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Moving into a first apartment is a big deal for everyone, but when you’re preparing to live in your own place for the first time, and you’re a college student, you have more to consider.
For example, you may not have a full-time job since you’re focused on your education, so funds can be incredibly tight. You could have one or more roommates, so you may need to focus on living in a small space.
Also, you might plan to move back to your hometown or somewhere else after you graduate, so you don’t want to invest in many items you can’t take with you down the road. But, on the other hand, you want to ensure you have what you need to live safely and comfortably.
The easiest way to ensure you have all the essentials covered is to go room by room. Thinking about how you will spend your time in each space can help ensure you have everything you require to start out in your first place, from the best futon mattress to toiletries and cleaning supplies.
As the name implies, this is probably the area of your apartment you’ll spend the most time in when you’re awake. So choose essentials that provide as much function and comfort as possible.
Seating is a must. Consider how many places to sit you will need and whether you might also want extra sleeping space. For instance, floor pillows can serve as decor and additional seating. And the best futon mattress could pull double duty as a sofa and a place for your kid sister to crash when she visits.
You may need surfaces for food, drinks, books and laptops, such as small tables and ottomans. Some can even serve as tables, seats and storage, such as these storage ottoman cubes for $37.99.
Make sure you have adequate lighting. You’ll probably want a TV and stand, as well. Then, find ways to make it more inviting and homey, such as throw pillows, a rug, a chunky throw and some plants.
The kitchen is the heart of any home, college apartments included. Having what you need to prepare most meals at home can stretch your budget.
A set of pots and pans is essential and doesn’t have to be expensive. For instance, Amazon Basics 15-piece nonstick cookware set includes an 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart casserole pan with lid, 5-quart casserole pan with lid, and 5-piece utensil set for about $80.
A set of dishes, bowls, eating utensils and drinkware are other kitchen necessities. The US Acrylic Newport Plastic Plate, Bowl and Tumbler Dinnerware Set, $16.99, is BPA-free and durable, so they won’t shatter if dropped. They are microwave- and top rack dishwasher-safe for added convenience, as well.
You’ll probably need a cutting board and knives for meal prep. The EatNeat 12-Piece Kitchen Knife Set, $19.99, comes with all the knives you’ll need for slicing, paring, chopping and more as well as an ergonomic cutting board and a knife sharpener.
Many utensils and implements will come in handy. This 24-piece kitchen set will likely save the day more than once. For $19.99, it is packed with common kitchen tools such as a grater, measuring cups and a bottle opener.
Consider what small appliances you frequently use while living at home, like the toaster, can opener and coffeemaker.
Ensure you have a trash can, trash bags, dish towels and cleaning supplies. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you may need a dishpan and dish drying rack. You’ll also want to stock spices and condiments.
According to Harvard, prioritizing sleep can boost your academic performance. So make sure your bedroom has what you need to unwind, rest well and prepare for the day ahead.
A comfortable bed and soft, silky, no-fuss bedding such as the Sweet Home Collection 7 Piece Comforter Set will set the stage for good sleep. At about $50, the set includes everything you need for a well-made and inviting place to lay your head.
A fan can provide a lovely breeze and white noise. The Honeywell HT-900 TurboForce Air Circulator Fan, $16.99, is small but powerful. It has three speeds, the head pivots 90 degrees and you can feel the air up to 25 feet away.
Depending on your living arrangements, you might want a small desk and chair in your bedroom. The GreenForest Folding Desk, $89.99, can be folded and tucked away when not in use, but provides ample space for your laptop. Plus, no assembly is required.
Make sure you have enough clothes hangers and a full-length mirror. A laundry hamper or clothes basket to contain your dirty clothing will keep your floor tidy. The MCleanPin Laundry Hamper, $29.69, comes with two removable liners that you can easily tote on wash day.
You may want an iron and compact ironing board or a steamer to remove wrinkles now and then. And a small sewing kit, such as this travel sewing kit, $16.99, can save the day if you lose a button or pop a seam and are in a hurry.
Your day will likely begin and end in your new apartment’s bathroom. You’ll probably need a shower curtain, rod and hooks along with basics like towels and toiletries. A bath mat inside the tub and an absorbent, non-slip rug, such as the Olanly microfiber bathroom rug, $9.99, will make bathing safer and more comfortable.
If you have limited space, organizers like the Madesmart 2-Tier Organizer, $24.99, can help you store toiletries and cleaning supplies under the sink.
You can also use wall space with hooks, narrow cabinets or hanging shelves, and over-the-door hooks for added storage capabilities.
You’ll want a trash can, cleaning supplies and a plunger. The MR.SIGA Toilet Plunger and Bowl Brush Combo, $21.98, keeps the brush and the plunger sanitarily close by. You might never think about until you need it, but you’ll be so very glad you did.
By mentally walking through each room and considering how you’ll spend time there, you can ensure you have all the essentials checked off your list. Before you know it, you’ll be living in your first apartment — and loving it!