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The Apartment Essentials You Shouldn’t Forget


After toiling for hours hunting for your new digs, the perfect apartment is finally yours. It’s chic and clean, and you’re dying to hang up some cute DIY decorations and thinking about the best ways to display your favorite photos. You think you’re ready to move into your apartment, but do you really have it all? Once you’ve packed all your clothes, bought all your toiletries and stocked up on snacks, check out HC’s list of apartment essentials that you can’t live without—but probably will forget.

For your bedroom

You’re so excited to get your own space in your new apartment. Gone are the days of the one-room double, where you had to shout, “I’m changing!” the second you heard someone’s hand on the door handle. Hopefully the walls in your apartment building are a little thicker, too—if you hear Avicii blaring through the walls one more time when you’re trying to fall asleep, you might just lose it. You’ve obviously got your fabulous duvet and some adorable throw pillows, but make sure you don’t forget these items so you’re not stressed out during your first few weeks in your new pad.

  • Vacuum cleaner: You’ll be surprised at how much hair, food and who-knows-what can accumulate on your floor. Your dorm may have had a communal one for the whole floor, but it’s time to get your own.
  • Mirror: Not every apartment has a full-length mirror, and you’ll definitely want one somewhere other than the bathroom, especially if you have a roommate who loves to take a long time in there.
  • Fan: In the sweltering summer and the awkward time during fall semester when the weather is still oppressively hot, you won’t regret buying a fan that you can plop on the floor and point at your face when you sleep. Fans are also great for white noise.
  • Drying rack: We all have those shirts and delicates that we can’t trust with the harsh heat of the dryer, and a drying rack will ensure that you’re not hanging your clothes all over the apartment every time you have to do laundry.
  • Extra light bulbs: Make sure you know what kind of light bulbs your apartment needs—not just for the overhead lights in the kitchen, bedroom and living room, but also for less obvious lights, like the oven and your floor lamp.
  • HDMI cable/dongle: Because now that you have a living room, you might as well stream Netflix on a big TV.
  • Lint roller: Dirt is everywhere. Don’t be the one who walks into class or work with the linty black sweater.
  • Sewing kit: You won’t have your mother to fix your buttons anymore—it’s time for you to learn how to fix the seam in your skirt and the snap that fell off your pants.
  • Power strips: Between your laptop, clock, phone charger and many other electronics, you’ll need some more room than your apartment may offer!
  • Extension cords: Your laptop must be able to get to your bed. This is nonnegotiable.

For your bathroom

You’re finally done competing for shower time with the creepy, hairy guy down the hall, and you’re going to get the peace and quiet you need to master the smoky eye for once and for all. The downside? You have to clean and take care of your new space. You may not have had to clean the bathroom in your house at home, so these bathroom essentials are all the more necessary.

  • Plunger and toilet cleaner: We don’t really see a need to elaborate on these, but we just want to put them on your radar. You’ll thank us later.
  • Bathroom floor mats: Get these for both inside and outside the shower! Don’t slip and fall on the bathroom floor. Water on the bathroom floor can do a lot of damage, and you (and your security deposit) will be a lot safer if you get bath mats.
  • Air freshener: Even the best-kept apartments can get a little musty, or maybe your roommate’s straightener makes the whole bathroom smell like burnt hair. Pick a mild scent that you won’t get tired of smelling.

For the kitchen

What’s the point of having a kitchen—no matter how big or small—if you’re not going to utilize it for all of your cooking and baking needs? Gone are the days when you’re praying to the gods of General Tso’s chicken. You’re in control now. You’ve got the pots and pans, your fridge is stocked and you have all the recipes you could ever want on your Pinterest board. Whether you’re making cake in a mug or a seven-course Thanksgiving dinner, don’t forget these key items in your kitchen.

  • Ice cube trays: If your freezer doesn’t have its own ice maker, you’ll definitely want ice cube trays to keep your drinks cold. They’re also extremely, extremely necessary for smoothies.
  • Dish rack: If you don’t want to have to dry your dishes all by hand, you’ll appreciate having a rack to let your dishes dry after you wash them.
  • Brita pitcher and extra filters: Is the tap water safe in your apartment? Even if it is, you may want to think about investing in a Brita water pitcherfor the sake of taste.
  • Oven mitts: You won’t know you need these until your cookies are burning in the oven and you don’t feel like sacrificing the first 20 layers of skin on your fingers to get them.
  • Can opener: You’re sick your first weekend in your new apartment, and your roommate bought you chicken noodle soup. The bad news? You can’t open it without throwing it on the floor or trying to stab it with an enormous kitchen knife. Bring a can opener.
  • Dish towels: You’ll use these for cleaning the counters, drying your dishes and taking hot things out of the oven.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: Don’t waste your money on expensive cleaners when all you may need is a little Arm & Hammer!

For your communal living space

Whether you just met your roommate or you two have been planning to live together since you were five years old, sharing a communal living space requires some planning and, unfortunately, cleaning. Don’t forget these essentials to make sure that you and your roommate have a safe, functional and beautiful home.

  • Broom and dustpan: You’ll be surprised at how much dust and dirt can collect under beds, on the floors, and even in closets. Don’t forget a broom and dustpan so your floors can stay dust-bunny free.
  • Tape measure: You might need to measure the windows for your curtains, the dimensions for your new TV, or even your waist to see if those fab new pants you found on sale online will actually fit.
  • Scissors: They were always the thing you never had to worry about finding at home, and someone at school always had them, but now that you have your own place, pick up a pair at an office supply store.
  • Tape and sticky tack: Use it to hang up your new posters and décor. Sticky tack is good for making sure that you don’t damage the walls of your new apartment.
  • Batteries: Know what kinds of batteries you might need and stock up! You won’t want to go out to buy batteries for your clock the night before your first day of class.
  • Curtain rods: You’ve bought your adorable printed curtains, but you forgot that your apartment doesn’t have anywhere to put them! Make sure you measure the windows before you go to the store to pick up the rods.
  • Trash cans (and bags): Not all apartments come with trash cans in place, and there’s nothing worse than having to empty the trash every five minutes because you only have that one tiny trash can for you and your roommate.
  • First aid kit: We hope you never have to use it, but you should have a portable one just in case—those five Band-Aids in the bathroom cabinet won’t do!
  • Quarters: In the digital age, we sometimes forget that quarters are absolutely imperative for certain things—parking meters and laundry machines wait for no one.
  • Box knife: You will need to open a lot of boxes, and “Open Sesame” probably won’t work this time.
  • Door mat: Especially if you live somewhere cold and you don’t want your friends tracking snow into your apartment, invest in a door mat—you’ll thank us later when you don’t have to clean as much!
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Some apartments have these, but if yours doesn’t, you need to get them!

There’s nothing worse than getting home and realizing that you need to make just one more Target run. You have enough to worry about—between having to use Google Maps to find the nearest Starbucks because you’re no longer close to the campus coffee shop and learning how to put more money on your subway card, you’re a busy girl. Let us worry about the little things, and don’t let forgetting the small stuff keep you from enjoying your first few days in your new apartment! 

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