • Laundry detergent

If there is room in your budget, consider splurging on:

There will always be at least a few items that aren’t necessarily “needs” but are probably “wants.” If you have budgeted for all the items in your apartment checklist and you still have some money left, consider splurging on:

  • Patio furniture: if your apartment has a private outdoor space
  • Decor
  • Area rug
  • Fan: if your apartment doesn’t have ceiling fans 
  • Throw blankets
  • Plants

MYMOVE recommendations 

Need a few recommendations? We’ve got you covered. Here are a few items that we use in our own homes (and have fallen in love with).

The bottom line

Moving into your first apartment is an exciting life milestone. Create a budget and keep yourself organized with a room-by-room checklist of what you need to get your apartment started. And remember, you’ve got this! 

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