Don’t forget the toilet paper…

So I realized I never gave ya’ll an update on the apartment situation. As you know, Girl Ninja and I applied to be tenants in an awesome condo unit earlier this month. It was the first place we saw that we both loved. Unfortunately, we got rejected. We were heart broken. Apparently another applicant was not only interested in signing a 1 year lease, but was looking in to buying the place. Last time I checked, I didn’t have $400,000 sitting in my bank account to counter his offer. Thankfully, we ended up finding another unit in the same condo complex, with an INCREDIBLE view, and a bigger kitchen for the same price. We submitted applications, and are super excited to say WE GOT THE PLACE!!!!

I move in a week from Thursday and will live there, alone, until after the wedding when Girl Ninja moves in. That means for a little over a month I will be flying solo. Living the bachelors dream. Walking around my place butt naked. Drinking orange juice, Listening to “Born to be wild” on repeat. Ahh yes, I can’t wait.

While I am super excited about 34 days (not that I’m keeping track) of me time, I’m starting to realize just how big of a process this moving gig is going to be. I currently live with an old college roommate in a two bedroom apartment. Needless to say,Β  I don’t really own any great furniture. Nothing GN and I would want to use in our new place that is. I decided to make moving out really easy on both me and my roomie. I sold him ALL of my stuff for $100. When I say “ALL”, I mean it. The only thing I will be bringing with me is my twin size bed (which I’ll get rid of once GN moves in obviously) and my clothes.

I’ve spent the better part of the last week browsing craigslist and Ikea to get a feel for how much GN and I can expect to spend when furnishing our place. Fortunately, it’s pretty tiny only 630sq/ft so we don’t need much. We are pretty confident we can make the place look like the inside of a “West Elm” catalog for about $1,500 (maybe less, maybe more depending on what wedding gifts we get).

Figuring out the furniture should be pretty straightforward. The tricky part, however, is trying to figure out what to do about all the “odds and ends”. GN and I need to sit down and make a list of all the crap we have to buy on, or before, I move in. Ya know, the things you never think about, i.e. toilet paper, paper towels, paper towel holder, trash cans, trash bags, granite counter top spray, stainless steel spray, sponges, dishwasher detergent, duct tape, plunger, blah, blah, blah.

This is the part where you all can help a ninja out. I’ve never had to accumulate all of these things in a one-stop shopping spree. I plan to head to Target, Big Lots, and Ross on July 1 and drop about $400 on all these tiny little purchases, only problem is… I don’t really know what all I need. Any of you know of a resource (or have a spreadsheet) of all the random knickknacks and household items one needs for dayΒ  to day living? I’m even talking things like vaccum bags, and bathroom spray. I’d love to get my hands on a SUPER thorough list that will help make this shopping extravaganza a little smoother. I would hate to be sitting on the toilet, ya know…doing my business, only to find out that I forgot to buy toilet paper. Talk about a crappy situation (pun intended)

What are some super obscure items that you can’t do without in your house? Anyone know of any great “household hacks” that can save me some moolah? Hit me with ANY and EVERYTHING you think I need!!!!

