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Morning light is shining on several moving boxes, two pairs of sneakers, and a “Home Sweet Home” doormat in the entryway of a new home.

This New Home Essentials Checklist Is Made For First-Time Homebuyers

Moving Tips and Hacks

by LB Gabriel Posted on September 25, 2023

Congratulations, new homeowner! You’ve signed the proverbial dotted line and have officially achieved the exciting milestone of purchasing your first home. But now that the paperwork is done and the actual move awaits, your exhilaration may be morphing into anxiousness. What are specific new home essentials that I should have? Since this is my first home, should I be following a “moving into a new house checklist”? Do I need to buy all-new things?

We get it. It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. Setting up your first home is a lot to handle. But luckily, you’ve got a trusted partner ready to lend a hand (Spoiler alert: It’s us, the PODS team). This first home essentials checklist breaks down  necessary items room by room, so you can tick off the tasks as you go — and avoid having to ask to borrow your new neighbors’ plunger. Um, no thank you.

Haven’t purchased a home yet? Or still need to finalize moving details? Start here.

If you’re not quite to escrow but interested in finding and preparing for your first house, you’ve still come to the right place. This article from the PODS Blog for first-time homebuyers has 12 must-know tips on lending, location, listings, and more.

If you have the home but haven’t lined up moving services yet, we’ve got advice for that, too. For instance, you may be weighing the pros and cons of renting your own moving truck — especially if you don’t have a lot of home goods and furniture to transport.

While it’s all well and good to load everything up in a truck and schlep it yourself, consider using a flexible moving option like PODS portable moving containers. You can pack and load on your own schedule with the container right in your driveway. And when you’re ready, PODS will pick it up and deliver it straight to your next place, or you can keep it in a secure PODS Storage Center until you’re ready for it. You already have enough to worry about with your first home — let PODS take this part off your plate.

How much do homeowners spend after moving into a new home? 

Moving into a new home isn’t cheap. Let’s set aside the costs associated with closing, moving, down payments, and other mandatory payments. It’s likely that you’re going to want some new furniture, and you may even be eyeing some home renovations.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, homeowners spend close to $12,000 on alterations and repairs the first year after they move into a new home. People who purchased older homes spend less, averaging around $5,760. Surprising, huh? Why do they spend less? Likely because they’re budgeting for larger remodeling projects down the road. So what’s the takeaway from these statistics? Don’t deplete your cash liquidity before moving into your new home. You’re going to have some financial needs pop up after you move in.

A woman installing new window blinds 

What items should every house have?

If you’re wondering, “What are essential things for a new house?” have no fear. We’ll go through each major room of the home and give you a new home essentials list based on each room, but there are a few basic needs that aren’t as easily categorizable, including:

___ Cleaning supplies and products

___ Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

___ Home security system

___ New door locks

___ Fire extinguisher

___ Light bulbs and batteries

___ Hammer, screwdriver, drill, and measuring tape

___ Pens, paper, and scissors

___ Flashlight

___ Blinds and/or drapes

___ Router

___ Phone chargers

___ Vacuum

___ Mop

___ Broom

Having these things on hand and completing these five new homeowner tasks will make your move-in process flow much more smoothly.

So what do you need for a new home, room by room?

Who’s going to provide the toilet paper and paper towels? You are. What about a bed to sleep on and a table to eat on? Yep, everything falls on you now, homeowner. Every room in the house has its own requirements, though. Let’s take a tour. 

Kitchen new home essentials

The kitchen is often called the heart of the home. And, much like a heart, it has more than one job to do. Meal prep, congregation spot, dining area — it’s the true definition of form following function. Before you give the room a modern makeover, however, start by stocking up on the basics. Unless you’re the ultimate takeout enthusiast, here are everyday items you need to start cooking with gas (or electric).

