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First College Apartment Checklist

Having your first apartment is an incredibly exciting time. Before you can have all your friends over for football viewing parties, potluck dinners and all night study sessions, you have to get moved in and unpacked. We’ve put together this first apartment checklist to help you make that empty apartment into a home. Once you’re all packed up, make sure you have a box of things you’ll need right away, like your toothbrush, a towel, bed linens, shampoo and soap. Keep it separate so you can access your personal items even before getting unpacked.

Cleaning Supplies

It’s important to clean your place before unpacking all of your stuff. You’ll need a broom, mop, disinfectant, paper towels and trash bags to get the job done. Even if you put these things under the sink and never touch them again, you’ll be happy to get a clean, fresh start on move in day. While you’re at it, grab some laundry detergent and dishwasher solution. You’ll need them eventually.


If you only manage to get one thing set up on the first night, make it your bed. You don’t want to have to unpack or move the rest of your stuff in with an achy back. This way, you can crash out and leave the rest for tomorrow.


Any interior decorator will tell you that you don’t want your television to be the main focus of your living room… but you’re in college! You are going to get to know your television really well. Also, your new pad is probably not going to be huge, so a large television may dictate a lot about how your living room is set up.

Trash Cans

OK, so you were excited about getting your new TV set up, but now you need some essentials. The demand for garbage receptacles will become readily apparent soon enough.


The couch is a crucial element of any college apartment. Its strength lies in its versatility, with the potential to serve as a desk, dining area or extra bed. Don’t spend a fortune on your sofa, because it is going to take a lot of abuse. Really, that is a good rule for just about everything in college.

Shower Curtain

Another less-than-exciting item that will become absolutely necessary. You’ll be glad you had your first apartment checklist when you can jump in the shower at the end of your move without flooding your bathroom. While you’re at it, why not grab some bathroom mats and new towels? Other bathroom essentials include a toilet brush, bathroom cleaner, hand soap, and your personal toiletries.

Horizontal Surfaces

Kitchen tables, coffee tables and desks are all good for eating and studying. They will also inevitably pile up with an assortment of items which you acquire so that in two years you can dig through the layers and piece together a history of your college experience.

Kitchen Supplies

By now you are probably pretty hungry. Cooking for yourself can save you a lot of money, so having the proper equipment can be helpful. Then again, it doesn’t take much to make ramen noodles. Have enough pots, pans, cups, plates and cutlery to last you until the next time you run the dishwasher. Buy the condiments, spices and sauces you’ll need, so weekly grocery shopping can be simple. A small indoor grill will do wonders for your ability to whip up a quick, healthy meal.

Coffee Machine

This little machine will get you through the early mornings and late nights. It will brew the nectar of the gods and serve up all the energy you’ll need to get you through all night cram sessions. It will give you the strength to make it to your 8 AM class when you checked into bed at 3 AM after a long night of … studying.

Personal Items

Keep a picture frame of your family around in case your mom drops in. She’ll want to know you remember who she is, even though you don’t call home enough. A couple of touches to your place can make it a lot homier – a bedroom rug, a nightstand, a poster from your room at home. Remember, your home is a sanctuary, so it’s always nice to have more than a mattress on the floor.