Your First Apartment: Basic Supplies That Make It a Home

Jean Jones
June 22, 2016


This article originally appeared on the Springs "You're Home Blog."

So, you’re about to move into your first apartment; your bags are packed, your furniture’s on the truck, and your car is stuffed with boxes full of “odds and ends.” Missing anything?

First-time apartment residents often forget items that are critical for setting up housekeeping. An apartment is a home, and a home needs more than the few things you’ve had to think about up ‘til now, like a couple towels, your favorite foods and an assortment of toiletries. That’s why we’ve put together an “apartment needs checklist” that’ll help first-timers identify what items you’ll need to outfit your new home with the basics. 


A Set of Dishes, Silverware and Glasses

These don’t have to be fancy, just functional. Sets usually contain 4 place settings, so if you plan on having friends over, buy two of each; otherwise, one will suffice, at least for the time being.


You might be ordering lots of take-out, but for those times you crave a home-cooked meal, buy a set that includes, at the very least, a 3.5 qt. saucepan with lid, a 6 qt. stockpot (great for pasta), and a 10-inch frying pan. These are the basics needed to cook anything from fried eggs to veal Parmigiana. If you enjoy cooking, look for larger sets that include additional sizes of sauce pans and frying pan, and maybe even a steamer insert.

A Set of Knives

Buy a set that includes a paring knife, a chef’s knife (the big one you’ll use for chopping onions and slicing meat), a carving knife and a bread knife. All of these knives are multipurpose – their uses aren’t limited to those suggested by their names.

Baking Pans

The hardest-working pan in most kitchens is a 9-by-13-inch cake pan; the name belies its many uses, because it’s ideal for lasagna, many Mexican dishes, casseroles and dozens of other foods. You’ll also need a cookie sheet; in addition to baking up a batch of your favorite cookies, this kitchen essential is also used for baking fish and poultry, broiling vegetables or potatoes, and warming rolls, among other things.

Mixing Bowls

Get a set that includes a big bowl (good for tossing large salads or mixing big batches of cookie dough), a small one for things like beating eggs, and a medium one for just about anything else.

Cooking Tools

Don’t forget the tools every cook needs when making a meal, like measuring cups, serving/stirring spoons, a can opener, a rubber spatula, a vegetable peeler, a cutting board, and a colander. If you’re an accomplished cook, you’ll also need things like a whisk, a meat thermometer and a garlic press, but these basics will get you by.



You undoubtedly packed sheets and blankets for your own bed, but what about overnight guests? Buy a second set, even if your guests will be sleeping on the sofa (a twin set works best when making up a sofa).


Have at least two full sets of towels on hand (bath towels, hand towels and washcloths) so you always have a clean set to replace those you want to wash. Three sets is even better, especially if you plan on having guests.


  • Small rugs for your kitchen, bath and entryway
  • Soap (laundry and bath)
  • Paper towels, garbage bags and cleaning supplies
  • Napkins, aluminum foil and resealable storage bags
  • A first-aid kit that includes bandages and antibiotic ointment
  • An extension cord

Well, that about does it for first-apartment necessities. Eventually you’ll find you need other things, like artwork for the walls, an additional lamp or two, placemats and much more, but to get you started, these items will get you off to a great start.

Do you have any funny or frustrating first-time apartment stories – like the one that a resident told us about waking up the morning after move-in to find that the moving company had failed to unload the box containing his clothes? Anything you care to share could just help that next first-time resident!

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