Moving in the summer? Check out these tips.

Moving to a new home is an exciting adventure, but it can be particularly challenging during the summer months. The scorching heat, high demand for moving services, and potential scheduling conflicts can make the process seem overwhelming. However, with proper planning and the right strategies, you can navigate these summer moving difficulties and ensure a smooth transition to your new abode. Let’s explore some common challenges faced during summer moves and provide practical solutions to help you overcome them.

Sweltering Heat and Physical Exertion

One of the most significant challenges of moving during the summer is dealing with the sweltering heat. The combination of physical exertion and high temperatures can quickly lead to exhaustion and even heat-related illnesses. However, these physical challenges can be at least partially dealt with by following some easy steps. 

If you’re moving on your own, be sure to…

Start early: Begin your moving tasks as early in the day as possible to avoid the hottest hours. Take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures to pack, load, and unload your belongings.

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Provide ample water for your moving crew as well. Consider having electrolyte-rich drinks or sports drinks available to replenish essential minerals.

Take frequent breaks: Pace yourself and take regular breaks in shaded areas or air-conditioned spaces. This will help you stay cool and prevent overheating.

High Demand for Moving Services

For a number of reasons, in addition to those listed above, we don’t recommend trying to move on your own in the summer. That said, summer is the peak season for moving, and the availability of professional moving services may be limited due to high demand. 

We cannot emphasize this enough but try to book in advance. As soon as you know your moving date, book your moving company or truck rental. By securing your spot early, you avoid last-minute stress and increase the likelihood of getting your preferred moving dates.

Also, if possible, be flexible with your moving dates. Consider weekdays or mid-month when there is less demand, which may provide you with more options and potentially lower rates.

If professional moving services are unavailable or out of your budget, explore do-it-yourself options. Enlist the help of family and friends, rent a moving truck, and plan the logistics carefully to balance the information we shared above.

Managing Time

Summer is often a time when families have various commitments, such as vacations, summer camps, or social events. Coordinating everyone’s schedule can be a challenge. To help mitigate this, you can try:

Communicating early: Inform your family and friends about your moving plans well in advance. This will give them the opportunity to adjust their schedules accordingly and offer assistance if you need it.

Delegating tasks: Assign specific moving tasks to family members based on their availability. Distributing responsibilities, such as packing the kitchen or a children’s bedroom, will help ensure a smoother process and lighten the load for everyone involved.

Planning childcare: If you have young children, consider arranging childcare during moving. This allows you to focus on the move without distractions or safety concerns.

While moving during the summer presents its fair share of challenges, it’s entirely manageable with proper planning and the right strategies. By staying mindful of the heat, securing moving services early, and coordinating schedules effectively, you can overcome these difficulties and experience a smooth transition to your new home. This is even easier when you hire a reputable professional moving company like our team here at Elite Moving & Storage. But no matter how you move, embrace the excitement of your summer move and make lasting memories in your new home!


Your “First Night Box” in Your New Home After a Local Move

When moving, it is essential to plan well in advance. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to plan for your first night in your new home after your move. One way to avoid even more of a hassle on moving day is to pack a “first night bag” with all of your essentials in it. That way you don’t need to scour through all of your belongings to find things you may only need for one night. So, what do you pack for your first night?

While what you may or may not need on that first night will vary depending on every situation, these are some of the items that should be considered essential:

  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Medication
  • Pajamas
  • An extra set of clothes for the next day
  • Shoes
  • A first-aid kit
  • Phone and computer chargers
  • Sheets, pillows, and blanket
  • Water and snacks
  • Wallet and credit cards (however, these should be on your person and not in the box)

If you have kids or pets you should consider:

  • Everything listed above as well as any stuffed animals, special blankets, or other special items
  • A few toys
  • Their favorite book
  • Drinks and snacks

That first night in your new home is special as it is the 1st night of your new adventure. Some people choose to start unpacking on the spot while others choose to take it easy before they start unpacking the next day. Whatever you do – the first night box will help you save time and stress on that first night in your new home. 

Questions to Ask Your Moving Company

Finding the right moving company is obviously important, but a lot can go into that process. Every customer has something different that they are looking for. Whether it’s affordable pricing estimates, packing services, timeliness, or specialization in long-distance moving, there’s something for everyone. Because of this, we’ve gone ahead and created a list of things you should ask your moving company before signing on the dotted line. 

