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20 Things You’ll Need for Your First Home

Written by | Updated July 27, 2020

Now that you’ve signed on the dotted line, it’s time to get ready for the big move. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you might be surprised at all the things you need that don’t come with your new house.

To make sure you’re not caught unaware, we’ve put together this guide of all the day-to-day essentials you’ll want to have on hand to make sure you enjoy every minute of your new abode.

1. Drapes or blinds

To make sure your first impression on the neighbors isn’t an awkward sighting of you in your skivvies, invest in window coverings for your new home. While natural light is wonderful, no one wants to meet their new neighbor au naturale.

Nicetown thermal insulated blackout curtains

When you’re looking for more than privacy, these heavy-duty panels will block out light and help with energy efficiency. You can choose between fifteen colors and three lengths. Beware, though, as customers have reported that the “wrinkle-free” promise isn’t up to snuff.

SEEYE Zebra dual-layer shades

These dual-layer shades give you the option of partial shade or full shade. It’s perfect for rooms where you need to block out most light, but want the convenience of blinds instead of black-out drapes.

Arlo blinds cordless bamboo roman shade 

If you want both privacy and style, these decorative shades can do the trick. We especially like that they’re cordless. That means no choking or strangling hazards for little ones.

2. Cleaning supplies

From a broom and dustpan to sponges and toilet bowl cleaner, you want to stock up on everything you’ll need to keep your new abode spick and span.

Meyers Clean Day Lemon Verbena Kitchen Basics Set

This trio of natural, earth-friendly cleaners includes hand soap, dish soap, and multipurpose cleaner. The bright scent will make your new home smell as clean as it looks, but make sure you like lemon verbena. Some customers have reported that the scent is just too strong.

High Reach Cleaning Kit

You’ll banish dirt from every nook and cranny with this cleaning kit  that includes everything from a static duster to a window squeegee. This clever tool comes with an extendable wand that reaches up to 10 feet. Best of all, you can pick it up for around $30. This all-in-one kit will save you so much time that it’s well worth the money.

3. Home security

Keep your awesome new digs safe from intruders with a home security system. With the variety of options out there, you’ll be able to find a security system that can keep you and your home safe at a price you can afford.

SimpliSafe equipment

If you’re itching to get your DIY on, start with everyone’s favorite self-install home security system. SimpliSafe equipment is easy to set up on your own and it’s 100% wireless. You won’t need to sign a contract and you can add 24/7 professional monitoring for around $15 per month.

Read our full SimpliSafe review.

Vivint Smart Home
vivint indoor camera, keyfob, control panel, keypad

If you want a more traditional home security system that also delivers the latest smart home tech, Vivint should top your list. This security company gives you a free in-home security assessment and professionally installs your equipment to make sure everything is set up to keep your stuff, your people, and your pets safe.

Learn more in our Vivint review.

4. Shower curtain

We’re back to getting caught in a state of undress—don’t do it. In order to take a shower with privacy, and without flooding the bathroom, you need to remember to pick up a shower curtain. And the bonus is that this can be a fun purchase; there are so many decorative shower curtains to choose from, you may decide to get one for every season.

Mildew-resistant, antibacterial shower curtain liner

Before going crazy about the style of your curtain, make sure to protect your bathroom from mold and germs. This heavy-duty liner comes with rust-proof grommets, and soap and suds slide right off without leaving residue or hard water stains. Though there is a fifteen-month warranty, you’ll still need to remember to regularly wipe it clean.

Larry’co cartoon shower curtain

Get a little wacky with these creative, colorful shower curtains from Larry’co. Whether you dig dinosaurs or the King of Pop, there’s a fun design here that’s sure to tickle your fancy.

Rustproof shower curtain hooks

These utilitarian rustproof rings will complete your shower curtain setup. They are 100% stainless steel and glide easily along nearly any curtain rod. However, some customers have found the hooks a tad small for some larger, decorative curtain rods, so it may pay to measure before you purchase.

