Printable First Apartment Essentials Checklist

Moving into or renting your first apartment can be an exciting and confusing time. What are the necessities needed? What items should you buy? What should you leave? To help you cut through the clutter, I’ve put together the First Apartment Essentials Checklist for renters. This list can be used as a moving apartment checklist for those looking to move as well.

Since there are wide variations in what people deem “necessity items”, I’ve made this list fairly broad, and hopefully helpful to a range of apartment renters. The essential items are grouped under these headings for best organization: Basic Furniture, Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Laundry, Cleaning, Closet & Storage, Personal, and Odds & Ends.


Download: First Apartment Essentials Checklist (PDF Format)

First Apartment Checklist
Use the free First Apartment Essentials Checklist to:

  • Save money by avoiding the stuff you don’t need.
  • Get organized before moving into your first apartment.
  • Keep track of only the items you need.
  • Identify items you may need to buy in a shopping list.
  • Help organize your items into boxes for the move.
  • Serve as a moving apartment checklist, or a checklist for moving into an apartment.

Other home moving checklists you may like:

What are your apartment essentials? Did I miss something important? What was your first apartment like? My first apartment had cockroaches. Not kidding.

Your two cents:

  1. bluntmoney September 5th, 2008

    My first apartment was missing almost everything on your list. We had a bed, dresser, a box with a tiny B&W TV on it, some silverware & dishes, a couple of pans, a set of towels, and two laundry baskets. That’s pretty much it! Later one of the maintenance people brought us furniture that someone had left behind, and we got a table too.

  2. Hayden Tompkins September 5th, 2008

    I just love the layout of these!

  3. Jon Kepler September 5th, 2008

    I’m glad you included the fire extinguisher for the kitchen. I bought one right when I moved in, but it seems a lot of people don’t even think of it.

  4. Amy September 6th, 2008

    Great list! However, I moved into my first house with less furniture, and still don’t have that much. You can fill out many things over time at good garage sales (except for matresses! Never get those at a Also a smaller place in a nice location doesn’t need much furniture and saves $.

    Love seat and TV was the living room, Office area stuff you list plus a plain twin bed is it for the bedroom/office. No fancy small appliances. Microwave and ordinary range has fed my family of 3 nicely. Many meals were essentially one-pot. Other items eventually came from thrift stores over time. Cheap nice sheets saved expensive curtains. Simple mp3 player and a CD player with computer speakers covered “stereo” needs.

    The fire extinquisher and detectors are a must I think. Along with a strong-box for your personal ID stuff if you don’t have anyplace else for these things.

  5. Michelle September 13th, 2008

    Don’t forget the Carbon Monoxide Detector. Mine saved my life two years ago. We had a leak in the gas line connected to our oven! We are moving into a new apartment and I am definitely using this list!

  6. Kerry September 13th, 2008

    @Michelle The carbon monoxide detector is listed under “Closet and Storage” along with the smoke detectors. I agree, these detectors are essential! I’m thrilled you will find a use for this list in your next move! πŸ™‚

  7. Joy November 25th, 2009

    Thank you for the list, I really needed this. If you ever create a list for decorating essentials please share. Right now, the thought of decorating my new place is a bit overwhelming, with all the rooms to tackle. Wish I had my own HGTV designer =(, I’ll just have to take it one day at a time, slowly but surely I’ll get there.

  8. melinda January 6th, 2010

    Awesome list! Thank you. My 20 yo D is getting her 1st place and this will come in hand. And although,have I been on my own for a zillion years;-) there are things, I totally forgot about.

  9. Natalia February 14th, 2010

    your list it is the best, do you have it in excell or power point that I can add another room?


  10. Pat April 28th, 2010

    we are a 50+ couple moving into our first apartment. We have nothing and need a really good checklist. This looks great. We would appreciate anything additional ideas.

  11. Grace October 9th, 2010

    Quite Useful. Thanks a lot.

  12. Kerry October 9th, 2010

    @Grace You’re very welcome. πŸ™‚

  13. Billy BoB Bojangles! November 22nd, 2010

    This is good list! Thanks you!! Verry good, my english isn’t.

  14. Brigitte December 9th, 2010

    Thank you for your helpful list. My fiance and I are moving into our first home at the end of January and are starting from absolute scratch- both coming out of student-type accommodation. I have printed your list and am already on the lookout for sales. πŸ™‚
    Thanks again!

  15. Shane May 18th, 2011

    This list is almost exactly what i was looking for. My only suggestion would be to include some price ranges for the items on the list. This way readers will be able to quickly estimate the cost of what they might need.

  16. Francoise June 2nd, 2011

    Thank you so much for these important checklists. Everyone should make lists


  17. Marie July 23rd, 2011

    I have one year

    I have a one more year before I move out my own a apartment. I’m really excited to learn a different things that why I make up a list for aparment. I hape I save a lot money not breaking out my
    sanvings account. I’m really excited. Thanks for a


  18. Kelly July 25th, 2011

    Thank you for going to this trouble. I, for one, appreciate it so much! It definitely makes my life with 4 kids and 2 dogs and a gov’t employee hubby less stressful. πŸ™‚

  19. Johanna November 4th, 2011

    This list is extremely helpful all i could think of getting was dishes a mop a broom and a garbage can so than you very much for publishing and might i add if someone can find like a dollar tree or some kind of dollar store the have most of these items for very cheap.

