First Apartment Tips & Tricks + Free Checklist

Congratulations on embarking on the exciting journey of getting your first apartment!

first home apartment

Moving into your own space brings a sense of independence, freedom, and the opportunity to create a home that truly reflects your personality and style. However, transitioning into your first apartment can also be overwhelming, with numerous tasks to accomplish and decisions to make. We are here to help make it easier!

We have created this guide you through the process painless. From budgeting and finding the right location to furnishing and personalizing your new space, we’ve got you covered!

We’ll start by discussing the importance of setting a realistic budget and understanding your financial obligations as a tenant. Managing your finances effectively from the beginning will help you establish a solid foundation for your new life.

Next, we’ll delve into the exciting world of apartment hunting. We’ll explore tips for finding the perfect location, understanding lease agreements, and navigating the rental market. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions and find a place that suits your needs and preferences.

Once you’ve secured your new apartment, we’ll dive into the essentials you’ll need to make it feel like home. From creating a checklist of necessary furniture and household items to making the most of your space through smart storage solutions, we’ll provide guidance on how to transform your apartment into a cozy and functional haven.

Lastly, we’ll explore tips for making your first apartment truly yours. We’ll discuss personalizing your space with decor, organizing your belongings efficiently, and creating a welcoming atmosphere for both yourself and your guests.

Whether you’re feeling excited, nervous, or a combination of both, hopefully this will serve as a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the exciting world of having your first apartment. So, let’s get started on this journey together, and make your first apartment experience a memorable and fulfilling one!

affording apartment

First off – Can You Afford an Apartment?

Setting up a budget for your first apartment is a wise step to ensure financial stability and manage your expenses effectively. Here’s a helpful guide to help you establish a budget that works for you:

  1. Calculate Your Income: Determine your monthly income after taxes. This includes any regular paychecks, allowances, or other sources of income.
  2. List Your Expenses: Make a comprehensive list of all your expenses, including both fixed and variable costs. Fixed expenses are those that remain the same each month, such as rent, utilities, and insurance. Variable expenses include groceries, transportation, entertainment, and personal care.
  3. Prioritize Essentials: Start by allocating funds for essential expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and insurance. These should be given top priority in your budget.
  4. Set Savings Goals: Determine how much you want to save each month. Aim to save a portion of your income for emergencies, future goals, and unexpected expenses. Even a small amount can add up over time.
  5. Trim Non-Essential Spending: Review your variable expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. This might involve reducing dining out, entertainment costs, or unnecessary subscriptions. Look for ways to save without sacrificing your quality of life.
  6. Allocate for Debt Repayment: If you have any outstanding debts, such as student loans or credit card balances, allocate a portion of your budget towards debt repayment to gradually reduce your debt load.
  7. Consider One-Time Expenses: Don’t forget to account for occasional expenses like furniture, household supplies, or moving costs. Plan ahead and allocate funds for these one-time expenses to avoid financial stress.
  8. Track Your Spending: Keep track of your expenses each month to ensure you’re staying within your budget. Use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to monitor your spending habits and make adjustments as needed.
  9. Review and Adjust: Regularly review your budget to assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments. Life circumstances and expenses can change, so be flexible and adapt your budget accordingly.
  10. Seek Ways to Save: Look for opportunities to save money, such as shopping for groceries in bulk, using coupons or discount codes, or finding cost-effective transportation options. Every small saving can add up over time.

Remember, creating a budget is just the first step. Sticking to it requires discipline and conscious spending habits. Be mindful of your financial goals and make informed choices to maintain a healthy financial outlook. With proper budgeting, you can enjoy your first apartment while building a solid foundation for your financial future.

keys to apartment

Find a New Apartment You Can Afford

When searching for a new apartment that fits within your budget, there are several effective strategies you can employ. Consider the following best ways to find an apartment you can afford:

