Saying goodbye to your parents' house or your dorm and moving into your first college apartment is a big deal. It's both exciting and overwhelming. The average family of a college student is expected to spend around $976 on school and college supplies, this cost will increase as you move out of the dorms and start spending on apartment furniture and kitchen essentials.
“Whether you lived in student housing and paid on a semester basis, or you are moving to a different state (or even different city) post-graduation, getting your first apartment can be a big financial adjustment," says Brooke Niemeyer from credit.com.
Before the multitude of things and the amount of shopping you'll need to do overwhelms you, take a step back and make a college apartment checklist.
You most likely don’t need to buy new clothes, shoes and accessories for college, but you will need to consider purchasing items like a bed and silverware. Creating a college apartment essentials checklist for your apartment will help you focus your shopping efforts and allow you to prioritize what you buy.
If your budget prevents you from getting through your whole list immediately, that's OK. You can easily organize your list based on what you can’t live without and what can wait.
Here are a few items that you should consider including.
No matter where you're living, moving somewhere new means buying a whole list of very standard items. These apartment essentials total up to all the little things you'll need right away.
You're distracted with the move and planning out the design of your new home, but before you get too carried away, consider making your first purchase some of these necessities:
These initial purchases add up fast, so make sure your budget includes these costs. According to the News Times, one of the common mistakes college graduates make in their first apartments is, “not planning for expenses beyond rent."
This includes the cost of most of these items, which are pretty essential in maintaining your apartment. You won't have to continue buying all these after this initial push, but a few items will become a regular expense.
Once your college apartment necessities are all set, it's time to start thinking about smaller furnishings. Resist the urge to fully furnish your apartment right out of the gate. Take it slow. First, measure your apartment, so you know what's going to fit in each room.
Here are a few things you'll need, within each room of an apartment, to complete the process of settling into your first home.
Most of this room gets done with your initial furniture shopping. You'll still need a few more little things to finish unpacking all your stuff. This means getting the accessories necessary to deal with your clothes.
Be sure to get these bedroom essentials:
If you're creating a combined living and working space, you may already have the bigger items for this room. A couch and a small desk can easily take up most of the area. To avoid a cluttered look, make sure to use organizational items to help keep the space neat.
Drape a throw blanket over your couch to make TV watching extra cozy, and splurge on a TV if you haven't already. The size depends on your budget and whether you can mount it to your wall depends on your property owner's decorating rules.
Be sure to liven up your living room with these items:
You’ve already added toilet paper and some essential toiletries to your apartment checklist, but there are still a few items you’ll need to make this space complete.
Finish off this room with all the practical stuff every bathroom needs:
If you can, coordinate your towels, bath mat and shower curtain with blending or matching colors. This makes the bathroom feel more put together and can infuse the space with a pop of color people won't expect.
Now that you finally have a kitchen, it's time to set it up and get to cooking. Start small with a few pots and pans — one large and one small of each will do for basic recipes. A set of cooking utensils should give you the spoons and spatulas you need to assist you.
Research the cost and features of items like coffee makers, microwaves and toasters to find what you want at the right price for these counter-top kitchen essentials. Lastly, get a decent sized set of dishes and silverware so you can accommodate friends over for a meal without having to use paper plates.
First apartment kitchen checklist:
Based on the amenities within your apartment, there are a few other things you may want to buy to make a comfortable living space.
As you make your list of what you really need for your first college apartment, try to leave a little budget left over to decorate. This isn't an essential component to your first apartment, but nobody likes to stare at blank walls in their home. For a few inexpensive options, consider:
There are a lot of options that won't break the bank but will add some personality to your place.
There are 16.9 million students currently in undergraduate programs at colleges and universities across the country, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
While some move in carrying with them a dorm checklist focused on smaller, crucial items, many are moving into their first apartment with bigger things to think about buying. Either way, it's best to focus on the essentials on your college apartment checklist to transform your first apartment into a proper home.