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The Ultimate First Apartment Checklist: Essentials to Pack and Buy

Whether you’re moving out of your childhood home or moving out of your last dorm room, getting ready for your first apartment is a major milestone. Whether it’s you or your child with an upcoming move, we’ve put together a checklist of items you should consider taking along to feel truly comfortable in your new environment.

Kitchen items

First, take a look at your apartment’s kitchen and find ways to make the most of your rental space. Once you get the lay of the land, you can follow this checklist to decide what to pack or purchase. If you live in a city and are light on storage space, for example, you may want to consider which appliances you’ll use the most, based on your lifestyle and cooking preferences. Most manufacturers offer smaller versions of appliances, such as two-slice toasters or single-serve coffee makers, to accommodate smaller spaces.

Essentials:

  • Cereal bowls (at least 4)
  • Full-size plates (at least 4)
  • Salad-size plates (at least 4)
  • Serving plates (at least 2)
  • Glasses (at least 4)
  • Mugs (at least 2)
  • Cutlery (chef’s knife, bread knife and paring knife)
  • Flatware (4 of each: forks, knives and spoons)
  • Serving utensils
  • Soup ladle
  • Tongs
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Colander
  • Cutting board
  • Pots (1 large, 1 medium and 1 small)
  • Baking sheets
  • Measuring cups
  • Food storage containers of varying sizes
  • Garbage can
  • Dish towels
  • Oven mitts
  • Toaster or toaster oven

Nice-to-have:

  • Blender
  • Coffee maker
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Specialty glassware (juice, wine and cocktail)
  • Knife sharpener
  • Rice cooker
  • Rolling pin
  • Specialty bakeware or cookware, like a pizza pan, roasting pan, pie plate or brownie pan
  • Water bottles

Living room items

Next, it’s time to pack items for your living room. You’ll likely spend a lot of time in your living room and want to set it up in a way that makes it easy to do so. Think about how you’ll use this space, whether it’s for rest and relaxation, entertaining or a little bit of both. To make it as comfortable as possible for you, your family and guests, consider bringing these items.

Essentials:

  • Area rug (if you don’t have wall-to-wall carpeting)
  • Coffee table (alternatively, try an ottoman, nesting tables, a vintage trunk or even a large storage basket)
  • Comfortable sofa (if you have the space, consider a sleeper sofa to accommodate overnight guests)
  • Complementary side chair
  • Lighting (a table or standing lamp)
  • Television
  • Television stand (or consider mounting your TV on the wall)
  • Curtains and blinds

Nice-to-have:

  • Bookshelf
  • Artwork and decorations
  • Plants
  • Speaker system

Bathroom essentials

It’s where you get ready in the morning, shower or bathe, groom and refresh yourself. The bathroom is an important room to consider, and if something is missing, it’ll probably be noticed. To ensure you’re comfortable in your new home, remember to bring these items.

Essentials:

  • Anti-slip bathmat for inside the bathtub
  • Hair accessories (a hair dryer, brush, comb and other hair tools)
  • Set of bath towels (you may want a couple of sets, especially if you plan to have guests)
  • Toiletries
  • Shower curtain, liner and hooks
  • Small garbage can
  • Soap and a soap dispenser
  • Area rug for bathroom floor
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper
  • Toilet plunger

Nice-to-have:

  • Artwork and decorations
  • Bathroom organization supplies (cubby, jars, over-the-toilet cabinet, etc.)
  • Makeup mirror with light
  • Shower caddy

Bedroom items

Sleep is essential for our health and emotional well-being. To support your sleep habits, create a bedroom that is comfortable, peaceful and conducive to quality sleep habits. Here’s what you should bring.

Essentials:

  • Curtains and/or blinds
  • Bedframe
  • Box spring
  • Comfortable mattress
  • Bed skirt
  • Duvet, bedspread or quilt
  • Blanket
  • Mattress protector
  • Sheets (at least 2 sets)
  • Pillows
  • Dresser (at least 1)
  • Nightstand
  • Alarm clock
  • Lamp (table lamp or standing lamp)
  • Area rug (if you don’t have wall-to-wall carpet)
  • Shoe rack (for closet)

Nice-to-have:

  • Décor for the walls, dresser and nightstand
  • Plants
  • Storage bench at the foot of the bed
  • Storage solution for under the bed
  • Full-length mirror
  • Headboard

Laundry supplies

Not all apartments include in-unit washers and dryers, and those that do may cost more to rent. If you don’t have laundry within your unit, you’ll either use a shared laundry facility within your apartment building or visit a nearby laundromat. Before you sign your lease, ask about the laundry room, and if one isn’t available in your building, find out where the nearest laundromat is located.

Regardless of where you’ll do your laundry, you’ll need to pack supplies. Here are the items you need.

Essentials:

  • Bleach
  • Stain remover
  • Detergent
  • Dryer sheets
  • Clothes basket
  • Drying rack
  • Hamper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board (try to get a smaller, apartment-size board)

Nice-to-have:

  • Mesh bags for delicates
  • Sewing supplies
  • Steamer

Cleaning supplies

Most of the time, your new apartment will be clean and move-in ready. But, unfortunately, sometimes that’s not the case. Just in case there’s a mess on move-in day, make sure you have adequate cleaning supplies with you. Here are a few cleaning supplies to pack or purchase ahead of time.

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Bathroom and tub cleaner
  • Toilet brush
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Floor wet mop
  • Carpet-cleaning solution
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Duster
  • Wood-cleaner solution (for dusting)
  • Old rags for wiping down items
  • Sponges
  • Window and mirror cleaner

Tools and supplies

If you’re renting an apartment, hopefully your landlord will support its maintenance and upkeep, including hiring plumbers, electricians and other professionals when needed. But regardless, you’ll still need a simple toolkit to help address minor issues. It can make your move easier and come in handy if you want to hang artwork, shelving or fix a basic problem. Here are the items that should go in your toolkit.

  • Allen wrench
  • Hammer
  • Nails of varying sizes
  • Screwdrivers (flathead and Phillips-head)
  • Screws of varying sizes

Make sure you also have these extra supplies. You never know when you may need them.

  • First-aid kit
  • Extension cords
  • Batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Fire exit ladder (if you live in an apartment building on the second floor or higher)

Important documents

Lastly, don’t forget to pack your home’s most important documents – wills, tax records and insurance policies, for example. If you don’t have renters insurance now, it’s time to look into securing a policy. Renters insurance can help protect you financially if there’s a fire, water damage or other issues that damage your apartment and its belongings.

Keep in mind, your landlord’s homeowners policy won’t always cover you. Most often, it pays for damage to the apartment building, but not for items that are lost or destroyed in your home. If there’s a major disaster, and you have to find a new home, a renter’s policy can also cover the cost of staying in a hotel or finding other temporary housing. Finally, renters insurance is usually very affordable. Talk to an Amica insurance professional today to find out what a policy may cost.

Remember, when you live in an apartment building, you’re surrounded by other people and their risks. For example, a neighbor could accidentally cause water damage in your apartment unit. Even if you rent a house, you’re not always privy to maintenance issues that are unaddressed and could cause damage. Getting a renters policy is well worth the time and cost. Chances are, your items are more valuable than you may think, especially if you followed this checklist and fully stocked your new home.

Your Policy, Policy Declarations or Amended Declarations in effect on the date of loss is the primary source of reference for your coverage, coverage limits and deductible amounts.

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