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?
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.
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!
Essentials for a College Apartment 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.
- Furniture (if needed): table & chairs, bar stools
- Dishes: plates, bowls
- Drinkware: mugs, glasses
- Silverware & silverware drawer organizer
- Cookware: minimum frying pan, 1 qt. saucepan, 4 qt. saucepan
- Set of basic cooking utensils
- Baking sheet
- Food storage containers
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Cutting knives & board
- Can & bottle openers
- Chip clips
- Dishtowels & potholders
- Coffee pot
- Salt & Pepper shakers
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
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.
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.
- Furniture (if needed): bed frame, mattress, headboard, nightstand, dresser, desk & desk chair
- Bedding: mattress pad/protector, sheets, blanket, comforter, pillows
- Closet organizers
- Clothes hangers
- Storage bins & containers
- Desk lamp
- School supplies
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
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.
- Shower curtain, liner & rings
- Linens: bath & hand towels, washcloths, beach towel, bath mat
- Small wastebasket
- Toothbrush holder
- Bathroom cleaning supplies
- Toilet brush & plunger
- Toilet paper
- Personal toiletries
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
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.
- Furniture (if needed): couch, chairs, coffee table, end tables, tv stand, or media console
- Decor: throw pillows, wall art, candles, plants
- Area rug
- Extra lighting
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.
- Laundry basket
- Laundry soap
- Fabric softener
- Dryer sheets
- Stain remover
- Drying rack
- Iron & ironing board
- Sewing kit
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!
- Broom & dustpan
- Swifter wet mop & pads
- Trash can & bags
- Dish soap
- Dishwasher soap
- Paper towels
- Clorox wipes
- Spray cleaner
Things You Didn’t Know You Needed
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…
- Fire extinguisher
- Extension cords
- Surge protector
- HDMI cable
- Ethernet cable
- First aid kit
- Tool kit
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!
This post includes some affiliate links which means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Shop the College Apartment Essentials
Click on any image to shop items from this post
If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!
Don’t miss any of our tips, tricks, or stories! We’d love for you to follow us on social media! You can find us on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.