Ask for Estimates

Asking for estimates on moving cost is the fundamental basis for what most customers are seeking with their move. Let’s face it, money talks. If a customer finds a perfect moving company that covers every one of their needs, but the price is too high, that customer is going to go somewhere else, typically.

Making sure you have a comprehensive list of all the moving, packing, transporting, and storage costs that may be associated with your move is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only will you be able to find the best deal for your dollar, but you’ll also have a better idea of what might be able to fit in your budget. If you’re really in on a specific company, but they’re a bit out of your budget, maybe you can handle something like the packing yourself! These are the options you give yourself when you know exactly what the price points are.

Moving Insurance

Moving insurance is an underrated part of the moving process. While it is optional, it’s something you will want to consider in-case your items become damaged. Moving insurance can be something that is often overlooked by customers when they’re moving, but it is very important that you be aware that your company provides it. You’re trusting us with your items, you deserve to feel safe and secure with that fact.

Moving Materials 

Lastly, you’ll want to see what your moving company can offer in terms of moving materials. Whether you’re looking for boxes, tape, moving carts, or vans, you’ll want to ask and see because you never know what you might be able to use, or what you may need.

Oftentimes companies have these materials listed on their websites, so you can do the research yourself if you want. However, it never hurts to ask directly and you may find something that isn’t on the website!

What Elite Can do for You 

Finding the right moving company can be a tall task for a lot of people, but we’ve got you covered. We’ve been Chicago’s premier moving company for over a decade now. We specialize in everything from long-distance moving to packing and storage. If you’d like to learn more about our capabilities, check our our moving FAQ’s here:

Mistakes to Avoid When Moving

Moving can be a stressful time, and there can be mistakes along the way. It takes a lot to have a successful move with no hiccups. From making sure everything is broken down and packed up, to relocating it in a timely manner, there are a lot of areas where things could go wrong during a move. But lucky for you, we’ve been through thousands of moves before, and we’ve come up with this list of some pitfalls to avoid during your moving process. 

Not Planning Enough

We always say that knowing is half the battle. Getting a full idea of your inventory can make the rest of the packing process that much easier. You’ll want to keep a detailed list of where everything is going and at least a rough idea of quantity. This way when it’s time to unpack everything you can easily know where everything is and everything can go much faster. This can also help with recovering missing items. Sometimes things can get shifted around during a move and it can take a minute to figure out what you’re missing. 

Mistakes With Boxes

The art of packing various items into various types of boxes is the true majesty of the packing process. Here are some things to avoid: 

Using too Many Plastic Bags: Using a few plastic bags for things like spare clothes can be a great alternative if you’re running out of boxes and need a quick fix, but this shouldn’t be the mainstream option. Boxes are much more space efficient and can hold much more than plastic bags. They can also be combined with cushioning to make sure your items are even more secure.

Not Labeling Properly: It can be tempting to skip this step and just assume you know where everything is, but as we mentioned earlier, things have a way of getting mixed up during a move. It’s much easier for you to label everything in the short term because the benefits will far outweigh the few minutes it’ll save. 

You Save Everything Until Later

You want to make sure you give yourself ample time to prepare, pack and double-check during a move. It’s human nature to want to push everything off until as late as possible, but in this case, that can lead to a lot of disorganization, things getting lost, and last-second scrambling. It’s important to start making your checklist and gathering up your materials as quickly as possible when you know your moving date. Ideally, you should start the packing process 1-2 weeks prior to your move to make sure you have a long enough time to do everything right.

How Elite Can Help

At Elite Moving and Storage, we consider ourselves the moving experts (and so do thousands of happy customers!). For over a decade, we’ve helped families, businesses, and everyone in between fill their moving needs in the Chicagoland area. Whether you need help moving, packing, or unpacking, we’re there for you!

The Importance of the Packing Supply Checklist

When beginning to think about a move, it can be easy for certain items, details, and even people to get lost in the shuffle of such a large task. That’s why it’s important to create a pre-packing checklist to figure out: what you have, what can go, what you might need, and more.

Your list should split things into categories ranging from what can be packed with what, what goes in the truck vs what stays with you, and what might need to be put into storage for later. Making a checklist like this can seem like a no-brainer, but we’ve had many clients neglect this important task and end up scrambling last-minute with certain items and even people they forgot to account for. But where do you start? 

