Buying a new apartment

Must Have in Your New Apartment

April 27th, 2021


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It’s time to move into your new apartment! If this is your first solo place, your first apartment with friends, or you just needed a new space, moving into a new apartment is always such an exciting time. While decorating your new home and making it your own is essential, you won’t want to forget some of the less glamorous (but equally important) apartment must-haves for your new home..


The first and most important item you should have in your new space is a first-aid kit. You can make your own or buy one, but whatever option you choose, make sure it contains the following items:

  • Personal Medications
  • Emergency contacts
  • A pack of absorbent sterile pads- you can find these by searching “trauma pad”
  • A box of assorted sized adhesive bandages
  • A roll of medical tape
  • A box of alcohol wipes- you can also get alcohol-free antiseptic wipes
  • A bottle of aspirin
  • A thermal blanket- these can be found by searching multiple names like emergency blanket, safety blanket, etc. Just make sure that it is a low-weight and low-bulk, thin, plastic, sheeting type of blanket. They almost look as if they’re made of tinfoil.
  • A breather barrier so you can administer CPR safely
  • A few instant icepacks
  • A box of gloves- consider getting nonlatex to prevent allergies
  • Anti-itch (hydrocortisone) ointment
  • A pack of gauze bandages
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Flashlight
  • Emergency radio

It would be best to keep this kit in an easily portable bag or box and placed in an obvious spot so that it is accessible to anyone who might enter your apartment. This guide was based off the Red Cross’ recommendations, but feel free to include anything else you feel is necessary and do some research on your area. If you live in a place prone to earthquakes or other types of natural disasters, consider getting a separate kit for those emergencies or add to the general kit.

Another necessary safety device you must have in your apartment is a fire extinguisher. Check your state laws because in certain states, like Karnataka, it is required for a landlord to provide their tenants with a fire extinguisher in either their apartment or common areas of the apartment complex.

Make sure that your fire extinguisher is labelled “ABC,” meaning that it will be able to extinguish class A, B, and C fires (fires caused by ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical equipment). Fire extinguishers ideally should be placed on each floor of your rental, but at the bare minimum have one in your kitchen. Extinguishers have a life span of 5-15 years, so be sure to check the pressure gage on your extinguisher. If the arrow has fallen, it’s time to buy a new one.

While first-aid kits and extinguishers are a necessity, finding additional devices to make you feel secure is something you can play around with. For example, you can turn your apartment into a smart house with varying levels of security by making a few upgrades.

Video doorbells with holders that don’t damage your unit are something that is not only a great safety feature, but also a convenience feature. Most video doorbells allow you to connect smart locks, which eliminate the need for a key under the mat or having to give people a spare key. You can also add smart light bulbs to your home so you can give the appearance of being home while you’re travelling, or just so you don’t have to come home to a dark house.


Now let’s talk about a general list of cleaning supplies.

Starting from the ground up, you’ll want to purchase a decent vacuum that is suitable for the different flooring in your unit. If you have all carpet, be sure that the vacuum is powerful enough to properly clean. If you have a mix of flooring, purchase an adjustable vacuum. For units with hard floors, you’ll need a broom or dust mop and a regular mop to pick up messes. For walls, furniture, windows, and fans, you’ll want to purchase an extendable duster, furniture polish, and a multiple purpose cleaner.

Before buying cleaning solutions, it’s important to remember to differentiate between cleaners and disinfectants. It’s best to have both in your apartment, but just be mindful to not mix chemicals. Alcohol, bleach, and ammonia are disinfectants (never mix bleach and ammonia) and are great for eliminating germs in kitchens and bathrooms. White vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, or a store-bought multipurpose cleaner are great for removing things like hard water stains, scuffs, and dust. To get in there and do the cleaning, you won’t want to forget these items:

  • Paper towels
  • Sponges
  • Dish soap
  • Plunger
  • Toilet brush
  • Microfiber towels
  • Kitchen towels
  • Trash bags and a trash can for the kitchen and bathroom
  • Laundry soap
  • Dishwasher detergent


The next thing to add on your apartment list is kitchen supplies. For these items, ask around or visit your local thrift store to find undamaged items. If this is your first apartment, it doesn’t have to cost a lot to move.

