1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Equipping the First Apartment

Everything You'll Need, From Couch to Toilet Paper


Interior of bedroom with decor on wall
Eric Hernandez/Getty Images

A young adult's first apartment is typically furnished with hand-me-downs, supplemented by a few key purchases at Ikea and the big box stores. But even after junior has ransacked your kitchen cabinets and garage, he’ll still be in for a rude shock when he goes to buy pantry and cleaning supplies. Expect to spend several hundred dollars on all the stuff you take for granted: the most basic condiments, cleaning supplies and boring, but absolutely essential supplies for daily living, including toilet paper, toothpaste and garbage bags.

Here's a shopping list to get you both started:

Furniture — New, Used or Lovingly Handed Down

  • A bed, including the mattress, pillows and bedding
  • A chest of drawers
  • A nightstand
  • A couch and chairs
  • A coffee table
  • Bookshelves and any entertainment media
  • Dining table and chairs

The Bathroom

  • A shower curtain and bath mat
  • Toilet paper, tissues
  • Towels
  • Waste basket
  • Toiletries, first aid kit

The Starter Kitchen

  • Two saucepans, one small and one large enough to cook a batch of pasta
  • Two skillets, one small nonstick for cooking eggs, one large
  • A cookie sheet and a 9x13 baking pan
  • Oven mitts
  • Measuring cups for dry and liquid ingredients
  • Utensils, including a wooden spoon, whisk, spatula, tongs and a large slotted spoon
  • Two knives, one large for slicing and chopping, and one paring knife
  • A cutting board
  • A cheese grater
  • An ice cream scoop
  • A serving bowl that can be used for salad or pasta
  • Flatware, plates, bowls, cups, glassware and napkins
  • Dish soap, sponges, dish towels, paper towels, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, trash can
  • Basic seasonings: salt, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, garlic powder, chili powder or taco seasoning, oregano or Italian seasoning
  • Basic condiments: oil, olive oil, vinegar, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise
  • Cookbooks and perhaps a beautifully bound, DIY cookbook of Mom's best recipes
  • And an adorable apron, such as this DIY ruffled apron, made with college-print fabric


  • Cleaning supplies, including Soft Scrub, 409 and Windex-type products (or eco-friendly white vinegar, lemons and baking soda), rags, sponges, a mop, a bucket and a toilet scrub brush
  • Garbage bags, trash cans
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Laundry detergent, laundry baskets and fabric softener
Related Video
Tips for Buying a Playpen
  1. About.com
  2. Parenting
  3. Young Adults
  4. 20-Something Issues
  5. 20something Apartment Life
  6. Equipping the First Apartment (Couch to Toilet Paper)

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.