College Apartment Essentials Checklist

Moving out of a dorm and into your first college apartment is a big step– say goodbye to sharing a tiny room! Instead, you’ll share a somewhat larger space with your friends and have more freedom about what goes in the apartment and what you’re allowed to do there.

College Apartment Essentials Checklist

However, with great freedom comes great decorating responsibility, and that’s often a financial burden. Unlike living in a dorm, you have to fully outfit your place. And even if the unit has some furniture (mine had a desk, bed, and sofas), you still have a lot of work to do before it feels like home.

Before you get lost in the euphoria that is shopping at home stores, however, make a list of everything you need. As a matter of fact, why don’t you use our college apartment essentials checklist:

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Infogrpahic


Your bedroom will be your haven in your college apartment. Other spaces are shared between you and your roomies, and the bedroom is where you can close the door, unwind and focus on your studies. So, it’s a pretty important space. Here’s what you’ll need:

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Bedroom

Bed Frame and MattressSome college apartments provide the bed for you, but double check before you make any assumptions. If you do have to bring you own, measure your bedroom. You don’t want to pack up your queen-size bed just to realize it takes up the entire room.

Full-size beds are great for college apartments – they’ll fit in most rooms and they’re still big enough to let you spread out.

Mattress PadCollege apartments don’t have TempurPedic mattresses. They may be downright uncomfortable. Save yourself a backache and get a mattress pad.

BeddingNo matter how furnished your apartment is, you’ll need to bring your own bedding. See how large the bed is and purchase based on that. Also, the bedding you choose will determine the color scheme in your room, so pick wisely.

Neutral bedding allows you more freedom in picking colors later on, and you can always change things like pillow covers and art to alter your color scheme. Also, consider getting two sets. That way, when you wash one set, you can put another on your bed.

Desk and ChairAgain, many college apartments provide a desk, but if yours doesn’t, get one! This is where you’ll write your papers, study for finals and lounge around on Facebook. Make sure your chair is comfortable – you’ll use it a lot.

LampMake sure your desk is well-lit so you don’t strain your eyes trying to read “Crime and Punishment” for your classical literature class – don’t make it any harder on yourself.

Organizational Tools

While your bedroom in a college apartment will be larger than your dorm, it’s certainly not a mansion. Keeping your things organized will prevent clutter and give you plenty of room to live. These tools will help maintain order in your space:

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Organizational Tools

  • Shoe rack
  • Under-bed storage bins
  • Laundry basket
  • Bins for storing in your closet
  • Organizers for your desk

Additional Items

While these may not be essential, they’ll are great to have:

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Additional Items

  • Nightstand
  • Alarm clock
  • Fan
  • Area rug
  • Blackout curtains (you’ll want to sleep in after a night out)
  • Art


Now onto shared spaces: You may only have one bathroom split between multiple roommates in your college apartment, so plan accordingly. Essentials include anything that helps you manage clutter and keep your roommate’s stuff out of your area.

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Bathroom

Shower CaddyThese lovely inventions use a pole filled with springs to stand upright in a shower or tub. Attached to the pole are a series of baskets. Make sure the caddy you use has an equal number of baskets to the amount of people living in your apartment – four people, four baskets. That way, each person can store shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and so on in their designated basket.

Extra Towel BarsIf your apartment doesn’t have enough bars for towels, install more. Or, get over-the-door hooks so everyone has a place to hang their towels.

TowelsAs with bedding, consider buying two towel sets that match so you always have a clean set available. Plus, using matching towels clearly displays which belong to you.

Shower CurtainYou don’t want to drip water on the floor. Enough said.

Plunger and Toilet BrushKeep that toilet clean and running. You don’t want to be stuck in the bathroom without a plunger, trust me.

ToiletriesDon’t forget to bring the basics.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Hair products
  • Soap (both body and hand)
  • Rugs
  • Toilet paper (seriously, don’t forget this!)


Decide amongst yourselves who will bring what items for the kitchen. Remember that whatever you don’t buy now, you will need down the road.

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Kitchen

Dining SetGet a dining table that fits in the space and that’s large enough for all of the roommates to use at once – roomie dinners are tons of fun! Also, don’t forget chairs.

Plates, Cups, Mugs, and BowlsPurchase a set that includes a variety of sizes and make sure you have enough for everyone.

Silverware and UtensilsThis includes your basics (forks, knives, and spoons) as well as tools like spatulas, serving spoons, a garlic press, and so on.

Pots and PansYou can actually cook now that you have an apartment, so go crazy! You’ll need pots and pans to bring out your inner Julia Child.

Trash Can: Buying a trash can for your apartment is the easy part: Getting your roomies to throw out the trash is another matter entirely.

Living Room

You and your roommates will call the living room a shared home. It’s where movie nights, viewing of the big game and even parties will occur.

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Living Room

Sofa and ChairsIf your apartment has this furniture, consider buying slip covers to add your own personality to the space.

Coffee and End TablesPeople need a place to set down their beers, right?

