If you're considering a list of things you need for your first apartment, be sure to budget in these essentials everyone forgets about

A List of Things You Need for Your First Apartment

If you’re considering a list of things you need for your first apartment, be sure to budget in these essentials everyone forgets about

Moving into your first apartment is an exciting step into adulthood. You’re simultaneously moving into bigger responsibilities, freedom from your parents’ house rules, and forming new relationships with your roommates and landlord. There’s a lot to learn along the way, but it’s always a good idea to be one step ahead and plan out a list of things you need for your first apartment. Preparation is key to an easy transition with no running errors.

So where to start? We’ve outlined the essentials you will need to consider when planning your big move, highlighting the main things most first-timers fail to prepare ahead of time. Out of respect for your intelligence and integrity, we’ve left out the common-sense items that you don’t have to be told to acquire (a mattress, for example). Instead, we’re focusing on the aspects that might catch you off guard. This post is broken up into two sections: budgetary concerns and essential items.

The good news: by reading this post, you’ve already demonstrated a desire to make a smooth transition. Nice work!

A list of things you need for your first apartment: proper budgets and essential items

Section 1: Prepare for the upfront costs

There are typical upfront costs you will have to spend directly before and after signing the lease agreement. Many sources on the web tend to skip this important step in the process, which doesn’t do any favors for the first-time renter. That’s why we’ve included these three upfront costs within our list of things you need for your first apartment.

First month, last month, and security deposit (and possibly more)

Here’s a fun fact: if the average cost of rent in the city you’re living in is $1,000 per month, you can expect to pay up to $3,000 or more up front before you move in. Some states allow landlords to request first, last, and security, while others only allow first and security. Depending on where you live, the cost could be even higher, especially if you go through a Realtor, although you can find no-fee apartment listings on places like Craigslist where the landlord pays the Realtor fee.

To be safe, you should budget accordingly. Figure out what you can comfortably afford in monthly rent fees, and then multiply that number by three. The figure you come up with is the bottom line savings you should have prepared to move into your first apartment. However, it’s much better to save five to six times your monthly rent, especially if you don’t have employment lined up for when you move.

Heating, electricity, hot water, and air conditioning

Setting up utilities is one of the big responsibilities you face as a renter. Many landlords do not offer utility coverage within their monthly rent fees, which means you have to pay the bills on time and budget for inclement weather seasons. If you move in during the winter months, the heating bill after your first 30 days can be surprisingly high. Many factors play into heating costs, including where you live, if your apartment is properly winterized, what type of system your heating runs (oil, gas, electric), etc.

Also, keep in mind that if you move into an apartment during the winter and your heating system runs on oil, you will likely have to fill the oil tank right away. This can be very expensive, often costing between $1,200-$2,000.

Internet connectivity

Let’s face it: you probably can’t survive long without installing a WiFi connection in your apartment. (None of us can; we don’t blame you!) You will have to call your local provider and purchase an Internet package with them.

Depending on how fast you want your Internet speed to be and how many devices you have connected to the WiFi signal, the rates can run you anywhere from $20-$75 per month. Often, there will be several service charges and fees that come along with installing the adapter and necessary Internet wires in your apartment.

Section 2: Essential items everyone forgets about

So now that we’ve covered the budgetary concerns on the list of things you need for your first apartment, let’s talk about the tangible items you should have. As we mentioned earlier, we’re not going to insult your intelligence by saying you’ll need a bed, couch, or kitchen sink. Instead, we’re going to list only the things most people tend to forget about, especially first-timers. We’re also going to section off these items categorically by room so it’s easier to organize.


  • Bedside tables and nightstands
  • Lamps for bedside tables and nightstands
  • Heavy curtains
  • Laundry basket
  • Shoe rack 
  • Clothes hangers 
  • Heavy blankets for cold weather


  • Plunger (very important!)
  • Shower liner 
  • Three sets of towels 
  • Toothbrush holders
  • Toilet scrubber/brush


  • All needed silverware (you’d be surprised)
  • Dish towels 
  • Drying rack (if no dishwasher)
  • All-use kitchen knife

Living room and dining room 

  • Curtains
  • Space rugs 
  • Coat rack 
  • Extra lamps 
  • Power strips

Preparation is the key to a successful move in 

Considering our list of things you need for your first apartment, it would be wise to tally up all the expected costs and face them honestly. Can you afford to move out and pay the aforementioned costs and still have enough to buy groceries? Make it a point to take stock of your situation and prepare. You’ll be thanking yourself when you hear the horror stories that your friends go through for not doing the same.

In the meantime, after you get settled and purchase all those lovely belongings to fill your new apartment with, have you thought about what might happen if they get damaged or stolen? We offer affordable renter’s insurance for that exact reason. Give us a call today for more information.

What would you add to our list of things you need for your first apartment? Let us know in the comments! 


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