First-time homebuyers must figure out what comes with a new home, what furniture they need to purchase and how to get everything they own from Point A to Point B. The last thing on their minds is the little details a home needs to run from day to day. But there are some things every house should have, whether homeowners remember them or not.
In the past, as much as 46 percent of home loans went to first-time buyers. The number grew by 300,000 in 2017, and experts predict the homebuying trend is on the rise. If you’re one of those first-time buyers and need to set up your new house, you may not know where to start. Here is a handy checklist to help ensure you get everything you need to cook, clean and live.
Download the checklist (PDF) here: Must-Have Home Checklist
1. Move-In Essentials
Before you even think about unpacking, here are a few things you’ll want right away. Here are a few things every house should have right off the bat:
- Toilet paper — Don’t let yourself get caught without this on your first night!
- Essential toiletries — Toothpaste, shower supplies and medications are all items you might not want to run to the store for after a long day of moving.
- Trash bags — You’re bound to generate trash during the first few days, so prepare yourself with bags on-hand.
- Light bulbs — You never know when one of these might go out, so don’t leave yourself in the dark. Invest in LED and you won’t have to worry about these again for years.
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2. Safety Equipment
You want to feel safe and secure in your new home. Must-have safety equipment includes:
- Smoke alarms — About 65 percent of deaths from home fires happen because there isn’t a working smoke detector.
- Fire extinguisher — If a kitchen fire starts, can you easily put it out? Invest in a fire extinguisher and inspect it monthly.
- First-aid kit — Make sure you have supplies you can access quickly in case of an emergency. Buy a well-stocked first-aid kit and keep it refreshed when you use an item out of it.
Consider the area where your home is, and if you should invest in a burglar alarm. Break-ins are possible in any neighborhood. An alarm gives you a warning if someone enters your house and alerts the authorities.
3. Kitchen Supplies
The average American spends an average of 35 minutes a day in food prep and cleanup activities. To make the kitchen the heart of the home, make sure you stock up on:
- Cooking utensils — You’ll need a surprising number of things to cook meals, including spatulas, tongs and wooden spoons. Most big-box retailers sell a package of essential utensils in one bundle. If you’re starting from scratch, these bundles are a great place to start.
- Spices — Spices are expensive when you’re buying them all at once. Start with the ones you think you’ll use most often, such as salt, pepper, cinnamon, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. You can then add new spices as you need them.
- Kitchen knives — You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but make sure you invest in a small utility knife and a larger chef’s knife at a minimum.
- Pots and pans — You have to have something to cook in. You’ll need several sizes of each. Again, you can buy a set that will meet your basic needs.
- Dinnerware and silverware — You’ll need plates, bowls, forks, knives, spoons and drinking glasses.
As you can see, the list of kitchen supplies is a long one, and likely where you’ll spend the most money setting up a new home. You’ll also need small appliances, such as a toaster and can opener.
4. Bathroom Essentials
If you’re setting up a home for the first time and haven’t lived on your own, you’ll need supplies for hygiene.
- Towels — If you can afford it, invest in quality towels that will last for years.
- Washcloths — Consider how many you’ll need for your household and any possible guests.
- Toilet brush — Cleaning the toilet requires a specific tool. You can use a brush or invest in a wand with disposable pads.
In addition to bathroom hardware such as towel racks and a shower curtain rod, you’ll need all the personal elements such as hair dryers, makeup mirrors, etc.
5. Cleaning Items
You’ll want to keep your new home in tip-top shape, so make sure you stock up on these cleaning items:
- Vacuum — If you have a carpet in the home, you’ll need a vacuum. Even if you don’t, a vacuum comes in handy to clean off furniture and curtains.
- Broom and dustpan — Sweep up messes with a broom and dustpan. These are a minor investment.
- Mop — If you have a lot of hard-surface floors, consider a Crosswave or similar device, which does double duty to sweep and mop at the same time. If you’re on a budget, a simple rag mop works well.
You’ll also want to stock up on actual cleaning supplies such as window cleaner. Think about what ingredients you’d like in your products. If you’re going all-natural, there are several options on the market. Otherwise, you can stock up on cleaning supplies at the dollar store at first.
6. Home Repair
Even if your home is brand-new, there will be minor things you need to update or repair. Set up a small toolbox with the following basic items:
- Flashlight — A flashlight allows you to see under and behind furniture. It also serves double duty if the power goes out.
- Hammer and nails — You may need to hang a picture.
- Screwdriver — If you order new furniture, you’ll need to put it together. There are many times you need a screwdriver. Make sure you buy both flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers.
- Level — Ensure wall hangings are straight and even.
As time goes on, you’ll add new tools to your box, but these are the basic ones you’ll need to get started.
7. Bedroom Essentials
Some of these items can wait a couple weeks, but they’re things every house should have before too much time has passed. Make sure you’re keeping your sleeping space optimized with:
- Linens — Most households like to have two sets of bed sheets for a bed to make regular laundering easier.
- Hangers — Easy to forget, but terrible to lack. Make sure you’re properly stocked up on enough hangers to keep your clothes organized and wrinkle-free.
- Storage Solutions — Drawers, organizers and shelves will keep your closet under control before it’s too late. You can invest in under-the-bed bins and hanging shoe organizers to truly find a place for all of your assorted bedroom items.
8. Just For Fun
Okay, so maybe this isn’t an emergency. But this is your new living space, and don’t you want to live a little? With that in mind, there are a few more things every house should have to consider. Whether you’re seeking out function or you’re hoping to host house parties, stock up on:
- Entertainment System — if you’re at all a movie-or-TV watcher, a decent screen with a great sound setup can make the next viewing party a blast.
- Indoor Plants — Some small indoor plants not only look beautiful, but herbs can keep out pests and help out in the kitchen.
- Stocked Bar — One small cart stocked with the basics doesn’t have to break the bank, but it can keep guests entertained without having to head out. A good bar setup includes:
- Mixers (sodas, juices)
- Simple Syrup
- Simple garnishes (lime, mint)
Things Every House Should Have
Whether you’ve just moved in or you’re putting on the finishing touches, you want to be prepared for your new living situation. It’s hard to think of every little thing you’ll need for a new home. Use this list as your guide to stocking up on the basics, so you can make sure your home is stocked with the things every house should have.
Do you have anything to add to the list? Feel free to comment and I’ll update this guide periodically! And again, the Must-Have Home Checklist is available to download and print.