Taking Inventory and Sorting It All Out

The first place you should always start with your checklist is an inventory check. You’ll want to divide your inventory check into phases:

Phase I: Write. Down. Everything. You may hear “write down the essentials,” but right now, you don’t know what you may end up wanting to leave behind, move into storage, donate, or sell. During this initial check of inventory, you just want to know what you have. Everything from the number of forks in your drawers to how many hangers you have. You should have an operating number of how much of everything you own. If you don’t get the exact number, that’s ok! But you should have a ballpark estimate.

Phase II: This is where you need to start categorizing everything. In this phase, you should start thinking about what you want to keep and what you want to donate, sell, or put in storage. This is most effective and easy when you know how much of everything you own. For instance, if you find you have too many shirts, you can make a nice donation to Goodwill with some of the extras you don’t want. Knowledge is power!

Phase III: Packing everything up. This is where you want to pack everything up. You know now what you’re keeping, what’s being put into storage, and what you may be getting rid of. Packing is arguably the hardest part of the moving process, and if you already know what’s going where, you can make that aspect of it exponentially more efficient. This part includes packing clothes together to save space, gently wrapping up and packing bowls and plates, and knowing where you’re going to store large objects to move later like sofas or large tables.

How Elite Can Help

Elite is Chicago’s premier moving company. We have years of experience packing, moving, and storing items ranging from desks to antique artwork. We offer a variety of packing options from our wood crate solution for less durable items, to our all-inclusive white glove service. If you’re looking for an easy way to get help with moving, consider Elite!

5 Tips for Making Your Moving Day Go Smoothly

Moving is a stressful task. We’ve talked about many ways to make the different aspects of your move go easier. But when the day finally comes, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s as non-stressful and easy as possible. And who knows, you might even have some fun along the way!


Prep Time

Preparing for a move is half the battle. Being able to plan out exactly what you’re bringing, your priorities, and making sure everything can best get squared away in an efficient manner are all crucial to a successful move. But this can be easier said than done. Part of prepping means making a plan, schedule, and trying to stick by that as best as possible so you can feel better prepared for the tasks ahead. But with moving, sometimes things can go wrong or not according to plan. When your move date comes, be sure to remain flexible and relaxed if things aren’t going 100% according to plan and schedule.


Accommodating Pets

We all love our pets, and taking care of them during a move can sometimes fall into a secondary category while we move all of our heavy boxes and furniture. However, it’s vital that you take care of them during this process because odds are that they’re even more stressed about it than you are. Whether that means sequestering them alone for a while, or trying to get a friend/relative to look after them for a day, finding the right solution to keep your pets safe, calm and happy during a move can save you a lot of time and stress.


Relaxation and Fun

Moving doesn’t have to be all stress and doom! It can be an occasion where you can get excited about starting something new with your life. Whether it’s moving homes, or moving office equipment around, a move indicates a fresh start and a rebirth. Taking time to sit back, relax, and take it all in can bring some much needed levity to a move.


Making Sure Everything is Secure 

Once you start packing, it’s crucial that you double-check everything. Make sure that all the boxes are taped up. Make sure that all of the furniture is secure in the van. And most importantly of all, make sure that you have everyone and everything you need for the trip. Creating things like emergency packs, an essentials kit, and a checklist can go a long way to making sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be and secure.


Getting the Right Help

The final piece to a successful move is making sure that you have the right help for the job. Oftentimes people ask their friends and family to help them move, and that’s great! But if you have a lot of stuff, or don’t want to be lifting heavy objects all day, Elite may be the move for you. We provide expert moving at a competitive price. So if you’re thinking about a moving company, consider Elite!

Tips for a Killer Summer Housewarming Party

After months of planning a move and the big day itself, a housewarming party is a fun reward for a job well done. And combine that with the beautiful weather and fabulous potential of a summer shindig, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless! Whether it’s a full summer BBQ or Chardonnay on the balcony, summer is the most popular time to move and the perfect time to celebrate.


Theming Your Housewarming Party

If you want, housewarming itself is theme enough, but if you feel like giving the celebration a subject, here are some simple solutions that can still bring something extra to your event.

