So you're all moved in and you have your personal essentials like the big TV, throw pillows, and a brand new toaster oven. Think you have everything you need? Think again! As a first time apartment dweller myself, there are some items that I have found to be helpful, whether it be for everyday use, or to have just in case of emergencies. Now that online classes have gone underway, it's hard to think about what you need to buy next time you go to the store. Don't you worry, I'm here to help you through it.
1. A Toolkit!
I am going to emphasize this one the most. There's a reason it's number one, people! About a year ago I received one as a graduation gift from a family friend, and I was very confused(kinda expecting/hoping for cash). It came with a note explaining its significance: Not only is it convenient to have around for minor fixes, but soon enough, all your neighbors will find out you have one. They will come over and introduce themselves so they can have an opportunity to use it too.
All I could think was, "That's a little silly. So I need a toolkit to make friends?" It wasn't silly, and yes, it definitely helped me make some friends on my floor because not a lot of freshman think to bring one with them. I use it all the time to take measurements, put furniture together, and to make sure pictures are straight on the walls of my apartment. The best feeling for me is that feeling of "Wow, I did this myself" after putting something together, and that satisfaction of feeling like a real adult.
2. A First Aid Kit
Even, if it's just a couple bandages, rubbing alcohol, and Neosporin, you should have something in your cabinets in case of an emergency. Last year, I neglected to buy a box of Band-Aid's and I cut my finger on my razor. I frantically texted my friends asking if any of them had one, but sadly, they were all in class. I sat on my desk chair for a while wondering what to do until I decided to take some toilet paper from the communal bathroom and turn my finger into a mummy. A while later, my friend from across the hall came home to finally give me a bandage.
So please, let your takeaway from my story be: Remember to buy bandages! You never know what could happen, and I don't want any of you to bleed out.
3. A Shower Rack
If you're in a college apartment, it's likely that you have limited space, especially in the bathroom. If you have multiple roommates, a good spot to put your CeraVe Facewash is hard to come by. So if you would rather not buy a 5 in 1 shampoo, go with a shower rack. They easily hang off any rusty shower head and they're a great space saver.
They come in multiple sizes depending on how simple or complicated your shower routine is, and you can get them at Walmart, Target or Amazon (my trifecta of stores).
4. Painter's Tape or Command Strips
If you're renting an apartment and don't want to pay for extra damages, these two items will save you the scare of peeling something off the wall and wondering if the complete wall will be there when you're finished. I highly recommend having a roll of painter's tape (the blue tape) because its main purpose in life is to be put on the wall to mask-off areas that have already been painted or should not be painted. So if you want to put up that super cute photo collage that you got off Etsy, use painter's tape.
Command Strips are great for hanging up frames and hooks. The strong adhesive will last you all year and will leave no marks on the wall. I always find myself buying more and more every time I get something new to hang up.
5. A Baseball Bat
Now hear me out, I know this one is a little weird. I live on the ground floor of my apartment building and it happens to have a sliding door to a small porch. My roommates and I were a little scared that some drunk dude might force the door open one night or someone might come in and rob us while we're sleeping. The weekend we moved in, my roommate came back from Walmart with a metal baseball bat. She had the idea to put it on the path where the sliding door is supposed to slide open, so even if someone forces the door open, there's no way they will be able to bend a metal bat.
So if you live on the first or second floor and have a balcony, buy a baseball bat. It's a great second barrier and you and your pals can get together and play America's favorite pastime.
6. Fairy Lights or Holiday Lights
Brighten up your dingy living room or bedroom with some hanging fairy lights. You can get them for cheap at five below and they make your room look a lot more cozy. Your guests will marvel at your decorative skills and you will have some calming lights to leave on while watching a movie or doing work.
My roommate had brought some outdoor Christmas lights to use on our balcony, but unfortunately we couldn't find an outlet for them. Rather than stowing them away, she repurposed them as lights for our room and hung them around each doorframe. Because they were meant for outside, they give off great light, while looking really good. No more fluorescent lighting that makes you feel like you're in a hospital.
7. A Fold-Away Table and Chairs
If you need a place to do your homework, eat dinner or to just rest your things on, a foldaway table is worth the money. I thought it was hilarious when I came home to see my roommates on a zoom call using our fold-away pong table as a desk, but it's actually a genius idea.
So if your having a Taco Tuesday and need a place to gather, put out all the ingredients on your island and utilize your fold-away tables and chairs to make your own "kids table."
8. Binder Clips
If you're like me and have multiple bags of pretzels and different types of Goldfish open at once, you need a box of binder clips to keep them fresh. I know some stores carry clips that are specially made for re-sealing bags. You may have seen those in that one childhood friend's house whose mom bought all the good snacks your mother would never buy, but binder clips do the same exact thing for a cheaper price. Keep them in your "random-sh*t drawer" just in case you don't want your snacks to go stale.
9. A Dish Rack
If you don't have a dish washer, this item is really convenient to air dry your dishes after dinner if you don't have time or just don't feel like it. Just make sure you keep a towel underneath it or make sure it comes with a tray to catch all the water that drips off because there have been mornings where I would come in to the kitchen and almost wipe out because there was water on the floor.
10. A Notepad
To keep track of what you don't have, keep a notepad in your kitchen. When it's time to go to the store, rip off the page and take it with you or take a picture of it. It's a little embarrassing standing in the middle of the store wondering what you came there for, so don't forget your list!
There you have it. A college kid's advice of what to have in your college apartment. I hope I gave you some helpful tips, and if not, a good laugh.