Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or you’ve been living in apartments for years, here are the top forty-nine things you must have in your apartment… But you won’t. Why? Because they’re the things absolutely everything forgets about. You should print this list and take it shopping with you. You’ll thank us at 3 AM when your toilet is overflowing and you can fix it and clean up afterwards!
#49 – Security So You Can Sleep Well
You’ll need Denver Renters Insurance. Chances are strong that your landlord will require it, but you’ll need it anyway. Sooner or later, something will happen. If the upstairs neighbor overflows his tub, his liability will only pay you actual cash value, not replacement cost. You’ll want your own coverage, and cheap renters insurance is easy to find and quick to purchase. Make sure everyone who lives with you is covered, too!
#48 – Toilet Plunger
You’re sharing plumbing with God-knows-how-many people. Even if you’re always sure never to put things in there that shouldn’t be in there, do you know what your neighbor’s kid is doing when they’re not looking? Of course not. It’s part of the hassle – we mean excitement – of apartment living! Oh, the fun with neighbors you’ll discover in your first apartment…
#47 – A Bucket
It’s a dollar at the dollar store. Buy a bucket. Seriously, even if you never clean. We hope you do, of course, but it’s useful for other things, too, like catching water from the leak in the ceiling that the landlord can’t fix until the morning. But cleaning your apartment is a good use, too.
#46 – A Bottle Of Bleach
Whether or not you regularly clean, this will come in handy more times than you can imagine. If you need to use the plunger, chances are you’ll need to clean up afterwards. The bucket and bleach make this easy and much more sanitary. It will cost you 99 cents, and it’s a good thing to have around just in case.
#45 – Nail Clippers
It’s one of those things that you expect will be around when you need them, and then you’re in your first apartment and suddenly you can’t find them because you don’t have them!
#44 – Can Opener
Here, you won’t want to skimp. It doesn’t have to be electric, but your first apartment will require a can opener if you want to eat. Don’t get the ones that you rock back and forth, get a solid one with a handle that turns. And don’t get one that’s combined with…
#43 – Bottle Opener/Corkscrew
Often these two can be found together. But they shouldn’t be combined with the can opener, because then when you break it you don’t have a way to eat or drink! You never know when you’ll have company in your first apartment, and you may be surprised to learn that not all wine has a screw top. In fact, we’d actually suggest that you avoid anything claiming to be “wine product” that has a screw top.
#42 – Set Of Screwdrivers
You won’t be doing major repairs, of course, but screws come loose all the time and not just the ones in your head. If the doorknob or a cabinet door is loose, just turn the screw instead of calling maintenance.
#41 – Sleeping Bag
It’s your first apartment. You don’t have much furniture. If you have guests who want to stay over (or whose keys you’ve taken because they’ve no business driving home), you’ll be happy to have a cheap sleeping bag for them instead of making them suffer on the floor with your one extra fitted sheet that doesn’t actually fit anything.
#40 – Colander
No, not so you can worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can always afford pasta or ramen of some kind, but draining it with the lid of the pot is just asking for steam burns at best, or immersing your hand in boiling water at worst. Again, dollar store.
#39 – Knives
Not for self-defense, but for your kitchen. It’s hard to eat most meat without them, and it’s hard to cook without them.
#38 – Surge Protector
If you’re going to overload your outlets – and you probably are – do it with a surge protected power strip and not with a string of lamp cords that are a fire waiting to happen.
#37 – Two Prong Ground Adapters
Again, you can probably find these at the dollar store, or for a dollar at any big box store. You screw it to the outlet plate (with your screwdrivers, see above) on a two-prong outlet, and it lets you safely (ish) plug three-prong cords into that outlet. Buy a handful, keep the spares in a drawer. They’re cheap, and you’ll use them frequently.
#36 – Peanut Butter, Rice, And A Loaf Of Bread
The bread goes in the freezer. Peanut butter and rice both have a shelf life of approximately 7,391 years. Properly stored, they will outlive you. Cheap, easy food for when you’re flat broke for a week. Because sooner or later, you will be.
#35 – Batteries
Batteries for your smoke detector (when you change your clocks, change the battery) and anything else that might need them, like remotes.
#34 – Envelopes And Stamps
It’s not often that you need to send a letter anymore, but when you do it’s important. Sometimes paper is still the best way to get a company’s attention. You’ll be glad you have them, and you can buy stamps that will work forever, even if postage goes up in the future. A good thing to have around.
#33 – Important Phone Numbers
Sure, they’re all in your cell phone. But make a list of the crucial ones just in case. Few people back up their phones as often as they should, and no one memorizes numbers anymore. When that girl from the bar’s number is gone because you dropped your phone, it’s gone.
#32 – Garlic
The minced kind from the dollar store is just fine. It lasts a good long while, and a few shakes of it will make even the most terrible food palatable.
#31 – Shower Curtain
Not standard with most apartments. It saves you from cleaning up the floor, and from mold risk.