41 thoughts on “Don’t forget the toilet paper…

  1. Ok…I don’t live in USA but i’ll give it a bash (we still use loo paper in new zealand!)
    Bathroom
    Soap (per sink – liquid or bar), check there are PLUGS (or buy), Hand towels, bath mat, regular towels, t/p, toilet spray or matches (optional), toilet brush, toilet cleaner, toilet block/cage/cistern tablet (optional), basket for t/p to live in (optional), Soap or bodywash for shower, Toiletries (depends on preference!)
    Laundry
    Washing powder, softener and dryer sheets (if you use them), basket, pegs if you have washing line, stain remover, starch (if you need it), iron, ironing board, clothes horse
    Kitchen
    Pots (depends on how much/what you cook – saucepan, frypan/wok, pasta pot, stock/soup pot, maybe steamer insert?), Colander, Grater, Roasting pan, baking tray, extra baking pans if needed, mixing bowl set – one large one medium, salad bowl, sieve, wooden spoon (at least one), egg slice, soup ladle, whisk, knife set (or one large, one pairing, one bread minimum), something to keep utensils in if no drawer, matches/lighter if you have gas hob, kettle/jug, toaster, tupperwear/plastic containers for leftovers, bowls, cups, plates, glasses, teatowels, bench cloth, scrubber/scourer pad, dishwash/dishwasher powder, jug (water/drinks), can opener, corkscrew (if applicable), trash bin and bags, tongs, serving platter, pot rest (extra), oven mits, ice cube tray, napkins/paper towels if you use them, fruit bowl?
    Bedroom
    Sheets, pillow cases, blankets, duvet (comforter), pillows, electric blanket (if you use it), beside lamp, coat hangers, bedroom furniture
    Misc – cleaning products (minimum: creme cleanser, spray and wipe, disinfectant – can use as floor cleaner, maybe carpet spot cleaner if apartment carpet is nice!), Multi-plug box, tv, living room furniture, torch and spare batteries, basic tools – hammer, nails, screwdriver etc. adhesive for putting up pictures etc – pins or command adhesive etc.

    Hope that helps!

  2. Congratulations on the place, Ninja,

    The only things I would add to Louise’s New Zealander list are a dish drying rack</b .(for when you only have a couple dishes to do by hand), a water filter (depending on the quality of the water in the town), and a microwave cover (covering food reduces how often you need to clean the nuker, put paper towl or wax paper also suffice).

    Don’t buy tupperwear or plastic containers. Just save Chinese food containers.

      • The place we love gives us soup in a cup or pint cylinder “tupperware” containers that we use all the time to freeze stuff. They work better than some of the stuff we actually paid for!

        • In DC the Thai places give them out. They do not leak, while Gladware et al. do.

          As for cookware – if your Mom is anything like mine, she will have tons of extra kitchen ware. My mother inherited her mother’s stuff when she died, so Mom had 2 of everything.

          The best chefs have the smallest kitchens and the least amount of gadgets. Ensure everything is both dishwasher and microwave safe. My list would be – good set of knives, 3 pots, 1 each of: frying pan, cookie sheet, brownie pan, cutting board, cheese grater, spatula (both for eggs & for scraping the sides of a bowl), potato peeler, wooden spoon, big metal spoon, big mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, 1 pair of tongs (can double for use with grill). Do NOT put your wooden spoon in the dishwasher!

          Good luck!

  3. Wow. Louise got just about everything in one shot. For your tools, make sure you get both a flat head and a Phillips screwdriver. I think though you can do without the fruit bowl and the egg slicer. Unless of course you like sliced eggs.

    All you really need though is the toilet paper. And soap for afterwards. Anything else can wait until you put it on your list for your next trip to the store.

    • Sorry guys – egg slice is what we call those flat flip utensils on a handle, for like flipping pancakes or burgers or whatever. I thought that was the real name? Now I feel like an idiot! (You def do NOT need sliced eggs haha)

      • @ Louise – We call those spatulas. A spatula is also what we call the flat, flexible gadget used to spread things like frosting or mixing batter.

  4. You can use olive oil to clean your stainless with. It by far is the easiest thing to use. Give it a good cleaning first with a regular windex type thing, then rub on sparingly with paper towel and buff with clean paper towel.

    Cleaning stainless appliances is a royal pain to do effectively and without streaks. Weimens works pretty good but it’s a type of wax and it builds up over time and heck if I can figure out how to buff it without streaking in spots.

    I vote that you just wing it and plan on doing multiple trips to the store those first few weeks.

    I’d add spices to your list if you do any cooking whatsoever. That was one of those things I took for granted of always having around in communal situations but is pricey when you start from scratch.

  5. Don’t forget a shower curtain, liner, and hooks to hang them. Can really ruin your first morning at a place if you forget them!

