Home Essentials Checklist: What to Buy Before Moving In

Stocking up on home essentials before your move will make your life a little easier. From hangers to shower curtains, purchasing these items ahead of time will expedite the process of unpacking and settling in. Read on to learn what else you can add to the list of home essentials to simplify your move-in day.

Home Essentials Checklist: Cleaning Products and Tools 

Don’t wait to stock up on cleaning products post-move. Add these items to your home essentials checklist in advance so you can get to cleaning your new place right away. 

Cleaning products

While everyone has their preferred cleaning products, most homes will benefit from a glass cleaner, multi-surface cleaner, and disinfectant for the kitchen and bathroom. You’ll likely want to include paper towels on your list of home necessities as well. 

Vacuum cleaner

A vacuum is definitely an important home necessity to purchase prior to move-in. From robotic to handheld cleaners, there are various types of vacuum cleaners out there. Think about the size of your new place, your flooring surfaces, and budget before investing in a new vacuum cleaner. Some vacuums are around $50, while others cost upwards of $500.

Broom and dustpan

Vacuums are great for major cleanups, but sometimes you just need to do a quick sweep. Think about what features are most important to you when shopping for a broom. For instance, do you want a small handheld broom or a large angle broom? Is a mini dustpan sufficient or would you prefer a larger dustpan on a stick? The size of your new place should help you come to a decision on this home essential. 


Regular mopping is good for your floors, keeping your home clean and looking its best. Purchase a mop before your move-in date and you’ll be able to keep your new place polished from day one. From sponge mops to string mops, you have several options to choose from. 

Home Essentials Checklist: Lighting 

You don’t want to move into your new place and realize you’ve neglected to think about lighting. Try to figure out what bulbs are used in your lighting fixtures and integrated ceiling lighting. If your new home lacks light, you may want to add a few floor and table lamps to your home essentials checklist. As for choosing the right lightbulbs, there are four basic types:


Incandescent lighting is the most common type of lighting used in homes. While the bulbs are inexpensive and produce a warm, glowing light, they are the least energy efficient. 

Compact fluorescent bulbs 

Compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Since the bulbs last for long periods of time, they are great for hard-to-reach areas. While CFLs tend to emit a cooler tone, you can find them in various temperatures and levels of brightness. 


LEDs also use at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting and last 25 times longer. The bulbs emit very little heat and offer the same look as incandescent bulbs. As LED products expand, they’re becoming increasingly affordable.


Halogen lights are great for task lighting since they let off a bright, white light. Though they are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, they still produce a great deal of heat.

Home Essentials Checklist: Window Treatments

Unless your new home is extremely secluded, you’ll want to look into window treatment options to add privacy to your bedroom and bathroom. If your windows aren’t already covered, look into purchasing window treatments before move-in. While covering bedroom and bathroom windows is a top priority, you may also want to find window treatments for other rooms in your new place. 


A popular choice for any room in the house, curtains come in a variety of fabrics, lengths, colors, and patterns. Curtains are a great option for bedrooms since they tend to only partially filter out light. This means that you will still get some natural light in the room, even if the curtains are drawn. If this sounds like a good choice for you, add curtains to your home essentials checklist — and don’t forget about the hardware needed to hang them.


When you think of blinds, you may picture those flimsy plastic blinds that seem to always be sporting a layer of dust. What you may not know, however, is that blinds actually come in a variety of materials. From wood to aluminum slats, they are a fairly versatile window treatment option. Since blinds are easy to clean and don’t retain much moisture, they are a good choice for the bathroom. Should this window treatment suit your needs, go ahead and include it in your list of new home essentials.


Heavier than curtains, drapes are fabric panels that extend from the top of the window to the floor. These window treatments are lined, making them thick enough to block out all outside light. If you’re looking for a more formal window treatment for your living room, drapes are a good choice for this space.


Sized to fit within the window frame, shades can be lifted up and down. As the shade lifts, the fabric either bunches up or rolls around a rod. Since shades are quite versatile, they are a great fit for any room within your home or apartment. Add shades to your list of new home essentials if this window treatment style appeals to you. 

Home Essentials Checklist: Bathroom Necessities

Home necessities for your bathroom should definitely be on your checklist. You don’t want to try to rinse off after a day of unpacking and realize you don’t have a shower curtain! When shopping for a shower curtain, be sure to buy a shower curtain liner and the necessary attachments.

