Necessities for the First Apartment: What is a Necessity for the First Apartment?

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Getting Started

So, you’re ready for your first apartment! If you’ve never before lived on your own, you may be wondering what is a necessity for first apartment living. If you’ve lived in a dorm, you may already have some of the things you need. Otherwise, you will be starting from zero. Here to help is a room-by-room description of necessities for first apartment living.


Most apartments provide a refrigerator and stove, but you might have to provide your own microwave. You need a place to sit and eat, so start with a table and chairs. Next comes a set of dinnerware, a flatware set, and glasses and mugs. The kind of cookware you will need depends on the type of cooking you will do. You will need at least one large pot, a saucepan, a skillet, a baking sheet, and microwave-safe cookware. If you like to bake, add baking dishes to the list. Other necessities are cooking utensils, knives and a cutting board, a colander, a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a bottle and can opener, a mixer (either hand or power), a pizza cutter, a trivet, a cooking timer, and salt and pepper shakers. You will need kitchen linens, including dishcloths, towels, and hot pads. You might want small appliances such as a toaster or coffee maker. Often overlooked are items for storing opened food: plastic bowls with lids, Ziploc bags, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil. A final necessity for the first apartment kitchen is a wastebasket.

Furnishing the Bedroom

The most obvious necessity for first apartment dwellers is a bed or a futon. You will need bedding, including a mattress pad, a sheet set, blankets, and pillows. A dresser provides a place to put folded clothes, and a bedside table provides a place for your alarm clock and a lamp. Under-bed plastic storage bins and over-the-door shoe storage hangers are useful items to have. Don’t forget hangers for the closet.

Furnishing the Bathroom

If your shower does not have a built-in shower door, you will need a shower curtain. Required bath linens include bath towels, hand towels, washcloths, and bathmats. Other accessories needed are a waste basket, a toilet scrubber, and a plunger for fixing clogged toilets. If the bathroom doesn’t have sufficient cabinet space, you can put a standing shelf unit over the toilet.

Furnishing the Living Room

Furnish the living room with a comfortable sofa or love seat, a chair or two, a coffee table, and a TV with TV stand. Low-cost options for furnishing the living room include using patio furniture, director chairs, or dorm-style folding chairs. Chairs from the kitchen can be brought into the living room to provide extra seating for guests. A set of wood TV tables can be used as side tables, or even as a TV stand for a small TV.

Other Miscellaneous Items

Following is a list of other miscellaneous necessities for first apartment living:

  • A computer desk, if you have a desktop computer
  • A vacuum, if the apartment has carpeting
  • A broom and a mop for cleaning uncarpeted floors
  • A fan
  • Lamps, especially if rooms lack overhead light fixtures
  • Small rugs for the entry and kitchen
  • Paper towels, paper napkins, tissues, and toilet paper
  • Garbage bags and waste basket liners
  • Toilet cleaner, glass cleaner, shower cleaner, floor cleaner, and dish soap
  • Scrub brushes, sponges, and rags
  • A laundry basket, laundry soap, fabric softener, and bleach
  • A basic tool kit with flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, and a hammer
  • A flashlight with spare batteries

Enjoy Your New Apartment

If you can’t afford all these things at once, don’t worry! Simply figure out which items you must have to begin with, and pick up the other items over time. Find items on the cheap at Goodwill, moving sales, and clearance sales. Before long, you will have all of the necessities for the first apartment and a perfectly furnished new home!