Moving out on your own can be exciting and stressful. From finding the best neighborhoods in Northern Virginia to finding the perfect apartment, there are hundreds of decisions you must make and things to purchase. Use our first apartment guide to help you find out what you need to make your new apartment your home.
Stocking up a first apartment kitchen can quickly exhaust your funds if you're not careful. Specialized kitchen tools like a garlic press or mandolin can add up and become pricey very quickly. You may think you need them but they usually end up taking up space collecting dust in a drawer. Assuming your space is limited in the new apartment, it's important to stick to your bare essentials and find handy tools that can perform multiple kitchen tasks. For example, a cooking pot that does triple-duty as a steamer and strainer.
List of Kitchen Essentials
- Bakeware: cookie sheet, 9x13 and 8x8 casserole dishes
- Pots and pans: small, medium and large frying pan, small and large pot
- Dishware for two (or more if you like company)
- Utensils for two
- Drinking glasses: four small, large
- Wine glasses
- Coffee mugs
- Toaster oven
- Chef's knives: one serrated, one smooth edged
- Measuring spoons and cups sets
- Dish towels / cleaning rags
- Cleaning supplies (take the time to research natural cleaning products)
Be conservative when starting out in your new apartment. You can always buy more later on.
If you're in need of a bed for your first apartment, this is the item we recommend splurging on. We spend so much of our lives in bed, asleep, that we should make sure our mattress is comfortable and providing a quality sleep. Do not buy a used mattress, buying brand-new is healthier and will last longer. Save money elsewhere and get the best mattress you can reasonably afford.
List of Bedroom Essentials
- Closet organization: hanging storage, clothes hangers, shoe racks
- Sheets: Start out with two sets
- Pillows: Just like your mattress, a good pillow will go a long way to improving your sleep quality
- Storage: under-bed storage is helpful for large items like winter blankets, spare sheets and linens
If your bathroom is shared in your first apartment, it would be beneficial to keep your personal toiletries in your bedroom and use a carrier to take them with you. It might feel like you're back in college, but knowing your items aren't being used by your roommates may end up saving you some money down the road. If you are fortunate to have your own bathroom space, then stay organized with our list of bathroom essentials.
What to Get for your Bathroom
- Toothbrush holder
- Water cup
- Two sets of towels
- Bathroom rug
- Plunger (you really don't want to forget this one!)
Essential First Apartment Furniture
You may have a vision of how your apartment will turn out, but your bank balance may have something else to say about it. If you aren't sure what is vital to furnishing your first apartment, here is a list of the necessities.
- Sofa: As a young person, most of us will find a second-hand couch from a friend or family member to lounge on. This is the preferred option for most first apartment movers, and this makes sense because most young adults will move again and upgrade. If you live alone, like a bed, a sofa is something that is worth investing in. But don't stretch yourself too thin if you're not financially ready for it.
- A comfortable place to eat: There is probably not enough room for a traditional dining table and chairs, but you should think about getting a sturdy coffee table or pub table and chairs to sit and eat while watching TV. Avoid glass-top tables, as they are easy to break and a mess to clean up.
- Artwork & Pictures: Make your first apartment a home with some artwork, just a couple framed or mounted canvas pieces will do - and ditch your posters! No one will judge you for it, but a real piece of art will make you feel a lot more at home in your first apartment.
- Lighting: If you have great natural lighting, this may not be necessary, but light is extremely important - in fact, the more lighting the better. Standing lamps, table lamps, track lighting, and overhead hanging lights will provide lighting you need for any tasks. Be sure to check with your landlord before installing anything permanent.
Make Your Apartment a Home
If you have extra room in your budget once the basics have been accomplished, there are a few things you can do to make your apartment feel more like a home.
- Curtains: Basic blinds are no stand-in for curtains! Go the extra mile and install curtains that match your furniture and other decor in your apartment. They don't have to be expensive material or overly-fancy, just having curtains will make a big difference! Make sure you research the appropriate sizing and number of panels for your style of window.
- Blankets: Make Netflix-and-chill more appealing with some fluffy, comfortable blankets to cover up and get cozy with.
- Throw pillows: A perfect complement to a good blanket, throw pillows are an inexpensive way to spice up the style of your apartment.
- Area rugs: Brighten up your space with an area or throw rug in each room to add some character and life to your first apartment.
- Decor items: Plants, vases, books, and other decorative items can be added to your apartment to amp up the style and make it feel more like your home. Take your time and think deeply about what your vision is for your space.
Are you moving into your first apartment soon? Our small job movers in the DMV area can get the job done for less.