LampsWhether you’re doing homework in the living room or just chilling with friends, lamps can make the space feel cozier.

Throw BlanketsIf someone needs to crash on your sofa, you’ll be ready to accommodate with throw blankets.

TVPreferably with the ability to hook up to your game console or laptop – because, Netflix.

Make sure to talk with your roommates before you buy your essential college apartment furnishings. That way, you don’t all buy the same things for shared spaces and end up with too much. Good luck getting settled and have fun in a space that’s finally yours!

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College Apartment Essentials Checklist

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans

Back in the days when you first moved out, you probably had cheap pots and pans that you gave little thought. After all, they were just part of some kitchen set, and taking care of them wouldn’t have helped them last much longer.

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans

But now that you’ve been on your own for a while and have built a collection of high-quality cookware, you want to make sure you protect your investment– some of this stuff could serve you the rest of your cooking days!

With that in mind, here’s how to take care of your quality pots and pans:

Consider Material

The material your pots and pans are made of will affect how you clean and maintain them. For this reason, you should not only know and follow the materials used in your cookware’s construction, but also the ideal conditions for those materials. Here’s a look at common materials used to build high-end cookware:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cookware is often built with several metals. If your pots and pans are tri-ply, that means they have three layers. Often, the outermost layers are made of stainless steel and sandwich another metal, usually aluminum.

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans - Consider Material Stainless Steel

Multi-ply pots are considered high-quality because they have the features of several metals all wrapped into one tool. For instance, stainless steel gets to high temperatures and is great for searing and browning food. Aluminum distributes heat evenly to prevent hot spots and burning.


Enamel, ceramic– or porcelain-coated stainless steel pans are the Rolls Royce of nonstick cookware. Teflon pans can be dangerous when used at high heat, but ceramic-coated stainless steel is safe to use at high heat.

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans - Consider Material Coated

In fact, you can use the pans at high temperatures and they’ll be totally safe for your food. More importantly, the construction is effective at preventing food from sticking.

Cast Iron

Naturally stick resistant, cast iron has heavy-duty construction that lasts a lifetime. Cast iron can also impart extra flavor on your food.

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans - Consider Material Cast Iron


High-quality pots and pans, no matter their construction and material, are fairly safe to use in whatever normal way you intend. You can saute on low to high heat without worrying about melting coating. Where you really need to pay attention to your cookware is when cleaning. What you do depends on the material.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is prone to discoloration and burn marks, which is a shame given they’re so shiny when you first buy them. However, if after repeated use, your pans have marks, you can get them to look like new. Of course, preventing marks in the first place is best.

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans - Cleaning Stainless Steel

Avoid soaking your pan if you can, as the iron in some tap water can cause rust. Use a scrubbing pad and regular dish soap after using your pot.

You can stick stainless steel in the dishwasher. But if you want to get rid of stains, you’ll have to do so by hand. Remove marks by cleaning your pots and pans with a stainless steel cleaning product, like Bar Keepers Friend.


You have to be gentler with ceramic-coated pots and pans, as their coating can scratch and chip. Avoid using steel wool to clean them– soaking them in soapy water to help release food is better than scrubbing with a harsh pad.

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans - Cleaning Coated

Also, clean your pans right away. The coating can soak up some flavor, and if the food is left too long, everything else you cook on it will taste like that one potent spice.

Cast Iron

Cast iron is a unique product, which means cleaning will be a little different. Clean it immediately after using and do not let it soak, as cast iron can rust. Also, do not use soap. The metal is porous, meaning it will absorb the flavor of the soap, making all your food taste like a Dove bar.

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans - Cleaning Cast Iron

Instead, scrub off food and rinse. Then, dry it completely and rub oil inside the pan, a step called “seasoning.”

Maintenance Tips

In addition to employing proper cleaning techniques, you should use best practices when cooking with your high-quality pots and pans.

How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans - Maintenance Tips

Here are some tips that will help your cookware last longer and maintain its look:

  • Avoid using metal kitchen tools, as they can scratch cookware. Instead, use wood or silicone.
  • Don’t cook acidic foods (like tomato) in cast-iron cookware. The acid can eat through the metal.
  • Be gentle with coated cookware to avoid chipping the porcelain.
  • Don’t stack coated pots and pans on top of each other. Storing them in another way (hanging on hooks, laid on their sides) can prevent scratching and chipping

High-quality pots and pans are an investment, and taking good care of them can ensure they last you a long time.

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How to Take Care of Your High-Quality Pots and Pans

How to Vacuum Refrigerator Coils and Keep Your Cool

how to vacuum refrigerator coils

Vacuum your refrigerator coils twice a year to keep your fridge running efficiently.

Let’s face it: In the summertime, your refrigerator is your best friend. There’s nothing like the first sip of a cold beverage to cool you off when temperatures are sweltering, and you don’t even want to think about where you’d be without the freezer. A summer without ice is not a summer you’ll enjoy.

