Welcome to your first apartment! It’s nice, it’s cozy, and it’s all yours. It’s also empty. You’ve got all the items you know you’ll need: blankets, clothes, deodorant. It’s all the stuff you got for the dorms. But what about the items that aren’t as obvious? The things that were provided by the building when you were living on campus but now you’re in charge of. Here are some of those items that are going to be essential for your first apartment.
Did you know that most apartments don’t come with shower curtains? I didn’t, until I went to take my first shower at my first apartment and had nowhere to hide my shame. It’s not just about privacy though: shower curtains keep you from throwing water all over your bathroom, so it’s as practical as it is prudish. If you can buy them in cheap packs, do it. Shower curtains are something that no one thinks about cleaning, and it doesn’t take long before they start to get moldy, especially if they’re being used by multiple people. No one wants to shower with a moldy shower curtain at their feet, so shell out an extra couple of bucks to get two (or three).
If your first stop after moving in is to go to the liquor store, you already have a special place in my heart. Make sure that you get enough so that you’ll need to be given one of those cardboard boxes. Why? Well other than the convenience of carrying all your booze, those liquor boxes are going to be essential moving out equipment. Looking around my apartment right now, I see a lot of stuff: a bookshelf filled with books, a dish cabinet filled with dishes, a number of small lamps. This is all precious cargo, and it would be a pain in the ass to find boxes to put all these things in when it’s time to leave. But I don’t have to worry about it, because I have an impressive collection of liquor boxes that will make my transition from one apartment to another easy.
Less a single needed item and more a bevy of necessity, a pretty basic set up on cleaning supplies will keep your apartment liveable as the semester progresses and you steadily start to lose interest in picking up after yourself. Here are the items you can’t forget: vacuum, toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner, toilet brush, rubber gloves, melamine foam (basically Mr. Clean Magic Erasers without the name brand cost), dish soap, and windex. If all this combined costs more than fifty bucks, you’re shopping at the wrong store. It’s some of the most essential fifty dollars you’ll be spending. Throw it all under the sink cabinet until things start to get gross, and rest assured, it WILL get gross.
Extra Door Hooks
In the honeymoon phase of first moving into your apartment, you’ll be under the glow of freedom. Your own bathroom, your own bedroom, your own closet… which has absolutely no space in it. If you’re a normal human being who wears more than a week’s worth of outfits at any given time, you’ll need to maximize your fairly minimal amount of space, and the solution is easy: over the door hooks. Put one on your closet door, put one on the bathroom door. Hell, put one on the front door. Anywhere that would benefit from having a jacket or an umbrella.
Getting your own apartment is part and parcel of becoming an adult, and part of being an adult is taking care of yourself when you feel like crap. I remember an early morning during one of my first days of college where I couldn’t get out of bed because my stomach hurt so badly. Was it food poisoning? The flu? Swine flu? Was I going to die? I had no idea, but there wasn’t much my mom could do about it, considering that I was about 500 miles away. The next day, I went out and bought, among other things, aspirin and antacids. Aspirin has saved my life on multiple occasions: for when I drank too much coffee trying to finish a project and thought my head was going to explode, for when my apartment was spinning due to not getting enough sleep, and even for just the simplest of headaches. Even if it’s just a placebo, it’s something I always keep on hand, and so should you.
Another no brainer that’s easy to overlook. Two of the worst things to run out of in an apartment are toilet paper and paper towels. Since we all use toilet papers frequently, we’ll know when we’re running low. But it’s harder to remember if there are any paper towels in the cabinet until someone inevitably spills their drink all over your floors and you have no way to clean it up. People are going to spill drinks all over your floor from time to time, and you’ll also spill drinks all over your own floor from time to time, so get in the Costco mindset when buying paper towels. There’s no such thing as an excessive amount.
Here’s the truth: people are gross. They go everywhere, step in everything, and don’t always check their shoes before walking into your nice clean apartment. One of the great benefits of having your own apartment is that you can be autonomous with having parties and bringing people over to your place. No dealing with RAs, no checking in at the front desk, no sneaking people in through the backdoor when you don’t want to deal with the front desk. But having people over means tracking in a ton of mud, dirt, dust, grass, or whatever kind of terrain your guests have been trekking through to get there. An easy solution is to get a cheap door mat. You’ll be amazed how much cleaner the floors in the common area get once you put one in. Added bonus: you can customize it to your own style. I have a goofy ass pink flamingo doormat right now at my front door, and I love it.
A spice rack sounds kind of intimidating, so let’s pair it back down to the essentials: salt, pepper, sugar, cooking spray. Literally (or almost literally) everything you’re going to cook needs these ingredients, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. From there, add to your collection. There’s nothing more annoying than getting excited to make a really great recipe, only to find out you’re missing that one little teaspoon of something. Cooking is an exact science, so your kitchen counters should ideally look like a laboratory table.