New Apartment Checklist: Getting Settled (2021 Update)

Finally, moving into your first apartment? Congratulations! Enjoy all the joy and excitement that comes with your own territory! 

Once the sheer euphoria has died down a bit, maybe you also want to consider what it is you will need to make your new space feel more like home. After all, you want your apartment to be as comfortable, functional, and pleasant as it can possibly be.

Here’s our checklist for your new apartment, broken down by room to help you go through it with more ease: 

Moving In & Tidying Up

man in blue polo shirt sitting on chair

The first challenge you will face is move-in day. If you get ready for it knowing that there might be some hiccups, you are more likely to avoid a lot of the stress that’s simply bound to arise. 

Preparing everything you will need in advance will help a lot too.

So, for starters, you will need:

  • Tissues, toilet paper, paper towels
  • Trash bags 
  • Cleaning equipment: brooms, soaps, rags, cleaners, detergents, and so on – consider every space and how you will need to clean it
  • A basic tool kit: hammers, nails, screwdrivers, several pairs of scissors, hooks, etc.
  • Batteries, extension cords, lightbulbs
  • Three square meals – at least for day one. Something non-perishable and that does not require heating up would be great.

For the Bedroom

white bed linen on bed

As for the bedroom, there are several pieces of furniture you’ll want to have:

  • Bed frame and mattress – You can save on the frame, as it doesn’t have to be too expensive, just sturdy and appealing to your aesthetics. However, you might want to invest in a comfortable memory foam mattress that provides plenty of support. 
  • Storage – If you have a built-in closet, you won’t have to consider dressers. What you do need to think about either way are hangers. You can also look into other clothing storage systems that will help you save space. Depending on the size and layout of your apartment, this might be where you put your iron and ironing board as well. 
  • Pillowcases, blankets, pillows, sheets, and the like – Make sure you have enough pairs to swap out regularly. 

Everything else can be purchased over time – decorative items, additional furniture, and extra items can all wait. You might also consider a hamper, curtains, and a mirror. Either way, ensuring you have the basics covered first will let you have a good night’s sleep as you first move in. 

For the Bathroom

white ceramic sink near white ceramic sink

Let’s assume the bathroom will already be equipped with a toilet, shower or tub, and all the other facilities. You’ll need to bring in:

  • A bathmat, shower curtain, shower rod, and shelves for all your bathroom products
  • Towels of all sizes, and at least three sets – You’ll probably be doing a lot of cleaning at first, so you will need to swap out the towels more often. Consider whether you’ll use flannels for taking off makeup as well.
  • Toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, soap holders or dispensers along with the actual soap, toothpaste, and mouthwash
  • Plunger and all other cleaning materials and equipment
  • Trashcan and appropriate trash bags
  • All of your toiletries

You might want to start by only bringing in the bare necessities. This will help you get settled in and allow you to have a decent shower, but you won’t be overwhelmed with finding the right storage solution

Once you’ve identified how much stuff you need to store, you can consider cabinets, baskets, and other storage options.

For the Kitchen

white over-the-range oven

The kitchen will usually require a lot of items and a lot of storage space

Start by bringing in the bare necessities – enough to keep your family going and a spare so you don’t have to wash up after every meal. If you already own all the plates and cutlery you will need, you can just store them. On the other hand, if you’re shopping for new items, give yourself a bit of time to live in the apartment, consider what it is you usually cook, and go from there.

For starters, bring over some:

  • Plates and bowls
  • Knives and utensils
  • Glasses and mugs
  • Pots and pans for immediate cooking
  • Cutting boards
  • Storage containers for your meals
  • A microwave is also a good option
  • You will also need dish soap, dish towels, and a dishwashing sponge – or dishwashing liquid if you have a machine for the task

If you have a pantry, or if you’re allocating some shelf or cabinet space for storing food, try to organize it from the very start, as opposed to just throwing everything in. It will help you avoid future frustrations. 

For the Living Room 

gray and white sofa beside brown wooden table

Theoretically, the living room is the easiest to furnish. All you really need is a couch and a TV. Of course, you can add in armchairs, coffee and end tables, rugs, book stands, and a whole host of other tech and decorative items. 

However, it’s best to start with the essentials and move on from there. It might mean the place is not as organized as you want it to be, but it will allow you to get a feel for the room. Maybe you place the sofa against one wall, only to discover it would be better facing the other wall

To save yourself a lot of fuss later, give yourself a breather and just live in the space. There will be plenty of time for decorating and reorganizing over time. 

Wrap Up

If you already own everything you think you will need (which is rare when moving into your first apartment), your main focus should be storage and organization.

However, as you most likely need to do a lot of additional shopping as well, focus first on the absolute necessities outlined here. Slowly work your way through your own personal checklist. After all, there will be so many items you find necessary (for example, a bike rack), that someone else might not even consider buying.

Don’t rush the process, take your sweet time, and enjoy living in your very own space!