Since so much is riding on this relationship, this month’s green tip focuses on keeping your favorite appliance running smoothly. Regular refrigerator maintenance involves vacuuming the condenser coils on the back or the bottom to clear out the dust and gunk about twice a year. Removing this debris will ensure the fridge doesn’t have to work too hard to keep the insides cold.

Even better, the less the refrigerator has to work, the less energy it consumes – which translates to lower energy bills for you. Now that’s cool.

So how do you go about vacuuming those coils? We’ve got the process laid out for you, step by step.

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Spruce Up Your Kitchen (and Still Get Your Security Deposit Back!)

"Temporary" and "fabulous" are the name of the game to create a stylish kitchen space that you can change back later!

“Temporary” and “fabulous” are the name of the game to create a stylish kitchen space that you can change back later. (A decorative sink backsplash applied via removable decals? Why, yes!)

Looking to refresh your apartment’s kitchen without making permanent changes?

Many landlords will allow renters to make cosmetic changes to apartment units provided the residents change those elements back when vacating the space. These requirements will likely be spelled out in the lease.

Because of the expense and effort required, however, you may find it compelling to think about updating your kitchen decor in ways that are more easily adjusted. You want a cool kitchen, after all, but you may not want to expend a lot of extra effort – and you want your security deposit back when you move out.

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Black Friday is for Shopping — Not Clearing Your Garbage Disposal! (Infographic)

Click the image to view the full infographic!

Click the image to view the full infographic!

Don’t send your Thanksgiving down the drain!

Plumbers report that the day after Thanksgiving is their busiest day of the year for housecalls.

Don’t let plumbing woes distract you from your Black Friday shopping this year.

Check out these do’s – and mostly don’ts — for how to treat your apartment plumbing with care after Thanksgiving dinner is cleared away. Stay on friendly terms with your apartment community maintenance team by following these directions!

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Top 10 Metros for Great Apartment Kitchen Amenities (Infographic)

Click the image to see the full infographic.

Click the image to see the full infographic.

For many American families, everything that’s really important in home life takes place in the kitchen.

At Apartment Guide, we know that renters want kitchens they can both enjoy spending time in and also put to work for their cooking efforts.

What are the great apartment kitchen amenities people want and need most?

Stainless steel appliances, dishwashers and microwaves are important, but extra amenities like a kitchen island and granite countertops can make a kitchen more useful and elegant.

We’ve combed our apartment listings to find the metro areas with the most tricked-out kitchens.

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Single Serving: Tips on Cooking Smart for One

how to cook for one person

Living solo can have its advantages. The feeling of freedom in solitude can be truly welcome, and, hey, you’re your own boss.

But some aspects of living alone can be daunting, especially if you’ve been used to sharing space and expenses with others.

The kitchen is one place where the adjustment is most apparent: how do you cook for one person when recipes and container sizes often seem meant for more?

Fear not, apartment dweller! We’ve got tips ahead for cooking alone… and loving it.

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What’s Old is New: Go Retro in Your Apartment Kitchen

What's Old is New: Go Retro in Your Apartment Kitchen

Stella Apartments in Marina del Rey, CA

Retro is hip — again!

Retro kitchens were forward-thinking, clean-lined and edgy in their day, and they still give off that aura decades later.

When you want to spruce up a generic apartment kitchen on a tight budget, going retro will give you a delightful range of colors, period items and other ideas to play with.

Before you begin, a little planning will move you a long way toward success in your decorating project.

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Room-by-Room Organization Tips

Not sure where to begin organizing? Just take it one room at a time.

Not sure where to begin organizing? Just take it one room at a time.

Home organization can seem like a daunting task, but when broken up room-by-room, it’s easier to tackle. Here’s how to divide and conquer to tame the mess.


No nonsense. Space is often at a premium in your bathroom, so it’s important to be firm and decisive about getting rid of things you don’t need. Toss out toiletries and equipment that you rarely use. In your medicine cabinet, limit yourself to just the essentials to keep your organization goals on track. Trust us, you can live without that seventh bottle of nail polish remover.

Space invaders. Nothing can make a room seem more like a mess than a cluttered countertop. Maximize valuable space on your vanity by utilizing utilitarian storage containers that hold multiple toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries like hand soap and lotion. Hang a rectangular wire basket on the side of your vanity to hold your hair dryer and other gadgets.

Clean sweep. Keep bottled cleaners organized by hanging a tension rod in your cabinet. These adjustable rods are available for cheap and are a great quick fix to keep tight spaces organized and the cleaners you use regularly within arm’s reach. For cleaning supplies you don’t grab on a regular basis, keep them in an easy-to-reach basket that can be stashed when finished.

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Get Cooking with the Best Kitchenware on a Budget

simmer-MIGUEL GALE-original

We know that preparing meals at home can save you time and money, but decking out your kitchen with gadgets and cookware can also be expensive. And if you’re living in an apartment, you want to make sure you have the basics without taking up too much room or burning through your bank account.

Here are our tips on how to purchase budget-friendly kitchenware, as well as a list of the essentials every apartment dweller needs in his or her kitchen.

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