You’re finally about to start living on your own, congratulations! I am sure you may have been dreaming about this moment for some time now.

Living on your own for the first time is both exciting and a little scary (to be honest). To minimize the fear you might have, it is important to be as prepared as possible.

Making your new house (or dorm) feel like home is a MUST! The best way to make your new space feel as comfortable as possible is to make sure you have all of the essentials a home should have.

Below you will find a living checklist & a checklist of important things to do when you move into your first apartment.

The Living Essentials & Things To Buy (Room By Room)

Bathroom:

  • Towels + extras
  • Bath mat
  • Shower caddy (Dorm Room)
  • Shower shoes (Dorm Room)
  • Shower rack
  • Washcloths + extras
  • Toilet paper
  • Trash can
  • Small trash bags
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothbrush holders
  • Soapdish or dispenser
  • Shower curtain & hooks
  • Robe hook (behind the door)
  • Toilet brush & cleaner (disposable)
  • Plunger
  • Shower cleaner
  • Drain stop
  • Shower cap

Bedroom:

  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases + extras
  • Comforter
  • Blankets
  • Bed
  • Curtains
  • Curtain rod
  • Hangers
  • Picture hooks
  • Nightstand
  • Lamp
  • Clock
  • Dresser
  • Laundry basket
  • Mirror

Kitchen:

Kitchen

  • Pots
  • Pans
  • Utensils
  • Sponges
  • Tongs
  • Potholders
  • Mixing spoons
  • Dish rack
  • Serving cutlery
  • Casserole dish
  • Pyrex baking dish
  • Food storage containers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Cookie sheets
  • Storage bags
  • Trash bags
  • Trash can
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Paper towel holder
  • Kitchen mat
  • Dishtowels
  • Cutting boards (meat + vegetables)
  • Can opener
  • Garlic press
  • Pizza cutter
  • Spatula
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Baking soda
  • Mugs
  • Glasses
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cheese grater
  • Peeler
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dish soap
  • Cleaners
  • Butter dish
  • Paper plates
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Mop or Swiffer
  • Step stool

Kitchen Appliances:

Kitchen Appliances

  • Coffee maker
  • Blender
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Refrigerator (Mini for dorm)

Living Room:

Living Room

  • Couch
  • Chairs
  • TV stand
  • TV
  • Coffee table
  • Lamps/Lights
  • Mirrors
  • Artwork
  • Bookcase or storage shelves
  • Rug

Dining Room:

Dining Room

  • Dining Table
  • Placemats
  • Chairs
  • Under table rug

Monthly Household Subscriptions & Services:

  • Wifi
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Prime

Necessary Things To Do

Inspect your apartment: One of the first things you want to do before moving into your new place is to inspect all areas. This is very important because you do not want to be blamed for any damage you might find that happened prior to you moving in. You also want to be on the lookout for any leaking areas, broken pipes or cracked and damaged floors.

Change your mailing address: Devote at least one day to change all of your mailing addresses to your new apartment. Now with many online services, it may take more time than you think. Important places to change your address on file would be the bank, credit cards, DMV, car insurance, health insurance, and all online delivery subscriptions you have. Finally, don’t forget to set up mail forwarding at the Post Office to your new address. You can find the forms to do that here.

Utilities: Setting up your utilities before you move in has to be done. If you want to be able to take a warm shower and cook dinner on your first night, make sure you set up your utilities before your move-in date.

Clean: Most new apartments come cleaned but you may want to do some cleaning before you start putting your furniture in place.

Paint: Now is your chance to paint! If allowed, before you move in your big items, take this time to give your walls a fresh coat of paint if you wish.

Cable/Wifi Services: Cable might be on the decline so maybe you just need an internet connection for your streaming devices. Regardless, don’t forget to get your internet set up in your house. Especially if you are a student, burning the midnight oil writing papers might be in your near future!

Take pictures: When I think back to my first apartment on my own I always wish I took more pictures. Now with smartphones, this is relatively easy but often forgotten about. Trust me, you will enjoy them later in life.

Take Some Time For Yourself – Moving is hectic. Make sure you take some time for yourself. Here are 11 ways to make new friends in a new city.