#30 – Pot Holders
Because using a bath towel to get that frozen pizza out of the oven is a fire hazard.
#29 – Light Bulbs
Not the landlord’s problem. Your problem. Get the equivalent of 60 watt and 75 watt bulbs and you can use them just about anywhere.
#28 – Matches/Lighter
Even if you don’t smoke, they’re useful. You can keep rope from fraying, or even re-light a finicky gas stove’s pilot.
#27 – Extra Cable For Phone Charger
The bricks tend to last, the cables do not. Grab a cheap one for backup.
#26 – Trash Bags
Much easier than cleaning the trashcan every week because you can’t stand the smell.
#25 – A Camera
Take pictures (and video) before you move in so you can document the condition of the apartment. This will help you get your deposit back when you move out.
#24 – Toilet Brush
#23 – Toilet Paper
For obvious reasons.
#22 – Hand Soap
Moving in is dirty.
#21 – Peroxide, Bandages, Basic First Aid Supplies
Moving in is dangerous.
#30 – Baking Soda
Unless you enjoy having your food smell like the last occupant’s fossilized Chinese takeout…
#29 – Broom
Works on carpet, too!
#28 – Dustpan
It sure beats using cardboard to try to get the stuff you’ve just swept off the floor!
#27 – Fire Extinguisher
Is there one in your apartment? Maybe. You should have an extra for the other side of the house just in case, anyway.
#26 – Gallon Pitcher
Because warm tap water is unpleasant, especially when it’s all you have to drink in the house.
#25 – Ice Cube Trays
Cheap, easy, and the last guy stole the one that came with your fridge.
#24 – Quarters
For laundry. Or…
#23 – Hangers
Sure, your jeans can get mashed in a drawer. But what about that one nice pair of pants you have for job interviews?
#22 – More Towels
You can never have enough.
#21 – Sewing Kit
Because missing a button is far less cool than knowing how to sew it back on.
#20 – An Extra Alarm Clock
Until you get used to sleeping in the new space and not just rolling over and turning off the alarm on your phone.
#19 – Make A List Of The Important Businesses Nearby
Closest 24 hour takeout? Where can you buy random stuff you need at 3 AM? Where can you go to study at 3 AM that’s peaceful? And where can you get that all-important pizza late at night?
#18 – New Toilet Seat
It installs with just hand tools and takes two minutes. Think about the last tenant. Now you know why you need a new toilet seat.
#17 – Rubber Gloves
For installing the new toilet seat, and dealing with any fun surprises left by the previous resident. Also useful for regular cleaning.
#16 – Shelf Paper
You want your dishes to be sitting only on your own mess, not someone else’s.
#15 – Cutting Board
It’s cheap, and cutting food on a plate or on the counter is just asking for a trip to the ER.
#14 – Cheap Coffee Pot And Coffee
You may not drink coffee, but you might have guests who do.
#14 Again – Creamer And Sugar
Both have a long shelf life and will make your coffee drinking guests happy.
#12 – Tylenol
Again, long shelf life and you won’t want to run out when you need it.
#11 – Potatoes
Yes, they’re cheap food, but that’s not what we have in mind. If your apartment has weird smells, cut potatoes in half and place them around the apartment. They’ll soak up the smells pretty quickly. Just remember to throw them away in a few days, because the smell of rotten potatoes is worse than whatever was there before.
#10 – Utility Knife
How else are you going to open all those moving boxes you so carefully taped shut? Also good to have around in general.
#9 – Dark Curtains
For privacy and for the odd sleeping hours that so often come with a first apartment, especially in college.
#8 – Duct Tape
You’ll need it eventually for something or other.
#7 – Full Length Mirror
They’re cheap at big box stores or even the dollar store sometimes, and you want to look good when you go into work. Or on a date. Or…
#6 – Locking Doorknob
If you’ll have roommates, of course. It’s not a sign of mistrust, it’s taking responsibility for your expensive electronics and everything else. If the roommates think you don’t trust them, just tell them you got a discount on your renters insurance for doing it and it saves you a few bucks a year.
#5 – Cat
Twice now a member of our staff has seen a cat take down a very angry, very fast, very noisy, very concerning bat. Letting the cat take care of it beats chasing the bat with a bat!
#4 – Lamp
Many apartments don’t have overhead lights in every room. You’ll want that lamp.
#3 – Friends
Who can be conned into helping you move in in return for the next item on the list!
#2 – Wine
If you have guests with any frequency at all, keep a red and a white in the cupboard. You can find a tolerable one of each for maybe twenty dollars or so total, and the fact that you have it in the house – and even have an option – helps you make a better impression.
#1 – Renters Insurance
Yes, we mentioned it above. But so many people forget it that it’s worth mentioning again. For just a few dollars a month, it pays for a hotel if your neighbor burns the place down, replaces your stuff if someone steals it, and protects (and defends) you if the fire is your fault.
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