You found the perfect place, you signed the lease, you wrote the cheque. Congrats, you're now all ready to move into your first place! Except, wait a minute, you're completely unprepared. Besides finding the perfect place you'll need things to put in your new home. And what, exactly do you need?
1. Pots & pans: a stainless steel frying pan for cooking eggs, a saucepan with a lid for cooking grains, vegetables, and sauces, and a cast-iron skillet for everything else.
These will be your go-to cooking items. Even if it's just to boil a simple pot of water or creating a fancy béarnaise sauce to go alongside that steak you just grilled up; a good set of pots and pans is ideal for any first kitchen. Then over time you can upgrade to fancier pieces when your wallet can handle it.
2. Microwave/Toaster oven: it's the first appliance I bought, and it's great for cooking and reheating meals, especially if you're cooking for just yourself. This will be your best friend! If you aren't a big cook or just learning, make sure your freezer is stocked full of good foods (pizza, spaghetti sauce, etc.), throw it in the microwave and there you have it - meals for days!
3. Plastic reusable containers – and masking tape: For food storage in the fridge (leftovers, meals prepared in advance, or food to go in the freezer, etc.), just get a bunch of low-end reusable storage containers and a roll of masking tape. You can use the tape to identify the contents and the date of preparation on the lid so you don’t have to wonder what forgotten mystery item X is in the fridge.
Also the containers are perfect for meal storage - taking food to school and work, or throwing it in the kids lunch box. It's a great space saver and it's easy to identify what you've thrown in the back of your fridge.
4. A can-opener: Make sure to get a multi-purpose one. It will have a bottle opener on it and multiple other facets - some I honestly still am not unsure of what their purpose is, but there is always a use for everything!
I use my can opener weekly - living on my own I don't have a strong guy around to open those darn pickle jars!
5. A few baking sheets: Something to toss things on when you bake them in the oven, from pizza and vegetables to cookies and bread. Again, just get the cheap ones– an air bake one is a nice $4 extravagance, but not vital.
Just make sure to wash them properly and you should be able to get a good few years use out of these guys.
Tip - items 3-5 can be found at local dollar stores for around $3-$5 and are of quite good quality, such as the "Betty Crocker" brand. I still have some of my first purchased items, and it's five years later and they are good-as-new. Plus a lot of dollar stores carry hand towels and little trinkets to decorate your kitchen to make it feel more homey.
These items are all you’ll need to prepare, eat, and store almost anything that’s realistic in your first-home kitchen. If you do come up with additional needs, don’t be afraid to think outside the box a little bit before you turn to the store – you’ll be surprised at how many nifty solutions you have around the house. Also being on a tight budget considering you've just taken this big leap to be on your own, a lot of kitchen essentials can be passed down from friends and family. Make it your own and have fun!
[ALSO SEE: 5 SIMPLE TRICKS TO A HAPPY AND HEALTHIER YOU]