Apartment Essentials vs. Luxuries: Prioritizing Your Move

By Victoria Robertson on December 26, 2018

Moving into an apartment for the first time is no small task, and one of the most overwhelming elements of that move is the difference between necessities and luxuries and distinguishing between the two.

While it may not seem like it at first glance, it’s very easy to pack too much for a move, which leaves you with countless items that you need to either send back home or rent a storage space for, neither of which is an ideal situation.

In order to prevent this dilemma and provide you with a hassle-free, move-in experience, here are 5 apartment essentials and 5 apartment luxuries that are typical of a first-time apartment owner so you can prioritize your move.

Photo Via: Pixabay.com


1. Furniture

First and foremost, there are essential items when it comes to furniture, and there are non-essential items when it comes to furniture. Generally speaking, the furniture that qualifies as “necessary” includes bedding, couches, and kitchen table and chairs. That being said, the necessity of these items depends on the space you have as well.

On the one hand, you will always need a bed. In most cases, the apartment will come furnished and include this, but in the case it doesn’t, this is something you’ll need to obtain on your own. That being said, size should be reasonable. A king sized bed doesn’t make sense in an apartment, but a full sized bed might. Try to take up the least amount of space possible.

As for couches and kitchen seating, again, these are likely already furnished in your apartment. If they are not, you may need to judge the amount of space that you have. Couches and other seating is necessary, but the amount is another issue. You don’t need multiple couches if there is only one person in the apartment, so adjust accordingly. In addition, kitchens in apartments are typically small regardless, so limiting yourself as far as seating goes to what’s absolutely necessary is in your best interest.

2. Workspace

It’s essential that you have a place to complete your school work while you’re in the apartment. While you can always visit the library as another option, you need to anticipate situations in which you can’t leave the apartment and need to complete your work there. In these cases, you will need a workspace.

You can limit the workspace so it doesn’t take up too much room, but basically, you are going to need a desk to sit down and work from without distraction. In areas where your room is limited, you can opt for a smaller workspace or lap desk for when you are sitting on the couch.

No matter the form in which you create your workspace, this is something you will most certainly need to have in your apartment. In addition, a workspace such as this can take up as much or as little room as you need it to, and it’s something you’ll actually use throughout the year, so be sure this space is one that you are comfortable with.

3. Storage

When it comes to storage space, you aren’t going to have much in your apartment. In fact, more often than not, you’re going to have to get creative with the space that you do have in order to make everything fit. You often won’t have much (if any) closet space, limited kitchen space and overall minimal storage space throughout the apartment.

Make sure that you are getting ahead of this problem by bringing some creative and discreet storage areas where you can keep some of your belongings. For instance, under the bed storage can be a great space for storing shoes, books, winter clothing items and other pieces that you don’t have room for otherwise.

Also, think vertically when you are looking into storage space. If you can buy vertical hanging organizers to use in your closets and pantries, you can limit the amount of space you are taking up in these areas, which saves you in the long run.

Also, when possible, purchase dual functioning furniture items so that you can get multiple usages out of one item of furniture, saving you space and functionality.

Infographic by Victoria Robertson

4. Kitchen Supplies

While there is typically limited space in the kitchen, this isn’t to say that the area should be left alone. You are likely going to be cooking most (if not all) of your meals in this space, so it’s important to ensure it’s well stocked with essential items.

Avoid luxuries (such as large mixers or blenders) that take up a large amount of space, and limit yourself to the items that you use every day to avoid using space for items you may only use once or twice.

In this way, you should have a couple of pots and pans that are used frequently, limited big machines in the kitchen, and any utensils that you’re going to use frequently. In addition, be sure you have enough plates and silverware for yourself, but don’t overdo it. In the event that you have company, you can always purchase plastic utensils to ensure you have enough to go around.

5. Book Storage

Last, but definitely not least, book storage is one of those items that’s essential when it comes to your apartment. There is a high cost associated with buying textbooks for school implies there are quite a few that you will need in an academic year. This means you’re going to need an area in which you can store these items.

While it’s always a good idea to only purchase the books you need and keep all others put away in storage, this isn’t always a possibility, either. For that reason, having a small bookshelf or other storage space in which you can keep your books is a great idea. This way, you aren’t taking up other spaces to hold your items and you have plenty of room for the necessities.