Location: Especially if you’ve just gone through a long distance move, make your new home the center of attention. Decorate with an homage to famous monuments, people, and whatever else from your new city or state. Even regional foods or traditions can make your party a real celebration of not just your new house, but your new home beyond those four walls.

Summer: It’s the season of school’s-out, fun-in-the-sun, excitement; what’s not to love? Make the freedom and joy of summer the highlight of your party with a beach theme, a BBQ, and, of course, lots of time soaking up some rays. Make sure your guests bring their shades (and pray that the weather follows your theme too.)

Unpacking: If you just can’t wait to get the party started, think about throwing an unpacking party. This is exactly what it sounds like: getting a little help from your friends in unpacking those last boxes, all while having a laugh over delicious summer refreshments. Even chores like emptying boxes can be fun when you find yourself with the right crowd. Of course, this is probably better with people you already know. New neighbors might not be so keen on coming to a party only to help you organize your kitchen.

Color: Pick a color any color. This is a simple theme that leaves the possibilities wide open. It’s more about decor and design than a specific topic, so let your imagination go wild. This might be a good theme if your house has a strong sense of color already, or if you already have decor in place and you’re particularly proud of your interior design capabilities.

Something specific to you: The last theme is really up to you. Is there something you’re particularly passionate about? Something you want your new friends and neighbors to know about you? Something that defines you? Whether it be a sport, a hobby, a favorite animal, or a favorite film, making your party specific to you will help not only to make your event memorable, but help you yourself make friends with similar interests. Your true crime celebration may not be for everyone, but who knows, maybe you’ll find someone as intrigued by Jeffrey Dahmer as you are.


What’s on the menu?

Housewarming parties need, at the very least, a few snacks to keep guests happy. Of course you can also do a whole meal or even a potluck, but the important thing is that it’s delicious—and that it doesn’t cause you too much stress right after a big move. Remember, this isn’t a dinner party; you can keep it easy and tasty without giving yourself a hernia with some of these simple ideas

Order in: Get food from a neighborhood favorite. Not only is this by far the easiest method, but it also gives you a chance to explore local eateries nearby and get a feel for the food scene in your new home. You can even ask friends and neighbors for their favs so everyone gets something they love, and you find a new favorite pizza joint or Chinese takeout spot.

Who cut the cheese?: A cheese or charcuterie board is a great, simple, and still elegant way to serve a lot of people. The nature of it allows everyone to find something they like, and organizing a nice board can be fun for the artistically minded. You can even have different boards—meats, cheeses, even desserts—for a fun, customizable experience.

Potluck: Get all your friends and neighbors in on the action. With a potluck, there’s something for everyone, and you get a taste not only of delicious food, but of the kinds of people you’ll now be seeing on a daily basis. The food someone cooks or brings can tell a lot about a person, so learn a little something about your neighbors while chowing down on some delicious dishes. Less work for you, more food for everyone.

Classic Cookout: It’s summer, and if you have the yard for it, a cookout is the perfect way to spend a temperate evening. Burgers, hot dogs, even grilled fish or vegetables are an option. It’s a delicious way to enjoy a variety of foods, incredibly fun and interactive, and who knows, the delicious smell may attract even more friends and neighbors your way.


Drinks, Anyone?

When it comes to throwing a good party—housewarming or otherwise—there’s one main rule when it comes to drinks: don’t run out. But of course there’s more to it than that, and you want to make the most of your big cheers to your big move.

Batch up cocktails: You’ll be too busy mixing with guests to mix up their drinks as well. Prepare big-batch cocktails served in pitchers or dispensers. Or, let everyone help themselves to a drink station stocked with wine and beer and lemonade and iced tea. Be sure to place the bar strategically, as, without fail, revelers end up revolving around it.

Have non-alcoholic beverages as well: Whether it’s for kids, pregnant women, or just anyone who has to work in the morning, it’s important to have a variety of beverages from beer, to wine, to soda, and of course, remember to put water out. Especially if it’s a particularly hot summer day.

Match the drinks to the occasion: You don’t need to put out your finest bottles to impress. Remember, it’s about you and your home, not about your wining and dining capabilities. Just make sure there’s something for everyone, and your guests will be happy.


What To Do at a Housewarming Party

So you’ve got the menu down, but what else is there to do? You shouldn’t feel the need to create a whole itinerary, but it can be nice to have one or two things planned to make the evening memorable or in case there’s a lull in conversation.

