When Senior Move into a new apartment is an important step forward, whatever the circumstances that precipitate the move. This is a brand new beginning that has with it the need to be practical and some room to be whimsical.
A new apartment whether independent or senor assisted it is a totally blank slate. You are starting with four walls, a ceiling, a floor … and often little else. Before moving into the new apartment, let’s talk about hard reality. Acquiring all the things you need is an expensive undertaking, so go into it with a plan. You will want to come up with a budget of what you can spend right away in light of moving costs and other related expenses. Figure out your budget before you drive off to the store or fill the online shopping cart and then stick to it. You don’t need everything right away, and some items you might be surprised to find you really don’t need at all. Spend wisely, and stick to immediate needs.
For some seniors, it’s more about paring down. While other seniors are starting anew, from scratch. Here are a few things to think about.
Stocking your kitchen is a must. Whether you fancy yourself a gourmet chef or are allergic to handling a saucepan, you will spend some time in the kitchen. You will want to have many basics for lazy breakfasts, late-night snacks, and times when staying home sounds all so good. You may go weeks without entertaining, and then suddenly, the whole crew winds up at your place.
A modest collection of various sizes of pots and pans, ovenware, serving utensils and most important – plates, cups, mugs, and silverware – is a fundamental necessity. Items like dish towels, scrubbing sponges, pot holders, and a decent-sized trash can are important too. Keep in mind that none of these items have to be top quality. You can stock up your first apartment at second-hand stores, where a majority of these items you can find for under $50. Target, Walmart, and Ikea are also great choices for high-quality items at relatively inexpensive prices.
A smartly stocked pantry and a fridge can help you save money for the other items that your apartment needs. Obviously, you’ll make plenty of future grocery trips for specific ingredients but start with some basics. Pantry staples include rice, pasta, bread, all-purpose flour, sugar, coffee and tea, cereal, peanut butter, ketchup and mustard, cooking oil, various canned or dried beans, canned tuna, pasta sauce, a bag or two of chips, pretzels, or nuts, and of course salt and pepper.
Nothing looks lonelier than an empty refrigerator. You will want to have a few items to fix something once the hunger pangs strike. Your fridge will always need milk, butter, eggs, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a jar of your favorite jam or preserves. Make sure your freezer doesn’t look like Siberia either. Have on hand favorites such as frozen pizza, frozen patties (burgers, veggie burgers), other meat/poultry options, and frozen fruits and vegetables.
One truth about living alone is that there’s no one to blame for all the messes and no one is going to clean up after you. Accidents also happen, and so you have to be ready for spills, stains, dust, and grime. Item one should be a decent quality vacuum cleaner. You don’t need to go all out for an expensive vacuum. A second-hand model that sucks up dirt and dust, while restoring the pile to your carpet is quite adequate. You will want all the normal tools of the trade: garbage bags, a broom and dustpan, rubber gloves, various sponges, anti-bacterial wipes, and paper towels. A bucket and mop is a must if you have hard-surface floors. Cleaning spray and multi-purpose spray is important for a number of uses. Also have items like dish soap, laundry detergent, baking soda, and white vinegar on hand.
Your bedroom is your sanctuary. Sleep is important, so if you’re considering buying a new mattress for your apartment, you may want to spend a little bit extra to get something you know will be comfortable and will last more than three or four years. If you can’t afford a quality mattress right now, it’s fine to go with a futon or air mattress to start. We’ve all been there.
Here’s what else you’ll need. Clean sheets feel like a gift from on high. One set to start is sufficient, as long as you remember to wash them regularly. If not, get at least two. Your pillows are also important. A warm multi-season bedspread or comforter is a must. Also, consider your closet. Storage solutions such as dressers, plastic organizers, or under-the-bed containers, hangers for the closet, and a laundry hamper will keep your place orderly and organized.
In addition to basic toiletries like your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and soap, you’ll also need a few things to keep your bathroom organized and functional. You want a couple of bath towels and hand and face towels to get started. Proper bathroom management means purchasing items such as a shower curtain and liner, wall hook, toothbrush holder or case, cup, bathmat, toilet brush, plunger, back stock of toilet paper, and a small trash can.
Furniture is what makes the place uniquely your own. You will want to start with the basics such as a sofa, coffee table, and a small dinette set. Then, add pieces accordingly. Designers say that furniture is like fashion, and the pieces you start with are not necessarily the ones you will have forever. Furniture stores run great promotions on the Federal Holidays. President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Black Friday are all great times to shop.
The beginning of your time in an apartment will generally require lots of trips back and forth to the store, and that’s totally all right. Start with the stuff you really need, and then add on and upgrade as you can. A lot of these essentials will stay with you for years, so you won’t have to go through this every time you move.