The Ultimate First Apartment Checklist, Whether You’re Moving Into a Tiny Studio or a Massive 2-Bedroom

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

There are few things as simultaneously exciting and anxiety-inducing as moving. You can’t wait to get settled in your new place—but the actual process of getting settled isn’t exactly easy. And these feelings are only compounded when it’s your very first apartment. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience, as someone who just moved into her first apartment a year ago. Honestly, I wish I had this in-depth first apartment checklist to help make the process a little less stressful. Here, you’ll find everything you need for your new home, from bedding necessities to kitchen essentials you would’ve otherwise forgotten about (plus, scroll down to find a printable checklist that will ensure you don’t miss a single item).

12 Best-Selling Linens, Pillows & Mattresses That Will Upgrade Your Bedroom Instantly

First Apartment Checklist: Kitchen

first apartment checklist dishes

1. Dishes

AmazonBasics 18-Piece Kitchen Dinnerware Set

This set contains six dinner plates, six salad plates and six bowls for just $42, which is an “awesome price for the quality,” according to one reviewer. While you’ll probably expand your dinnerware collection eventually, these 18 dishes are a great starting point. Psst, with six of each you’ll only have to run the dishwasher every few days—at most.

first apartment checklist glasses

2. Tall And Short Glasses

Libbey Preston 16-Piece Tumbler and Rocks Glass Set

You’re going to want something to drink out of, too. This set of eight tall tumbler glasses and eight short rocks glasses will ensure that you’re stocked with more than enough clean cups—plus a few for guests—at all times. Bye, red Solo cups.

first apartment checklist flatware
Bed Bath & Beyond

3. Flatware

Salt Balance Mirror 20-Piece Flatware Set

This tarnish-resistant bundle of 20 stainless steel dinner forks, salad forks, dinner knives, dinner spoons and teaspoons is an ideal starter set. Place ‘em in an organizer like this to maximize your drawer space and make it a million times easier to find a fork when you need it most.

first apartment checklist mugs

4. Mugs

Sweese Porcelain Stackable Mugs (Set of 6)

Unless you want to be drinking out of Styrofoam cups for the foreseeable future (not the most cost effective or environmentally-friendly option, BTW) it’s worth investing in some mugs. This porcelain set from Sweese is stackable, which means they’ll take up less of your (probably) minimal cabinet space.

first apartment checklist coffee maker
Bed Bath & Beyond

5. A Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Mini Plus Single Serve Coffee Maker

Now that you’re paying rent for the first time, you probably don’t have an extra $40 a week to devote to your iced latte habit. Enter: This single serve coffee maker. It’s currently on sale for $60, so it’ll pay for itself after just a few cups.

first apartment checklist cookware
Bed Bath & Beyond

6. Cookware

T-Fal Pure Cook Nonstick Aluminum 12-Piece Cookware Set

Knock out all of your cookware purchases in one fell swoop, thanks to this convenient set that even includes a spatula and a spoon. All of T-Fals pots and pans have a special nonstick coating which makes them ridiculously easy to clean. You’ll love the griddle for pancake making and get plenty of use out of the sizeable steamer basket—bring on the frozen dumplings.

first apartment checklist bakeware
Bed Bath & Beyond

7. Bakeware

Wilton Advance Select Premium Nonstick 6-Piece Bakeware Set

You never know when you might want to whip up some chocolate chip cookies or a personal pizza. And thanks to this set, you’ll be well-equipped to do just that. It includes two round baking pans, a loaf pan, a muffin pan and two rectangular baking pans.

first apartment checklist oven mitt
Bed Bath & Beyond

8. An Oven Mitt

Bed Bath and Beyond Silicone Quilted Oven Mitt

Your mother would agree: It’s always wise to own an oven mitt, rather than trying to make do with a dish towel or old t-shirt. According to reviewers, this silicone version has saved them from countless burns and close calls.

first apartment checklist toaster
Bed Bath & Beyond

9. A Toaster

Professional Series 2-Slice Stainless Steel Wide Slot Toaster

When it comes to toasters, you don’t have to spring for a KitchenAid. This basic model from Professional Series will make your avocado toast just as golden brown as you like. Bonus? The stainless steel exterior makes it look way fancier than it really is.

first apartment checklist scrub brushes
Bed Bath & Beyond

10. Scrub Brushes

Casabella Loop Dish Brushes (Set of 3)

Even if your apartment comes equipped with a dishwasher, you’ll need to scrub some pots by hand every now and then. The bottle brush will also work to clean narrow water bottles and glasses, while the dish brush and compact scrubber can tackle the rest of your dishes.

first apartment checklist dish towels

11. Dish Towels

Market Dishcloths (Set of 4)

Your dish towels will definitely end up on display at some point, so go with a cute color, texture or print. These waffle weave towels will look great whether they’re folded over the oven handle, or accidentally left strewn across the counter.

