Back to School: College Apartment Checklist


Back to School: College Apartment Checklist

Cassie Damewood · Sep 25, 2018

A young wmoan moving into her college apartment

Moving into your first apartment is one of the biggest rites of passage for a young adult. Just as moving into a dorm room from your family home was a landmark occasion, this transition is also exciting, a little scary, and most of all, challenging.

Whether you have your own room or share sleeping quarters in your apartment or house, you’ll need your own bedroom furniture and linens. Then there’s the living room, kitchen, bathroom, closets, and maybe even a dining area — feeling lightheaded yet?

The best way to keep stress levels at a minimum is to make a checklist of everything you’ll need. You’ll probably still forget something, but a list will definitely help cover your basic needs and get you off to a good start.


  • Toiletries including:
    • Toilet paper
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothbrush holder (make sure it’s big enough to accommodate all roommates)
    • Hair products
    • Soap
  • Shower caddy
  • Extra towel bars (over-the-door styles are best for multiple people)
  • Towels (different colors for each roommate)
  • Shower curtain (ones with liners last longer)
  • Bath mat/rug (big and fluffy to keep your bathroom floor dry and safe)
  • Plunger and toilet brush
  • Trash can


A young man doing homework in his college bedroom

  • Bed frame and mattress (invest in one that offers good back support and will last a few years)
  • Mattress pad (protects spills from ruining your mattress)
  • Bedding (again, if all roommates choose different colors or patterns, mix-ups on laundry day will be kept to a minimum)
    • Top and bottom sheets
    • Pillow cases
    • Pillow case covers
    • Mattress cover or protector (extra protection from spills underneath the mattress pad)
    • Blanket
    • Comforter
    • Bedspread
  • Desk and chair (studying in bed is uncomfortable and induces sleep)
  • Lamp (a good one that prevents eye strain)
  • Shoe rack (preserving closet space is essential)
  • Storage bins (organization makes life easier)
  • Desk trays/organizers
  • Adhesive wall hooks (display art, photos, and keepsakes without marring the walls)
  • Hangers (preferably plastic and sturdy)
  • Bookshelf/miscellaneous shelves
  • Trash can


  • Dinnerware
    • Plates, cups, mugs, and bowls
  • Silverware and serving utensils (you simply can’t eat or cook without these)
  • Pots and pans (include various sizes and types (saucepans, skillets, etc.) and don’t forget the lids)
  • Trash can
  • Coffee machine (plain or fancy, it’s a college staple for all-night study sessions)
  • Microwave (a must-have for quick meals in-between classes)
  • Toaster (make those daily bagels and toast as tasty as possible)

Living Room

  • Sofa and chairs (find good deals from graduating students)
  • Coffee and end tables (lots of meals are consumed in the living room)
  • Lamps (buy a couple with dimmers to create assorted moods)
  • Throw blankets (nothing makes studying better than a soft throw to take the chill out of the air)
  • TV (make sure it has streaming capabilities and can connect to multiple devices)

Other Essentials

  • Laundry basket/hamper (so much easier to carry than a big garbage bag)
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Mop
  • Mop bucket
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Window cleaner
  • Fire extinguisher (many cities require landlords to provide these free of charge)
  • Smoke/carbon monoxide detector (many cities require landlords to provide these free of charge)
  • Alarm clock (for those mornings when it’s feeling extra hard to make that super early class)
  • Power strips, extension cords, and surge protectors (you’ll be astounded how many of these you and your roommates will need)

Cushy Extras

  • Nightstand (just big enough to hold a bottle of water and your alarm clock)
  • Fan (even with air conditioning, sometimes there’s nothing like a nice breeze in the room)
  • Area rug (it looks nice, protects the floor, and even soundproofs the room a little bit)
  • Blackout curtains (for those times when glaring sunshine is ruining your beauty sleep)
  • Art and other decorations (for comfort and inspiration)
  • First aid kit (because little accidents are bound to happen)
  • Basic tool kit (a hammer, a couple of screwdrivers, pliers, and some nails are always good to have on hand)
  • Sewing kit (simple tasks like lost button reattachment can be completed in minutes with a needle and thread)

Once you make your list — and be sure to tweak it to suit your personal tastes — share it with your roommate(s). You’ll be amazed at the things family friends and relatives donate to your new home, most of which will not only ease your financial burden but also provide you with fond memories over the next few years. Don’t forget to pay it forward when your college years are ending and younger friends and siblings are just embarking on the new and amazing journey you will have just completed.

You might also like:

Renting an apartment involves more than just signing a lease and paying rent. It’s also about establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with your landlord or property manager. Here are some key points to consider: Effective Communication: Building a good rapport with your community management starts with clear and open communication. Establishing a positive relationship […]

Jessica Lee

 · Jun 26, 2024


On ApartmentRatings, real renters have the ability to rate and review their apartment communities based on their experience touring and or living in the communities. ApartmentRatings offers renters the ability to see what life is like at a community through a report card grade style format called epIQ. Every month we highlight apartment communities whose […]

Jessica Lee

 · Jun 26, 2024


As the summer heat intensifies, it’s crucial for apartment residents to take necessary precautions to ensure their safety and comfort. Here are some essential tips to help you stay cool and safe during the hot summer months. 1. Keep Your Apartment Cool 2. Stay Hydrated and Sun Protected 3. Protect Against Heat-Related Illnesses 4. Prepare […]

Jessica Lee

 · May 30, 2024