  1. Determine your budget: Before you begin your search, assess your financial situation and determine how much you can comfortably afford to spend on rent each month. Aim to allocate no more than 30% of your monthly income to housing expenses.
  2. Research different neighborhoods: Explore different neighborhoods within your desired location to find areas that offer affordable rental options. Keep in mind that rental prices can vary significantly from one neighborhood to another.
  3. Use online apartment search platforms: Utilize popular online platforms dedicated to apartment hunting, such as Zillow,, or These platforms allow you to filter your search based on your budget and preferred location.
  4. Seek the assistance of a real estate agent: Engaging the services of a local real estate agent can be beneficial, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area or prefer professional guidance. Agents have access to a broader range of listings and can help you find apartments within your budget.
  5. Consider sharing with roommates: If you’re open to it, finding roommates can significantly reduce your monthly housing expenses. Sharing an apartment with roommates allows you to split the rent and utilities, making it more affordable for everyone involved.
  6. Explore off-peak rental seasons: Rental markets often fluctuate based on the time of year. Consider searching for apartments during off-peak seasons, such as winter, when landlords may be more inclined to offer discounts or negotiate lower rental rates.
  7. Look for income-restricted housing programs: Some areas offer income-restricted housing programs aimed at providing affordable housing options. Research local programs and see if you qualify for subsidized or income-restricted apartments.
  8. Network and ask for referrals: Inform your friends, family, and colleagues that you’re searching for an affordable apartment. They may have leads or know someone who is looking to rent out an affordable unit.
  9. Check community bulletin boards: Many communities have physical bulletin boards or online forums where people post rental listings. Keep an eye out for these postings in local community centers, grocery stores, or online neighborhood groups.
  10. Be open to alternative housing options: If traditional apartments are out of your budget range, consider exploring alternative options such as basement apartments, studio apartments, shared living spaces, or renting a room in someone’s house.
  11. Attend open houses and apartment viewings: Actively participate in open houses and apartment viewings to get a sense of available options. This also allows you to speak directly with landlords or property managers, potentially giving you an opportunity to negotiate rental terms.

Remember to be patient and persistent during your apartment search. It may take time to find the perfect place that meets your budget and requirements. By utilizing a combination of these strategies, you can increase your chances of finding an apartment that is both affordable and suitable for your needs.

first apartment checklist mockup

FREE First Apartment Checklist

Make sure you have everything you need with our comprehensive checklist. From kitchen essentials to bedroom must-haves, our guide ensures a smooth transition to your new space. Get organized and be fully prepared for a successful move-in experience.

Kitchen Essentials:

  • Cookware Set
  • Utensils (Spatulas, Wooden Spoons, Tongs, Whisk)
  • Knives (Chef’s Knife, Paring Knife, Bread Knife)
  • Cutting Board
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Baking Sheet
  • Oven Mitts
  • Small Appliances (Toaster, Blender, Microwave)
  • Storage Containers
  • Dishware (Plates, Bowls, Glasses)
  • Flatware (Forks, Spoons, Knives)
  • Cooking Utensils (Can Opener, Vegetable Peeler, Whisk, Grater)
  • Kitchen Gadgets (Optional)

Living Room Essentials:

  • Sofa or Couch
  • Coffee Table
  • Entertainment Center or TV Stand
  • Television
  • Lighting (Overhead, Floor Lamps, Table Lamps)
  • Storage Solutions (Shelves, Bookcases, Cabinets)
  • Accent Chairs
  • Side Tables
  • Window Treatments (Curtains, Blinds, Shades)
  • Decorative Elements (Artwork, Throw Pillows, Rugs, Plants)

Bedroom Essentials:

  • Bed Frame
  • Mattress
  • Sheets and Pillowcases
  • Pillows
  • Blankets or Comforters
  • Dresser or Chest of Drawers
  • Nightstand
  • Lighting (Table Lamp or Bedside Lamp)
  • Hangers
  • Laundry Hamper or Basket
  • Full-Length Mirror (Optional)

Bathroom Essentials:

  • Shower Curtain and Rings
  • Bath Towels
  • Hand Towels
  • Washcloths
  • Toilet Paper
  • Soap or Body Wash
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Bathroom Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning Supplies:

  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Window Cleaner
  • Bathroom Cleaner
  • Dish Soap
  • Sponges or Scrub Brushes
  • Microfiber Cloths or Paper Towels
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Broom and Dustpan
  • Mop or Swiffer
  • Trash Bags

Other Essentials:

  • Bedroom Furniture (Nightstand, Dresser, Desk, Chair)
  • Desk or Study Area Essentials (Lamp, Organizer, Stationery)
  • Laundry Supplies (Detergent, Fabric Softener, Laundry Basket)
  • Basic Tools (Hammer, Screwdriver, Wrench, Tape Measure)
  • Basic First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Smoke Detector

Remember, this is just a general checklist, and you can customize it based on your specific needs and preferences. Enjoy setting up your first apartment!


