Congratulations on the purchase of your home! The hard part is over. Now the joys, and expenses, of homeownership begin!
Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or experienced homeowner, it is essential that you buy the necessary items to solve any of the problems that are bound to come up.
New Home Essential Tasks
Before furnishing your home, it is imperative that you secure the property. Therefore, your first steps should include:
- Rekeying or changing the locks on all doors – Rekeying is generally cheaper. A qualified locksmith can do this.
- Partake in any needed repairs – If you did a home inspection, your inspector should have pointed out any necessary repairs. An example of a page from a home inspection report is below.
- Locate the breaker box, water shutoff, and all other utilities – In the event that an emergency occurs, such as a toilet leak, you need to know how to turn off the water to the house.
- Transfer any bills to your own name – If you are unsure what company services the area, your real estate agent should be able to help you do this. For some utilities, the city or town may provide service. In such cases, the municipality should transfer any bills to your name, but you should check with them to confirm.
- Make a list of service providers – Some services, such as lawn care, you may wish to do yourself. Others, such as plumbing, will require a professional for more serious repairs. A real estate agent should be able to provide you a list of trusted licensed and insured service professionals. You can also find recommendation on Facebook and Nextdoor groups.
New Home Checklist
Below are items I recommend to new homeowners, separated by household area of use. Of course, some items will not be applicable to all buyers.
For example, if you are buying a condominium in a larger building, or are simply renting for a short time period, you may not need garden care equipment.
- Trash Cans – I would recommend one per floor.
- Light Bulbs – Check each light to see which type of bulb they take.
- Cleaning Supplies – bleach, soft scrub, glass cleaner, rags, disposable gloves and paper towels.
- Batteries – All sizes, make sure to get some button batteries, perhaps the most common size being 2032, as they serve as backup batteries for many items.
Basic Household Tools
- Multi-tool – You can avoid buying many of the below tools if you simply get a multi-tool, like a Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife. You can also buy a household tool kit.
- Screwdriver – Both Phillips and regular.
- Hex Keys
- Screws and Nails
- Tape Measure
- Socket Set
- Broom and Dustpan
- Vacuum Cleaner
- First-Aid Kit
- Fire Extinguisher – Check with your fire department to see how many are recommended per home.
- Safety Glasses
- Safety Mask
- Kitchen towels
- Pot holders
- Cookware and baking tools
- Serveware and Serving Dishes
- Knives, Forks and Spoons, other utensils and cutlery
- Cutting Board
- Food storage – Such as Tupperware
- Coffee Maker/Pot
- Tea Kettle – Electric or stovetop
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Toilet Bowl Brush
- Fill Valve – Save yourself a call to the plumber. Each one should be replaced every 5 years, and it’s easy to do it yourself.
- Curtains – I always recommend buying curtains (and a rod) on top of blinds, especially if excess light bothers you.
- Earplugs – When a pipe bursts and there is emergency overnight roadwork outside your home, you will be thankful. Plus, if you are using loud multi-tools, they will be useful. Remember, hearing damage is cumulative.
- Closet Shelves
- Door Organizer – I hang my shoes on the back of my door.
- Dryer Sheets
- Ironing Board
- Laundry Hamper
- Folding Rack
- Desk Light
- Power Strip
- Dust Cleaner
- Air Freshener
- Dehumidifier / Humidifier
- Smart Speaker
- Gardening Gloves
- Lawn Mower
- Weed Wacker/Trimmer
- Watering Can
- Waste Bucket/Paper Bags
- Lock – For an exterior shed.
Things I Do NOT recommend
- Smart Locks – Rekeying locks is generally much cheaper than buying a keypad/smart one. Plus, smart locks are prone to hacking.
- Label Maker – Never took it out of its package
- Instant Pot / The Latest Fad – Every few years, a new trendy item becomes the “it” tool that you “most have.” First it was the NutriBullet, now it; the Instant Pot. Save your money.
- Cheater Plugs – Check with your electrician, but they are not always safe.
- Chainsaws/Ax/anything that you do not know how to use – Don’t rely on a YouTube video to figure out how to use a Chainsaw. Sometimes it’s best to call the professionals.
Where to Buy Household Essentials
I always recommend starting local, and buying American. Local stores need our support and generally carry higher-quality products. Plus, their staff are better-suited to help you choose the right product for your needs.
Most (not all) products made in America are created to last. For example, I went through four cheap screwdrivers before buying a Leatherman multi-tool, which looks as good as new many years later. Leatherman tools are made in Oregon.
Some items you can only get online, in which case read all reviews carefully.
How to Get Some Tools for Free
Homeowners that are downsizing or moving out of state (or country), may not need many of their household items. Sometimes they offer to sell their unneeded tools to the buyers, or simply offer them what they have.
Sellers often offer the buyers of their home furniture, paint cans, etc. I often advice my buyers to take such items, as long as they plan on using them. Many tools made in the last century are of far superior quality to those created these days.
Conclusion – Essential Household Items for All New Homeowners
The above list comes out to 80+ lines, and roughly 110 items. While I would like to think that covers the majority of essential household items, I know in my own house we have many more.
A buyer once asked me how much all of the necessary items for new homeowners would cost. The above list probably comes out to $2,500+, but that’s not including bigger-ticket items such as a bedroom set, couches, TVs, etc. Now it makes sense why a lot of newlyweds ask for household items on their wedding registry.
Remember, you do not have to buy every household item upfront. Start with what you need, then slowly build your way up. It’s a little like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino (2008), who told the kid that although he did not have much at the time, over the course of his life he would build up an entire toolshed worth of supplies. The bottom line: Don’t feel overwhelmed!
If you have an item to contribute or a brand to recommend, please leave it in a comment below.