Friday, April 12, 2013

Homemaking 101 | First Time On Your Own

Okay so last week I wrote a post about How To Find An Apartment....if you're looking and missed that then go check that out!! Okay back to this weeks point: there are quite a few things that Autry & I needed for our new home together that NEVER crossed my mind when we first started planning our lives together. My goal in writing this post is to point out the most obvious things that you don't usually think about when getting ready to be on your own for the first time.

So you get the apartment...and then you're like "oh wow, all the things I need that I don't have!!". Or so that's what we thought. Well, let me just tell you that as someone who has been there before there's really only a handful of things you absolutely need when you move out on your own. Everything else will accumulate over the next few months...especially if you spend a little time in thrift stores or at yard sales. People practically give you their 'old' stuff! :)

To help you all out I have put together a list of the absolute basic things you would probably really need to survive your first month out on your own. Let me know if you have any questions...I do break down each room in text later on to explain why a few things are on the list for the few rooms.

{click to enlarge}

The Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the hardest rooms in the house to pull together and many times it's hard to decide what things are more important than others. Even if you don't cook much the list I put together will help get you through the first few months and you can build your collection from there. I highly suggest thrift stores & yard sales for finding good quality kitchen items to add to your collection.

Silverware & Servers, Plates & Bowls, Ladle & Spatula, Big Pot, Small Pot, Sharp Cutting Knife, Cups & Coffee Mugs, Food Containers, Can Openers, Cutting Board, Pizza Cutter, and Veggie Peeler are just a few basics to stock your kitchen enough to cook most anything. Even if you cook a lot this will cover almost everything you could possibly want to cook. Baking is a whole different issue and there's a TON more which goes into that, but that discussion is for another time.

As far as other items go you'll probably want to pick up a microwave & toaster, dish rags & towels, and pot holders. If you don't bake much the pot holders aren't as necessary, but everything else will probably get a good bit of use out of it. I would also suggest purchasing a trash can and bags for it. That is one thing I didn't think about until we moved into our apartment. Also, make sure you grab a small thing of soap for washing dishes in your new kitchen! A small bottle lasted us about 3 months and that's after hand-washing all the dishes.

The Dining Room
The dining room comes together really fast...especially if you're fortunate to find a nice used table like we did. Table, Chairs, and the salt & pepper shakers are all you really need for this room.

Living Room
Now this room for us was pretty easy to fill. We were able to get almost everything in it for free or at really good prices, but I know it's not always like that so keep your chin up and eyes open! :) Lamps are easy to find at thrift stores and are usually around $3 or $4 each. Of course lamps, entry rugs, sidetables, TV & stand aren't necessary right off the bat, but those are good things to start with. Love Seat and/or Sofas can usually be found anywhere from $30 to $50 or more. Our love seat was a gift, but our couch was purchased at a local second hand store in almost new condition for about $150.

Okay there are a few things that should be very important when you move out and one of those is a mattress! If you don't have one I'd suggest looking for one because there's nothing worse than moving into a new place and not getting a good night's sleep. Alarm Clock, and Lots of Blankets are extras, but are nice to have. Pillows, a sheet set, and quilt for your bed would be pretty important as well. You might already have these even if you were living with someone else or your parents before so that will be good. If nothing else check local thrift stores for sheet sets at $8 or less. Or buy new sheets for about $15 at WalMart.

Finally the last room in most apartments! Hand soap is very important, as is toilet paper and towels...If you plan to use the shower right away you'll probably need a shower rod (about $10), rings ($2-$6 depending) and at least a shower liner ($2 usually for the least expensive one at WalMart). That will get you going for awhile. You can always add a cute shower curtain and other accessories later on.

Other Important Things
Make SURE you have plenty of hangers to put your clothes away. If you don't have any now you may want to get a few sets because there's nothing worse than digging through a box to find your clothes for the day. This is especially important if you won't have a dresser right off the bat.

I really suggest getting a vacuum before a broom, but if you can't afford the first the other will do for hard floors. We were able to borrow a friend's vacuum until we were gifted one by another friend...You can clean all floors with that, but not so much with the broom.

Cleaners & cleaning rags. I'd suggest getting glass cleaner and an all purpose cleaner. This will work on just about everything you'll have to clean right away. You can always add other products later on.

Clothes pins. In case you didn't know these are multipurpose and cost less than $1 for about 50 of them. You can use them to keep chip bags & more closed. I use these because they're easier to find than other things and are cheaper for much more.

And finally we have the Laundry Basket & Soap. We have to use the main laundry room for our apartment building so that means adding a roll of quarters to the collection too. If you're fortunate enough to have laundry in your apartment you wont need quarters. Our washer/dryer is $1 per round. We usually spend about $4-$6 a week on washing laundry.

I really hope this list helps you get an idea of what things you might need for your new life! I know I would've loved to have this when we moved out because I didn't have it and there were a few things I would've liked to have had before we moved that we ended up having to go out and buy that first night (shower rod & rings & kitchen trash can to name a few).

For a more in-depth list check out this one on Squawkfox.

Want to read more on Apartment Living? Click here!

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  1. So many helpful ideas!!! Love it!!! I hope I can remember all this in a few years when I do end up getting my own place!! :)
    Sara-Jayne xx

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. This is a really good list and you're right, you don't always thing of some of these things when you're first out on your own. The salt and pepper shakers though I so had to laugh because my husband and I wound up with probably 8 sets. Not kidding. ha! Of course the kitchen is my favorite room in the house so I had a lot of stuff even before we got together (from the college years) but the s&p just cracked me up :)

  3. Great post. I wish I could have read this 7 years ago when I took the bold step of having my own apartment to share with NO ONE! Thought I'd pay you a visit today. I haven't stopped by in a while. Hope you're doing well Helen!

  4. Great post! My husband and I are still working on getting everything. We have are essentials for now.

  5. I love your blog and have been reading for about an hour ! I just wanted to add something to this post as I think its a HUGE more then huge advice ... as much as it SOUNDS like a good cheap idea to get a used mattress cheap off craigs list or the like, please never ever bring a used mattress into your house unless the person you are getting it from is someone you know REALLY well. The reason I say this is that bed bugs are NOTHING I would ever wish on ANYONE. They are terrible , and very hard to get rid of ! If you are needing inexpensive , try Goodwill, their mattresses are NEW from the factory, normally they are considered not to be " showroom quality" because they may have crooked seams or some other non significant cosmetic issue. We have gotten all our mattresses from Goodwill , we just add one of the foam mattresses from wal-mart on top and they are wonderful !

    1. Thanks so much for sharing that!! I didn't even think about that...but then again I've bought most of my furniture off what my mom had extra lol.

      Bugs are terrible things and HORRIBLY expensive to get rid of!



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