Moving into your first apartment is exciting, but nothing is more disappointing than when you go looking for something you need only to realize you do not have it. While slowly furnishing an apartment is wise to avoid overspending, there are a few things required on move-in day. This list aims to categorize your apartment needs into purchases that should happen before moving in and what can wait. Before you dive in head-first, stick your toes in the water to get a feel for what you will need and what you can hold off on purchasing for a short while.
Move-in Day Necessities
Necessities that you will want to have with you on the move-in day are toilet paper, trash bags, bottled water, paper towels, and tissues. Most of these supplies can be purchased from a gas station or convenience store, but a Dollar Tree may have these same items for a better price. Never assume that water from the tap is safe to drink unless instructed otherwise. Bottled water will suffice, but you will want to look into a Brita tap filter or a Brita pitcher for the future as bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment. If your funds are struggling, you can always snag a roll of toilet paper and paper towel from a public bathroom to hold you over until payday.
Other first-day requirements will be a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, AA and AAA batteries, extension cords, power strips, and command hooks. While it is essential to have a flathead and Philips’ screwdriver, the best thing one can do to earn back that heaping security deposit is to not screw or nail into the wall. For this reason, do everything in your power to use command strips to hang art and home décor on your walls when you get to this stage. Your bank account will thank you on move-out day. While the landlord provides smoke detectors, the batteries to said smoke detector is the tenant’s responsibility. Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have batteries and work properly before you mistakenly settle yourself into a toxic environment.
First Day Cleaning Supplies
Nothing is worse than trying to clean a mess with improper supplies. Pull up to your new apartment with a broom and dustpan, sponges and soft rags, multi-surface cleaner, toilet cleaner, toilet brush, hand soap, dish soap, and laundry detergent. Latex gloves would not be a bad idea for cleaning the toilet as you have no idea what has gone down that bowl. Multi-surface cleaner will save money as you won’t have to waste money on multiple cleaning bottles, as well as you can purchase the cleaner in bulk once you find one you like.
First Day Bathroom Supplies
Aside from your toilet paper, bathing towel, hand towels, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body scrubby, there are only a few other essentials that get overlooked. These would be a bathmat, plunger, trash can and trash bags, shower curtain, and shower curtain rings. New apartment renters tend to assume that the landlord supplies a shower curtain and rings, but that is not the case. If you plan on showering your first night, be sure to purchase these at the Dollar Tree or any other bargain store for the low.
First Day Bedroom Supplies
If you cannot afford a bed frame and box spring right away, you will survive with a mattress on the floor. With that being said, make sure you have a fitted sheet, sheets, comforter or blankets, pillow and pillowcases, and a dresser to organize your clothes. If you are without a dresser or simply do not want to purchase one, you can always utilize the closet and hang all of your clothes via hangers. If you dislike folding your clothes, this may be the route you take. If you prefer to use your closet space for other reasons, you may want to consider buying a dresser sooner rather than later. A hamper that doubles as a laundry basket is also critical. After you bring your dirty clothes to the laundry, you will need to transport them back. Having a hamper that functions as a basket is just another way for you to save money. If you have an East facing window, you will want to purchase curtains as soon as possible for when the Sun rises. A bedroom trash can and liner are commonly skipped, but one does not want to run to the kitchen or bathroom every time you need to throw something away. Once you have your bedroom set up to your liking, consider hanging a mirror on the wall with command strips or perhaps put a nightstand next to your bed for a lamp and alarm clock.
First Day Kitchen Supplies
Most, if not all, of these, can be bought second-hand; it just depends on how comfortable you are using other people’s belongings. Buying plates, utensils, bowls, glasses, mugs, knives, pots, pans, cutting boards, and a microwave can be extremely costly. Shop around your favorite thrift stores, ask your family and friends or look at Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to cop these kitchen essentials for super cheap. Your cleaning sponges, dish soap, and dish towels should be bought fresh so that you are the one putting any stains on them. Kitchen furniture can be purchased later once you know how you want it to be laid out, but a couple of chairs and a small table will get you by for now. Additionally, while food storage containers are good to have, sometimes food from the grocery store comes in plasticware that can be washed and reused as Tupperware.
First Day Living Room Supplies
This will, without a doubt, be the most challenging room to furnish. Aside from figuring out how you want your interior design to look, there are endless options with how you can go about filling this empty void of a room out. If your lights are not bright or your living room lacks large windows, you might want to purchase a lamp. If you have hardwood floors, buying a large, soft area rug for the space will make it cozier. A tape measure would be handy, so you can measure your door frames and living room and then decide on how small, or large you want your living room couches and chairs to be. For your first apartment, living room furniture should almost always be bought second-hand. If you get a good deal on the furniture, you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving it behind when you move out. If the furniture is classy, the next tenant will thank you for already having their apartment furnished; everyone wins.
Once you have the essential furnishings in place, this is where you can start to get creative with your space. Maybe you want to hang your TV on the wall; perhaps you want it on a stand. Maybe you put an end table in the corner next to the couch. Maybe you throw a coffee table in-between your two La-Z Boy chairs; the options keep going. The most important thing to remember is to avoid nailing and screwing into your walls at all costs. When it comes to hanging up your friends’ artwork or recently acquired home décor, use command strips. When the landlord does the final walk-through, wall damage is one of the easiest things to detect, and therefore deduct from the return of your security deposit.
By purchasing as many essential furnishings as second-hand, you will save money that can be used to buy nonessential furnishings new. By dividing your list of furnishings into what needs to be purchased immediately and what can wait, you will save money by not purchasing items that will sit idle. Additionally, you will have a spacious apartment that is clean and not cluttered floor to ceiling. By furnishing your apartment slow, you can create a homely space without breaking the bank.