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Your New (or First) Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Checklist

Unpakt has created a comprehensive first apartment checklist, organized by room, to help you make sure you have everything you need for your new home. From a can opener to a pot and plate, it’s easy to overlook the bare necessities. But with our checklist, you’ll have a good start to life on your own and won’t have to worry about missing anything important. Don’t wait until you’re missing essentials to realize their importance, check our checklist before moving out.

Here’s a printer-friendly version:

First Apartment Moving Checklist

Outfitting your new apartment is a time for creativity: your dining table can substitute for a desk (or vice versa) until you find something within your budget. To get you started, here are the items you will most likely need:



There’s no need to splurge on fancy, brand new furniture for your first apartment. Whether you’re a college student in need of furniture or going through a major life transition, you can get as many of the major items you need from friends and family, or buy them at garage sales, from Craigslist, and at discount stores.

Do use caution when buying used furniture, particularly beds, to be sure they are clean and free of unfortunate tag-along like fleas or bed bugs. Those pests should certainly not be on your first-time apartment list.

  • Bed
  • Dresser or shelving
  • Dining table and chairs
  • Desk and chair
  • Couch



Again, you don’t need to buy every item on the list — a basic kitchen set can be pretty minimal, but this new apartment checklist will guide you in the right direction.

First-time kitchens are notoriously under-equipped. Do you really want to be that guy who eats cereal out of a coffee mug while his only bowl is in the fridge storing leftover re-refried beans? Of course not. Here are some important things to buy for a new apartment:

  • Dish soap and sponges
  • Drying rack for dishes
  • At least two pots and a frying pan
  • Potholders / oven mitts
  • Dishtowels
  • Cutlery (these are easy to find at thrift stores)
  • Cutlery tray
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cooking utensils: ladle, spatula, whisk, etc.
  • Food storage containers
  • Bottle opener and corkscrew (an unfortunate thing to forget)
  • Can opener
  • Cutting board
  • Plates and bowls
  • Glasses and coffee mugs
  • Wine glasses
  • A high-quality knife set
  • Cookie sheets
  • Mixing bowls
  • Microwave
  • Toaster or toaster oven
  • Coffee maker of your choice
  • Kettle or hotpot
  • Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, and wax paper
  • Strainer
  • Paper towels
  • Paper towel holder
  • Garbage bags
  • Trash and recycling bins
  • Ice trays
  • Countertop storage container


Having a well-equipped bathroom can feel like the difference between being an adult or… not. Set yourself up to feel proud of your new home with the following items:

  • Hand and bath towels
  • Washcloths
  • Shower curtain and liner
  • Bath mats
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Trash bin
  • Hand soap tray or bottle
  • Toilet brush and plunger
  • Toilet paper
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies

Living Room

The cozy hangout of your new home should showcase your priorities and the ways you like to spend time. If you don’t watch TV, obviously that won’t be on your list of stuff to buy — but you’ll probably still want a comfortable place to sit.

  • Bookshelves or wall shelving
  • TV (and stand or fixtures to hang it)
  • Lamps
  • Coffee table and/or end tables
  • Beanbags, cushions, and other creative sitting alternatives for friends and guests
  • Area rug if you have hardwood floors


Taking the time to set up your bedroom can make your first apartment really feel like a home. It might be tempting to leave your bedroom until last, but you’ll be grateful for the rest and relaxation. Here are the things you need for a new apartment bedroom:

Bed Room
  • Mattress – with or without the pad, protector, and topper
  • Bedding – sheets, pillowcases
  • Blanket and duvet cover
  • Pillows
  • Clothes hangers
  • Curtains
  • Nightstand
  • Bedside lamp
  • Alarm clock
  • Full-length mirror
  • Under-bed storage containers
  • Closet storage baskets or boxes
  • Dirty clothes hamper

Cleaning Supplies

Hopefully, your new place is clean when you move in — even so, cleaning supplies should be prominent on your apartment move-in checklist. That way, you can start clean and keep it that way, as well as deal with any spills or hidden dirty spots as you unpack.

  • Vacuum cleaner (no, brooms don’t work on carpets)
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Garbage cans (several, for recycle purposes separation)
  • Garbage bags
  • Ladder or step stool
  • Laundry basket
  • Cleaning supplies – disinfectant, white vinegar, toilet bowl cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, stain remover, glass cleaner
  • Spray bottles
  • Sponges
  • Rags
  • Laundry detergent and fabric softener

Odds and Ends

You’ll probably need to keep a list handy to keep track of things you need for a new apartment as you discover them. Personal preferences, eccentricities in your new house, and so on will likely bring surprises, but here are a few things you might not think of to keep that list a little shorter:

Odds and Ends
  • Drawer organizers
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Storage solutions (for big closets, basements, or other storage spaces)
  • First aid kit
  • Extension cords
  • Power strips
  • Light bulbs
  • Matches and/or lighters
  • Pen and paper

Before Moving In

Preparing your space before you begin the process of moving in can save you time and a lot of hassle. Take these few precautionary steps so your movers can unload easily and you can settle in comfortably:

Fumigate a New House
  • Replace the locks (hopefully, your landlord does this for you)
  • Fumigate or exterminate the apartment
  • Clean and disinfect the fridge
  • Attach power strips to power outlets in the areas you will need them before the furniture gets in the way
  • Take measurements of each room to make sure your furniture and belongings will fit where you intend them to be
  • Set up utilities in advance
  • Change your address at the USPS website

Upon Moving In

We know you want to unload your boxes and settle in, but if you’re willing to adjust the order of the day just a little, everything will go a little more smoothly.

Assemble your bed
  • Document the condition of the property and save copies or send to your landlord
  • Assemble your bed and make it as soon as it arrives- trust us, you’ll be happy once it’s ready for you to crash in after a hard day of hurling boxes around
  • Put boxes away in their designated rooms
  • Introduce yourself to the neighbors you come across
  • Take a walk around and get to know your new neighborhood

Moving Out

Of course, you want your move to go smoothly, and that includes the moving out process too. Whether you’re leaving your parents’ house or moving from one apartment to the next, these simple steps will help the moving out process to be as easeful as possible.

  • Start decluttering months before your move so you aren’t boxing up unwanted items
  • Sell furniture that you don’t really love or wish to replace
  • Start making any necessary repairs to return your apartment to good condition
  • Notify your utilities of your move-out date to prevent accidental charges
  • Enlist the help of your close friends and family to pack everything
  • Hire a team of professional movers to make the actual move much easier!

Although you probably don’t even want to think about the possibility of moving again, setting your home up well the first time around will simplify things later when it is time to write up a more extensive moving out checklist. Enjoy your new home and the process of settling in!

About the author

Unpakt Team