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Apartment Essentials

In June, a young person’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of … moving.

It seems like everyone I know is moving in the next two weeks—my parents, my grandparents, several friends, my fiancé and even me. We’re all engaging in the game of musical housing, which provides annual and sometimes semi-annual entertainment for many here in my city.

I’ve been packing and sorting through things in preparation, and as all my stuff is moving to Brooklyn today, I’ve been remembering things that I need for my very own place. When you’re moving on your very own for the first time—no parents, no roommates—there are always a few items you forgot, which you suddenly discover at the most inopportune moment.

Here are the top ten “hidden” things to remember when stocking your new digs:

10. Trash can. Make sure it fits where you want it to fit, and if you live in a city, check to be sure the lid fits snugly. You may want several, for the kitchen, bathroom, your desk and your bedroom. And buy some bags to go inside.

9. Toilet paper. This should need no explanation. Buying in bulk is cheaper, but if you’re like me and lack the room, then buy six rolls at a time. It’s no fun to run out of toilet paper, especially since it always happens in the middle of the night. Also, remember paper towels.

8. Ziploc bags. I ordered mine from drugstore.com. I like to have these on hand at all times, in gallon, quart and sandwich size. If you get the good kind, you can often use them again. Don’t forget aluminum foil and saran wrap, too.

7. Water filter. The water coming out of the tap is pretty bad where I live, so a water filter is essential. I’ve had two types: the pitcher for the fridge and the kind that screws onto the faucet. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Pick up some extra filters, and think about getting a shower filter if your water is really bad.

6. Cleaning supplies. You’ll need a bunch; dish soap, dishwasher detergent (if needed), all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant, shower/tile cleaner, glass cleaner and probably some hand soap for the kitchen and the bathroom sinks. I like to get natural types without strong bleach or ammonia scents—check out health food stores or grocery stores for brands like Method, Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers.

5. A set of knives. Completely invaluable, completely needed. Take good care of them.

4. Broom and dustpan. I’ve got all hardwood floors, and it gets dusty and dirty. Also along these lines, consider a mop.

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3. Vacuum. I don’t have any carpet right now, but most people do. Hand vacuums are so useful, too, for remedying the “whoops, I spilled Rice Krispies on the carpet” days.

2. Coffeemaker. Okay, so this isn’t an essential, but most RELEVANT readers love their coffee. I bought a refurbished 10-cup grinder/brewer that I completely love, and let’s face it, making your morning coffee yourself saves a lot of money in a hurry. If you don’t drink coffee, think about an electric water heater for tea, or whatever gets you going in the morning.

1. Coat rack. Or, hooks for your coat, sweater, jacket or whatever protects you from the elements. You may not think of it right now during these sunny June days, but in three months you’ll be “hanging” your coat on the floor or couch. Just do it now, while you’re thinking of it, and think of how nice and neat your apartment will be.

These things are not exciting or sexy. They’re mundane. They’re for menial household chores like storage and cleaning. So, there’s not much point in spending a lot of cash on them. I have found that places like WalMart and Target are the best resource, usually even cheaper than a drugstore. Another great place to check is drugstore.com, which stocks anything you can imagine and has free shipping on orders over a certain price.

Enjoy your move—I’ve got to go pick some things up at the store.

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