  6. I am definately not jealous of you. After living with friends who gave me a lot of stuff, I still needed a lot when I moved last year by myself. I didnt spend it all at the same time (i did get creative with the dishes and cookware that I had, though).
    Dont forget pots/pans dishes, etc and anything to keep them clean with
    you’ll probably need storage of some sort (I got a shoe rack that hangs on the back of a door, very handy)
    I dont really remember what all I bought, it just seemed like it NEVER STOPPED.

  7. Salt & pepper shakers for the kitchen/dining area.

    Small wastebasket for the bathroom. You’ll never know why, but trust me, Girl Ninja will appreciate it.

    Broom and dustpan is another thing you may need.

    Congrats on your new place!

  8. I graduated college and moved into an apartment for a few months before I got married, it was quite fun! I went to the pool everyday and got a sweet tan.

    Anyway, I hate paper towels, so I have a ton of dish cloths for the kitchen.
    When you buy detergents/soaps, make sure it is a brand your GN likes. (For instance, I have to have Tide Free because of allergies.)

    Salt/pepper shakers.

  9. I wouldn’t go to crazy with this at first. Before you move in make a note to yourself what you use every day then buy those items when you move in. You can live with just one pot and one plate until GN moves in then together you can fill the house with stuff. Why buy something now that you might get as a wedding gift or that is the wrong colour for GN design feelings?

    • I agree! Just get the basics for the month. Wait on GN to help you shop and wait for all the wedding gifts and gift cards, then buy all the fun things.

      When I did my cross country move I made a box (which stayed in my car) with the vitals I would need until all the boxes were unpacked. Maybe what I put in there would be helpful to you.

      Bathroom:
      Shower curtain liner (can get the pretty shower curtain later) and hooks to hang it., TP, towels (can use extra as floor mat until you get the pretty one), your every day toiletries
      Kitchen: unless you want to survive on takeout: can opener, deep skillet with lid (you can use as a frying pan or a pot, stirring spoon, spatula. Paper plates, bowls, utensils (until you get your pretty GN approved set), basic seasonings (salt, pepper)
      Cleaning: laundtry detergent, dish soap, sponges, paper towels, garbage bags (garbage can is nice, but not needed yet), all purpose stray cleaner
      Other: lamp & lightbulbs, mini blinds
      Those are the basics I think you would need to survive, until you get the wedding gifts.

      • Oh yeah, I forgot about gift cards. I knew not to get any of the stuff we registered for (plates, silverware, toaster, etc) but knew I’d be buying the paper towels and kleenexes, never thought about the possibility of being given gift cards to places we didn’t register, like Target! You may have just saved me a couple hundred bucks!

        • oh yeah! When my husband and I got married last year we moved cross country and had to buy a lot of new stuff and we saved a lot with gift cards.

  10. i definitely would recommend tupperware, i dont see how using old chinese food cartons is a legit long term solution to storing your food. that would require you to eat out at a chinese restaurant at least once a week, and that def doesnt fit in my budget. i also think amanda has the best idea, buy only the essentials until GN moves in, then go with her to get everything and anything else you both need!congrats on the place, i cant wait to get my own place soon as well!
    Preferred Financial Services

  11. The only cleaners I keep in the house are a heavy duty cleaner (scrubbing bubbles) for the shower, a disinfectant (like a 3-in-1 thing, I think Lysol has a spray), and Windex. Windex is a godsend. I even use it to keep my stainless sink shiny (just don’t mix with bleach, and rinse well afterward!). If you aren’t a perfectionist, soap is soap. If I try a new shampoo and I hate it, I’ll use it to clean my toilet and just Lysol the seat.

    You’re going to buy a TON of stuff you think you need, and people are going to GIVE you tons of stuff they think you need. Just think about the stuff in your house and what you do every day and a few “what if” situations (what if I drop a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie on my white carpet???) and make your list from that. Or think of what your parents have around the house and get those things. GN will probably take over there. Use the same detergents and stuff, it will make you feel at home. πŸ™‚

    Congratulations and good luck.