Outdoor activities: Summer is perfect for outdoor activities. If you have a lawn, you can set up games like badminton, croquet, or cornhole that everyone—young or old—can get involved in. And if you’re lucky enough to have a fire pit, take advantage of the cool night air by roasting marshmallows and ending your night with delicious s’mores.

Even if you don’t have a big yard, setting up simple board or card games or even charades on a balcony can be an equally fun way to soak up the sun.

Get to know your neighbors: Of course you do this just by talking, but icebreaker games like two-truths-and-a-lie or never-have-I-ever can be a fun way to get to know things about them that you may not have discovered any other way.

Give a grand tour: It’s the whole reason for celebration! You’ve put copious effort into planning, packing, and it’s finally paid off! Revel in it a little bit and show off all the things you love about your beautiful new home.


Some More Tips and Tricks

Last but not least, here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about your summer housewarming party in the general sense.

Keep Your Housewarming Cool: Even though you’re housewarming, you don’t want it to get too hot. Especially during the summer, being outside in the scorching sun can ruin anyone’s party spirit. So keep your party to the evening time, just as the day starts to cool off. Not only is this the perfect time to unwind, but it also puts you at the perfect time to start preparing a nice evening meal.

Use the Space You Have: Obviously the big BBQ blowout is the most quintessential summer party, but just because you don’t have a big backyard or a fancy grill doesn’t mean you can’t have a great summer party. Use whatever access you have—yard, balcony, even nice, natural light through large windows, to soak up the sun and make the season a part of the celebration.

There’s No Rush: When it comes to the timing of your housewarming party, remember that there’s no rush. A new home will still be new in a few weeks or even a couple of months. Everyone knows that unpacking takes time, and you don’t want guests coming over too quickly, only to trip over boxes in a cluttered entryway. You want to present a home you’re proud of.

This will also allow you time to get to know your neighbors and others around you before your party. Of course, the event itself is a great meet-and-greet event, but it’s even better if you have time to meet people beforehand and really curate your guest list for a lovely evening.

How to write your invite: Whether a dinner party, a BBQ, simple drinks, or a potluck, the wording of the invites should reflect the style of the event. A formal invitation may be suited to some events, but a casual note or even a text or email can be sufficient for a casual get together. As long as you remember the essentials: address, day, time, and general information about what to expect.

Keep decor simple: It’s a housewarming party, so you want to show off your real house. Your decor, your style, (maybe not completely finished) but authentically you. Besides, you’ll be a little busy, what with moving and unpacking and all. That being said, there are a few things that can really liven up a new house, especially if you don’t have much time for a full home makeover.

  • Add some greenery to your household for a more natural feel, a little added calm, a fresh, natural fragrance, and the feel of home. Even something as simple and easy as a succulent can do wonders.
  • Hang some art. Even if you don’t have everything exactly where you want it, the art you choose shows your style and interests—a great thing to put on display when meeting new neighbors and friends. Plus interesting art pieces can be great conversation starters.
  • Toilet paper isn’t exactly decor, but that being said, make sure you have enough of the essentials. Keep important paper products and other household items like trash bags well-stocked and within reach for you or anyone who needs them.

The #1 Housewarming Party Essential: The #1 thing you need to throw a housewarming party? Your belongings. And that’s where Elite Moving and Storage comes in. We may not be able to plan the party, but we can supply the decor—your decor—with our 15+ years of experience moving Chicagoland people and families across the country.

And if that whole unpacking party idea isn’t your thing, there’s another group that’s happy to do the unpacking for you. That’s us too! Our movers will unpack all boxes and place your belongings in the correct drawers based on your instructions. There’s no need to lift a finger unless it’s to raise a glass to your new home and the years of happy memories to come.

Visit to learn more about our unpacking services as well as our packing, and traditional moving capabilities. Get a free quote today, and we’ll make sure you get you moved and party ready for your next big adventure this summer.

How to Safely Pack Electronics During a Move

Backing it all up

When moving, things can sometimes become damaged or broken. That’s why, if you have important files and data on your electronics, you should always back up your devices to the cloud or an external hard drive.

If you do back your electronics to external hard drives, be sure to put them in a safe place to ensure all your files and data don’t get lost during the moving process. Accidents happen! That’s why it’s important to be prepared. 


