The first apartment checklist we wish we had

Prepare the essential supplies that will carry you through the first weeks of your move.

Editorial Team

By Editorial Team

a man relaxing at home holding a cup with a laptop on his lap

Although moving can be intimidating, it’s also an exciting adventure that takes you to new places and gives you a chance to cultivate different experiences. We’re here to help you figure out how to transition to your first apartment comfortably. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out exactly what you should be bringing to your new living space.

No matter how hard you prepare you’re going to have to run out to a local store at least a few times for essentials after you move in, just see these trips as a chance to get to know the neighborhood better.

And yes, using our checklist will help you get the essentials sorted.

And most importantly it will help you get started preparing for your move and feel confident about it.

So read on and stock up on these pre-move essentials that will get you through the early days of your move until you have a chance to grab everything else you’ll need later on.

An overview of the pre-move essentials

The whole purpose of this checklist is to help you prepare for your first days after a move. That’s why we focus on the items that you should be grabbing before you make the move. Think of it as your minimalist guide to your first month.

Below is an overview of those important items for you to start stocking upon.

  • A comfortable mattress
  • Toolkit
  • Nails and other wall fasteners
  • Shower curtain
  • Step stool or ladder
  • Toilet paper
  • Cleaning supplies
  • First aid kit
  • Clothing hangers
  • Kitchen essentials
  • Extension cords and power strips
  • Batteries
  • Notebook and pen

A mattress

Make sure that you find a comfortable mattress to sleep on. This is going to make your first night in the new apartment much more enjoyable, and it will make it feel like a home as well.

And visit local furniture stores to conveniently acquire a new mattress, or order a modern mattress like Casper online and have it delivered straight to your new apartment.

Avoid purchasing a used mattress when outfitting your space, because used mattresses degrade faster and are difficult to evaluate in terms of wear and use. It’s best to invest in a new product to enjoy a significantly longer operating lifespan and one that suits your sleeping habits.

The tools

There are certain tools that you’ll want to have available after you make a move. You’ll definitely want a hammer, nails and some picture hooks to get pictures and shelves up on the walls.

If you’ll be mounting TVs to walls you’ll also want a small level, a drill, a socket set, and some TV mounts. It’s a good idea to toss some drywall anchors into your kit along with screwdrivers for mounting up items more reliably.

Aside from those simple tools, also consider adding in an adjustable wrench, a Philips and flathead screwdriver, and a box cutter to slash through all that cardboard.

Power management

cable being plugged into the wall

You’ll need ways to power all the different devices you have in your apartment after moving in.

That’s why it’s important to have batteries, extension cords, and power strips to distribute power.

Get a power strip for any location where you’ll install several electronic devices or many small appliances. You should have at least one extension cord for using power tools or some appliances, and batteries are a must for things like alarm clocks, wall clocks, and flashlights.

The bathroom

open shower head

Make sure that you have a shower curtain and toilet paper for your bathroom at the very least. You can head to the local store to pick up soap and shampoo, but you’ll want these two essentials the moment you move in for convenience.

Cleaning supplies

From the moment you move in you’re going to want cleaning supplies to get the space comfortable and to make sure everything is spotless before you start unpacking your stuff.

So pick up most of the items on the list below and you’ll be ready to prepare the space for your stuff and to clean up any of your own belongings that need it before putting them away.

  • Multi-surface cleaner
  • Garbage bags
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dish detergent
  • Cleaning mop or Swiffer
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner and toilet bowl scrubber

Kitchen essentials

From the moment you move in you’re going to depend on your kitchen for meals.

Keep these essentials around to make your new home more comfortable on Day 1.

  • Glasses and mugs
  • Pots and pans
  • Spatula
  • Forks and knives
  • Plates and bowls

Miscellaneous essentials

These simple add-ons will make life easier when you’re trying to sort out your new space. Get a step stool or step ladder to reach those high-up spaces.

Also, make sure you have clothes hangers to get shirts and other items up into closets as soon as you pull them out of their boxes. You should also try and have a pad of paper and some pencils or pens handy for jotting down notes and information immediately after moving in.

The moving setup checklist

As a first-time renter, there are some vital steps you need to take right before your move to make sure everything is ready to go.

Tasks like setting up your utilities are important to consider to avoid an embarrassing retreat to a family member’s couch instead of the first night in your new apartment.

  • Call and get all utilities set up
    • Phone and internet
    • Electricity
    • Water
    • Garbage removal (if necessary)
  • Label boxes based on destination room
  • Change address
  • Renters’ insurance

Preparing the utilities

It’s nice having power, heat, garbage service, and internet when you move — or for most, the bare minimum. Find out from your landlord if any utilities are included with the rental.

Whatever isn’t included is up to you to sort out. Call up the remaining utility companies, give them your information, and set up a date for them to come and hook everything up for you.

Labeling boxes with care

Take care to label each box you pack with its destination room name. This makes it easy to put boxes where they go in your new space. Do this and you’ll find unpacking to be much simpler and more enjoyable, and it doesn’t take long to write on the boxes.

And don’t toss those boxes right away!

If you have a storage unit or large closet, collapse the boxes and save them for your next move.

Oftentimes when moving into an apartment, you may have to store away certain items depending on the season or based on usage. That ice cream maker doesn’t need to be on the countertop for all twelve months of the year.

Change your address

Work with the local post office to change your address to your new location.

Also, head over to the DMV and swap your address there as well. The sooner you do this, the sooner you’ll be able to settle into your new location and start learning that address.

Set up renters insurance

Renter’s insurance is protection for all your stuff. It’s a great investment and required many rentals. Talk with a local insurance representative about the renter’s insurance options and invest in this low-cost insurance solution.

This to-do checklist isn’t very long, but it’s full of vitally important steps. Make sure you’re taking each of these steps before a move and you’ll be ready to go when you show up at your new apartment.

You’re ready to move

There are many more supplies that you’re going to want to pick up after you move into your new space, but at least you’ll have the essentials taken care of.

All in all, you’ll have to think about things like furniture, kitchen appliances and other items like that after the move.

By seeking out a furnished apartment like those offered by Blueground, your checklist as a first-time renter will be much shorter.

Moreover, these ready-to-go units have utilities already hooked up and a handy neighborhood guide in the Guest App to show you where the nearest grocery stores, gyms, and pharmacies are located.

If you’re looking at buying furniture, decorations, and housewares new on arrival for a stay of fewer than two years, you may consider the value of renting furnished instead.

Especially for residents moving from across the country or from abroad, moving with just a few suitcases instead of a shipping container is an easy sell.

Read through our list and prepare the key items on this first apartment checklist and you’ll be off to a good start. You can save this article as a PDF to keep it in printable form.

Heck, you can even include it as a pin on your New Home Pinterest board.

As a first-time renter moving can be intimidating, but it’s a time for fun and for exploration. Embrace your new situation and have a good time getting to know your new city as well.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

The Blueground editorial team covers the best things to see, do, and experience in our cities around the world.