36 general household essentials for your first apartment
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A few weeks ago I compiled a list of kitchen essentials for first apartments. Now here's another list of general supplies for the rest of your new place.
Wastebaskets and trashcan
One wastebasket for each room and a tall can for the kitchen. Find out if you will need to supply your own outside trashcan or if one is provided for you.
Buy it: Basics Mesh Wastebasket
Generally, it's 30-33 gallon for outside can, 13-15 gallon for tall kitchen can, and 4-6 gallon for wastebaskets, although I use grocery bags to line mine.
Buy it: Glad Odor Shield Trash Bags
Huge variety and price range, but I like the old straw brooms. They seem to hold up better.
Buy it: Rubbermaid Standard Broom
I like the ones with the snap on little hand brush for small clean-up jobs.
Here again, unbelievable variety and price range. If you go for one of the new-fangled ones with the pads, I suggest getting one with washable, rather than disposable. Several times during mopping, I take it off and rinse it well. You can also get one with an empty bottle attached so that you can mix your own cleaner or just use hot water.
Buy it: Microfiber Mop
A bundle of inexpensive rags that you won't mind getting stained is essential. You can purchase pretty ones for show, but always have the old ones on hand. They will take a beating and turn grey in the end anyway. Paper towels are nice, but you can really go through them quickly and that gets expensive.
Buy it: Wash Rags
I color code mine to prevent cross-contamination. Blue for bathroom cleaning and I keep it under the sink. Yellow for kitchen counters. Green for dishwashing. I prefer not to use the sponge I use on dishes on the counters.
Buy it: Ultra Micro Fiber Miracle Sponge
You can use an old rag or buy one of the new static dusters, which I love. The dust sticks to them better.
Buy it: Static Duster
I like good old fashioned vinegar and coffee filters (lint-free). You can also use crumpled up newspaper.
Buy it: Vinegar
Generally ammonia based. Choose a scent you like. You'll be smelling a lot of it. This is for floors, countertops, walls and general cleaning. Never mix with bleach.
Buy it: Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner
For bleaching your whites, and also for disinfecting countertops and cleaning toilets (use sparingly). Never mix with ammonia.
Buy it Clorox Bleach
Again, choose a scent you like. Buy small bottles to find your favorite and then stock up.
Buy it: Tide PODS Laundry Detergent
Towels and washcloths
One for each person residing and then spares for guests or swimming.
Buy it: Cotton Towel Set
To protect any wood furniture you may have.
*Buy it: Silicone Coasters
I collect baskets at flea markets and thrift shops and use them for everything. Large ones hold magazines in my living room. Small one on the desk in the entryway for keys, sunglasses and things that I will need to grab and run. One on the desk for mail. Another for pens and pencils. Bathroom baskets to hold cotton swabs, hair adornments, soaps and cotton balls. One for my linen napkins in the kitchen. They are great for so many things and help keep you organized. Don't forget a clothes basket or two also.
Buy it: Woven Tote Basket
Over the door hanging shoe holders
Again, I have one in almost every room. They are great for organizing office supplies, craft supplies, kitchen gadgets and spices, bathroom toiletries and jewelry/accessories.
Buy it: Shoe Organizer
Welcome mat and throw rugs
Something to wipe your feet on outside the door(s) and then one for in front of sink and washer/dryer if you have them. If you have a hallway, consider a runner.
Buy it: Welcome Mat
Variety of watts: 40 for appliances, 60 or 75 for lamps and 100 for overhead.
Buy it: Energy Smart Lightbulbs
This may sound like a no-brainer, but I have had to actually leave my unpacking because it is the one thing I forgot!
Buy it: Ultra Soft Toilet Paper
These may already be in your place, but make sure you have them.
Buy it: First Alert Fire Alarm
Check to see if your place furnishes one.
Buy it: Multi-purpose Fire Extinguisher
Aloe for kitchen burns and spider plants for freshening air.
Buy it: Unique Succulents
Shower curtain and rings
Yep, been caught without one after a long hard day of unpacking. Don't advise forgetting this one.
Buy it: White & Blue Shower Curtains
Curtains and rods
To begin with, for your bedroom, if you have a bathroom window, and on doors that may have windows. Then move on to other rooms.
Buy it: Thermal Darkenining Curtains
The standard or they now have disposable heads and stick.
Buy it: Mr. Clean Turbo Plunger
For bills, important notices, newsletters and funny comics.
Buy it: Bulletin Board
At least a small one for things you need to remember.
Buy it: Magnetic Dry Erase Board
You don't have to buy a fancy put together kit, but at the very least, a hammer, standard screw driver, Phillips screw driver, small level (for hanging pictures), measuring tape, regular pliers, needle nose pliers, vice grip, wire cutter or utility knife, electrical tape, duct tape and a bucket or case to keep them all in.
Buy it: Stanley Homeowner's Tool Kit
Picture hanging kit
These have nice little brass hangers, appropriate nails, and wire for frames.
Buy it: Picture Hanger Assortment Kit
Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, pain reliever, cotton swabs/balls, Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, mouthwash, peroxide, rubbing alcohol.
Buy it: First Aid Kit
Nice to have in a new place for midnight snacking.
Check whether your place has overhead lighting and consider one for the nightstand.
It is impossible to overestimate the number of hangers you'll need.
Buy it: Plastic Hangers
Full-length back of door model and one for the hallway to give yourself the once over before leaving.
Buy it: Over The Door Mirror
At least a small bookshelf, unless you're like me, then about a dozen tall ones.
Buy it: 3-Shelf Bookcase
Basic office supplies
Stapler, scissor, hole punch, paper clips, thumb tacks, rubber bands, note pads, pens, pencils, highlighter, permanent marker, cellophane tape and a ruler.
Buy it: Office Supply Combo Set
You're welcome. It's nothing that any concerned mother wouldn't do. No, really. Just make sure you call or write once in a while.
Becky Lyn is an author and a 35+ year (most of the time) single mom.
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