The Essential First Apartment Checklist for Your Move

Moving is characterized by an exciting and joyful moment of changing the environment, especially if it is your first apartment move.

You tend to enjoy freedom and access to your own things and time, prepare your meal to your taste, using your personal household items. It is a time worth wait for; but before you think of hiring the right mover for your move, you need to organize and arrange all that will be required for a perfect first apartment.

Remember, moving into your first apartment is like a new world. You need to organize some essential items ranging from furniture, kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom, to cleaning supplies for your new home.

Imagine after you moved in, you discover you lack some essential household items to cook, clean, or sleep; it sometimes turns relocation into hell. This is one of the reasons Moving Feedback created this essential first apartment checklist to make your move a successful one.

The key here is to prepare and get organized. This checklist will be discussed room by room as required by most organized homes.  Though it is advisable to get every item on the list, it is also good to work based on your budget.

The Essential First Apartment Checklist for Your Move

In this article

What are the Essential Items for my First Apartment?

Moving into your first ever apartment involves a lot of stuff you may not think of. This is different from your college life or when you’re under your parent.

However, when moving into a first apartment, a list of necessities may differ from one person to another.

Below is a general checklist for a new apartment but you can select those items that are essential for your situation:

1. Furniture

Furniture provision cuts across every space of an apartment; ranging from the living room, bedroom, dining, to kitchen.

However, you can do this stage by stage by buying the essential ones first and continuing to complement them as time goes on.

Herewith is the list of pieces of furniture for your new apartment:

  • Sofas
  • Bed
  • Dining table and chairs
  • Cabinets
  • Wardrobe
  • Dresser
  • TV stands
  • Desk and chair


There is a long list of items for the bedroom; however, your item selection on the list will be based on the size of your bedroom.

Below are the essential items for your bedroom:

  • Mattress – with an option of protector, pad, and topper
  • Bed frame (though you may prefer to put your mattress on the carpet)
  • Complete Bedding: sheets, duvet, and pillowcases
  • Carpet/rugs
  • Spare blankets for guests
  • Curtain
  • Pillows
  • Dresser
  • Alarm clock
  • Nightstands
  • Hangers
  • Nightlight
  • Fans or space heater
  • Door or full-length mirror
  • Trashcan
  • Hamper
  • Storage box or container (closet or under-bed)
  • Blinds or drapes

2. Bathroom

The bathroom is another important section of the apartment that should be equipped with essential items to make the room comfortable.

The following bathroom checklist will position your bathroom as standard as possible. It is highly recommended to put guests into consideration when shopping for some bathroom supplies such as towels, toiletries, and much more.

Below is the checklist for the bathroom of a new apartment:

  • Bath and hand towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Bath Rug
  • Shower curtain
  • Tissues
  • Soap
  • Soap dish
  • Hooks for hanging towels
  • Air freshener
  • Toilet plunger
  • Trashcan
  • Shower caddy
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Washcloths
  • Bathtub Mat
  • Wastebasket
  • Toothpaste and brush
  • Toilet brush
  • Shampoo
  • Personal care items (such as a razor, mirror, etc.)

3. Kitchen

If you are moving to your new apartment, the kitchen is always characterized by a long list of items due to the purposes this section is serving.

It is usually stocked up with different items; hence, you have to pay attention to essential items as categorized in the list below:

Kitchen Electronics

  • Hotpot or kettle
  • Toaster
  • Hand mixer
  • Juicer or blender
  • Microwave
  • Coffeemaker
  • Toaster oven

Cooking and Baking

  • Pots and pans
  • Serving bowls
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Knives – slicing knife, pairing
  • Mixing bowls
  • Grater
  • Colander
  • Spatulas
  • Serving spoons
  • Ladles
  • Cutting board
  • Whisks
  • Can opener
  • Measuring spoons and cups

Food Dishing

  • Dishes
  • Silverware
  • Glasses or/and mugs

Miscellaneous items for your kitchen

  • Dish drying rack
  • Cabinet paper
  • Drawer silverware organizer
  • Dish towels
  • Dish soap and sponges
  • Bottle opener
  • Wax paper
  • Ice cube trays
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Corkscrew
  • Area rugs
  • Trash cans with a disposable bag
  • Food storage container
  • Plastic bags for preserving food and lunches
  • Dish soap – scrubbers

4. Living Room

The living room is the first place your visitors will see when they enter your apartment and many of them may not even proceed beyond the space.

Hence, it is essential to decorate it to be an optimal place to have fun and relaxation. Check out the list below:

  • Couch and chairs
  • Area rugs
  • Side and center tables
  • Candles
  • Drapes/Blinds
  • Throw pillows
  • Shelves
  • Picture frames and hooks
  • Futon
  • Lamps
  • Art paintings, photographs, posters, etc.
  • TV (and stand or fixtures to hang it)
  • Foot Mat

5. Other Essential Cleaning Supplies

You can’t do without cleaning, even from the first day of your move. It is your first apartment and you would want to keep it in a tip-top level for you and your guests.

The following items are worthy of mentioning to make your list:

  • Mop and mop bucket
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Bucket
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Garbage bags
  • Garbage can
  • Sponges
  • Cleaning supplies such as baking soda, stain removal, vinegar, air fresheners, disinfectant, all-purpose cleaner, alcohol, etc.
  • Ladder or step stool
  • Spray bottles
  • Laundry basket
  • Rags
  • Cleaning towels
  • Fabric softener and laundry detergent
  • Feather duster
  • Paper towels
  • Window cleaner

6. Miscellaneous

  • Light bulbs
  • First aid kit
  • Scissors
  • Extension cords
  • Hammer and nails
  • Multi-plugs
  • Matches
  • Batteries for wall clock and remotes

First Apartment Checklist after your Move

Apart from the things you need for your first home, there are other things to do to customize your home. After settling in, unpacked and brought all your important items out, now is the time to go back and place items, particularly in your kitchen, to make it feel more of a complete room.

