The ultimate first apartment essentials checklist


first-time renter

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Moving out on your own for the first time is both intimidating and empowering. Whether you're fresh out of college or a young professional eager to say good-bye to roommates, everyone looks forward to a place they can call their own.

Prepping for a big move generally requires hours spent finding the perfect couch, awesome art or even new dishes. With all the excitement, however, it can be easy to overlook items that may not be as exciting to purchase, but are just as important to have.

Take a look at the following essentials that all first-time renters should add to their move-in checklist.


1. Home security system

One of the most important things people forget about when moving into a new apartment is a home security system. Traditionally, renters don’t even consider a home security solution, as most are designed for single-family homes or require expensive yearly contracts that may even surpass a lease. However, the evolution of smart home and cloud-based technologies has enabled a whole new category of home security. Best of all, you can keep an eye on your new abode, and perhaps even confirm your theory that your roommate was the one who ate the last of your cereal.

The W020i WiFi home security system from smanos is the perfect starter kit for renters. It features a smart home hub, two door or window sensors, a remote control and HD WiFi camera. Installation is simple: plug it in, download the free app and connect to WiFi. Best of all, there are no monthly fees or contracts. You can also add on additional accessories, like another window sensor or camera, when you upgrade to a bigger place.


2. Toolkit and first aid kit

Unfortunately, your maintenance manager can’t be at your beck and call for every loose doorknob or rogue nail, so make sure you’re prepared to take care of those little things as they happen. Toolkits also come in handy when you need some assistance putting together that "easy-to-install" furniture.

Apollo Precision Tools offers a variety of toolkits, ranging from four to 200-pieces, to meet your needs. Part of the proceeds from sales of their pink tools collection goes to the Breast Cancer Research Fund. Alternatively, you can create your own toolkit that includes the basics (a hammer, screwdriver and pliers) and a few bonus items like a flashlight, batteries, candles and matches in case of a power outage. First aid kits, like this one from the American Red Cross, are vital in case of emergency. They contain essential items such as bandages, gauze pads, ice packs, hand sanitizer and even a disposable thermometer that you may not think to have on hand. 


3. Renters insurance

Whether you live in a high-rise or a three-flour building, renter’s insurance is definitely necessary. Often overlooked, renter’s insurance is usually pretty cheap, because it takes into consideration the size and location of your apartment. Considering how many things you have in your apartment, not to mention the total cost. Renter’s insurance provides a great safety net if something goes wrong. 

Depending on your plan, renter’s insurance can protect you from theft, fire or even if your neighbor’s bathroom floods into your apartment. If you’re moving out on your own, make sure to take a look at what option is best for you. Nearly all the most popular insurance companies offer renter’s insurance, so make sure to compare pricing and see if you can bundle it with your existing car insurance for an even bigger discount.  


4. Streaming device

Cable is quickly becoming a luxury for renters, particularly as monthly fees for bundled cable and internet service increase. Fortunately, many of your favorite shows are available on popular streaming services, which only require internet service. Streaming devices that easily plug into your TV are affordable and quick to set up.

Some of the most popular streaming devices include Apple TV, Roku or Google Chromecast, which all allow users to stream content in just a few minutes. And paying for a streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu, is still the most affordable option.

Aside from the basics, the above checklist will help first-time renters make their first apartment much more homey, safe and functional.


Brian Stark is general manager of North America for smanos, a smart home technology brand that launched in 2013. Harnessing cutting-edge design concepts and ergonomics, smanos aims to deliver the ultimate user experience of wireless smart home and DIY security systems to households worldwide. Promising more than just a sense of security, smanos also ensures user-definable comfort and convenience, along with mobile accessibility and confirmation.