Moving Out for the First Time? Here’s Your First Apartment Checklist

Taking a break moving

The day has finally come for you to move out on your own. You’re excited, but understandably a little nervous too. We’ve compiled a checklist of apartment essentials that you’ll want to make sure you have on moving day. 

We have divided this checklist room by room to make it less overwhelming. Tackle one room at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be fully stocked and prepared for your big move! 


You’ll want to get a great first night’s sleep in your new home, so making sure that your bedroom is set up for success is important. The following list is compiled of all the apartment necessities you’ll need to have prepared for your new bedroom.

  • Mattress
  • Box Spring
  • Bed Frame
  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Alarm Clock
  • Laundry Hamper
  • Trash
  • Curtains

A mattress should be one of your first purchases when you’re getting ready to move into an apartment (unless you’re able to take your mattress from your current residence). You’ll want to assemble the bed frame and box springs as soon as you move, so you don’t have to spend your first night sleeping on a mattress on the floor. 

You’ll want to pick out comfortable sheets and pillows so you can get a sound, restful sleep. Also, make sure you hang your bedroom curtains before you go to sleep on your first night, or else you might find yourself rudely awakened the next morning by the sun. 

Your phone may double as your alarm clock, but having a physical alarm clock in your room is a great backup, just in case your phone automatically updates in the middle of the night or your power goes out. 

It’s a good idea to have a laundry basket all ready to go on Night One, so you won’t have the option to toss dirty clothes on the floor and pick them up later. It’s never a good idea to start your journey in your new home with bad habits. Designating a bedroom trash can is also a good idea to decrease the likelihood of a mess. 


There’s nothing worse than being in the bathroom and not having the items you need. To avoid this horrible and potentially embarrassing misstep, make sure to have all of these bathroom essential items prior to your move!

As far as paper products go, there’s no need for explaining how and why toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues are non-negotiable. However, there are some items on our list that might otherwise slip your mind prior to moving day. 

  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Tissues
  • Shower Curtain and Curtain Rod 
  • Bath Mat
  • Shower Soap, Hand Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner
  • Towels
  • Toiletries
  • Plunger and toilet scrubber

After a long day of moving and unpacking, you’ll probably want to end the day by taking a nice shower in your new bathroom. If you don’t have a shower curtain and a bath mat, this could turn into a nightlong task of you removing water from your bathroom floor. In addition to your shower curtain, make sure to also bring a shower curtain rod with the hooks to secure it. 

If you install your shower curtain only to realize that you’ve forgotten to pack soap, shampoo, and conditioner, you’re basically out of luck. Ensure that you have soap, as well as your hair products ready to go on night one. Also, make sure you have a bath towel ready to go, because you don’t want to be trapped in the shower until you air dry. 

In addition to your shower soap, you’ll also want to have a bottle of hand soap ready to be placed at your sink. Also, have a plunger and toilet scrubber to place next to your toilet, just in case. 

Finally, you’ll have to make sure that you have all of your needed toiletries packed and readily available. You don’t want to be running back and forth to your local pharmacy on your inaugural night. 


When you first glance at the kitchen checklist, you might get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff on the list. Don’t worry! Read through our list and reasonings to decide what you’ll need for night one, and what you can save off for a later date. 

  • Plates, bowls, glasses, mugs, utensils
  • Pots and pans
  • Cutting board and knives
  • Toaster, blender, mixer
  • Can opener and bottle opener
  • Coffee pot and/or tea kettle 
  • Spatula, whisk, tongs, spoon, 
  • Mixing bowl, measuring cup, 
  • Pot holders, dish towels

Even if you decide to get take out food for your first dinner in your new home, you’ll still need something to eat the food on and utensils to eat with. Make sure to have at least two plates, bowls, glasses, mugs, forks, knives, and spoons. It’s usually most cost-effective to buy each item as a set, but if you’re looking to save money, this might not be feasible for your first night. Make sure to have at least two of each item though!

You might want to celebrate a successful moving day with a nice cocktail or glass of wine. Make sure to bring a bottle opener and perhaps a blender with you so you can successfully toast to your new apartment. 

When you wake up after your first night in your new home, you’ll probably want a cup of coffee or tea. Instead of having to go to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, pack a coffee pot and/or tea kettle. Also, make sure to pack coffee, coffee filters, and tea, because the pot and kettle will do you no good if you have nothing to put in them!

A craving for toast can come at odd times, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for it by having a toaster (or toaster oven, depending on your preference) readily available on your kitchen counter. If you enjoy baking, you should also consider investing in a stand mixer, as well as measuring cups and a mixing bowl. 

When you do decide to cook your first meal, nothing can dampen that excitement like having to buy each individual kitchen accessory you need. To avoid this, try to have pots and pans ready to move with you before you go. It’s also a good idea to invest in sharp knives and a good cutting board. 

Cooking accessories like spatulas, whisks, tongs, can openers, and serving spoons might not be 100% necessary for your first night, depending on how frequently you cook, but every kitchen should have them stocked. If you don’t have those items for your first night, you’ll probably be okay, but make sure to get them sooner rather than later. 

The last items you’ll need in order for your kitchen to be fully stocked and ready to go are pot holders and dish towels. You don’t want to burn your hand taking food out of the oven, so pot holders are non-negotiable. Dish towels not only look nice hanging from your oven, but are great for cleaning up spills and drying dishes. 

Again, we know this portion of the checklist might seem especially daunting, but don’t panic. Decide which items you can put on the back burner and which ones you need to get right away. 