You should have at least a set of four plates, bowls, glasses, and mugs. If you have roommates, you’ll likely need more than that, but work together. You’ll also need set of silverware. You can base your set size on how many people live with you, but a set of 8 or 12 should work. You may also want to add paper or cloth napkins to your list. In order to cook or heat up food you’ll need at least three pots with varying sizes and a large pan for frying. A set of knives is ideal, but these can be pricey so having at least one sharp knife could get you through.

Even if you aren’t a fan of cooking, you’ll still need to have a few basic cooking items to use in your kitchen:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cookie sheet
  • Strainer
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • Oven mitt
  • Serving spoons
  • Grater
  • Cutting board - make sure you have one for meat and one for veggies
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Can and bottle opener
  • Mixing bowl

Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer Essentials

For your first grocery run, you’ll want to make a list of essential items, but keep this list so you can refer to later. Your essentials should include things that you need for basic cooking:

  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil and vinegar
  • Coffee and tea
  • Pasta and rice
  • Hot sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard
  • Spices

Some of the above items might not be for you, but you can always use it as a guide and then make the switches you prefer.

It’s also a good idea to keep some canned fruits and veggies and dry goods like pasta, rice, and beans in case you’re ever in a situation where you can’t go to the store for a long period.


Depending on whether or not this is your first apartment, the list of what you need for your bedroom may differ. Either way, it’s important to know the layout and size of your unit so you know how your items will fit and look in the space. For example, if you have a studio apartment, something like a daybed might be a great choice for you. This way you can have a couch and an extra place for someone to stay. If you need more storage, some bed frames have storage units built underneath. If your room has windows, you might want to buy some curtains for extra privacy. Take note of what has worked for you in your previous rooms and make sure to not crowd your room, but you might want to consider the following:

  • Lamps
  • Bedside table
  • Ottoman
  • Hangers
  • Bed sheets and pillows
  • Extra blankets
  • Extra storage shelf
  • Dresser / Wardrobe
  • Nightlight
  • Full-length mirror- you can get one that hangs off your door
  • Shoe storage- you can use a rack or something that hangs over a door
  • Clothing rack
  • Hamper/ laundry bag


For choosing living and dining room furniture, it’s incredibly important to know the dimensions and layout of the space. If you can, waiting to buy common area furniture until after you move might be your best bet so you can get a feel for the room. While everyone’s space is going to have a different layout, you’ll more than likely need the following:

  • Tables- dining, coffee, side
  • Dining table chairs- at least four
  • A sofa- this can be a love seat, futon, or daybed
  • Living room chairs
  • Lamps
  • TV- even if you don’t have cable, you can use for streaming
  • Bookshelf
  • Rug - if the apartment isn’t carpeted

Again, second hand is your friend. You can get some great pieces from thrift stores, online swaps, and online second-hand sellers. Make the space your own and have fun with buying essentials and decorating. You don’t have to rush to get all these items at once; look around and find what works for you in your new home.


If you have roommate(s), talk with them about how you want to split the cost of common room items. It may be easiest to split the cost of furniture evenly. If you’re worried about how you will divide the furniture when you move out, consider having each person buy different items that total up to the same cost. Either way, it’s important to have an apartment must-haves budget, so everyone is on the same page and there are no roommate disagreements.

You’ll also want to discuss sharing essentials like paper products and kitchen items with your roommate(s). It’s perfectly fine for each person to have their own food but if you feel comfortable with it, discuss with your roommate(s) about sharing kitchen essentials like spices and baking ingredients. Keep a list of the items you agree to share and have a system for how you replenish the items. Perhaps, plan for a monthly or weekly shopping trip where you split costs evenly or rotate who buys each item.


As a renter, you likely have a maintenance team on your property, but sometimes you need to make an easy fix and a tool kit will be essential for this. You can purchase a kit or create your own, just make sure it includes to following:

  • Hammer
  • Small nails
  • Screwdriver and screws
  • Wrench
  • Leveler
  • Measuring tape
  • Power strips
  • Adhesive hooks
  • Allen wrench
  • Painters, masking, and duct tape
  • Pliers

Moving can be such a fun and exciting time, and if you make a list of your new apartment must-haves, you can be extra prepared for the big day. Remember to purchase what makes you feel safe, prepared, and comfortable in your new home. Good luck and congratulations!

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