As a student, moving into your first apartment is an exciting, life-changing experience. Sitting in your new kitchen or bedroom for the first time and realizing you have your own place is almost surreal. As you think of your newfound sense of freedom, questions like “do I have a dish-drying rack?” will pop up.

For first apartments, signing a lease, paying the rent, and moving in the furniture is not enough to make it a home. There are many little and big things you’ll need to purchase to stock the apartment.

Acquiring all you need in a student apartment is an expensive undertaking, so go into it with a plan. Start with a budget and stick to it. Remember, you don’t need everything right away. Follow this first college apartment checklist to help you get started:

What You Need for the Apartment Bedroom

Let’s begin the first college apartment checklist with items that you need in the bedroom. With all the different furniture needed, setting up your bedroom can be expensive. It is also more involving. The good thing is most of the stuff will be temporary; you do not need to break the bank on luxurious furniture.

On your checklist, begin with a quality mattress. Although investing in low-cost furniture is recommended, do not do it when buying a mattress. You will be sleeping on it for about three years. You will also need sheets, pillows and pillowcases, blankets, a duvet cover, comforter, and a mattress pad/topper. Next, purchase furniture essentials like a dresser, desk, desk chair, and a nightstand.

At this point, you will have all the basics, but there are a few things you can add to the aesthetics of the student apartments. These include hangers, a mirror, an alarm clock, trash bins, additional storage boxes, a shoe rack (a hangable one for extra space), and a fan if your apartment does not have an AC.

What You Need for the Apartment Kitchen

When you transition from a dorm room into a student apartment, you might not be aware of just how many items are needed to stock a functional kitchen. Even if you do not plan on cooking much, at least make sure you have the essentials. Now is the perfect time to brush up on your cooking skills. It is time to give the microwave, Mac n cheese and the cafeteria a break.

On your college apartment checklist for cooking essentials, start with the more functional items like pots and pans, measuring cups and spoons, a knife set, baking tray, cutting board, sponge, dishtowels, and dish soap. Consider buying stainless steel scrubbing pads, a dish-drying rack and colander too. Most of these items come in a set. They often include a utensil holder. Now you can comfortably prepare a complete meal.

To upgrade the functionality of the kitchen, add tongs, a bottle opener, ladle, cheese grater, vegetable peeler, wooden spoon, and whisk. If possible, look for an apartment that has a dishwasher installed. It will save you time and the energy you need to catch up on studies or sleep. Do not forget to include trash bags and a large trashcan if the apartment does not have one.

What You Need for the Apartment Bathroom

Having all the bathroom essentials in your apartment is critical. Before moving in, inspect the bathroom and take note of what is missing. Begin with functional bathroom essentials such as hand and bath towels, shower curtains and organizers, and towel hooks or bars.

A fully functional bathroom needs air fresheners, toilet paper, hand soap, a soap dish, plunger, rug, bath mat, toothbrush holder, a small trash bin, and a hair towel or dryer. Purchase bathroom cleaning supplies and toiletries, as well, including mouthwash, toothpaste, conditioner, shampoo, face and body wash.

What You Need for the Apartment Dining Room

Now that you have everything you need to cook, you need somewhere to eat. You can find a variety of affordable sets of dinnerware at your local supermarket. Other items you will need are a dining table and chairs, glasses, coffee mugs, plastic cups, paper plates, placemats, coasters, salt and pepper shakers, and a few large and small ceramic bowls or plates.

What You Need for the Apartment Living Room

On your living room essentials checklist, start with entry-level furniture to bring your living room together. Among essential furniture are end tables, a coffee table, a couch, chairs for additional seating, and a TV stand for your entertainment centre. To give the room some character and make it cozy, decorate it to your taste. You can add couch pillows, wall art, a floor lamp, an area rug and throw blankets.

For coffee tables and couches, check out Facebook Marketplace or a similar site. Students routinely move in and out. You will often find such items at affordable prices, sometimes even for free.

What You Need for Apartment Cleaning

You do not need to purchase an expensive vacuum, but items such as a broom and a dustpan, sponges (separate sets for dishes and general cleaning), and soft rags are critical. Others include microfiber cloths, paper towels, antibacterial wipes, laundry detergent, dish soap, and bathroom cleaning spray. Consider buying rubber gloves, hand soap and a handheld vacuum (until you can get something better) too.

Having a first-aid kit in your new college apartment is a great idea. You never know when an emergency will strike. Either purchase or build one.

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