When you throw your housewarming party, or even if you just invite your friends over to your apartment, you’ll want your living room to be fully set up and functional so everyone has a comfortable place to relax. You’ll want to make sure you have the following items in your living room:

  • Couch/Seats
  • Coffee table
  • Rug
  • More curtains
  • Shelving
  • Television
  • Cable Box/Streaming Services

Perhaps the most fundamental element of a living room is a comfortable couch. Furniture is expensive, so you may be able to get by without having a couch for a little while, but your apartment won’t feel complete without one. If space is an issue, you can get comfortable chairs instead of a couch. If you have the extra space, you can, of course, add both to your list. 

Every living room needs some sort of table, whether it be for storage, aesthetics, or just a place to eat at. If your floors are hardwood, consider getting a nice rug as well. While a rug isn’t strictly an essential for your first night, you’ll be glad you invested in one once your bare feet step on your cold wood floors.

You’ll also want to make sure that you have curtains for your living room’s windows, not only for privacy, but to block the sun from shining through. Most living rooms have  some sort of shelving or a freestanding wall unit.

While there are plenty of people who survive just fine without a television, we still consider it a moving essential! However, since more and more people are “cutting the cord” and ditching their cable providers in favor of streaming services, you can decide which television option fits your budget and entertainment needs best. 

You’ll want to schedule your internet provider to come and set up your new router, so your apartment is furnished with WiFi. Once that’s set up, your living room should be all ready to go!


Whether you consider yourself a handyman or not, as someone living on their own, you’ll need to invest in a toolbox. Even if you plan on doing minimal handiwork, chances are you’ll probably want to hang something from the walls or have some items of furniture that need to be assembled. 

  • Nails and hooks
  • Hammer
  • Screw driver (both flat and Phillips)
  • Electric Drill
  • Tape Measurer
  • Level
  • Socket wrench
  • Pliers

As someone living on your own for the first time, you never know when disaster will strike and you’ll be in need of one of the above items. Have them all easily accessible in a convenient toolbox. 

If you’re lucky enough to have friends or family asking you about housewarming presents, a toolbox might just be the perfect thing for them to get you!


It being your first apartment, chances are the space had a previous tenant. Whether it was left in disarray or not, it’s still a good idea to give your new home an inaugural clean. You should make sure that you have the following items ready to move with you, since you never know when you’ll need to clean. 

  • Mop
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Trash bags
  • Cleaning solution
  • Laundry detergent
  • Multipurpose wipes

You’re going to spill something; it’s just a matter of when it’s going to happen. Make sure to have a mop, broom, and dustpan ready to go so that you can metaphorically sweep it under the rug (ideally you should be sweeping your mess into the dustpan). 

From unpacking to your food materials, you’re going to have a considerable amount of garbage on Night One. You’ll want to have a roll of trash bags ready to go. 

Everyone has a different go-to cleaning solution. Whatever yours is, pack it with you so that you’re ready to combat messes as soon as you notice them. In addition to your cleaning solution, also bring multipurpose wipes for the smaller messes. 

Cleaning products aren’t fun. No one can deny that, but they’re still an essential part of any moving checklist and should not be overlooked. Nothing kills moving in productivity like having to stop everything to go to the store to buy the products you need. Having them there and ready to go is a much better option. 


Accidents happen, especially when you’re moving. Whether you cut your finger on a box cutter, trip, get a splinter, or even get sick, you’ll be thanking your past self for looking ahead and packing a first aid kit. 

While you can, of course, customize your first aid kit to your specific needs, you should make sure it has the following items as a base:

  • Bandages
  • Antiseptic Ointment
  • Ice Pack
  • Thermometer
  • Cold Medicine
  • Ibuprofen
  • Tweezers
  • Hydrogen Peroxide

Instead of packing your own first aid kit, most pharmacies sell fully stocked kits that you can simply buy and put in a safe place for when it’s needed. 


Our final category of things you need for your first apartment is compiled of various small, little items that can easily be looked over and forgotten during the moving process, but you’ll want to have all of these things packed and ready for when your big moving day arrives. 

  • Flashlight
  • Candles
  • Lamp
  • Hangers
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Alarm Clock
  • Fire Alarm
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Batteries
  • Power Strips
  • Extension Cords
  • Router/Modem for PC
  • Video Gaming Systems

Flashlights, lamps, and  candles can both obviously provide light, but where flashlights can help you illuminate hard to see areas, candles can fill your apartment with fresh, inviting scents that give it a more aesthetically pleasing vibe. A strategically placed lamp can make your home seem more “lived-in” and polished. 

When you start unpacking and putting your clothes away, you’ll want to have hangers ready to go, so that you can quickly and effortlessly get your closet organized. 

You might not need an iron and an ironing board on your first night, but eventually your clothes will become wrinkled and it’s better to have one waiting than to have to rush out to the store to purchase an iron and a board, get back home, iron your clothes, and still get to work on time. 

Fire Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors are non-negotiable must-haves for any home. These are automatically included in some apartments, but not all, so prior to moving day you should check with your landlord. If they’re not provided, you’ll absolutely need to purchase at least one of each. 

As you get into the swing of unpacking your new home, deciding where everything should go and perfecting your space’s aura, you’ll probably need some power strips and extension cords at some point. Whether it be to plug in your electronics, get your WiFi router sitting in a spot where it reaches your entire home, or give yourself more outlets, an extension cord is a good thing to have ready to go. 

While batteries seem to be in the process of being phased out in favor of rechargeable batteries, some gadgets and home accessories still require them. It’s a good idea to have a few AA and AAA batteries handy, just in case. 


There you have it! If you follow this list of things to buy for a new apartment, you should be all ready to go when your move-in day arrives! 

If you’re unsure as to how you’ll be getting your physically getting your items from your old home into your new apartment, consider contacting Liberty Moving & Storage. Whether it’s a local or cross country move, we are specifically trained to efficiently and professionally get your belongings to your new home. Contact us for a free quote today!


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