Blog, Minimalism

First Apartment Checklist – Everything you need to have

You just scored a spectacular, and possibly rather small, new apartment— congratulations!! The less floor space you have, the more important it is to keep your apartment organized and use your space wisely. A minimalistic approach is the perfect way to get the most out of your apartment space while simultaneously decreasing the amount of the things you have to keep track of. 

Minimalism has a unique way of opening our eyes to how much we don’t actually need in our homes to lead a productive and healthy life. It actually cuts down on distractions, and replaces them with room for creativity and ideas to flow freely. I’ve compiled a minimalist first apartment checklist to help you narrow down just what you need to nail your dreamy new minimalist apartment on the first go!

Minimalist First Apartment Checklist: What You Need to Know

Everyone’s circumstances are different, so feel free to add or subtract to this list depending on what’s essential to your living (work supplies/tools, medical devices, children’s items, etc.). If you’ve already moved apartment, check out our full minimalist decluttering checklist to see what you should ditch, and what you should keep.

Also, don’t feel bad if you feel the need to bring more than the necessities listed here. Minimalism is a process. As time goes along, try to regularly get rid of things you find that you’re not using or don’t need. If the items are in good condition, you can donate or sell them!

There’s a couple things you can do to help lessen your load in the long run. It would be easiest to do these things before you move, but it’s just as good to do them shortly after you move in:

  • Go through your clothes. This is a great first step in cutting down on the clutter. Sort through your clothes, shoes, and accessories by how often you wear them and their condition.
  • Inspect anything with an expiration date. This includes medications, makeup, hygiene products, and food. Throw away anything that’s expired.
  • Obtain a suitable number of storage containers of various sizes. These will be extremely helpful for staying organized and decreasing the amount of space your things will occupy.
  • Throw away any possessions that are broken, damaged, or missing pieces. If it’s of no use to you or if you know it’ll be a hassle to deal with, you shouldn’t bring it along. This goes for appliances, tools, furniture, supplies, and toys. If the item is of sentimental value, your decision should be contingent on whether it makes you happy, or if you feel negative or indifferent about the object.
  • Stay away from big pieces of furniture. When shopping for your furniture, its size and functionality are what you should give the most thought to. Three-piece sectionals, armoires, and large bookshelves are some examples of furniture that take up a lot of space and can be easily swapped out for something else! While looking over furniture, ask yourself if you can live without it and, if not, whether it can be replaced with something more fitting. The same can be applied to large pieces of decor. If you must have a large couch (say, for a family), try a storage couch. It’ll go that much farther in keeping your apartment tidy.
  • Make use of your wall space. To keep things off the floor, invest in wall shelves, indoor hangers for plants, and mounts for full-body mirrors and decor. 

The goal of this list is to help you design a dwelling that’s spacious, practical, and overall gratifying to look at. Let’s dive into the best minimalist checklist that’ll turn your first apartment into a comfortable and functional sanctuary (who wouldn’t love that!).

Room #1: Living Room

Let’s start from the top: the living room. This is where the most activity usually takes place. The living room is the central hub and used for a myriad of activities from working, studying, and relaxing to exercising, playing, and entertaining guests. This array of uses makes it important to allow as much floor space as possible. For that reason, you should only need:

  • Couch. A futon or couch-bed are great alternatives to a conventional couch. 
  • Chairs. A maximum of two chairs. Foldable chairs that you can stow away when not in use are even better.
  • Table. A small coffee table is just fine—it’s useful to have something to set things on.
  • T.V. Mount your T.V. on the wall to negate the need for a T.V. stand. Another viable option is a projector that can be put away when not in use. 
  • A lamp. Corner lamps are very practical, while wall sconces save floor space.
  • Decor (optional). An important key to achieving the minimalist aesthetic is to not overdo it on the decorations. There should be no more than one decor piece per surface. Plants can be designated to wall shelves or ceiling/wall hangers.

Room #2: The Bedroom

Your bedroom is where you unwind from work and where you sleep in on weekends! It’s the most private of the spaces in your home—you should feel the most at ease here. Whether you’re contemplating a long day, into a good book, or getting some much-needed rest, the less you have hovering around, the better! Here you’ll only need:

  • Nightstand.
  • Dresser. Consider using some nice storage bins or a small set of drawers instead that can fit in your closet for you undergarments and accessories.
  • Bed frame/box spring. You may find a storage bed frame really useful here. You can use the built-in compartments/drawers in place of a dresser as well!
  • Mattress. 
  • Bedding. A comforter or blanket, pillowcases, and sheets.
  • Pillows.
  • Clothes rack. Only if you don’t have a closet.
  • Clothes hangers.
  • Lighting. Apartment bedrooms are often small, so a small lamp on your nightstand should provide adequate lighting. 

Room #3: The Bathroom

The bathroom is where you keep all your hygiene and beauty products. It’s the smallest and most to-the-point of all the rooms as it only serves a few particular functions. You won’t need any furniture here and, for sanitary reasons, I wouldn’t recommend any decor here either. You can easily make up for lack of decoration with some charming matching bathroom sets and a coordinated framed picture. All you’ll need in here is:

  • Hand soap/sanitizer dispenser.
  • Toilet brush.
  • Plunger.
  • Bath mat.
  • Shower rod.
  • Shower curtain.
  • Towels. These can be placed in a bin under the sink if you don’t have a towel rack or linen closet.
  • Washcloth/sponge.
  • Toiletries. This includes toilet paper, soap, shampoo/conditioner, hair products, moisturizers, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, first-aid kit, and cleaning sponges and solution/bleach.

Room #4: The Kitchen

Opposite the bathroom, there’s the kitchen—the most sanitary place in your apartment. For some the kitchen and the dining room are the same area, while others don’t have a dining area and simply enjoy their food in another room. Whatever the case, your kitchen essentials can be whittled down to an essential sets of items. This list is flexible depending how much or how little you cook:

  • Trash can.
  • Silverware set. If it’s reasonable and you want more cabinet space, use disposable eating utensils.
  • Plates, bowls, cups. You can utilize disposable versions of these too.
  • Cooking utensils. This includes a spatula, cooking spoon, tongs, and ladle. 
  • Measuring cup and spoons.
  • Knives.
  • Pots and pans.
  • Cutting board.
  • Can opener.
  • Ice cube tray.
  • Potholders.
  • Dish soap.
  • Sponge/brush.
  • Paper towels.
  • Small table and chairs. If the space in your apartment permits.

Make It You!

Just because you have less things doesn’t mean your living space can’t still be a spectacle! Get creative in livening up your minimalist apartment. However you choose to use your space, remember that it’s your space. It should be an expression of you! 

Coordinate colors. Smooth earth tones are always soothing, or get a festive mood going with some fiery oranges and yellows. Choose furniture that’ll accentuate your color palette. If you’re into patterns, get some printed couches or chairs to compliment your color choice, or totally offset it for a nice pop effect. If you like a little shine, use metallic decor like metal picture frames or vases.

The right lighting choices can add a whole new dimension to your apartment. Lights strung across the ceiling are a beautiful addition almost anywhere! Curtain lights are also charming. Adhesive LED light strips are a great substitute for a floor lamp. You can put them just about anywhere (along the ceiling or along the floor, around desks and beds) and most let you adjust the brightness and change the color via remote!


Minimalism can really force you to use your imagination—it’s a good reason to use every opportunity to shape your new apartment to your liking. The key to minimizing your apartment is in the old adage, less is more. With that in mind, and a little creativity on your part, you’ll enjoy a cozy and aesthetically pleasing minimalist apartment with little effort!