  12. Though I’m not jealous that you’re having to buy all these necessities, I am jealous that you and GN are practically starting a life from scratch! That is so exciting! πŸ™‚ Try to get cleaners that can clean multiple surfaces. I really like 409 Cleaner to clean the bathroom because it eats through grime like nobody’s business. Do you already have a vacuum cleaner? If not, look into bagless ones. It’s one less thing you have to remember to pick up at Walmart.

    For anything else, refer to Louise’s post. πŸ˜‰ (Though I’d like to know what the heck a clothing horse is!)

  13. (a clothes horse is a drying rack to use instead of a clothesline in a basement or whatever!)

    (or american slang for someone who buys or owns too much clothing)

    anyway! the only thing i’d add is that, when at ikea or target, i’d pick up a 2-3 pack of scissors and put one in the office, one in the kitchen, and one in the “junk drawer.” we can never find those suckers. i suppose same goes for nail clippers! and then i recommend one big trip to trader joe’s to get all of your spices and stock up on cheap coffee, nuts, baking supplies. not really the place to get your produce, but you can definitely get your pantry off to a good start. the spices and nuts, in particular, are much cheaper there than anywhere else, and they’re good quality.

    • “the spices and nuts, in particular, are much cheaper there than anywhere else, and they’re good quality.”

      Possibly so, but dried spices – or at least dried herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc. – eventually deteriorate, and there is no point in buying more than you can use for 6-8 months or so. (Hard spices like peppercorns, cloves, nutmeg, cumin seeds, and caraway keep indefinitely.) Actually I prefer to buy fresh herbs from my grocery store in small quantities, and never use dried herbs especially basil. Nuts once opened are best stored in the freezer as they have a lot of oil and can turn rancid.

      I find plastic containers invaluable for storing foods compactly in the fridge. My Chinese take-out place hasn’t advanced to the point where it provides re-usable containers.

      One other item you might buy is a small paper shredder. Fellowes brand is good, and it should be cross-cut. That way you can shred bills, CC statements, obsolete tax returns and paystubs, etc., safely rather than throwing them in the trash.

    • ha – you got it, for drying clothes. Using the clothes dryer here is quite expensive, so we hang our clothes on these in the sunshine (which you can easily move around) or plunk it in front of the fire – not too close though!
      Everyone’s suggestions are great, I feel like a punk for forgetting some of the really obvious things! Dishrack = duh!!

  14. My spin on this whole thing would be to make it fun and not make it “I have to get everything in one shopping trip, or else” type deal. Being a pregnant mom of two I’m a little pressed for time for even the most mundane errands, like a Target run. Honestly the fact that you are even thinking of going to 3 stores in 1 day is something I have not done in the last 2.5 years. Last night I had my husband do dinner and bath and bed with the kids so that I could go to Target (since getting there with two 2 years old is not something that can happen on a whim). While I was running around I ran into a younger couple in the soap aisle discussing the pros and cons of honeydew scented soap, I thought to myself ‘how cute’. They have to be kidless, since they were both at the store after bedtime with no kids, and they are able to come to Target together (another thing Eric and I have not done in 2.5 years) and have an entire conversation (uninterrupted by biting or pinching siblings) about a topic that is so trivial. And they were having a blast doing it.
    I love our life now, but remembering the early married days..just a couple of dinks with money to spend and time to spare… was a lot of fun. Enjoy the shopping and decorating and, of course, perils of not having a perfectly stocked new place…that is life.

  15. I agree…go slow, think about what is a silly want, what is a sensible want…what is a neccessity…
    I would recommend thinking of the needs that you will use a lot for a long while like dish soap, laundry soap and toilet paper etc. That way, if you are thinking of dropping cash you can buy these things at the cheapest price you can find…like Costco (dont know if you have that in US). I got a crapload or tp, dish soap and laundry soap for 30 bucks and I will be using it all year.
    Otherwise, take er slow and see what gift cards, money and sundry items you get on W Day.