Feel free to print out this checklist and check off the items as you acquire them. You can add or remove items as per your requirements. Good luck with setting up your first apartment!

living room apartment

Living Room Essentials for a New Apartment

When setting up your new apartment, it’s important to create a comfortable and inviting living room where you can relax and entertain guests. Here are some essential items to consider for your living room:

  1. Sofa or Couch: Invest in a comfortable and durable sofa or couch that suits your style and accommodates seating for you and your guests. Consider the size and layout of your living room when choosing the appropriate size and configuration.
  2. Coffee Table: A coffee table provides a central place for gathering, placing drinks or snacks, and displaying decorative items. Look for a sturdy and versatile coffee table that complements your furniture.
  3. Entertainment Center or TV Stand: If you have a television or other media devices, consider an entertainment center or TV stand to keep them organized and visually appealing. Ensure it has sufficient storage space for your media equipment and accessories.
  4. Television: If you enjoy watching movies or shows, a television is an essential component of a modern living room. Choose a size and features that suit your viewing preferences and budget.
  5. Lighting: Adequate lighting is crucial for creating the right ambiance in your living room. Consider a combination of overhead lighting, floor lamps, and table lamps to provide different lighting options for various moods and activities.
  6. Storage Solutions: Incorporate storage solutions like shelves, bookcases, or cabinets to keep your living room organized and clutter-free. These can also serve as a display area for books, decorative items, or personal mementos.
  7. Accent Chairs: Add extra seating and style to your living room with accent chairs. Choose chairs that complement your sofa or couch while providing additional seating options for guests.
  8. Side Tables: Side tables are useful for placing drinks, snacks, or decorative items beside your seating areas. They can also serve as a convenient spot for table lamps or remote controls.
  9. Window Treatments: Consider window treatments such as curtains, blinds, or shades to control natural light, add privacy, and enhance the aesthetic appeal of your living room.
  10. Decorative Elements: Finally, personalize your living room with decorative elements such as artwork, throw pillows, rugs, and plants. These can add color, texture, and personality to your space, making it feel like home.

Remember to consider your personal style, available space, and budget when selecting your living room essentials. Create a cohesive and functional layout that reflects your taste and creates a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for both you and your guests.

kitchen apartment

First Apartment Kitchen Supplies

Setting up your first apartment kitchen can be exciting, but it’s important to have the essential items that will make cooking and meal preparation a breeze. Here’s a list of first apartment kitchen essentials to get you started:

  1. Cookware Set: Invest in a versatile cookware set that includes pots, pans, and lids. Look for non-stick options for easy cooking and cleaning.
  2. Utensils: Get a set of essential utensils such as spatulas, wooden spoons, tongs, and a whisk. These will come in handy for various cooking tasks.
  3. Knives: A basic knife set consisting of a chef’s knife, paring knife, and bread knife is essential for food preparation. Make sure they are sharp and comfortable to handle.
  4. Cutting Board: Choose a durable cutting board that is large enough to accommodate chopping vegetables, fruits, and meat. Opt for one made of wood or plastic.
  5. Mixing Bowls: Have a few mixing bowls in different sizes for mixing ingredients, tossing salads, or marinating meat.
  6. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial in cooking and baking. Get a set of measuring cups and spoons to ensure precise ingredient quantities.
  7. Baking Sheet and Oven Mitts: A baking sheet is essential for roasting vegetables, baking cookies, and more. Don’t forget to grab a pair of oven mitts to protect your hands when handling hot items.
  8. Small Appliances: Consider essential small appliances like a toaster, blender, or microwave, based on your cooking preferences and needs.
  9. Storage Containers: Stock up on food storage containers for leftovers and meal prepping. Choose ones that are microwave and dishwasher-safe.
  10. Dishware and Flatware: Purchase a set of dishes, including plates, bowls, and glasses. Additionally, get a set of forks, spoons, and knives to complete your flatware collection.
  11. Cooking Utensils: Don’t forget about essential cooking utensils like a can opener, vegetable peeler, whisk, and grater.
  12. Kitchen Gadgets: While not essential, some handy kitchen gadgets like a can opener, colander, and vegetable peeler can make cooking tasks easier.
  13. Cleaning Supplies: Stock up on kitchen cleaning supplies, including dish soap, sponges, and kitchen towels, to keep your kitchen clean and hygienic.
  14. Basic Pantry Staples: Start your pantry with essentials like salt, pepper, cooking oil, vinegar, spices, and a few basic condiments to add flavor to your dishes.

