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A First- Apartment Checklist

You found your dream apartment and signed the lease. Congratulations! It’s time to move into your first apartment—what an exciting journey it will be. While you might be ready to jump head-first into your new place, you'll need some essentials to start your journey off right. There are a lot of items you need for your apartment. Let’s walk through the basics of what you will need to crush your first apartment move.

Set Up Your Emergency Fund

While moving into your own place is exciting, it also comes with a cost. If your parents ever told you about "saving for a rainy day," they were pointing out the value of setting up an emergency fund. Taking care of your own expenses can be rewarding. When you're financially independent, the likelihood of an unexpected expense happening is high, so most experts recommend creating an emergency fund savings account with a minimum of $1,000. Life happens—when unexpected expenses pop up, it's best to be financially prepared. Your emergency fund will help cover any financial bumps in the road.

Purchase Kitchen Essentials

Make it a goal to eat at home. To avoid eating out for the first few days, you will need a variety of kitchen essentials. Try sticking to washable dishes, as the cost of plastic kitchenware can add up. One or two pots and pans will be sufficient, along with a couple of bowls, silverware, and cups. You may have leftovers; plastic containers will be lifesaving. No lid? Use aluminum foil to cover the container. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Most apartments come with a built-in microwave; if it does not, be sure to buy one. Once you are settled into your new home, you can slowly purchase more dishware.

Invest in Furniture for Your Living Space

If you have a bed before moving in, that’s great! You can order a "mattress-in-a-box" online and have it delivered straight to your door. If the purchase of a new bed right away puts you in a bind, buy or borrow an air mattress in the meantime. No couch? No problem! At least you have a bed to lounge on until you are settled in.


Don’t forget toiletry items. After unpacking, nothing feels better than taking a nice shower. You will need a shower curtain, at least one or two towels, and toilet paper.


Electricity is a necessity, and you'll need to set yours up with your local service provider prior to moving in. Make sure your service is turned on before moving day.

Cable and Internet

Whether you’re paying for cable or not, getting a television is a good investment. However, you should consider getting the internet connected so you can replace traditional cable with a range of streaming services for less money. Some examples include Apple TV, Roku, and a Fire TV Stick.

Miscellaneous Move-In Items

Moving into your first apartment may require items you don’t realize you will need. Although you can improvise a lot of things that first night in your new apartment, it’s better to purchase items before settling in. Some miscellaneous items to consider include:

  • Hamper

  • Trash bags

  • Bottled water

  • Dish soap

  • Batteries

  • Nails and a hammer

  • All-Purpose cleaners

  • Spices

Renters Insurance Coverage

Renters insurance is important to have because it can replace your belongings in cases such as theft, fire damage, and water damage. A renters insurance policy consists of a variety of coverage such as property coverage, personal liability coverage, and temporary housing if the original residence has been considered uninhabitable. Renters insurance is often required by the management company. Depending on your coverage, renters insurance is shockingly affordable, typically costing between $5 and $20 per month.

Chances are, you may have some of these items. With the right shopping strategy and an established budget, you are well on your way to a successful move in. Take it one day at a time. Moving to your first apartment generally requires a lot of trips to the store. Start by purchasing items that are a must. Whether you’re leaving your parents’ house for the first time or finally separating from a roommate, use our first apartment guide to help you turn an empty apartment into your very own home.

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