Apartment Checklist: Printable First Apartment Essentials Checklist


Moving into or renting your first apartment can be an exciting and confusing time. What do you need to buy for a rental? To help you cut through the confusion and clutter, I’ve put together this handy first apartment checklist for renters. Use this list as a moving planner or as a simple checklist so you land in your new place with dishes to dine upon and clean sheets to rest. Phew!

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: Basic Furniture, Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Laundry, Cleaning, Closet & Storage, Personal, and Odds & Ends.

apartment checklist

Download: Your Checklist (PDF Format)

Use the Apartment Checklist to:

  • Figure out what you need. Hey, maybe the folks can help out?
  • Build a shopping list of essentials you didn’t know about!
  • Save money by not spending on the wrong stuff.
  • Get organized BEFORE moving into your new apartment.
  • Keep track of odds and ends. Yes, you’ll need toilet paper.
  • Serve as a moving checklist for locating your stuff into an apartment.
  • Help organize your items into boxes for the move.

Beyond the apartment checklist

Don’t forget to also download these 15 Free Printable Home Inventory Worksheets — once you rent an apartment it’s a good idea to insure your belongings in case of damage or theft. A home inventory can help you identify what you own so you remember if something is lost in a flood, fire, or theft.

Heading to college or university? Check out my Dorm Room Checklist or Moving Checklist and Planner.

If you’ve got too much stuff for you move consider downsizing and use my guide, How to sell your stuff online. I cover everything from selling on eBay to Etsy — so there are a lot of ways to earn a little cash while unloading your stash.

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

Love love love,


  1. bluntmoney September 5, 2008 at 6:07 am

    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 5, 2008 at 9:55 am

    I just love the layout of these!

  3. Jon Kepler September 5, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    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 6, 2008 at 7:43 am

    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 g.sale). 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. […] has a convenient first apartment checklist.  Great for students, and anyone who’s moving out on their own for the first time.  […]

  6. […] Printable First Apartment Essentials Checklist :: SquawkFox […]

  7. Michelle September 13, 2008 at 10:03 am

    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!

  8. Kerry September 13, 2008 at 10:21 am

    @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! 🙂

  9. […] PS: For a great checklist of the things you might need when setting up house, make sure to check out Squawkfox’s printable checklist of first apartment essentials. […]

  10. Joy November 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    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.

  11. melinda January 6, 2010 at 8:07 am

    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.

  12. Natalia February 14, 2010 at 6:30 pm

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


  13. Pat April 28, 2010 at 5:23 am

    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.

  14. Grace October 9, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Quite Useful. Thanks a lot.

  15. Kerry October 9, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    @Grace You’re very welcome. 🙂

  16. Billy BoB Bojangles! November 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

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

  17. Brigitte December 9, 2010 at 12:58 am

    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. 🙂
    Thanks again!

  18. Shane May 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    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.

  19. Francoise June 2, 2011 at 4:04 pm

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


  20. Marie July 23, 2011 at 10:37 am

    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


  21. Kelly July 25, 2011 at 7:05 am

    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. 🙂

  22. Johanna November 4, 2011 at 9:46 am

    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.

  23. Ash January 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

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

  24. fiona January 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    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 *_*

  25. Cari February 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

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

  26. Matt March 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

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

  27. Elizabeth June 2, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    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.

  28. ktashrobb June 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

    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!


  29. brian July 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

    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.

  30. Stephanie August 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    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!

  31. Lori October 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you!

  32. toni February 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

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

  33. Tori March 16, 2013 at 9:29 am

    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!

  34. tiffany March 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    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 🙂 thanks again!

  35. Michelle April 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    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!

  36. Izzy August 10, 2013 at 8:05 am

    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!

  37. Sean August 17, 2013 at 12:59 am

    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.

  38. Brittany January 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

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

  39. Kristyn March 21, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    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.

  40. Julia April 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    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.

  41. Jilanne Doom July 14, 2014 at 7:17 pm

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

  42. Tamasa July 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    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! 🙂

  43. Sandra July 27, 2014 at 12:44 am

    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!

  44. Jenny September 17, 2014 at 7:48 am

    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?

  45. Alice March 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    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

  46. Julie January 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    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.

  47. Nellie Quinlan February 17, 2016 at 10:18 am

    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!

  48. Kayla February 19, 2016 at 1:04 am

    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.

  49. annet w December 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I am moving out at the end of the month. I didn’t have any idea on what I was going to prioritise since am starting small. this list has worked wonders for me. thanks a lot

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