  20. Ash January 15th, 2012

    This was a life saver! You really don’t realize how much u need until you actually move in!!!

  21. fiona January 17th, 2012

    This is definitely cool.been tryng to come uo with a list of mine it was definitely missing lots of stuff..thank u for saving me the hustle *_*

  22. Cari February 20th, 2012

    Thank u so much! I seriously almost forgot toilet paper!! Lol

  23. Matt March 24th, 2012

    I am moving and have dressers, bed bases and just needed the info on this list. Great list.

  24. Elizabeth June 2nd, 2012

    Thanks!! I am moving in about a week and this is definitely helping me make sure I have what I need. I printed it out and highlighted the items I don’t have and still need to get.

  25. ktashrobb June 10th, 2012

    I like your checklists…..please do one for budgeting for a new baby (adopted–like us or home brewed by folks that lack the insight to increase their genetic diversity).

    Thank you!


  26. brian July 9th, 2012

    My first apartment was in a converted 19th century house. My kitchen, which was once a hallway, was so small that I had to keep the refrigerator in the main room. You had to go through the bathroom (which was kitchen adjacent) to get into the single bedroom, and there was no door separating the bedroom from the bathroom. It was awful, but I loved it; it was my first taste of independence.

  27. Stephanie August 20th, 2012

    I have found that a first aid kit (band-aids, Tylenol, etc) is a must! When I got my first apartment, I cut my hand on one of my nice, new kitchen knives and didn’t have any band-aids!

  28. Lori October 16th, 2012

    Thank you!

  29. toni February 5th, 2013

    thank you so much! this is very helpful!!!

  30. Tori March 16th, 2013

    My boyfriend and I are in the process of buying our first home together, I’ve been working on a list of things for weeks and still keep coming up with odds and ends that I take for granted, thanks so much for such a comprehensive list!

  31. tiffany March 26th, 2013

    awesome list very helpful im moving in a couple days and this helped me alot you might want to add sponges and a dish drain πŸ™‚ thanks again!

  32. Michelle April 7th, 2013

    Thank you so much for this! I’m moving into my first place of my own in 6 months, and will be getting some of the things ahead of time to save money on sales/ with coupons, etc. This is a great base list to start with!

  33. Izzy August 10th, 2013

    I am SO happy I found this! I’m 18 and moving into my first apartment within the next few weeks. Of course I’m getting a ton of help, but I’m trying to take some steps into being independent… and this is a great first step. I love this!

  34. Sean August 17th, 2013

    Thanks, I needed something like this. Unfortunately this is not my first apartment, but due to bed bugs I have to start over again. So this is a good start.

  35. Brittany January 8th, 2014

    Thank you this will come in handy for me and my roommate as we move into our place next month! πŸ™‚

  36. Kristyn March 21st, 2014

    This is incredibly helpful! Thank you so much!! My son and I are moving into our own place and I was at a loss on where to start! Thanks again.

  37. Julia April 16th, 2014

    Thanks so much for the list. Here in about a month I’m moving into my first very own apartment so my mom sent me a copy of the list. Should have a first aid kit on the list and it would be great if you could give ideas on where to get this stuff and a price range . But its a great list either way thanks so much.

  38. Jilanne Doom July 14th, 2014

    This is by far the best list I’ve seen online for a first apartment! Thank you for your help in my move!

  39. Tamasa July 17th, 2014

    Thank you so much for this list. I’ve been living in a one room hotel for 2 years…lost all my household belongings, and just got a 2bd2ba apartment last week and moved in with virtually NOTHING…I’ve been graced with a few pieces..couch, coffee table and 2 end tables…bought an airbed…but this list is my SANITY for my insane moments of making my apartment feel like home! THANK YOU! πŸ™‚

  40. Sandra July 27th, 2014

    Hi! Great lists – I plan to give it to my son’s half-brother. I’ll be giving him some of these very items as I have so much duplicates of everything. I would definitely add a trash can and liners for the kitchen and some kitchen sanitizing spray!

  41. Jenny September 17th, 2014

    I am getting read to move on my own.. so this list was helpful! Does it have air freshener on the list or is that included with cleaners?

  42. Alice March 9th, 2015

    love this list. will be moving in a couple of months to my first apartment with my babygirl.
    not sre ifi skimmed to fast but DONT FORGET a first aid kit & sewing Kit! definitely good to have ! thank you so much

  43. Julie January 27th, 2016

    This is a great checklist (and comments) that I am printing for two gals that are moving into their first apartment. Remember…If anyone likes to shop thrift stores, there are some amazing finds.

  44. Nellie Quinlan February 17th, 2016

    This is so great checklist, may be one of the most detailed I’ve seen. My sister’s moving to her first apartment soon and your checklist will be of a great help for her. I’m definitely recommending your post to her. Greets!

  45. Kayla February 19th, 2016

    Also, if you are trying to budget expenses such as light bills, might I recommend timers! They’re super useful on things like tvs, radios, and air conditioners. I forget to shut my TV and lights off all the time. So having the timer to shut my TV off helps some. I also flip things off at the breaker when I’m not using them.

    But yeah. Timers! Important.

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