Checklist for Your First Apartment

Moving into your first place is an exciting rite of passage for young adults, but it can also be very daunting. You’ve got utilities to set up, furniture to find, and new bills to pay. Many first-time renters overlook some basic items that will prove very useful even if you don’t know it yet. Besides the obvious stuff, like couches and chairs, here are some much-needed items for your first apartment:


Basic Tool Set

When you have your own place, a tool set is essential even if you aren’t familiar with tools. At the very least, it’s good for hanging artwork or curtains, and doing basic repairs. And if you need help familiarizing yourself with tools and how to use them, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube. Buy Cartman 39 Piece Tool Set from Amazon.*

First Aid Kit

In case of injury or emergencies, have at least one first aid kit available in an easy to access spot. Purchase an All-Purpose First Aid Kit from Amazon.

Tape Measure

You’ll likely be purchasing lots of new furniture for your new apartment. Keep a tape measure on hand to make sure you don’t get furniture that’s too big for your space.

Step Ladder

A step ladder is an essential for cleaning and maintenance on hard-to-reach areas of your apartment. It’s also good for reaching high cabinets and shelves that you otherwise might not use.


You should have a pair of kitchen scissors and basic scissors for opening packages and cutting fabrics or other material.


Light Bulbs

Don’t get left in the dark – you never know when a bulb will go out. Keep at least a couple packs of light bulbs in your apartment for a quick change.


Batteries are another item that you’ll likely need fairly often. Get a variety of battery types so you’ll be sure to have the right ones when you need them.


Keep a flashlight in each room in your apartment in case of a power outage. Flashlights are also great for looking under furniture or other dark spaces.

Mop and Broom

Along with independence comes responsibility. One of the biggest responsibilities of having your own place is cleaning. A sponge mop and broom/dustpan are important for keeping your space clean.


You don’t want an overflowing toilet to flood your living space. Even if your apartment has 24 hour maintenance, they may not make it to you in time to prevent water damage. Although it’s not a fun or glamorous purchase, a plunger is essential for any apartment.

Hand-held Vacuum

Hand-held vacuums work for hard surfaces and carpet to pick up hairs, dirt and other debris. They’re great for every day cleaning when you don’t want to break out the bigger cleaning tools. Black + Decker Cordless Lithium Vacuum.

Garbage Cans

Trash bins are another not fun, yet essential purchase for your place. Having a wastebasket in most if not all rooms will keep trash from piling up and keep your space looking tidy. At the very least, have a trash can for the kitchen and bathroom(s).  Covered cans are ideal because they hide your garbage and contain unpleasant odors.

Basic Cleaning Supplies

Keep a basket of inexpensive, all-purpose cleaning supplies in your apartment to make chores more convenient. Some cleaning supplies to always have on hand: baking soda, distilled vinegar, lemons, and microfiber cloths.

Still trying to find the perfect place? Read our Guide to Finding the Right Apartment.

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