First Apartment Checklist: What You Need to Know and What You Need to Bring

first apartment checklistYou’ve finally done it. After years of living with your parents or guardians, you’ve found a place you can finally call your own. Maybe you’ve just graduated college, and are prepared to move out into the real, adult world. Maybe it’s taken you a little longer than that, but you’ve finally, finally done it!

Moving into your first apartment can be an exciting time. After all the stress of finding a place, hunting ads, scheduling appointments, and then finally securing deposits and roommates and move-in dates… now you can finally kick back and plan the move. Then you realize that moving is pretty stressful too, but luckily, there are ways to make it easier!

Having a checklist for all your necessities is a good place to start. With this first apartment checklist, you’ll find all the things you’ll need for the move all in one place.

Learn more tips on how to stay organized with this course.

Have you done everything you need to?

Before you think about buying stuff for your first apartment, ask yourself if you’ve done everything necessary to secure your new place. Apartment hunting can be tough, and that doesn’t end even if you’ve found your dream home. Ask yourself…

  • How much is the apartment per month?
  • Are utilities included?
  • Will I have roommates?
  • How will we split the costs?
  • How big is the apartment?
  • How long will I be staying here?
  • Did I read the entire contract?
  • Is the landlord a trustworthy person?
  • How long is the lease?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Is smoking allowed?
  • What other important clauses should I be aware of?
  • When will I need to move in?
  • After security deposit and first month’s rent, how much money do I have to spend on moving?

If your lease allows pets and you’re planning on getting a dog, why not consult this guide on the best dogs for apartments?

What are you responsible for bringing?

If you have roommates, chances are you won’t be responsible for bringing every single thing to the house. Personal items like bedding and shower supplies will be all yours, but other items in the house like couches, living room electronics, and kitchen supplies can be shared with a roommate.

Splitting up supplies like silverware is actually for the best. Doing dishes can be a total pain, especially if you end up with roommates who never do them. The more excess dishes you have, the less incentive there is to do dishes. Keep dirty dishes down to a minimum by limiting how many you bring in the first place.

First Apartment Checklist

So you’ve settled the lease, figured out your roommate (or lack thereof) situation, put in your deposit, and now all you need to do is prepare for the actual move. Let’s start big with… furniture!


▢ Couch
▢ Coffee table
▢ Dining room table
▢ Chairs
▢ Desk
▢ Bed
▢ Night stand
▢ Dresser
▢ Bookshelf
▢ TV stand

Also don’t forget some items that might not come with your home, but that you absolutely need!

▢ Smoke detector
▢ Carbon monoxide detector
▢ Fire extinguisher
▢ Toolkit
▢ First-aid kit
▢ Emergency kit (flashlights, bottled water, etc.)

Items in the living room can be split up between you and your roommate(s), unless you’re living on your own. You should also take into account the size of your new apartment, and how long you plan on staying there. For instance, if this is a small studio that you’re only planning on staying in for a year, you could save a lot of money buying furniture from IKEA. In fact, you can find more tips on living frugally in this course.

If money is no issue, and you’re moving into a huge, high-rise apartment that you’re planning on spending quite some time in, and you can afford to invest in more permanent house fixtures, then you can plan for that as well.

If you’re a creative, DIY-type, you can even learn how to build your own furniture from scratch! Check out this woodworking course for more information.

Living Room

Now that the big stuff is out of the way, we can probably go down the list according to room now. Let’s start in the living room.

▢ Television
▢ VCR/DVD/Bluray player
▢ Video game console
▢ Speakers
▢ Coat rack
▢ Door mat
▢ Books
▢ Decorations
▢ Couch pillows
▢ Blankets or throws
▢ Area rug
▢ Lamp
▢ Extension cords
▢ Air freshener

Keep your living room a balanced and positive space with this course on feng shui basics.


The kitchen and be prioritized or deprioritized depending on how busy of a person you are. Don’t forget what we talked about earlier, in terms of splitting up kitchen supplies with roommates either!

▢ Silverware
▢ Plates
▢ Bowls
▢ Cups
▢ Mugs
▢ Kettle
▢ Spatulas
▢ Knives
▢ Cutting board
▢ Can opener
▢ Tupperware containers
▢ Pots
▢ Pans
▢ Dish rack
▢ Sponges
▢ Ziploc bags
▢ Freezer bags
▢ Ice tray
▢ Water filter
▢ Garbage can

These are the bare minimum for keeping an occasionally-used kitchen. If you’re someone who cooks frequently, don’t forget:

▢ Crock pot
▢ Rice cooker
▢ Peeler
▢ Grater
▢ Cast iron pan
▢ Measuring cups
▢ Measuring spoons
▢ Baking sheet
▢ Foil
▢ Plastic wrap
▢ Spice rack
▢ Blender
▢ Food processor
▢ Juicer

Next, of course, don’t forget the major appliances. It’s tough to say what your kitchen will and won’t come with, so make sure to take inventory at the open house, check the lease, or ask your landlord. If anything, your kitchen will probably come with a fridge and a stove, with microwave being a big “maybe.”

▢ Microwave
▢ Toaster/Toaster oven
▢ Coffee pot
▢ Hot plate
▢ Mini-fridge
▢ Electric kettle

Cooking for yourself can be much healthier (and even cheaper) than buying food out. Learn how to cook for yourself and stay healthy doing it in this course on healthy eating.


Everyone in your house will be using this room, so make sure you and/or your roommates bring what’s necessary!

▢ Towels
▢ Shower curtain
▢ Shower caddy
▢ Shower mat
▢ Bathroom rug
▢ Hand soap dispenser
▢ Soap dish
▢ Bath robe
▢ Loofah
▢ Shaving razors
▢ Shaving cream
▢ Hair dryer
▢ Brush
▢ First-aid kit
▢ Toilet cover
▢ Toiler scrubber
▢ Plunger
▢ Cleaning supplies


Besides your clothes and other things you know you need, don’t forget to pack:

▢ Bedding (mattress, cover, sheets)
▢ Clothes hangers
▢ Drawer organizers
▢ Decorations
▢ Electronics
▢ Phone charger
▢ Books
▢ Laundry supplies
▢ Personal luggage


Will your apartment have an office? You might need:

▢ Desk
▢ Desk chair
▢ Extension cords
▢ Surge protector
▢ Chargers
▢ Laptop
▢ Computer
▢ Printer
▢ Desk organizers
▢ Pens
▢ Pencils
▢ Notebooks
▢ Stapler
▢ Paperclips
▢ Folders

Personal Items

Most importantly, don’t leave important personal items behind. Things like furniture and office supplies and even bedding you can buy most anywhere, but some things can’t be easily replaced. If you’re moving far, especially, you don’t want to leave any of the following behind:

▢ Birth certificate
▢ Social security card
▢ Checkbook
▢ Insurance
▢ ID cards
▢ Passport
▢ Credit and debit cards

You might even want to invest in a safe to keep important documents!

If your priority is to get rid of things you own, rather than stockpile new stuff, before you move into your apartment, check out this guide on how to sell on eBay and Amazon. Whatever you do, try not to stress too hard about the move. Check out this stress management training course for some tips.