When it’s time to pack up your electronics, be sure to have a system in place for organizing their component parts. For game systems, always make sure the games are taken out of the device and placed back in the case and stored for ease of access. Same if you have a DVD player.

It’s also important to have a system setup for wiring, chargers, and cords. A good technique is to color code each type of wiring so that it can be easily identified when unpacking. Maybe you sort all your chargers with green and HDMI cables with blue. Or, you could correspond a certain color to specific electronic devices. Perhaps you put a red piece of tape on your TV and bind all your TV cables together with red string! There are many creative ways to stay organized and secure with your wiring, you’ll find the right one.

Boxing it all up

Electronics can be heavy and fragile. When putting your electronics into boxes, it’s crucial that you utilize sturdy, thick boxes with internal padding. This is obviously because you want to minimize the possibility of your electronics breaking while in the box.

There are many types of padding, from simple packing peanuts, to silicon gel pads, to using small pillows. Get creative with it! Just be sure that when you put your electronics in a box they are secured and packed tightly.

Use blankets

For larger electronics like TV’s that can’t be packed into boxes, protecting their screens can present a set of unique challenges for movers. It’s always good to know the dimensions of your moving vehicle and the size of your television so that you can fit it in the right position.

For an easy, proven method for protecting your screen, we use one or two moving blankets to cover the screen to help prevent scratching. It’s a simple solution, and effective!

Consider storage units

Even with all of these tips, you may find that you can’t move all of your things the day of your move. This is where storage units can come in handy. Putting larger or more fragile items into storage for a few days can help take the ease off worrying about their safety. If all of your electronics fit into a few boxes, you might want to consider putting them into storage and moving them in at a later date when everything else is set.

Moving can be a stressful process, but Elite Moving and Storage can help you have peace of mind as you get ready to tackle your next relocation. Request a quote from us and find out how we can help with your moving needs.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Pets Comfortable During a Move


Preparing a move can be stressful enough on us humans, but it can be life-changing for pets. When relocating, it’s important to consider how to handle your furry companion during the moving process.

Start by identifying what they need to stay relaxed, give yourself plenty of time to plan for accommodating their needs, and ideally, you’ll want to keep them secluded and away from the action during the move, but we’ll get into that later.

Packing Their Belongings

You’ll need to pack their belongings into boxes and everything else with your move, but also be sure to pack a box of essentials that is easily accessible during your move. Plastic totes are ideal for their durability and to protect everything from moisture. Your essentials box should include everything your pet will need during the first few days of the move, or in case there’s an emergency. Some of these items include:

  • ID tags
  • Food and water dishes
  • 2-3 days worth of food and treats
  • Kitty litter and scoop, if you’re a cat owner
  • Harness or leash
  • Trash bags
  • A blanket or towel
  • Toys or chewies
  • Medications or supplements

Updating the Vet

Whether it’s finding a new vet, or simply updating your existing one, your pet it just like you when it comes to updating their medical information. Updating your vet can help them update their medical records and any prescription medications your pets may have.

Keep Them Secluded and Out of the Action

Odds are that your pets will be very stressed during the moving process. This is an entirely new thing they’re doing and they’re going to an entirely new environment. As much as it may be painful, it’s important to focus on getting your things unpacked and under control during the move.

You should keep your animals somewhere they can’t interfere with your move, because it’ll be stressful enough! When everything has settled down, you can let them out of their crates or a separate room and get them adjusted to their new environment.

Getting them Adjusted

Your pet will likely take some time getting used to their new home. Whether that’s the new lighting, smells, or the way you’ve arranged the room, they’ll be very curious. Be sure to be comforting and reassuring the first few days in your new place. They’ll associate you with their new home and that can help ease them into their new environment.

Whether it’s moving down the street or across the country, Elite Moving and Storage can help in all of your relocation efforts!

First Apartment Essentials Checklist: What you need, what you don’t, and what you want anyway

There’s something powerful about finally having a place to call your own. It’s your own little universe, a space to shape however you want, an environment where you can truly embrace your own vision of what home can be. And now that you have space all your own, you have to fill it with furniture and belongings all your own as well. That’s where this list comes in.

When it comes to buying for your first apartment, there are needs and there are needs. It’s easy to tell yourself you “need” an air fryer or a set of matching embroidered throw pillows, but before you get too deep down an Etsy rabbit hole, let’s consider the essentials. Room by room.


