We’ve gathered a list of 15 easy-to-forget essentials every millennial should stock in their first apartment. These products are easy ways to step up your space, and investing in high-quality versions will likely save you money over time.
1. Frames for your favorite artwork and posters
Step up your adulting game by framing your posters and artwork. You understandably might not be able to drop a lot of money on beautiful artwork, but you can beautify what you already have with a nice frame.
Michael’s and other art supply stores often have great sales on frames in several colors to match your home’s aesthetic. Or head out to your neighborhood thrift shop for a more vintage feel.
2. Water filter
Unfortunately, in many cities across the country, tap water is laden with chemicals like chlorine and fluoride that may be harmful to your health over time.
Pick a water filter that best fits your space — you can get large gravity filters like the Berkey, pitcher filters that can fit in the refrigerator or even ones that screw onto your faucet (perfect for people tight on extra room!).
3. Reusable water bottle
While you’re at it, get yourself a sturdy insulated water bottle, like the HydroFlask or Klean Kanteen. You’ll keep yourself hydrated and over time, prevent the use of hundreds of ocean-polluting plastic bottles. Win, win.
4. Kitchen trashcan with a foot pedal
While this one may seem a little nit-picky, having a lidded trashcan in the kitchen is an absolute must. No one will realize when you’ve been too lazy to take out the trash for a day or two because the stench of old garbage will be contained inside the can.
Foot pedals are also a good idea for the kitchen. There’s nothing quite as annoying as trying to pick up a garbage can lid with hands covered in food!
5. Cast iron pan
While cast irons may seem old school, they’re some of the most versatile kitchen tools around and last forever if properly taken care of. There are so many great cast iron recipes online, and whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or a juicy steak, you can probably make it in cast iron.
Check out local consignment stores for great deals before you drop a lot of money on a new one! And remember, cast iron pans don’t need to be cleaned with soap, as that would erode the oil seasoning. Instead, use hot water and an abrasive scrubber like steel wool. Dry the pan completely after cleaning and coat the surface with oil or lard.
6. High-quality chef’s knife
Having a great chef’s knife is invaluable to any amateur cook. It’s versatile enough to successfully slice virtually any ingredient in your kitchen, and using a nice, quality knife is much safer than using a lighter, dull one.
7. A great cookbook
Obviously it’s easy to find recipes for literally anything online, but there’s something timeless about a good cookbook that can liven up both your bookshelf and your recipe repertoire.
Does your favorite food blogger have a cookbook out? Buy it to support them and have a hundred great meal ideas at your fingertips.
8. Milk frother
If you constantly find yourself dishing out $6 at a time on your daily coconut milk latte, buying a cheap milk frother and making your coffee at home is a huge money saver. Plus, you can spend the time you would in a drive-through personalizing your drink exactly how you like it.
9. Insulated coffee mug
You’ll definitely need a high-quality coffee mug to contain your newfound caffeine artistry. It’s worth the splurge to get a well-insulated one, so your coffee stays hot (or cold, if you prefer).
These are also great to prevent spilling on yourself in the car. We’ve all been there.
10. Steam mop
The holy grail of all floor cleaning tools, the steam mop is essential if you have tile in your new home. Unlike single-use Swiffer sheets and similar products, steam mops only need water and the mop cloths to get your floor sparkling. And by washing and reusing the cloths, you’re reducing unnecessary purchases and waste.
If you want to boost the clean feel, add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oils to the water chamber of the steam mop.
11. Alarm clock
An alarm clock is great for several reasons. First, if anything happens to your cellphone (sometimes batteries die in the middle of the night), you won’t sleep in hours after you’re supposed to be up.
Second, studies show that the blue light emitted by cell phones disrupts your sleeping patterns. Saying goodnight to your phone an hour or two before bed and charging it somewhere other than your bedroom can greatly improve your quality of sleep, and getting an alarm clock removes any need for you to have it there.
If you struggle to get up in the morning, you can buy a ‘light therapy’ alarm clock that emulates sunshine to wake you up gently.
12. A cozy blanket
There’s nothing quite as comforting as a super-soft, luxurious feeling blanket that instantly makes you feel better when you’re all wrapped up in it.
When shopping for a blanket, don’t just jump for the one that looks the best, make sure it’s as soft as you like, too. You’ll thank yourself when it’s time to “Netflix and chill.”
13. First-aid kit
When you’re busy moving into a new place, first-aid kits can be easy to overlook. But this is one item that you’ll regret not having when you really need it.
Buy a thoroughly-stocked first aid kit that includes items like burn cream, antibiotic ointment, band aids, gauze, ibuprofen, etc.
Don’t worry, even if you don’t exactly consider yourself a green thumb, you can get a houseplant that’s easy to care for. Plants are a great way to both fill and liven up apartment space, and some are even helpful with air purification.
15. Essential oil diffuser
Personalize your space by diffusing essential oils. Oil diffusers are a great alternative to candles, many of which contain harmful compounds that can irritate your lungs and breathing pathways. Most health food stores and even places like Target or Walmart have wide selections of essential oil.