first apartment checklist refrigerator deodorizer

12. A Refrigerator Deodorizer

NonScents Refrigerator Deodorizer

Look, even the cleanest refrigerators succumb to a nasty odor now and then. And after you throw out the spoiled broccoli that was the culprit, the smell can linger for days. So yeah, you’re going to want to have a refrigerator deodorizer on hand. According to over 600 five-star reviews, this one is a total game-changer when it comes to eliminating pesky odors.

first apartment checklist dishwater pods

13. Dishwasher Pods

Blueland Dishwasher Starter Set

These dishwashing tablets come plastic-free in a reusable aluminum container, making them eco-friendly and space-saving. Just stick one in your dishwasher’s detergent slot and you’ll wonder how you ever bothered with bottles or clunky pod containers in the past.

first apartment checklist dish soap liquid

14. Two Types Of Soap

Seventh Generation Dish Liquid Soap

Self-explanatory? Yes. Worth including in your first apartment checklist? Also, yes. This 97 percent plant-based dish soap is strong enough to cut through grease and grime, leaving your dishes squeaky clean.

first apartment checklist hand soap

Method Foaming Hand Soap (pack Of 6)

We’ve been washing our hands more than ever lately, and we’re guessing you’re in the same boat. So, hand soap (and lots of it) is a must. This pack of six bottles should keep you stocked for at least a few months.

First Apartment Checklist: Bedroom

first apartment checklist storage bed
Home Depot

15. A Bed Frame With Storage

Prepac Queen Wood Storage Bed

A bed frame with built-in storage is key if your new bedroom isn’t exactly spacious. This one has six drawers on each side to store your out of season clothes or extra linens.

first apartment checklist new mattress
Nectar Sleep/Facebook

16. A Bed-in-a-box Mattress

Nectar Queen Memory Foam Mattress

Setting up your home ASAP is much easier if you opt for a bed-in-a-box style mattress—since it will save you a trip to a mattress store and the requisite wait time for delivery. Nectar’s Memory Foam Mattress ships quickly and arrives in a compact box, so all you have to do is carry it upstairs, unroll it onto the bed frame and cut open the plastic casing. BTW, it’s on sale right now.

first apartment checklist move in bundle

17. A Bedding Bundle

Brooklinen Classic Move-In Bundle

Good news: When you buy a bedding bundle, you save both time and money—and ensure that your bedding is perfectly coordinated. Brooklinen’s Classic Move-In Bundle contains a comforter, two pillows, sheets, a duvet cover, four pillowcases and some complimentary Laundress detergent. Not bad.

first apartment checklist nightstand

18. A Nightstand

Homfa Nightstand

If you’re looking to save a few bucks, opt for just one nightstand at the moment. Sure, matching ones look nice but unless you’re moving in with a partner, you really don’t need a second one any time soon. Make sure to pick one with adequate storage, like this two-tier option from Homfa to house all of your charging cords and miscellaneous items.

first apartment checklist 1

19. a Wardrobe

South Shore Acapella Wardrobe Armoire

Unless you really luck out, your closets are probably going to be on the smaller side, so a wardrobe is your best friend. Choose one like this hybrid design, which has space for hanging clothes, as well as a couple of drawers for folded items.

first apartment checklist 2
The Container Store

20. hangers

The Container Store Non-Slip Velvet Hangers (Set of 10)

Organizing experts agree that slim velvet hangers are best for maximizing your closet space and ensuring that your clothes aren’t constantly slipping onto the floor. This pack of 10 is on sale right now; we suggest getting at least three or four packs to start.

first apartment checklist 3

21. some Wall Art

Deny Designs Bree Madden 5th Street Framed Wall Art

There’s no need to go overboard with wall decor right away, but you don’t want your walls to be totally bare either. This $49 print from Deny Designs is a good place to start. Since it’s already framed, all you have to do is figure out where to hang it up.

first apartment checklist 4
The Container Store

22. a Clothes Hamper

The Container Store Infinity Laundry Hamper

Sure, you could probably get by without one of these for a few months, but why would you want to? This simple design from The Container Store will keep your dirty clothes out of sight and out of mind—until laundry day rolls around.

First Apartment Checklist: Bathroom

first apartment checklist 5

23. a Shower Curtain

Adding a fun shower curtain will instantly make you feel more at home. This pretty floral one from Livilan is machine washable, so it’ll last for years if you want it to. Place a plastic shower curtain liner behind it if you really want to ensure that it lasts.

first apartment checklist 6

24. a Towel Bundle

Parachute Classic Starter Bathroom Bundle

Still using your threadbare towels from college? It’s time for an upgrade. This ultra-plush set from Parachute includes four bath towels, four hand towels, four washcloths and a bath mat, so your bathroom will be good to go.

