Your First Apartment
Essentials Checklist .

muscular moving men buddy the box

Moving into your first apartment is a monumental milestone in your life. The feeling of having a space to call your own is truly special. However, it also comes with the responsibility of furnishing and equipping your new abode. At Muscular Moving Men, we understand the importance of making this transition smooth and cost-effective. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive first apartment essentials checklist to help you get started on the right foot.

Budgeting for Your First Apartment

Before diving into the world of apartment essentials shopping, it’s crucial to establish a budget. Moving costs and related expenses can add up quickly, so having a clear financial plan is essential. Determine how much you can comfortably spend upfront and prioritize immediate needs. Remember, you don’t need to acquire everything at once; some items can wait.

Kitchen Essentials

  • Pots and Pans
    One medium or large fry pan
    One small pot
    One large pot

Consider purchasing a small cookware set for cost efficiency.

  • Oven-Safe Dish
    One medium or large casserole dish
  • Baking Sheet
    One large or medium cookie sheet
  • Dishes
    Plates and bowls (two of each, durable material like ceramic)
  • Flatware
    Forks, knives, and spoons (two of each)
    Optional steak knife
  • Drinking Glasses
    Water glasses for four (can double as wine/beer glasses)
  • Mug
    One will suffice to start
  • Coffee Maker or French Press
    If you’re a regular coffee drinker, making coffee at home is cost-effective.
  • Knives
    One serrated
    One chef’s knife
    One paring knife
  • Cooking Utensils
    Large spoon
  • Mixing Bowl
    One large bowl to start
  • Kitchen Shears
    Useful for opening plastic packages
  • Napkins
    Paper napkins are fine
  • Strainer
    For draining pasta or vegetables
  • Ice Cube Tray
  • Bottle Opener and Corkscrew
  • Cutting Board
    Choose silicon, plastic, or wood
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
    One set of each
  • Food Containers
    For storing leftovers
  • Oven Mitts
    One set
  • Dish Towels
    Four to six
  • Dishrag
    Two or three
  • Dish Drying Rack
    If there’s no dishwasher
  • Garbage Can

Keep in mind that these items don’t have to be top quality. You can find affordable kitchenware at places like Goodwill or Ikea, where you can get high-quality knives without breaking the bank.

Things You Can Buy Later
  • Toaster oven
  • Microwave
  • Food processor
  • Blender
  • Hand mixer
  • Cake pans
  • Serving dishes
  • Slow cooker or Instant Pot
  • Consider purchasing a rug to place near the kitchen sink for added comfort while doing dishes.

Cleaning Supplies

Living in your own space often means taking cleaning matters into your own hands. Here’s what you’ll need to keep your apartment spick-and-span:

  • Garbage Bags
    Kitchen-size and small
  • Broom and Dustpan
  • Sponges
    Separate sets for dishes and cleaning
  • Soft Rags and Microfiber Cloths
  • Anti-Bacterial Wipes
  • Paper Towels
  • Bucket
    For mopping or cleaning
  • Mop
    If you have hard-surface floors
  • Handheld Vacuum
    A smaller option is sufficient until you can get something larger
  • Bathroom Cleaning Spray
  • Multi-Purpose Spray
  • Wood Cleaner
    If you have wood surfaces
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dishwasher Detergent
    If you have a dishwasher
  • Liquid Dish Soap
  • Baking Soda and White Vinegar
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Hand Soap for Kitchen and Bathroom
Things You Can Buy Later
  • Fancy vacuum
  • Furniture polish
  • Microfiber sweeper

Bedroom Essentials

A comfortable bedroom is essential for a good night’s sleep. Here are the must-haves:

  • Sheets
    One set to start; consider getting two for regular washing
  • Pillows
    One or two to start
  • Comforter or Duvet and Duvet Cover
  • Lamp
    At least one, preferably two, for each side of the bed
  • Curtains
    If your bedroom doesn’t have window coverings
  • Storage
    Dresser, plastic organizers, or under-the-bed containers
  • Inexpensive Full-Length Mirror
    If you don’t have one already
  • Hangers
    For your closet
  • Cedar Balls or Rings
    If moths are an issue
  • Laundry Hamper
Things You Can Buy Later
  • Throw pillows
  • Rug
  • Bed frame
  • Bedside table

Bathroom Necessities

In addition to your basic toiletries, you’ll need these items to keep your bathroom organized and functional:

