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How to Stock Your First Real Life Kitchen


Moving into your first place can be a very exciting milestone, but where to begin?! You’ve come a long way from your college kitchen days when dishes were stacked high in the sink and your fridge was always empty (save for those half-full wine bottles). Having a place of your own means you need to know how to maintain your kitchen with all of the food essentials and tools so you are always ready to prepare a meal or whip up a snack. Follow these tips on what to stock in your shelves, fridge, and counter and you’ll be set for life!    

1. Kitchen tools

Kitchens can seem like one of the hardest rooms to pack for, because there are so many tools and gadgets that you’ll eventually need! From baking and sautéing, to mixing and stirring, it’s smart to have all of the right equipment before you start cooking. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert chef, these necessities will be useful when first settling into your new kitchen.

  • Measuring tools
  • Spatulas/wooden spoons
  • Can/bottle openers
  • Coffee maker
  • Tupperware
  • Casserole dish
  • Pots and pans (variety of sizes)
  • Mixing bowls/cookie sheets
  • Cutting boards/large knife set
  • Oven mitts
  • Plates/glasses/silverware
  • Blender
  • Toaster oven
  • Colander
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Oven and counter cleaner

2. Stocking your fridge, cabinets, and countertops

Stocking your first kitchen with all the proper utensils is just the beginning. Your next step is to make sure your fridge, cabinets and countertops are never vacant. It’s important to have some staple items that you can use to make for a variety of meals no matter what you’re in the mood for, as well as extras so you’re always ready to cook for yourself or a group of friends! These fundamental foods are perfect for any snack or dish you need to make.


  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Lettuce
  • Variety of vegetables & fruits
  • Cheese


  • Frozen veggies/fruits
  • Frozen waffles/breakfast foods
  • Bread
  • Shrimp
  • Frozen dinners


  • Pasta/Rice
  • Seasonings
  • Cereal
  • Canned soup/veggies
  • Peanut butter
  • Flour
  • Crackers
  • Olive oil
  • Baking soda
  • Jar sauce
  • Sugar
  • Coffee and/or tea
  • Bananas
  • Ketchup/mustard

3. Sink and dishwasher

When moving into your first place, remember to pack cleaning supplies, especially the ones you’ll need for your kitchen. Maintaining a tidy kitchen is key when preparing food, and it doesn’t take long for dirty dishes to pile up. Acquire the following supplies and you’ll be easily able to tackle any disaster in no time and keep your place in tip-top shape!

  • Sponges and scrubbers
  • Dish towels
  • Dish soap
  • Drying rack
  • Hand soap
  • Paper towels
  • Multi-purpose cleaning spray
  • Cleaning/disinfecting wipes

4. How to save

It’s easier than ever to make sure you’re saving money through the use of grocery apps and coupon websites such as Coupons.com and RedPlum.com. You even download savings apps to your phone! For example, Grocery Pal shows you where the best deals are in any supermarket and pharmacy and Coupon Sherpa offers a variety of deals with a barcode to scan at the register. You can also sign up for promotions through email subscriptions or even follow the store’s social media accounts to keep up with the latest sales. Ivy Mellow, Head Chef and owner of Ivy’s Simply Homemade in Connecticut, says there are many tips on how to save in the kitchen. “Growing your own herbs and vegetables at home will save you a lot of money and it is easy to do. Also, to avoid messing up recipes and wasting food, start with simple recipes from online and pay attention to the reviews to see if they are successful or not,” she suggests. Additionally, making simple decisions while you shop, such as buying some generic goods and using your freezer to make sure your food doesn’t spoil, can make a huge difference financially. 

In the end, moving into your first place can be an overwhelming step. However, your meal prep doesn’t have to be. Keeping your kitchen stocked with a variety of healthy options is far less stressful when you have the correct tools and know what to shop for. Now that you know what to buy and how to save, you’re ready to prepare and cook amazing meals that will impress both friends and family!

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