Buy It ($225)

first apartment checklist 7
The Container Store

25. a Makeup Or Toiletry Organizer

The Container Store Luxe Acrylic Makeup Organizer Storage Kit

As long as you have the counter or shelf space for it, this makeup organizer will keep your makeup, skincare or shaving products looking neat. Plus, the clear acrylic material means that you can see where everything is at all times.

first apartment checklist 8
The Container Store

26. a Shower Caddy

The Container Store Rockford Shower Caddy

Storing your shampoo, conditioner and body wash on the shower floor is basically asking for soap scum buildup. Instead, get a shower caddy so you can store them in a neater (and more convenient way). This particular model even has space for your soap and loofah.

first apartment checklist 9
Bed Bath & Beyond

27. an Under The Sink Organizer

iDesign Cabrini Under Sink Organizer Shelf

If your bathroom doesn’t have a ton of square footage, make the most of your under sink space. This iDesign organizer is expandable and has adjustable shelves so you can customize it to your specific space and needs.

first apartment checklist 10

28. toilet Paper

Charmin Ultra Strong Clean Touch Toilet Paper (18 Family Rolls)

Toilet paper is something you’ll need from day one, so it’s definitely worth including on your pre move-in checklist. We recommend buying a value pack, so you’ll be stocked for the foreseeable future.

first apartment checklist 11

29. toothbrush Holder

HB Life Stainless Steel Toothbrush Holder

Keep your toothbrush and toothpaste organized and germ-free by storing them in this convenient holder. Your toothpaste-stained mug could never.

First Apartment Checklist: Living Room

first apartment checklist 12

30. a Sleeper Sofa

Carson Carrington Salsater Convertible Sleeper Sofa

Invest in a sleeper sofa so your guests aren’t relegated to an air mattress when they come to stay. This mid-century modern style from Carson Carrington is so chic, you’d never guess that it’s hiding a full bed inside. Plus, you just can’t beat that price.

first apartment checklist 13

31. a Coffee Table

IWell Mid-Century Boho Coffee Table

By now, you can probably tell we’re all about storage, which is why we love this mid-century modern coffee table. It has a surprisingly spacious drawer to hide your various remotes, plus a storage shelf where you can display books or magazines.

first apartment checklist 14

32. an Area Rug

Safavieh Hudson Shag Collection 4 x 6 Foot Area Rug

Adding an area rug to your living room is one of the easiest ways to make it feel more comfortable and home-y. This four by six foot design from Safavieh gets amazing reviews—and won’t break the bank.

first apartment checklist 15

33. a Tv

Samsung 43 Inch Class TU7000 Crystal UHD 4K Smart TV

A good TV that you’ll have for years is definitely worth the investment. This minimalist style was designed so that you can focus on the picture—not the TV itself. Plus, it’s a smart TV, so once you set up the Wifi you can use it to access Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu and more.

first apartment checklist 16

34. a Tv Stand

Obviously, you’ll need something to put your TV on. This sturdy media stand should do the trick. Add a few baskets for storage underneath and you’re good to go.

first apartment checklist 17

35. a Storage Ottoman

Spatial Order Dinah Modern Storage Ottoman

This baby provides a place to rest your feet while you’re watching Netflix and room to store your 10 throw blankets. Speaking of which…

first apartment checklist 18

36. a Throw Blanket

Sophie Faux Fur Throw Blanket

Amp up the cozy vibes by draping a throw blanket over the back of the couch. This incredibly soft faux fur one from Anthropologie has an impressive 4.9/5-Star rating from over 250 customers.

First Apartment Checklist: Cleaning Essentials

first apartment checklist 19
Bed Bath & Beyond

37. a Vacuum

Dyson V7 Motorhead Cord-Free Vacuum

Dyson vacuums are known for being top-of-the-line for a reason. This cord-free model makes sucking up dust bunnies from hard-to-reach areas a breeze. And since it’s not the newest model, it’s a little more affordable—but still works incredibly well.

first apartment checklist 20

38. a Swiffer

Swiffer Sweeper Dry + Wet All Purpose Floor Mopping and Cleaning Starter Kit

This starter set includes a Swiffer, plus 19 dry sweeping and wet mopping pads. Thanks to the two-in-one design, this baby can effectively be your broom and your mop.

first apartment checklist 21

39. a Dustpan

Oxo Good Grips Dustpan and Brush Set

Hey, spills happen. And whether you’re wiping up excess flour after a baking incident or broken glass after one takes a tumble, you’ll be happy to have a dustpan on hand. Oxo’s Good Grips version has racked up over 1,000 five-star reviews, so we’re sold.

first apartment checklist 22

40. a Multi-surface Cleaner

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner (Pack of 3)

According to the brand, this formula is safe to use on the floor, tiles, countertops, walls and more. That sounds way easier than buying a separate spray for each, right?

first apartment checklist 23

41. laundry Detergent

Dropps Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent Pods

Never run out of laundry detergent again, thanks to Dropps’ convenient subscription system. Just select a wash plan and the company will send you a box of pods accordingly.

first apartment checklist 24
The Container Store

42. a Drying Rack

Polder 2-Tier Mesh-Top Clothes Drying Rack

Some pieces (like your fave Lululemon leggings) should never go in the dryer. Instead, stick them on a drying rack like this one. It’s rust-proof and ideal for drying delicate fabrics in no time.

purewow author

Assistant Commerce Editor

From 2019 to 2021 Kara Cuzzone held the role of Assistant Commerce Editor covering sales and deals across beauty, fashion, home and wellness.