Signing a lease and moving into your very first apartment can be such an exciting time in your life. In the midst of this excitement, though, it can be easy to forget some of the basics that can make a big difference in your new place. When unexpected events arise, you don’t want to be caught without a few key items. Here are eight things you’ll probably want to have on hand in your first apartment.
Whether you’re getting used to a new lock system or you’re just caught up in the hectic nature of move-in day, being locked out of your apartment is a possibility that you’ll want to avoid. Rather than relying on your landlord or calling a locksmith, consider being proactive and have at least one spare key made. If a spare key wasn’t already provided to you by your landlord, you may want to think about having a duplicate made at your local hardware store for a small fee.
Be aware that some keys are marked as “do not duplicate.” In this case, you’ll need to ask your landlord to have a spare produced for you, which may come with a charge. Leaving a set with a close friend or relative may be well worth the small price it may cost you if you’re ever locked out.
Living on your own comes with a fair amount of paperwork, and it may be a good idea to keep it all organized and in one central location. Purchasing a file folder, an accordion-style organizer or a filing cabinet can help you keep track of important documents such as a copy of your lease, utility contracts, product warranties and appliance manuals.
For everything from hanging artwork to assembling furniture, a basic toolkit can be a must-have. There’s no need to go all out here — you may just want to start with a hammer, pliers, screwdriver set, a tape measure, a level, an adjustable wrench, a small set of Allen wrenches and a few different sizes of screws and nails, says Apartment Therapy.
Fumbling around for a flashlight when the power goes out for the first time can be no fun. Put together a kit that includes a flashlight, extra batteries, a portable phone charger (that you can plug in and recharge occasionally to help ensure a full charge when you need it), and some bottled water in the event that you may lose access to running water, says Ready.gov. Take your emergency preparedness a step further with this survival kit guide from the American Red Cross.
Whether you decide to assemble your own kit or purchase one, having a basic first aid kit on hand can be a good idea. Some essentials include a variety pack of adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, sterile cotton swabs, a pair of latex gloves, a thermometer, tweezers, small scissors, hand sanitizer and a list of emergency phone numbers, says the Red Cross.
Picking out furniture can be one of the more enjoyable tasks that comes with moving into your first apartment, but there are a couple of things you may want to keep in mind when making your purchasing decisions. One important thing to consider is how much storage space you’ll need. You may be drawn to certain pieces but may be disappointed when you get home and realize that they don’t serve the functional purpose they need to. If you’ll need additional storage, you may want to choose furniture that offer drawers or closed cabinet space where you can tuck things away that you’d rather have out of sight.
Inevitably, sink and shower drains occasionally get clogged. You might decide to handle some clogs yourself (if your lease allows it) so investing in a zip or snake style tool may help you break up any hair or product build-up that may be causing a back-up. Remember, call a professional if you need help with any plumbing issues.
On the subject of clogs, having a plunger on hand may potentially save you some headaches. You do not want to be without a plunger when you truly need one, so it may be a good idea to put it on your move-in shopping list — you’ll thank yourself later!
This basic list may help give you a good start on living on your own.