Cooking for yourself can be either the most exciting, the most daunting, or the most frustrating part of starting out on your own, depending on your love of the kitchen. But no matter how you feel about toiling over a hot stove—whether you’re more Haute Cuisine or Hot Pockets—it can be a surprise how many pieces and parts go into a functioning kitchen. Of course, depending on how in-depth your recipes are (and how big your takeout budget) the amount of kitchen items you’ll want or need might be different, but here are what most would consider the minimum essentials for a well-stocked kitchen

  • One medium frying pan or wok
  • One small pot
  • One larger pot
  • One oven-safe dish like that for a casserole
  • One large or medium cookie sheet
  • A set of plates and bowls
    • Usually 4 of each, but you can get away with two as long as you don’t have large parties, or you’re ok with eating your dinner out of a mug while your guests use dishes.
  • Flatware: Forks, knives and spoons.
    • For a first apartment, there’s probably little need for specifics like fish forks, grapefruit spoons, or cheese knives.
  • Drinking glasses
    • Water glasses for four, and maybe wine glasses too
  • A mug for coffee or tea (or hot chocolate—you’re living on your own, you can drink whatever you want!)
  • Coffee maker or French press:
    • This may seem like a nonessential purchase, but if you’re a big coffee drinker, your Starbucks tab can add up quick. It may be better to brew at home.
  • Cooking knives
    • One serrated
    • One chef’s knife
    • One paring knife
  • Spatula
  • Large wooden spoon for stirring
  • A large mixing bowl
  • Kitchen shears or scissors
  • A whole lot of paper napkins—especially if you’re not used to cooking. There will be messes.
  • Strainer for draining pasta or vegetables
  • Ice cube tray
  • Bottle opener and corkscrew
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Tupperware for leftovers, and even more Tupperware if you plan to meal prep
  • Oven mitts
  • Dish Towels
  • A dish drying rack if there’s no dishwasher
  • Garbage can



The room where the magic happens. Sleep. We’re talking about sleep. And a good night of it requires more than just a mattress slung haphazardly on the floor. When picking your bed, bedding, and other furniture, take into account the size of the room, the amount of natural light, and the location of outlets and organize accordingly. If there’s one place to splurge here, it’s on a good mattress. Make sure your bedroom is the comfiest room in the house—a room that truly makes you feel at home.

  • Sheets
  • Pillows
    • Get the basic ones before the fancy decorative ones. One or two should suffice
  • Comforter or duvet and duvet cover
    • Especially if it’s cold
  • Bedside lamp and maybe more depending on the quality of lighting in the bedroom
  • Curtains, if your bedroom doesn’t have some sort of window coverings already
  • Dresser
  • Full Length Mirror
  • Organizers including under-bed storage
  • Hangers for the closet
  • Laundry hamper


Living Room

The living room is your main space for entertaining, so make sure you have everything you need to impress your guests when they come by to see your new digs. But it doesn’t have to be crazy. Unless you’re holding some sort of grand dinner soirée, a few comfy seating options and a place to put plates should suffice to prove to everyone once and for all—or at least trick them into believing—that you are a responsible adult with your life together.

  • Sofa
  • Coffee table
  • Small dining room table and chairs
  • Additional lighting:
    • One or two lamps if lighting is a major issue
  • Table for TV or storage if you have a TV that doesn’t mount to the wall.



Everybody poops. You might as well like the way the room looks while you’re doing it. And always be prepared with extra toilet paper.

  • Bath towels
    • at least two so there’s one when the other is in the wash
  • Two hand/face towels
  • Shower curtain and liner
  • Toothbrush holder
    • although this can be anything. A plastic cup, a glass jar, a mug
  • Bathmat or rug
  • Toilet brush
  • Plunger
  • Toilet paper
    • Any will do, but don’t underestimate the serotonin boost that the small luxury of 2-ply can provide.
  • Small trash can
    • And trash bags for it


Cleaning, Maintenance, and Medical

That which lies under the sink can often go under the radar…until you need it. But while your new place may start out clean, it won’t stay that way unless you have the proper materials to maintain it. And even more important are items necessary for maintenance and medical purposes. Those are things you certainly don’t want to be caught without. They’re not the sexiest purchases you’ll make—you won’t find any Pinterest board for “cute garbage bag inspo”—but they’re nonetheless one of the most important things to have at the ready.

