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The Ultimate First College Apartment Checklist: Everything You Really Need

Before you start shopping check out our ultimate first college apartment checklist. It includes everything you really need!

You’re moving into your first college apartment…how exciting is that?

Or maybe you’re a parent helping to get your child ready for their big move.

Either way…we have some amazing ideas you don’t want to miss!

So…your first apartment…a place to call your very own…well maybe not ALL your own since many college students have roommates.

But still…no more tiny dorm rooms! YAY!!

And now that you’ll have more space you’ll need more things for off-campus housing.

Many new college apartment complexes are designed for each student to have a small bedroom and often with a bathroom, and a shared living room and kitchen.

And if you’re lucky it may even come furnished and have an in unit laundry. Whoo-hoo!

Anne & I have both moved our sons into dorms for freshman year and followed this dorm packing checklist to be sure they had all they needed.

And when the day came to actually move them into their first dorm room we remained calm and it all went smoothly because we were prepared. And you can be too with our move-in-day tips and tricks.

We also used those ideas to help our oldest sons settle into apartments during college too!

How Do We Know What You Need?

parents with male student in first college apartment with flags hanging on wall and bed to the right with window behind

Anne’s son Ryan moved into his first apartment this year for his junior year after spending his freshman year in a dorm and his sophomore year living in his fraternity house.

When he moved into a four-bedroom, four-bath unit with three roommates, not only did they need to get all the essentials, they also needed to furnish their apartment.

family standing together in students first college apartment

My oldest son Jake moved into his first college apartment as a sophomore in a five-bedroom, four-bathroom unit with four friends. He shared a bathroom with one of his roommates but did have his own bedroom.

He lived in the same apartment his junior year but then moved to a three-bedroom, two-bath unit his senior year. This time he had the room with the private bathroom since he shared the previous two years.

Both apartments he rented came furnished which was nice so we just had to fill in with all the other things you need when you live off-campus.

And my younger son Gavin is moving into his first college apartment this coming school year!

Now that Anne and I have done this a few times, and I’m currently shopping for Gavin as his move-in date gets closer, we thought we’d put together a checklist.

Since we do have some experience with what students need, we want to help you so you don’t feel overwhelmed!

We promise…you’ve got this…just download our printable First College Apartment Checklist by clicking the button below.

I share a few tips about each room or area as I list out what items you’ll need.

Plus, you get to see some fun pictures of our boys and their real-life apartments (sorry for the poor-quality phone photos).

And you don’t want to miss the things you didn’t think you needed at the end!

college apartment items including comforter, cleaning and cooking supplies with clipboard and printed checklist in galvanized organizer

Essentials for a College Apartment Kitchen

college students standing around kitchen island with cabinets and stove on wall behind them in kitchen

One of the best things about having an apartment while at college instead of living in the dorm is a kitchen.

Although you may still have a meal plan on campus, it’s nice to have a kitchen where you live so that you can make a meal or snack any time of the day or night.

Shopping for kitchen essentials can be a lot of fun with our checklist so that you get exactly what you really need and not items that may never use.

But if you love to cook then you may want to bring some extra things like an air fryer, blender, crockpot or Instant pot.

What You Need for Your College Bedroom

student standing next to bed in first college apartment with flags hanging on wall next to window behind him

If you are sharing your apartment with others your bedroom may be the only space that is just for you so you’ll be able to decorate it exactly how you want.

Your bedroom will probably also be the space where you will spend a lot of time doing school work and studying so a good work area is really important.

student desk with whiteboard leaning against wall on top of desk and rolling desk chair next to desk

And of course, getting a good nights sleep is imperative to good grades so be sure to make your bed super comfy!

Both apartments Jake lived in that came furnished had a full xl bed…so be sure to check the size of the bed before you get there and the sheets don’t fit.

Although décor isn’t necessary it is fun to add some wall art, string lights, a full-length mirror, and even curtains in your bedroom.

First College Apartment Bathroom Necessities

bathroom with view of striped shower curtain over tub and toilet next to tub

You may be lucky enough to have your own bathroom in your first college apartment.

But if not and you have to share with a roommate or two that’s still better than sharing a dorm bathroom with an entire floor of other students.

Be sure to check the height of the shower because one of the apartments my son was in required an extra long shower curtain.

We were able to order a 72″ x 84″ shower curtain online.

A couple of items that you don’t have to have in your bathroom but may be kinda nice would be under sink organizers or over the door hooks.

How to Style Your College Living Room

living room with two couches coffee table and large tv on media cabinet with window on side wall in college apartment

The living space will be the place where you gather with your roommates and friends so you’ll want it to be inviting and comfortable.

This is a fun spot to decorate with your roommates to create a cool place to hang out together.

After you get the basics…you know a big tv and comfy couches…you can add in some decor like an area rug, throw pillows, curtains, etc…

Off-Campus Housing Laundry Checklist

Some college apartments have in unit washing machines and dryers which makes the chore of doing laundry so much easier than going to separate laundry room in the complex.

Most of the things you’ll need for laundry in an apartment are the same as when you lived in the dorm.

Keeping Your First College Apartment Clean

You’ll need some basic cleaning supplies to keep your apartment clean because no one wants to deal with ants or even worse…roaches!

So, be sure to get these items on our checklist to keep your place in tip top shape!

Things You Didn’t Know You Needed

student standing outside closed apartment door

There are always those things you didn’t realize your needed or you didn’t even think about.

But don’t worry here are a few of those items you don’t want to forget…

Now that you’ve learned all the things you really need be sure to print out our ultimate first college apartment checklist so you can keep it handy while preparing for the big day!

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