Preparing To Live On Your Own At College

Tips for Moving Out of Home For the First Time

Living on your own for the first time can be exhilarating and a bit overwhelming. Where to begin? What should I bring? What’s already provided? Identifying the things you need when moving out of your parents’ house and basic apartment needs before you move can ease your transition from home to college. Let’s break down some easy steps so you know what you expect as you venture out on your own.

Your list of essentials for moving out for the first time will vary a bit depending on where you choose to live and of course, what you consider to be essential. However, it’s easy to break down what needs to come with you from home and what you need to buy. You can even collect hand-me-downs from family and friends who want to help you get started living on your own for the first time or shop a thrift store to create your own personal style.

Clothing – You can break this category down by season and purpose. You’ll want to have everyday clothes and shoes, a few dressier pieces for big dates, interviews, or special events. You’ll also want a light jacket, and a winter coat if applicable, along with workout gear to stay in shape. Pro tip: be sure to consider your closet space – all apartments are NOT created equal when it comes to storage. Don’t forget hangers! 

Your New View: What to Bring and What is Provided

Student housing – whether on campus or off – means you have a place to live, but amenities and features differ wildly between properties, and fully-furnished usually means furniture and appliances only. You’ll want to bring basic apartment needs.

While most apartment complexes have full time maintenance departments, it’s a great time to put together a small basic toolkit for the stuff you can do yourself. A basic kit could include a hammer, Phillips-head (+) and slotted screwdrivers, a tape measure, pliers, utility knife, adjustable wrench, and scissors.


  • Sheets and Pillowcases – trust us when we say get two sets, one for your bed, and one ready to go when the other goes into the laundry pile.
  • A washable mattress cover – that’s if the bed includes a mattress, otherwise you’ll need a mattress to go with it!
  • Bedside lamp, TV or tablet, and your favorite PILLOWS – new or old.


  • Pots & Pans – you’ll need at least two – one large, one small.
  • Basic Cooking Tools – A chef’s knife, paring knife, spatulas (metal and rubber), can opener, measuring utensils, a mixing bowl, and a colander.
  • Spices: Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and other dried herbs or seasonings you may use. Better yet, buy a spice rack that includes the basics, it’s cheaper.
  • Coffee Maker – Caffeine is essential – ‘nuff said.
  • Dishes – you’ll need 2-4 place settings – plates, bowls, cups, salt and pepper shakers/grinders, and maybe a sugar bowl. A couple of storage containers with lids will probably come in handy for leftovers.
  • Utensils – a set of knives, forks, and spoons. Plastic is for fast food, bad for the environment, and you’re an adult living on your own now, but your call.
  • Kitchen Towels, Potholders/Oven Mitt, and the all-important paper towels.

Cleaning & Laundry

  • Basic products like dish soap, sponges, dishwasher soap, and a good multipurpose cleaner. Don’t forget a hand vacuum or broom for floors.
  • Toilet paper. Buy the big packages, it’s not like it’ll go to waste (OK, technically it will) and you don’t want to get caught without it when you need it most.
  • Tissues, sanitary wipes, hand sanitizers, and disinfectant spray can all help you keep germs at bay.
  • Laundry detergent (liquid or pods) plus fabric softener and dryer sheets.


  • Bath and Hand Towels and Washcloths
  • Shower Curtain
  • Non-slip Bath/Shower Rug
  • Personal Products, Razor, Hairdryer & Styling Tools
  • Toilet Cleaner, Brush, and Plunger (last one is optional – we suggest having maintenance take care of any clogs)

Other Considerations

Are you a pet owner who’s dreading leaving your furry friend behind when choosing things you need when moving out of your parents’ house and into your college life? Many student housing properties these days are pet-friendly, especially for cats and smaller dogs. You’ll need to pay a small fee, but for many, pets are number one on the list of essentials for moving out for the first time.

You may also want to bring your bike along for getting around campus or just taking a ride. Hint: The View on the Square has a dedicated bike lounge, storage, and repair center – others might not have the space at all.

It’s also a good idea to bring along a basic First Aid kit in case you need it. Pro Tip: get a pre-made kit as it’s cheaper than buying everything separately, plus any medications, and finally, a list of your emergency contacts – in your phone, and printed out in case of the unexpected.

While you’ll still come across bits and pieces of things you need or wish you had, everything we’ve listed here will give you a great start on basic apartment needs.