6. Furniture

As far as luxuries go, furniture is a necessity, but can also be a luxury. In most cases, the furniture items the apartment comes with are a necessity. From here, you need to determine whether or not what you are bringing into the apartment is a necessity or a luxury.

For instance, couches and general seating are typically necessities. However, bringing additional seating because it’s decorative is not necessary, and therefore likely won’t work well in a small space. If you have room after going through the necessities, by all means, include the decorative seating.

That being said, limit yourself to the items that you absolutely need when it comes to furniture, at least at first, as you’ll quickly learn that you have a lot less space than you may have originally thought.

7. Television

Yes, television is typically a go-to relaxation technique when it comes to unwinding after a long day of classes. That being said, it’s a luxury and not a necessity, which is why most furnished apartments don’t actually come with a television.

For one thing, these can take up a lot of space, especially if hanging the item from the wall isn’t a possibility. In addition, these items are expensive and easily damaged, so most apartments will require you to supply your own TV if you plan to use one.

Now, this isn’t to say you can’t bring one, this is just to say that you should ensure you first have room for all the necessities before attempting to move this item in, as it’s possible there won’t be enough room for it. Should this be the case, remember that most television is available for streaming through your computer, which takes up far less space.  You can also use your laptop to watch DVDs and even access your parent’s cable package from the apartment, so remember this as an option as well.

8. Decor

One of the last items that you should be looking at when it comes to moving into an apartment is decor. In most cases, decor is absolutely a luxury and, in instances in which it will take up space, unnecessary.

For that reason, limit yourself in terms of decor until you have moved all essential items into the apartment and determined the amount of room that you have left, realistically. Remember that the more items you add to a small apartment, the more cramped and cluttered it looks and feels, which can impact your ability to concentrate when you’re there.

With these variables in mind, remember that you are certainly able to decorate your apartment and make it your own, you just need to do so intelligently. For instance, think vertically and use wall hangings and other decor that doesn’t take up any room, but adds a certain home-like feeling to the space.

In addition, use the space on tables to include small, decorative items, but don’t go overboard. It’s better to choose a decorative lamp due to the dual functionality than it is to purchase a potted plant, as this isn’t going to be as useful to you but can take up a significant amount of space.

Photo Via: Pixabay.com

9. Full Wardrobe

One of the biggest faux pas that comes with moving into a new apartment is when a student brings their entire wardrobe for the year with them. While this may not sound like an error at first, it certainly is due to the bulk of the items.

For instance, students typically move into their apartment in the fall, though the weather is still relatively warm. It’s not for a couple of months that temperatures drop, and another couple of months still until the really cold weather hits (depending on your geographic location).

With that in mind, it doesn’t make sense to bring clothing for every season in one go, as this will take up a large amount of space for no reason. Instead, bring the items that you are going to need for the current season and switch out your apparel seasonally throughout the year to save yourself some storage space.

Think about the amount of space a winter coat takes up and the amount of time it’s actually needed. Be sure to avoid overpacking when it comes to clothes, limit yourself to the essentials and switch the clothing out as needed.

10. Miscellaneous/Bulky Items

Finally, when it comes to luxuries when moving into an apartment, one of the biggest luxuries is miscellaneous or bulky items. Many students have items they buy specifically for their apartment, i.e. bean bag chairs. While this appears to be a good idea at the time, and you’ll likely use it, you have to think about the limited space.

When you put a bean bag chair into a living room that’s already furnished, there is little to no space left, and that’s just from one item.

Bulky items are very easy to purchase, but rather difficult to find a place for. Again, this is a problem many first-time apartment owners fall victim to, as it’s easy to go out and get excited about your new apartment, resulting in the purchasing of many items that you aren’t actually going to use.

Many students will do this, and many will need to purchase storage space or send their items back home in order to correct the error. The best way to avoid this problem is to bring in the essentials, determine the amount of room you have left for luxuries and adjust accordingly.

This way, you can purchase what you want more reasonable, and you aren’t going to run out of space.

Again, while moving into an apartment may feel freeing and relatively easy at first glance, it requires a lot more forethought than that. Typically, moving into a new place is much more of a challenge than anticipated, which is why it’s essential to prioritize your move.

These five essentials and five luxuries are a good starting point when it comes to moving, but make an itemized list of all essentials and non-essentials to determine what you will have room for and what you will not.

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format