College Apartment Checklist: Everything You Need

Rob Whiting
Boom Team

Moving to your first college apartment is a big step, and it can be a little overwhelming. After finding a great off-campus apartment, your next move should be making a list of your apartment essentials.

While you probably won’t spend on things like clothes and accessories, you’ll probably be needing new furniture and appliances. Don’t forget small essentials that you will likely overlook such as toiletries and safety supplies.

If you’re feeling a little bit lost about what you’ll need in your college apartment, don’t worry! We’ve made an easy checklist for you.

Let’s dive in!

Is a College Apartment Checklist Really Necessary?

Okay, let’s get something out of the way: is having a college apartment checklist even necessary in the first place?

Here are a couple of reasons why you might want to have such a checklist on hand:

Streamlines the Moving Process

Moving is a tiring process. Not only do you have to worry about hiring movers and getting all your paperwork in order, just the physical act of bringing all your stuff from one location to another is exhausting. Having a checklist prevents things from falling between the cracks -- no one wants to realize that they’re missing a power strip to charge their phone after an exhausting day of moving apartments.

Saves Money

Aside from being tiring, moving into your first college apartment can get expensive especially if you need to buy large pieces of furniture or appliances. Using a checklist means that you can see exactly what you need urgently, and which items you can put off buying for now. Remember, it’s okay you can’t get everything you need in one go; you just need to prioritize which items you need to purchase first.

Your Small Items College Apartment Checklist at a Glance

Before we move on to the big items, here are some of the smaller things that you should purchase for your college apartment:

Basic Cleaning Products

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Broom
  • Duster
  • Trash Can
  • Trash Bags
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Vacuum
  • Toilet brush


  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues

Safety Supplies

  • First-aid kit: drug stores often sell pre-packed first-aid kits.
  • Fire extinguishers: you can find small fire extinguishers in most hardware stores.
  • Tool kit: basic tools are handy to have around, especially if you plan to do minor repairs in your apartment to save money. Basic tools include a hammer, a flathead screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, slip joint pliers, and a starter box of nails and screws.
  • Sewing kit: another handy kit to have around your home in case of clothing mishaps. You can also find them in most hardware stores.

College Apartment Checklist: Room Essentials

Now that we have the smaller essential items out of the way, let’s move on to the bigger items that you’ll need in your college apartment. If you have the budget to fully furnish your apartment in one swoop, go ahead! However, there’s nothing wrong in taking it slow and buying your essentials bit by bit.

Here are the bigger essentials that you’ll need in each room of your apartment.


Your bedroom is arguably the most important part of your apartment when it comes to furnishings, since this is where you’ll be spending a huge chunk of your time sleeping and studying if you have a studio apartment. If you have an alcove or 1-bedroom apartment, you’re probably going to want to separate your sleeping space and working space.

Your bedroom essentials include:

  • Bed frame
  • Mattress
  • Bedding (sheets, pillow cases, blankets)
  • Pillows
  • Bedside table/night table
  • Desk
  • Closet
  • Fan/AC
  • Space heater (if you’re living in states with cold winters)


Since we’ve already covered most of the bathroom essentials earlier, here are other practical items you might want to purchase for your bathroom:

  • Towels
  • Shower curtain
  • Shower caddy
  • Plunger
  • Towel bar or over-the-door hooks
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Soap dish
  • Small trash can

Kitchen & Dining Room

Depending on the size of your apartment, you could have either a full-size kitchen or a kitchenette. What’s more, you could also have a space that’s split between your kitchen and your dining area. Whatever the case, here are the essentials you will need to whip up healthy and affordable meals in your college apartment:

  • Stove (gas, electric, or induction)
  • Personal refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Toaster oven
  • Coffee maker
  • Table and chairs
  • Dishes
  • Silverware
  • Glasses
  • Coffee mugs
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Dish drying rack
  • Knife set
  • Cutting board
  • Pots and pans
  • Can opener
  • Food storage container

Of all the rooms in your apartment, the kitchen is probably where you can be the most flexible. You can adjust your essential checklist depending on the space you have, as well as your willingness (or not) to cook! If you love making home-cooked meals and hosting friends, then you’ll definitely need a fully-outfitted kitchen.

Living Room

Your living room will most likely be a combined working and leisure space, as well as where you will receive guests. Thus, you’ll need the following essentials:

  • Couch
  • Coffee table
  • Entertainment unit (television, gaming console, etc.)
  • Curtains
  • Throw pillows
  • Bookcase/shelves

You can also decorate your living room so that the space feels more cozy and comfortable. Some wall decor, throw blankets, and a center rug can do wonders for a small living room!


Finally, here are some other essentials that you can consider having in your apartment depending on the amenities that you have:


  • Power strips (if there are few outlets)
  • WiFi router


  • Laundry basket (one for dirty clothes, one for clean clothes -- trust us!)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener

Final Thoughts

When moving into your first college apartment, don’t sweat the small stuff! The process is difficult enough as it is, so just take a deep breath. The important thing here is that you use our checklist to prioritize which items are essential for you so 

Ready to take the next step to better credit?