Remember, this list serves as a starting point. As you settle into your new kitchen, you can gradually add more specialized tools and equipment based on your cooking interests and preferences. Enjoy the process of setting up your first apartment kitchen and happy cooking!

cleaning supplies apartment

Necessary First Apartment Cleaning Supplies

As you embark on this exciting journey, one essential aspect to consider is ensuring your living space remains clean and tidy. Having the right cleaning supplies on hand is crucial for maintaining a healthy and inviting environment. In this guide, we’ll explore the necessary first apartment cleaning supplies and share valuable tips on how to buy them without breaking the bank. We’ll also discuss which items are worth spending a little extra on, ensuring you invest wisely for efficient and effective cleaning.

  1. Multi-Surface Cleaner: A versatile multi-surface cleaner is a must-have for your first apartment. Look for one that can tackle various surfaces like countertops, appliances, and bathroom fixtures. Opting for a quality brand can provide better cleaning power and save you money in the long run. Investing in a multi-surface cleaner that is effective yet gentle can help you maintain a pristine living space while eliminating the need for multiple specialized cleaners.
  2. Microfiber Cloths: Microfiber cloths are cleaning superheroes. These soft and absorbent cloths can efficiently capture dust, dirt, and grime without the need for excessive cleaning products. They are durable, reusable, and can be washed, making them an economical choice. Spending a little extra on high-quality microfiber cloths is worth it, as they tend to last longer and provide better cleaning performance. These versatile cloths can be used on various surfaces, from countertops to windows, ensuring a streak-free shine with minimal effort.
  3. Vacuum Cleaner: Investing in a reliable vacuum cleaner is essential for maintaining a clean and healthy living space. While it might be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, consider spending a little extra on a vacuum cleaner with good suction power and durability. A high-quality vacuum can effectively remove dirt, pet hair, and allergens from carpets and floors. Look for features like adjustable settings, attachments for different surfaces, and easy maintenance. Additionally, consider the size and weight of the vacuum to ensure it’s suitable for your apartment’s layout and storage space.
  4. Broom, Dustpan, and Mop: A basic broom, dustpan, and mop are indispensable tools for keeping your floors spotless. While you don’t need to splurge on fancy models, it’s worth investing in sturdy, well-made options that can withstand regular use. A broom with strong bristles and a dustpan with a rubber edge will make sweeping a breeze. For mopping, consider a mop with a removable and washable microfiber head, which can save you money on disposable mop pads. Remember to choose a mop with an adjustable handle that suits your height to prevent strain while cleaning.
  5. Bathroom Cleaning Supplies: Maintaining a clean and hygienic bathroom is crucial. Key bathroom cleaning supplies to consider include a toilet brush, toilet bowl cleaner, tile/grout cleaner, and glass cleaner for mirrors. While it’s not necessary to spend a fortune on these items, opting for quality products can make the cleaning process more effective and efficient. For example, a durable toilet brush with sturdy bristles can last longer and provide better cleaning performance. Additionally, a reputable toilet bowl cleaner that effectively removes stains can reduce the need for excessive scrubbing and re-cleaning.
  6. Dish Soap and Sponges: Keeping your kitchen clean is essential for a healthy living environment. Dish soap and sponges are daily essentials for dishwashing and general cleaning. While you can find budget-friendly options, spending a little extra on a good-quality dish soap can help cut through grease and grime more effectively, making your dishwashing experience easier and more efficient. Additionally, investing in durable sponges or scrub brushes that can withstand repeated use will save you money in the long run.

When it comes to stocking your first apartment with cleaning supplies, finding a balance between quality and budget is key. While it’s worth investing a little extra in certain items like a reliable vacuum cleaner or durable microfiber cloths, there are budget-friendly options available for most cleaning supplies. Prioritize versatility, durability, and effectiveness while considering your budget. With the right cleaning supplies, you’ll be equipped to keep your apartment clean and inviting without breaking the bank. Happy cleaning in your new home!

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