First Apartment Essentials

23 Jul

Autumn Knox, Purdue University Student & Peer Counselor

green door & window; text overlay: First Apartment Essentials

The transition into your first apartment is a big one. It feels like there are half a million things you have to remember, between security deposits, setting up utilities, and fine tuning the logistics of actually moving in. In all of that madness, it’s important to remember to pack the essentials!


There are the basics you want to consider: silverware, plates, bowls, and cups. This may sound like common sense, but these things can be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of moving! Aside from those items, you’ll want things like a skillet, at least one pot, a baking sheet, and the like. Even if you’re not much of a chef and plan to live off Ramen Noodles and cereal for the year, these items can be handy to have around. You may also want some bigger utensils – a spatula, a wooden spoon or something similar for stirring, etc. Also, don’t forget the sponge and dish soap for those pesky dishes!

Then there are the (highly useful!) extras that can be great to have around, and these really depend on your preference and needs. Things like a toaster and a microwave top the list. Most apartments for college students come furnished with a refrigerator, but this is something that you’ll want to make sure you have! If you’re a coffee drinker, investing in a coffee maker is an important addition to this list. Having your own coffee maker is more cost effective and adds convenience to a hectic college lifestyle.


The good news is that dorm life requires some of the same bedroom furnishings that an apartment does.  Things like bedding, a bookshelf, hangers, and maybe even storage tubs – all key to dorm living— are also needed in an apartment. Depending on whether the apartment is furnished or not, you will also want to consider things like a bed, a desk and chair, as well as something like a dresser.  Depending on the lighting, and if you plan to study there much, you’ll also want to consider investing in a lamp.


This room is a little easier, as bathrooms tend to come pretty furnished. Little extras you may want to consider  are things like hand soap (a must really!), hand towels, a shower curtain, and a bath mat for the floor  outside the shower/ tub!

Living Room

This space can vary depending on whether the apartment is furnished or not. Furnished apartments typically have the basics you would need in your living room. Some of the things you’ll want to make sure are included are seating (be it couches, a futon, or even lawn furniture), lamps if needed, and some form of a table for dining. If these aren’t provided in your furnished apartment, or you’re living in an unfurnished apartment, these are some things you may consider purchasing for your move.


There are a few other things you’ll want to consider when you’re getting ready for your big move.  If your unit doesn’t have a washer and dryer in it, you’ll want to consider investing in a good bag/ basket to make the trip to and from the laundromat.

And though it doesn’t sound quite as fun, you may want to stock up on some cleaning supplies, as these can also come in handy. You’ll want a vacuum or broom – depending on if the floor is carpet or hardwood—and maybe some cleaning wipes or Windex.

If you have any pets moving in with you, you’ll also want to make sure you have all the supplies they need to be comfortable too!

The list can appear daunting at first, but for many common area things (living room furnishings, cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, etc.), you can talk to your roommates to see about splitting the cost and/ or responsibilities!


What other things do you recommend for a first apartment? Let us know in the comments below!


One Response to “First Apartment Essentials”

  1. Bob August 10, 2015 at 10:39 AM #

    Your list is pretty solid! What you’ve forgotten though is writing your first grocery list. Which can be sort of tough because people have different food allergies, religious obligations, oral health issues, diets(if somebody is vegan or something), so there’s really no one size fits all list of suggestions. Lots of people like it so I figured I’d suggest it:

    Basically its a little tool I made that takes into account all the little things that make your eating habits unique. That way people who’re Muslim or Jewish don’t have pork shoulder on their list, vegans aren’t suggested eggs, the lactose intolerant aren’t told to buy milk, you get the idea.


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