Where To Buy (Most Affordable Places)

Moving into a new place can get costly, especially if it is your first apartment. Hopefully, you can get some of your home essentials from your family. However, not every family has an extra couch or coffee maker laying around.

Here is a list of affordable places to get your new home necessities:

Furniture

  • Ikea – If you are looking for the most affordable furniture and most practical for your space, I would definitely start at Ikea. In my opinion, Ikea is the best place to shop if you are a young adult, moving into your first apartment. Most furniture items are conscious of small spaces and equipped to be versatile. Since you will be living in a smaller place (most likely) and will probably have friends over quite often, getting a couch that folds out into a pull-out bed, seems ideal. Ikea has plenty of small pull-out couch options to choose from. In addition, the best part of Ikea furniture is that it is very easy to assemble.
  • Walmart – If cost is your main concern, Walmart’s furniture can be a good option for you. Quality might be lacking and versatility on sizing, but the price will be very affordable. Since you are just starting to live on your own, quality may not matter to you as much as price. In that case, consider looking at your local Walmart for your furniture deals.
  • Local Thrift Stores – Your local thrift store will most likely offer affordable furniture. You might even be able to find a quality table with chairs for a very reasonable price!

Appliances:

  • Target – Target is a great place to look for appliances for your home because the experience is always effortless. The price will be around average but appliances are organized in a way that is easy to find what you are looking for.
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond – COUPONS, COUPONS, COUPONS! Bed, Bath & Beyond ALWAYS have coupons for you to use when shopping at their store. They also have an extensive appliance section perfect for anything you might need in your first apartment.
  • Amazon – Of course, Amazon will make the list of one the most affordable places to get appliances for your home. Plus, Amazon’s fast delivery works in your favor if you are busy and short for time when preparing for your first move.
  • Walmart  – Similarly to furniture, you will be able to find affordable appliances at Walmart. However, since you do pay less, quality may be lacking.

Bedroom/Bedding:

  • Khols – Khols has a big selection of sheets and bedding to choose from and has many options to save money on your purchases. They will give you a discount on your transaction if you have a Khols’ card. Also, If you have made a previous purchase with them, they usually give you a coupon for specific days to come back and use.
  • Target – Target has been stepping up its reputation more and more for trendy bedroom sets and bedroom decor. They offer bedroom sets that appeal to all ages and have so many designs and patterns to choose from. It can be more on the pricey side when it comes to bedding and room decor. However, if you saved money on your appliances and furniture, having a bedroom set that makes you happy in your new home is worth it!
  • TJ Maxx – TJ Maxx offers a variety of quality bedding brands at a fraction of the cost you might see elsewhere. Their selection is smaller than a regular department store but you will also pay less for good quality bedroom sets and decor.
  • Ross – Ross will have the most affordable bedding options you will find! The selection is very limited and you might need to go back a few times to find what you need. If the price is your biggest concern in this department, go to Ross for your bedding.
  • Amazon – Amazon allows you to find the most specific thing you could ever want when looking for bedding or bedroom decor. Prices will vary but you will most likely be able to find what you are looking for. I recommend Amazon if you are particular about style or want a specific thing for your bedroom set.

When To Buy

You should buy all of your new home items the moment you find out you are moving, right? Not exactly. If you are looking to save the most money, you should consider when you are buying your items.

We have listed a few factors to help you decide when it is best to buy the things you need:

  • Long Distance Moving? – WAIT! Some things are best bought after you move. Bulky items especially should be bought after you move. There is no sense in buying something and then paying for it to be moved. The key is to wait until you have moved to your new city to buy your furniture and bulky items.
  • Moving For School? (Wait for the college sales) – Whether you are moving into your first dorm room or apartment, moving in the summer months come with all the college sales. Even if you aren’t planning on moving for school and happen to be moving late summer, take advantage of the sales most stores have during this time.
  • Holiday Sales – Most stores have sales around almost every holiday. If you are planning a move and a holiday is nearby, check your local stores and sees when their holiday sale is going on.
  • Call The Store For Sale Dates – If you have a store in mind that you want to shop at, call them and ask when their next sale is. This little trick can save you some money when you are moving and planning to buy a lot of things!

Now that you have your checklist and information on where and when to shop, enjoy your first new apartment!