Beginner Series Part 2: Living on Your Own-Your First Apartment Checklist

Kitchen cannisters

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Hello everyone and welcome to Part 2 of our Beginner Series: Living On Your Own – Your First Apartment.

When I moved into my first apartment a long, long time ago, I thought I knew what I needed in order to keep a home ticking over, but, in reality, I had absolutely no idea. Below is a checklist of things to buy now and things that can probably wait.



A Mattress and Bed Frame

An air mattress is not a mattress! 🙂 It’s terribly uncomfortable for anything long term. Buy a decent mattress as soon as you can because if you’re not sleeping properly, you won’t enjoy your new apartment.

A bed frame doesn’t cost very much at all and It’ll make you feel less like you’re sleeping on the floor!



I spent 6 months sitting on a futon mattress on the floor and it was horrible! If the budget is tight, a used one could be a great option. Click here for ideas on how to buy secondhand furniture.

Coffee Table or Side Table/s

I like a glass of wine at the end of the day and, later on in the evening, a cup of tea while watching television. I don’t want to put my wine glass or tea cup on the floor because I’m a bit of a clutz and end up knocking it over! I also don’t want to keep bending down every time I want to take a sip!


If you spend the first year surviving on ramen noodles, this may not be as important to you. However, there are delicious and time-saving ways to cook a healthy meal for yourself (and take the leftovers for lunch) which will save you loads of money at the grocery store and the take out window. Click here for meal planning ideas and links to recipes. For those of you who are not completely lost in a kitchen:

A Microwave

I didn’t think a microwave was a necessity, but it saves a lot of time when cooking vegetables and heating up leftovers! (Also popcorn – my favourite snack).

A Coffee Maker

For those of you who can’t go without your morning cup of coffee (that’s me), a coffee maker is a must

Pots and Pans: A few pots and pans  are a good investment. If your parents are willing to help, this might be something you can ask them to buy for you. Or ask older friends who are upgrading to donate their cookware.

Glasses and Plates: There is nothing more embarrassing than offering your friends (and yourself) a drink out of plastic cups or coffee mugs! The same goes for paper plates! Plates and glasses don’t have to cost a lot of money and you can find some nice ones at thrift stores or even the dollar store. If you buy good quality dishes, you may have them for years.

Flatware: Of course you’ll need something to eat with 🙂

Cooking Utensils

You’ll probably need at least one of each of the following:

Spatula, Wooden Spoon, Slotted Spoon, Potato Masher, Cheese Grater, Garlic Press, Vegetable Peeler, A Sharp Kitchen Knife (for chopping),  Dish Towels.

Window Coverings

If your apartment doesn’t come with these, it’s a good idea to buy some curtain panels from your local department store. Not only are they necessary for privacy, they’ll make your house look ‘finished’ even if it isn’t.


Overhead lighting can be very harsh and some apartments. I would recommend at least a floor or table lamp in the living room. They don’t have to cost of lot of money and you can pick up some nice ones at thrift stores.


A Headboard

A headboard will make your bed and your bedroom look great, but you don’t need one straight away.


Strictly speaking, rugs aren’t really necessary and a nice one can cost quite a bit of money. It would be a good idea to save up for one you really like and that fits in with your decor.

Serving Dishes

Even if you entertain quite a bit, you probably won’t need serving dishes right away. Having a decent mattress is more important.

Table & Chairs

Unless you throw dinner parties every weekend, you can probably get away with eating on your sofa for a while.

Next in this series: Meals – simple, quick and easy recipes and meal planning to save time and money. Check back here on Wednesday.

Have anything to add? Do you disagree? Leave me a comment – would love to hear them.

Take a minute to visit my Resources page. You’ll need to sign up for the password, but it’s full of useful ideas.

Until next time …


0 thoughts on “Beginner Series Part 2: Living on Your Own-Your First Apartment Checklist

  1. Good basics, but super important to remember is buy what you can- you don’t need everything all at once. You can make due until you get a few more paychecks under your belt and slowly add things.


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