___ Silverware, dishes, cups, and mugs

___ Paper towels

___ Cooking spoons, spatulas, and whisks

___ Measuring cups and spoons

___ Mixing bowls

___ Cutting boards

___ Chef’s knives

___ Metal baking sheet

___ Colander

___ Can opener

___ Tongs

___ Oven mitts and dish towels

___ Nonstick skillet

___ Frying pan

___ A set of three pots in stackable sizes

___ Spices and pantry staples

___ Garbage can and bags

Don’t forget that you’ll probably need some plates, silverware, cups, and paper towels the first night you’re in your new home. Consider packing a small box with these types of items, so you can get through the first few days without having to sift through piles of stuff.

A small bathroom stocked with essentials
(Source: Filios Sazeides via Unsplash)

Bathroom new home essentials

Small but mighty, the bathroom needs more than just some towels and toilet paper. Be prepared for any hygiene need or minor emergency with the following items.

___ First aid kit

___ Medicine

___ Bath mats

___ Toiletries

___ Hamper

___ Shower curtain and liner

___ Toilet scrub brush

___ Trash can

___ Towel bars or racks

___ Plunger

___ Drain snake

Like the kitchen, some of these items may be needed soon after you move in (looking at you, toilet paper). We recommend setting some toiletries aside in a clear box so you can easily grab it on moving day.

Bedroom new home essentials

The spot for rest and relaxation, your bedroom doesn’t need much to get started, but it does need a few comfort staples. After all, moving is tiring work. You’ll want a cozy place to lay your head when the day is done.

___ Box frame

___ Mattress

___ Sheets and pillowcases

___ Blankets and a comforter

___ Pillows

___ Nightstands and lamps

___ Hamper

___ Clothing hangers

A nicely decorated living room with indoor plants and bright, natural light

Living room new home essentials

While this room will probably get the most use, it’s not imperative that you set it up immediately. After you get your kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom established, you can start thinking about your entertainment area.

___ Television

___ Sound system

___ Lamps

___ Coffee table

___ Sofa

___ Additional seating

___ End tables

___ Area rug

Dining room new home essentials

Now it’s time to start stocking the other rooms of your new home. If your house has a formal dining room or breakfast area, you may want to include the following pieces.

___ Dining room table

___ Chairs

___ China cabinet

___ Table linens

A home office full of office essentials

Guest bedroom new home essentials

___ Bed and mattress

___ Pillows and blankets

___ Bedside table and lamp

___ Dresser

___ Television

___ Hangers

___ Chair

___ Robe

___ Slippers

___ Travel-sized toiletries

Home office new home essentials

If you’re working from home, even if it’s for a few days of the week, you’ll want to have a dedicated workspace that can handle basic business functions.

___ Desk

___ Chair

___ Bookcase

___ Laptop or computer

___ Printer, ink, and paper

___ Notebooks

___ Pens

___ Reading lamp

___ Extension cords and chargers

Lawn and garden new home essentials

If you’re working from home, even if it’s for a few days of the week, you’ll want to have a dedicated workspace that can handle basic business functions.

___ Desk

___ Chair

___ Bookcase

___ Laptop or computer

___ Printer, ink, and paper

___ Notebooks

___ Pens

___ Reading lamp

___ Extension cords and chargers

What's next?

Moving into a new home isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. When it’s all said and done and almost all of your rooms are in order, it’s time to experience that pure joy we referenced earlier in the article. While there may be more real estate moves in your future, there will never be another first home. Take some time to soak in the memories and enjoy the moments to the fullest.

How do you celebrate your first night in a new home? We suggest letting someone else handle the cooking — even if you did get your kitchen set up just how you like it. Order a pizza, put on some relaxing music, and enjoy a casual but special candlelight dinner in your new home. During dinnertime, make a list of everything you want to do or accomplish in your new home — what you want to experience, updates you want to make, rooms you want to decorate, etc. Every year, go back and revisit and revise your list so you can document the wonderful journey that is homeownership.


LB Gabriel is a freelance writer who lives with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever in Memphis, TN. A frequent PODS blog contributor, she's a sucker for any tip she can find on downsizing, cutting clutter, or minimalist living. When she's not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.

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