  • Bath Towels
    Two to start
  • Hand/Face Towels
    Two to start
  • Shower Curtain and Liner
    If necessary
  • Wall Hook
    If not supplied
  • Toothbrush Holder or Case
    A simple plastic cup can suffice with regular cleaning
  • Bathmat or Rug
  • Toilet Brush
  • Plunger
  • Toilet Paper
  • Small Trash Can
Things You Can Buy Later
  • Fancy soap dispenser
  • Water cup
  • Extra storage
  • Shower speaker


Furnishing your apartment is a gradual process, and you can acquire these items when you have the budget:

  • Sofa
  • Coffee Table
    It doesn’t need to be big
  • Small Dining Room Table and Chairs
  • Additional Lighting
    One or two lamps
    Floor lamp if lighting is limited
  • Desk and Chair
    If you’ll be working from home
Things You Can Buy Later
  • Artwork
  • Side tables
  • Throw blankets
  • Decorative pillows
  • Plants
  • Decor
  • Curtains
  • Area rugs
  • Sound system
  • TV and stand

Food Essentials

Stocking your pantry and fridge wisely can save you money in the long run. Here’s a list of basics to start with:


  • Rice
  • Bread
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar, honey, or sugar substitute
  • Baking soda and baking powder (if you intend to bake)
  • Coffee and tea
  • Cereal (one or two boxes)
  • Quick-cooking oats
  • Grains (quinoa, lentils, farro, etc.)
  • Nut butter
  • Ketchup and mustard (or preferred condiments)
  • Cooking oil (vegetable and/or olive oil)
  • Vinegar (white, red, apple cider, balsamic)
  • Soy sauce
  • Canned or dried beans
  • Canned or packaged tuna or chicken
  • Dried pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Snack food (chips, pretzels, nuts, etc.)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Milk (cow, soy, almond, or preferred type)
  • Butter
  • Eggs or egg substitute
  • Cheese (cheddar or parmesan for most recipes)
  • Fresh fruit (buy whole fruits to save money)
  • Fresh vegetables (buy whole vegetables to save money)
  • Jam or preserves


  • Frozen pizza or dinners
  • Frozen patties (burgers, veggie burgers)
  • Meat/poultry
  • Frozen fruit
  • Frozen vegetables
Things You Can Buy Later
  • Spices (purchase as needed rather than buying an expensive set)

First Aid and Wellness Essentials

Accidents and illnesses can happen, so it’s wise to be prepared with these basics:

  • Bandages (one package of assorted sizes)
  • Butterfly bandage (one package for deep lacerations)
  • Small scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Crepe bandage to reduce swelling
  • Cold compress
  • Cotton balls
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Neosporin for small wounds
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antacids
  • Aloe for minor burns, including sunburn
  • Digital thermometer
Things You Can Buy Later
  • Decongestant
  • Allergy medication like Benadryl
  • Cough medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Saline nasal spray
  • Hydrocortisone cream for skin irritations

Other Apartment Essentials

Here are a few additional items that can come in handy in your new apartment:

  • Fans (one for each room if there are no ceiling fans)
  • Flashlight (one in your bedroom and one in the main living space)
  • Screwdriver (Philips and straight blade for assembling furniture and other tasks)
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Hammer
Things You Can Buy Later
  • Printer and paper shredder for disposing of important documents

Where to Find First Apartment Essentials

Now that you know what you need, it’s time to shop smart. Here are some places to find good deals on your apartment essentials:

  • Goodwill and thrift shops: You can find great deals on kitchen gadgets, furniture, lamps, and dishes.
  • Dollar stores: Perfect for stocking your kitchen and bathroom affordably.
  • Facebook Marketplace and online marketplaces: Great for finding deals on furniture.
  • Garage sales: You can discover everything from cookware sets to couches at a fraction of their original cost.
  • Ikea: Offers a wide range of affordable kitchenware and other essentials.
  • Amazon: Convenient if you have a Prime membership for free shipping.

Moving into your first apartment is an exciting adventure, and having the right essentials in place can make the transition smoother. At Muscular Moving Men, as a Phoenix moving company, we understand the importance of a well-prepared checklist. Remember, you don’t have to acquire everything at once; start with the basics and gradually add items as your budget allows. With our comprehensive first apartment essentials checklist, you’ll be well on your way to creating a comfortable and functional living space. Congratulations on this significant milestone in your life!