  • Garbage bags
    • Make sure you get the right size
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Sponges
    • Separate sets for dishes and cleaning
  • Soft rags and microfiber cloths
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Bucket for mopping or cleaning
  • Mop for hard surfaces if applicable
  • Vacuum
    • For a first time apartment, a small handheld vacuum should suffice
  • Bathroom cleaning spray
  • Multi-purpose spray
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dishwasher detergent,
    • if you have a dishwasher
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Baking soda and white vinegar
  • Rubber gloves
  • Hand soap for kitchen and bathroom
  • Bandages: One package of assorted sizes
  • Butterfly bandage: One package for keeping deep lacerations closed
  • Small scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Crepe bandage to reduce swelling
  • Cold compress
  • Cotton balls
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Neosporin for small wounds
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antacids
  • Aloe for minor burns, including sunburn
  • Digital thermometer
  • Fans
    • One for each room, if your apartment doesn’t have ceiling fans
  • Flashlight
    • One in your bedroom and one in the main living space
  • Screwdriver
    • Philips and straight blade for assembling furniture and other tasks
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Hammer


Food is a hard one. It’s certainly a need, yes. But do you need the entire Trader Joe’s bakery section? Maybe not. So here are the basics for any beginner kitchen. Beyond that, let your own culinary flag fly!

  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • Baking soda and power
  • Coffee or tea
  • Cereal
  • Quick oats
  • Nut butter of your choice
  • Ketchup, mustard, or other preferred condiments
  • Vinegar of your choosing
  • Cooking oil of your choice
  • Soy sauce
  • Pasta sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Salsa
  • A few of your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels nuts)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic
  • Milk (or plant milk)
  • Butter
  • Eggs or egg substitute
  • Fresh fruit and veg
    • Or canned/frozen fruit and veg
  • Jam or preserves
  • Meat or poultry
  • A sweet treat or two to celebrate your new digs.

Dig in!

Now for the fun part: the essentials are fun, but the nonessentials are even better. Here are some things you may not need, but you just can’t help picking up.

In the kitchen:

Appliances like a food processor, a stand mixer, an instant pot, or an air fryer are the darlings of the modern kitchen. They can make cooking easier, create variety in your menu, and be fun to try out. Just make sure you have the space and budget to get them and the time to put them to good use. The same goes for additional pots and pans, baking trays, fun molds and dishware—it’s not necessary, but if cooking and entertaining is something you truly love, the extra expense can be worth it.

In the living room:

The living room is more than likely where you’ll do most of your entertaining. It’s a room that should represent you and your style to your guests, as well as being an ideal location for…as the name suggests…living. That means even though decorative rugs, throw pillows, art, planters, and tchotchkes aren’t necessities in the strictest sense, they do contribute a lot to making your home truly yours.

Oh, and a TV. Again, not a necessity…unless the Super Bowl is coming up.

In the bedroom:

Another place where decorations may not be mandatory, but it would feel a little bit dour without them. This is your room! Make it special with some art you love, a decorative rug, or even a little reading nook in the corner complete with bookshelves and a comfy chair. Whatever you do, just make it your own.

In the cleaning closet:

Keeping your home clean becomes a point of pride when that home is your own. It’s a way to show respect to your own space, and to impress with your superior housekeeping abilities. So a fancy vacuum, furniture polish and wax, and various other more high-maintenance cleaning supplies can give you the upper hand you need to keep everything spotless.

In the bathroom:

Probably not where you’re going to be driven to excess, but bath products like expensive shampoos, skincare products, and bath bombs can be one way to relax. And if there’s any one way you should feel in your new home, it’s relaxed.

And anywhere else

The best part about having a place all your own is that you decide what to use the space for. So whether it’s a spiffy home office, a fully decked out gym, a room to keep your fabric and sewing machine, or a playground of toys and treats for your fur baby, your new place can be unapologetically you.

And to make sure that all that stuff that makes your place yours also makes it in one piece, movers like Elite Moving and Storage have everything necessary to ensure that the important things (and the frivolities) are transported quickly and safely. So whether your first new place is a studio or a larger space, whether it’s a forever home or just a stepping stone to something more, you can feel secure that it will feel like home with all your belongings transferred with the ease and speed of 15+ years of Chicagoland moving expertise.