Moving Checklist: What You Need for Your First Apartment


Moving into your first apartment is both exciting and a bit scary. Packing, moving all of your belongings and figuring out what you need can be overwhelming. Most of us, when we move out for the first time, are around 18 and don’t have very many belongings. So starting from scratch is a daunting task.

What items do you really need? What can wait? What can’t you live without? We are here to ease moving stress. This is the moving checklist for your first apartment.

Items to Buy First:

    • Mattress – While you might think an air mattress will work for a little while, you’ll miss a real bed after about a week. When preparing for a move, budget for a mattress, if you don’t already have one to move. A good mattress is worth the investment.
    • Bed frame – while you’re investing in the mattress, pony up and spend the extra $50 on a bed frame. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor is fine, but you will come to appreciate the bed frame once you have it.
    • Cooking supplies – You’ll need some of the basic kitchen supplies to start. Get a few easy items like a frying pan, baking sheet, pasta pot, and appropriate cooking utensils like tongs, spatula, and mixing spoons. Depending on how much of an at home chef you are, you won’t need too much advanced kitchen equipment. But you’ll want to have the right supplies to make a simple box of mac n cheese.
    • Glasses, plates and silver wear – even if you’re doing a simple meal on the couch (or the ground) you’ll need kitchen basics. So get a few plates, glasses and silver wear.
    • Lighting – Depending on the apartment or house you’re moving into, there should be some overhead lighting around. But, you’ll want additional lamps for rooms lacking in light and for a variety of light, rather than your bright overheads.
    • Window Treatments – Depending on the apartment or house you’re moving into, you might want to put in the upfront cost of some curtains or blinds. The first house I moved into had no blinds on any of the windows, so getting some curtains up was a top priority. Not only do window treatments add privacy, but they can quickly personalize a space and make it feel like home.
    • Mirror – Before moving, this is something I never thought of. But, most places only have bathroom mirrors so having another mirror for getting ready, or checking out an outfit is always a good idea. You can get cheap floor length mirrors from Wal-Mart, Target and most department stores.
    • Couch/living room furniture – having a couch or sofa in the living room is more important than you might think. You’ll want to have some sort of couch/sofa/futon/love seat in the living room for relaxing and guests. Used is just fine, check out CraigsList or GoodWill if you’re shopping on a budget.

Items to Wait On:

    • Rugs – Rugs can be pricey, so it is a good idea to buy the essentials before worrying about rugs. Once you get all of your main furniture in the home, you can add rugs to the list, but they shouldn’t be a top spending priority.
    • Décor/Art – When you move into a new place, it is very tempting to start buying new art, and items to decorate the place. But make sure you have the essentials for everyday life before getting carried away with throw pillows, decorative clocks, and art for the walls.
    • Side Tables – Again, side tables fall in the “decorative” segment that are nice, but not entirely necessary for living. They can go on the gradual purchase list.
    • Dining Room Table – I’ve been living with a small collapsible kitchen table for a few years and it works just fine. While, yes, I want a big grand dining room table for entertaining, realistically, I wouldn’t use it very often. All you really need is a small table for meals or studying so don’t worry about a dining room table and chair set.

There you have it – this is our moving checklist for your first apartment. What do you think? What advice would you give to a first time mover? Let us know in the comment section below. As always, stay tuned to our blog for apartment living information, moving advice and more.

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