  16. I love the Swifer for mopping!! Extra batteries always come in handy (radio, alarm clocks, remotes, smoke alarms, etc.). Extenstion cord. Flashlight for each room (incase of power outage). Extra light bulbs (if apartment doesn’t provide them). Kitchen hand towels to dry hands on. Egg timer comes in handy for lots of things. Salt and pepper shakers! Napkin holder to put on table. Windex and paper towels to clean mirrors and windows. Hammer and nails to hang up GN’s pretty things on walls. Hot pads for the kitchen when cooking. Dish clothes if you do any dishes by hand. Ziplock baggies, foil and saran wrap. Water filter depending on your city water taste. Baking soda…keeps the fridge smelling nice. Air Freshner plugins for around the house…and spray for the bathroom (GN will be happy with that purchase!!) Broom, to sweep up little crumb messes. Don’t forget silverware to eat with and other eating neccasities!

  17. I totally agree with Amanda and the others, wait until after the wedding. Get by minimally now. I know your plan is to return most of your gifts due to location of your wedding ceremony, but at this point leave some wiggle room for the universe, friends and family to surprise and amaze you. If you drop $400 at Target this week on cleaning essentials, then someone gifts you a nonreturnable Target gift card, then what? Don’t overplan too much here Ninja, is my advice to you. Besides, stocking and decorating your 1st place with Wife Ninja will be fun! Don’t go and waste $3 on a powder blue toothbrush holder this week only to have Wife Ninja say “What were you thinking?” next month.
    I think you are on the right track in thinking about what you will need though, it is definitely the little things that you don’t think of and have to keep running out for that are annoying, ice trays, tin foil, forgetting the shower curtain rings, laundry baskets, an iron…. Get those lists together, see what gifts and gift cards you receive, and enjoy getting to know Wife Ninja even better once it is time to make your purchases. You are correct, it’s not too soon now to start talking about little things like shower curtains, especially since you have your living space. She may be thinking white with some fancy stitching…. when you are thinking red… Have you talked about little stuff like that?

  18. You know how I feel about dust… make that junk go away! Best way, a simple dust brush or an old rag. However, all that will do is kick the grap into the air. I suggest buying pledge cleaning spray (not the can, the spray bottle) if you guys buy any wood (which if your shopping at IKEA, its very likely you’ll come home with wood). Using the spray helps to avoid dusting as often (you know how much I hate that too).

    Everyone seems like they covered most of it. just don’t go to nuts at first. You don’t need all of it. Stop being lazy and prepare yourself to take multiple trips as you realize you need the randoms.

    And grab a frosty on your way home

  19. I wouldn’t buy much when you first move in. Obviously you’re going to need a shower curtain and TP and some dish washing soup, but I’d just wait on the rest. Get an all purpose cleaner and call it a day. You may buy a whole bunch of crap that you actually don’t need! (Example: I bought a certain kind of cleaner, and I never use it. I’ve lived in my house almost a year and it is still full.)

  20. Good job on the place Ninja, and even better job on the debt free! Woohoo!Now, here is my best recommendation to you…

    Bed Bath & Beyond. Here’s why and how you can make it happen. They have EVERYTHING from trashcans to trashbags to bathroom tissue to shampoo to toothpaste and tissues.And they have coupons.Start collecting those coupons and get everyone you know to give you them.The store doesn’t care if they’re expired and you can use more than one on each on EVERY item you buy, even if it’s a bag of snacky peanuts at the register.

    My neighbors save them for me and I keep them forever.Remember all those expensive face creamy stuffs that GN needs to keep her pretty face pretty? Well, this gal gets all her pricey stuff at a BBB with all this stuff.They aren’t all built that way, so I have to drive out to one about 40mins away, but considering one bottle of face lotion can run $40-$50, it’s totally worth it to me.I only go when my list is long.You can check online to find a store nearest you with all the extra stuff that the others don’t have (lotions, shampoos, vitamins, brushes, etc, etc – all the stuff you might think to get at a Target). Use the coupons and voila! You’ve saved and gotten all you need.

