1. An actual bed.
Sleeping on an air mattress is only okay if you’re crashing in someone’s living room or camping. And the air mattress’s trashier cousin, the ” regular mattress on the floor” is just all kinds of gross. Think about it. It’s right near where everyone walks with their nasty shoes and where the dust bunnies hang out. It’s totally understandable that you might not be able to afford the Anthropologie or Crate and Barrel bed of your dreams right this second. But you can absolutely save $100 and buy something to work for now at Ikea or on Craigslist. Treat yo’self and sleep a whole two feet above your dust bunnies. You deserve it.
2. Cleaning supplies other than Windex.
The dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding was wrong; Windex can’t do it all. You don’t need to have the entire Lysol line in your house but you should at least have something to clean glass, something to dust with, something for your tub and shower, and toilet bowl cleaner. Come move out time you will thank yourself for investing in some supplies lest you end up being the girl trying to scrub scuff marks off of the walls with nothing but paper towels, hot water, and hope.
3. A vacuum or Swiffers or BOTH.
Once you know what kind of floors you have, have the necessary tools for keeping them clean. If you have carpet you need a vacuum. If you have hardwood (bless UP) you need a broom and a mop. Your floors will never be 100% spotless again, but do your best to not totally destroy them.
4. Vinegar and baking soda.
Not only are they used in cooking and keeping smells out of your fridge, but they have tons of other practical uses as well. Baking soda and water is an awesome exfoliant, and makes a paste that’s really great for relieving bee stings. Both are KILLER at getting stains out of things and can also be used to unclog your garbage disposal. Having both handy will save you in many sticky situations.
5. Real Band-Aids.
Do NOT be the asshole who uses some gross roll-up of bloody scotch tape because you don’t have band-aids and you cut yourself making breakfast. That’s disgusting. Buy band-aids. Even if they’re Frozen themed — just have them.
6. Extra towels.
No guest staying at your place wants to use the same towel that you showered with that morning. That’s damp, yuck-mcgucks, and poor form. Have two or three extra towels in place both for yourself if your regular set is dirty, and to be a courteous host to anyone staying with you. Be better than one towel, dude. Be better than one towel.
7. Basic cooking supplies.
It’s okay if you’re not Ina Garten, we can’t all be her though that would be MAGICAL. But have some basic cookware like a pot, a frying pan, a baking sheet, a mixing bowl, and mixing utensils so if someone (or you) is trying to cook at your place they don’t have to MacGyver their way into fixing their food.
8. A garbage can.
I know these two girls who live together and insist that putting all of their trash, including their cat’s litter, into open paper bags is totally acceptable. Um…no. That’s nasty. Get an actual trash can so your leaky garbage and cat shit isn’t just sitting in a bag under your sink. Come on now, just be a grown up and don’t be disgusting.
9. Hand soap and dish soap.
They are two different things and yes, you need both.
10. An extra phone charger.
In this day and age it’s time we just accept that we’re all royally addicted to our phones. There’s nothing worse than being at someone’s house and knowing that your phone is going to die and you just have to accept it. By having an extra charger (seriously they’re like $10 at Target just buy one) you’re not only being awesome, but you’re also saving yourself from having to order them an Uber to get home. Have one or two in your junk drawer. Trust me.
11. Candles or incense.
Not only are they great for setting the mood or creating a much more relaxing ambiance, but they smell good! Leave one in your bathroom just in case, and have some around to make sure that your place always smells like a place where you would want to be. There’s nothing worse than a stinky house.
12. A bath mat.
Do you really want to leave wet footprints all over your bathroom floor and risk slipping and dying when you get out? A dry bathroom is a happy bathroom and a bath mat is the first step towards this.
13. More than one pillow.
I had an ex who insisted that he only needed one pillow on his bed and now you understand why he’s an ex. It’s not only good for when there are people in your bed with you, but also for when people crash at your place or are even just lounging around watching movies. You should want your home to be an inviting place and pillows do just that.
14. A bar with the basics.
The first text I send anyone on their 21st birthday is, “Welcome to bar world. It’s expensive.” And it’s true. Bars are great, but their drink prices can be NUTS. By having an at home bar with the basics (Vodka, Whiskey, Gin, some mixers, and some lemons and limes) you’re not only going to be able to save some $$$ by drinking at home, but you’re making your place a great spot to hang out. You don’t have to have the fixings for every cocktail ever, but being able to make a few staples at home is something you should be able to do should you have friends over prior to a night out.
15. Something that makes it undeniably “your place.”
For me this is some local art I got at a flea market that is filled with curse words and weird characters, and the copious amount of tea lights and twinkle lights around my place. The best way to make it feel like your place, your apartment, is make it feel like YOU. So decorate it in your style, find things that match your personality, and make your apartment a spot that you’re excited about having. You want your home to be just that: a home.
And please, for the love of God, clean it.