On a similar thread, make sure your new home has a toilet paper holder. If there isn’t one on the wall, you can always look into freestanding toilet paper holders. While you’re at it, add toilet paper, a toilet brush, and plunger to your home essentials checklist as well. 

Home Essentials Checklist: Cables, Batteries, and Extension Cords

Nothing’s worse than finding the perfect place for your new lamp and realizing the plug doesn’t reach the nearest outlet. Luckily, there’s an easy way to prevent this. Add a few extension cords to your home essentials checklist and you’ll be able to power your devices from anywhere in the room! Be mindful of cord lengths and amperage ratings when purchasing extension cords. If you’re looking for a basic indoor cord, you won’t need anything too complex.

While you’re on the hunt for extension cords, you may also want to pick up a surge protector or two. Make sure you’re buying a true surge protector and not just a power strip. While a power strip simply allows you to plug in multiple electronic devices at once, a surge protector will also protect your devices from a power spike. Go ahead and purchase a couple of packs of batteries as well. AA and AAA batteries should power your remotes and many other household gadgets. 

Home Essentials Checklist: Storage Solutions 

Unpacking is one of the first steps of getting settled into your new home. However, without the right storage solutions, the unpacking process can be unorganized and chaotic. Stock up on hangers and storage bins to make unpacking easy after your move

Custom Storage

Remember you can always add custom home storage solutions in your home to make your favorite routines easier. If your closet uses wire shelving it probably isn’t maximizing the space available and can make it challenging to fit all of your belongings. Transform your space and make it work for you – Turn your unfinished garage into a gym or office, update your kitchen pantry or design a custom closet. These are all important for setting healthy daily routines.


Before you go out and buy the first set of plastic hangers you lay eyes on, consider using this opportunity to enhance your closet organization. Depending on what you need to hang, there are different hangers for different items of clothing. From felted to wooden hangers, each serves a specific purpose.


There are a variety of storage bins to organize your home, ranging from collapsible fabric baskets to stackable plastic tubs. When looking for the right bins to add to your home essentials checklist, think about where you want to store them in your new place. Will they be going under your bed or will they be out in plain sight? Having an organizational plan for your new home will simplify your shopping experience.

Home Essentials Checklist: Toolkit

Even if you’re not big on hands-on tasks, toolkits are definitely a necessity for any renter or homeowner. Add a basic toolkit to your home essentials checklist that includes nails, screws, a hammer, screwdriver, and pliers. You may also want to add a drill to the list —  it’ll be useful when hanging pictures or assembling furniture.

While not necessarily found in a basic toolkit, a box cutter will come in handy when moving into your new place. If you don’t want to add one to your home essentials checklist, make sure you have a knife or a pair of scissors on hand. Having a tool to open boxes will expedite the unpacking process. 

Home Essentials Checklist: First Aid Kit

Including a first aid kit on your home essentials checklist will prepare you for injuries that happen at home. Stock your kit with adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, over-the-counter pain relievers, and any other home necessities you might need. You can purchase a pre-made first aid kit or assemble one yourself. 

Home Essentials Checklist: Security Measures

It’s not a bad idea to look into home security systems prior to moving into your new place. Whether you want to install a DIY home security system or hire someone to install one, there are a number of options out there.

Sorting this out ahead of time will allow you to feel safe and comfortable in your new home from the get-go. When moving into a new house, you may also want to look into rekeying or changing your locks. Switching up your locks ensures that anyone with copies of your keys won’t have a way of accessing your home. 

Rekeying your locks 

When you rekey a lock, you keep the same lock but the old key no longer operates it. To do so, you take the lock apart and replace some of the parts inside. The working key is then adapted to fit the new configuration of the lock. Though this process sounds complicated, it’s fairly quick. Still, it’s probably easiest to call a locksmith for this procedure.

Changing your locks

Changing your locks is simpler than rekeying them since you simply swap out an old lock with a new one. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can change your locks yourself. However, you can always leave this task up to professionals and call a locksmith. 

Ready to get shopping? Stock up on these new home essentials beforehand to cut down on your post-move tasks. If you need help organizing furniture and other household items, take a look at our first apartment checklist and epic moving checklist. These lists are bound to spark some inspiration. Happy moving!

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