  21. Most of everything you need has been covered here, but there’s one item I sorely missed while moving – scissors! You need them to open most of the packaging to all of these new items and if you don’t have them, it can be a pain. Good luck Ninja!

  22. Nice lists! I agree with the folks who advise minimal shopping because you’re just weeks away from filling the place up with shiny new wedding gifts.

    I would only add that you might want to pick up a few first aid supplies – band aids, neosporin, tweezers, aspirin and/or advil and/or tylenol. Especially band aids!

    • Oh first aid. That’s for sure something I would have forgot about until I did something stupid like cut my thumb off. Adding it to the list now.

  23. Yeah, I never buy plasticware – just save takeaway containers! They’re not as sturdy, but they’re free πŸ˜€

    I think you’ve got everything – really, you just want to go through room by room and look around. You don’t wanna forget things like tongs, can opener, spatula and measuring spoons! They will come back and bite you in the ass.

  24. I’ve got cleaning supplies both in the kitchen and the bathroom, so I don’t have to keep moving them from one place to another..doesn’t hurt to double up on some things. Completely agree with scissors and can opener…if you have a couple it doesn’t matter, but not having any is a pain!

  25. I don’t think I’ve seen it yet but an energy saving shower head and a new toilet seat. The shower head for obvious reasons and the toilet seat….well that’s an obvious reason too. Both are extremely easy to install and make you more comfortable in your new place.
    Congratulations πŸ™‚

  26. I’ve moved 4 times in the last 2 years – long story, don’t ask – and I’d like to think I’ve got this down to a science by now. As far as frugal hacks, here are a few suggestions:

    Rubbermaid/Sterilite containers. While we had a ridiculous amount of boxes, we also had a half dozen or so of these, mostly with clothes or linens in them. Use the empty ones as laundry baskets/hampers until you assess what your needs are and don’t waste your money on fancy laundry hampers until you know for sure what you need.

    Folding Step Stool/Chair. Even if it’s just you by yourself for a while, you’ll need somewhere to sit, and chances are you’ll also need to reach something tall (blinds, curtains, lightbulb, freakishly tall cabinet in the kitchen). I picked up a folding two-step step stool for about $40 that has been a lifesaver. It’s great for tall, handy-man projects and I can also sit on the top step and use it as a seat.

    Double duty cookware which was already suggested. Get a pot/pan that is deep and versatile. You can cook soup/pasta in it or fry and egg/hamburger. One pan, one thing to clean.

    Hand towels/kitchen towels. You can easily blow through a roll of paper towel in a few days if it’s your go-to drying device. While you might not want to mess with the coordination of items on your registry, pick up 2 inexpensive towels – a hand towel for the bathroom and a kitchen towel for drying dishes or drying your hands when you’re in the kitchen. If they don’t match your color scheme later, turn them in to dust rags.

    Bungee cords. Okay, maybe this was just me, but when we moved there was always that awkward shape/sized item that didn’t fit in anyone’s vehicle correctly. The bungees were great for securing a piece of furniture in to a trunk/truck bed ensuring that it wouldn’t fly off on the highway. My husband picked up a big canister for $2 at Home Depot and we’ve found a multitude of ways to use them over the years (plus they’re kinda fun πŸ™‚ )

    Wires. This isn’t really something to go buy, but more a suggestion. Rather than keeping all of the wires/cords that come with an electronic item with that item, when we move, I neatly wrap up each cord and with a piece of masking tape, LABEL which item it goes to – ie, Kodak Camera Charger, HP Printer Power, etc. All of the cords go in one box, along with any extension cords/power strips, modems, routers, etc. When you arrive, assess your outlet situation, and if you need to set up extension cords for things. With all of the cords together, you can see just how far they’ll reach BEFORE you go setting things up and get frustrated.

    Hope this helps!

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