What to buy for your first apartment

Thinking back to my very first adult apartment after getting out of college, I thought I’d do a post on what I think would be handy for a first-timer.

I remember moving out and thinking: Wait a minute. What do I need? I don’t know. I guess I’ll just figure it out as I go along.

Multiple trips via subway to various stores later, I have a list of what I found helpful to have and I’ve added to this list based on current experience.

Pick and choose at whim!


  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pens (at least 5)
  • Pads of paper or large Post-Its


  • Rice Cooker (It’s an essential for me as I eat rice constantly)
  • Immersion blender (It is fantastic for quick sauces, purees and dips)
  • One sharp chopping knife (I suggest a santoku shape)
  • A large cutting board in wood (plastic is AWFUL)
  • Can opener (I buy canned tomatoes but you can omit this if you don’t buy cans)
  • A set of cutlery (fork, table knife, tablespoon, teaspoon)
  • A set of plates and cups (dinner plate, mini plate, bowls, cups)
  • A set of 3 large glass bowls (for baking, mixing, salads, etc)
  • Kitchen scissors (for cutting vegetables, food and so on)
  • Pots in small, medium and large with their lids
  • Pans in medium and large with lids
  • Casserole dish for baking
  • Microwave
  • Convection Oven or Toaster Oven (made many a meal in one)
  • Electric kettle
  • Oven gloves
  • Baking sheets (at least 2 pans)
  • A Silpat (silicone baking sheet cover so that your food won’t burn on it)
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Set of cooking tools (Tongs, Wooden spoon, Spatula, Large Scoop with and without holes, Ladle)
  • Strainer
  • At least 6 kitchen towels (personally, I use a lot)
  •  if you have a really small kitchen, you should definitely read up on some good kitchen organization ideas and tips as it will make it easier to keep everything neat and organized


  • Duct tape
  • Box cutters
  • Screwdrivers with all the different heads
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Allen Wrenches
  • Nails meant for the wall to hang things (key holder, pictures)


  • Baking soda (buy an extra box to open and put in the fridge and no-name is cheaper)
  • White Vinegar
  • Broom and pan or Vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Kitchen sponges
  • Orange super tough scrubby thing for pots and pans
  • Rags made from your old t-shirts for cleaning


  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tupperware boxes with glass bottoms with snap and lock lids (at least 5 for lunches, 5 for dinners, various sizes for snacks and so on)
  • 2 bathroom towels
  • Extension cords (3 is a good number)

Phew! That for me, is a basic set of tools and items for a home.

Anything to add?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.