Add to your dishware so you have sufficient dish to entertain visitors. Bring out some wine glasses, a good wine key, and beer mugs. Add salt, olive oil, flour, pepper, and any spices you often use to your pantry. You will usually have cumin, oregano, and rosemary on the list.

Get some serving pieces and extend the number of pots and pans you have. Then, proceed to the rooms of your home, filling empty spaces in furniture and accessories. This is also the best time to begin decorating. Start looking for items like rugs, throw pillows, and plants. Begin to show your character with what gets on your walls and add me lamps for additional lighting.

Checklist of Activities for your First Apartment

We’ve provided you the checklist of items you need for each room. Now, below is a To-Do list of things you will need to complete before and after moving.

  1. Clean out your old items: Before you begin to pack, give away old furniture and clothes to Goodwill.
  2. Book a moving truck: They travel early in Madison, especially when moving in the middle of August.
  3. Ready your move-in packet: Be sure to read through the move-in packet you received from your landlord or any types of rental documents you are asked to read.
  4. Book a hotel room: If your parents plan to spend the night in town, reserve a place for them. Rooms are quickly filled up during busy time
  5. Reach out to your roommates in advance: Read our article on finding roommate when moving.
  6. Book a parking spot: If you need to park for the school year, this is the right time to book before spots are completely claimed.
  7. Set up your banking: Call area banks or credit unions in advance and establish your financial situation so you can continue running as you get there.
  8. Fill out a postal change of address form: You can do this online or at the post office. Don’t forget to use mail forwarding.
  9. Get moving supplies, including moving boxes and packing tape: Look for bubble wrap or old newspapers you can get and use to cover delicate items.
  10. Come with a checkbook to the property management office: You will need it when you are ready to pick your keys.
  11. Obtain renter’s insurance: Contact a local agent to get renter’s insurance, or get on the current homeowner policy of your homeowners.
  12. Recheck your budget: Have you changed your spending priorities since you first rented the apartment?
  13. Don’t forget to fill your check-in sheet before moving in: Prioritize this before you even start your move. This will be important when you move in.
  14. Arrange your utilities: Notify the utility companies of your new address, and disconnect services at the old one. This includes gas, internet, electricity, and other continuous services.
  15. Ask relevant questions from your landlord: Are you not sure when the rent is due, or if you are wondering about the utility issue? Ask questions now. The move-in process can be stressful, so get answers to your questions in advance.
  16. Work on your medical care: Do you know where you will be receiving medical care? Determine the location on campus and if you have a medical condition that requires regularly contacting a doctor, make arrangements now.


How much should I save for a move into an apartment?

Generally, your income should be three-times your rent. So, if you need a place that costs $1,000 monthly, your monthly income may need to be at $3,000. A lot of apartment complexes and homeowners often follow this rule, so it is only reasonable to concentrate on rentals you are possibly qualified for.

How can I pay for an apartment on minimum wage?

Those that earn minimum wage would have to work a minimum of 87 hours every week to be able to pay for a 2-bedroom home at a friendly market rate and a minimum of 79 hours every week to be able to pay for a 1-bedroom apartment, based on the report given by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

What do you need when you first move out?

Trash cans for the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. Remember the bags. Cleaning supplies are also needed, vacuum, mop, broom, bucket, dustpan, paper towels, duster, Windex, laundry detergent, cleansers, sponge, etc.

Should I purchase furniture before or after moving in?

Purchasing furniture before you move in will enable you to stay away from much stress (there won’t be a need to go search for furniture after moving and when you will be tired by the tedious moving process and will have a lot of after-move tasks to handle), your new home will start feeling like home immediately you move in.

Can I change the furniture provided in a furnished apartment?

You cannot remove or keep the furniture that was in a furnished apartment you rented since you are aware of it from the start unless the homeowner gives you go ahead, and the landlord could ask you to pay any cost for moving and storage for such.

Is bedding included in fully furnished?

The renter comes with his/her furniture after they buy it from you. We have a fully furnished house that we rent out. It includes towels, bedding, and so on. It includes dishwashing tablets for the dishwasher as well.

What is added to a furnished rental? What are the things I will find in a furnished apartment?

You will find the following:

  • Living Room Furnishings: A couch, end table, coffee table, and lamps will at least be present inside a furnished apartment
  • Bedroom furnishings: You will find a bed, a chest of drawers, a nightstand or armoire for clothing in there
  • Bathroom furnishings
  • Kitchen furnishings

What day is the best to relocate to a new place?

Weekdays which start from Monday through Thursday, are the best days to move during the week. When you pick a date for your move, we recommend choosing a weekday. A lot of movers such as Allied Van Lines suggest you move between Monday and Thursday when demand is lesser.

Do apartments often come furnished?

Furnished apartments are rare but often more popularly available in short-term leases where those are staying for a few periods rent to enjoy all the furnishing. On the other hand, normal apartments or unfurnished apartments are usually available in your regular lease term (a year +).

What is the mode of working of service apartments?

When you purchase a serviced apartment, you lease it for a long term to another operator, who then let out the room for shorter stays, such as a hotel room. Leases for serviced apartments are often for a longer period, at least about 5, 7, or 10-year terms, with options to increase it in extra 5years lots.


It may seem impossible to list every item in just one post, even it is impossible for the best apartment packing checklist out there.

However, Moving Feedback has come up with this checklist to touch the most essential departments in an apartment for your first move.

Are you ready to move into your most anticipated first apartment? Print out the above checklist and you are good to go. Stay tuned for a more informative post from us!

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