5. Plunger

While you’re thinking about the bathroom, you may as well add a plunger to your shopping list. Believe us, you don’t want to discover you’re missing one when the need arises. Save yourself future stress and make sure you have one handy in a restroom emergency.

Supply Guru heavy duty toilet plunger

This plunger is the old standard, with a wooden handle and rubber plunger cup on the bottom. It’ll definitely get the job done, but it may be too large for some of today’s smaller toilet bowls—and it’s not very pretty to look at. But for around $5, there’s little risk to this purchase.

Simplehuman toilet plunger

In true Simplehuman style, this plunger comes in sleek chrome and white. It also includes a magnetic dome that covers the plunger to keep the pair together for easy, sanitary movement from one room to another. That pretty chrome has been known to rust, though, so be prepared to regularly wipe it down.

6. Flashlight

Now that you’re a homeowner, you’re also a handyman, plumber, electrician, and the person who has to investigate weird noises. It’s smart to get a couple flashlights and keep them somewhere handy so you can find them when you need them.

Stanley rechargeable spotlight

yellow and black rechargeable flashlight

Rechargeable Flashlight

This behemoth holds a charge for twelve months and can run up to seven hours on low power. It’s a great tool for illuminating work space and vehicle repairs, but the sturdy design comes with a few drawbacks.

This rechargeable flashlight takes up a lot of room in a toolbox, and it can become heavy if you need to hold it for a long period of time.

BYB Super Bright LED Mini Flashlights

These small flashlights come in a pack of four and provide a powerful spotlight for home repairs and finding your way in the dark. The four-pack helps you affordably outfit all the crucial spots in your home, but these lights are small. The included lanyards may fit better around your finger than your wrist.

7. Can opener

This is just one of many often overlooked necessities that you won’t know you’re missing until you can’t open up that can of soup. Nothing’s worse than being set on a meal and being unable to open it properly.

Zyliss Lock N’ Lift can opener

You’ll never lose a lid with this handy gadget that comes outfitted with a magnet. This can opener is easy to operate and works even for those suffering from arthritis. Don’t drop it in the dishwasher, though—because this can opener is only guaranteed as long as it hasn’t been submerged in water.

Pampered Chef smooth edge can opener

Confession—this is my favorite can opener of all time. Cuts and nicks will be a thing of the past with this can opener that slices along the side of the can, not the top. This pops the seal on the can and there’s no risk of cutting your finger. It’s only available through Pampered Chef, though, so you’ll need to find a sales consultant to get your hands on one.

8. Garbage cans and liners

That cute little bin you’ve had next to your bed for the past five years won’t cut it now that you have a whole house. You’ll want a trash can in each bathroom, the kitchen, the garage, and possibly the laundry room as well. Look for sets of cans that come with multiple sizes for different needs, and don’t forget to buy liners in the same size.

Nine Stars Touchless Trash Cans

This set of two cans is a great choice for both aesthetics and hygiene. The lids seal in odors and protect your whole family from contamination because they use motion sensors to open only when necessary. But some customers have reported issues with the sensor, so if that’s what you like best, be sure to do your research before you buy. 

Odor Shield Quick Tie Trash Bags

The power of Febreze is added to these trash bags to keep unpleasant odors at bay. The scent can be overpowering for some, so be careful if you’re sensitive to smells. These liners don’t come with a pull-tie, so they fit more loosely in garbage cans.

9. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Along with home ownership comes the responsibility of keeping everyone inside safe. One of the first things you should do is make sure you’re prepared in the event of a fire and have operational smoke detectors in all the right places. But don’t stop there; carbon monoxide can be an even more prevalent threat to your well-being, so be sure you invest in a CO detector as well. There are even two-in-one detectors that can detect both threats.

First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound

If you need to install your own smoke alarm, this one is easy to put in place. It uses photoelectric smoke sensors and an electrochemical carbon monoxide detector. And it is designed to work with Amazon Alexa so you can use it as an extra home speaker to play music or make calls to friends and family. 

Google Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Nest Protect

Nest Protect

This two-in-one detector uses smart technology to keep your family safe. Because it uses Wi-Fi, you can control this alarm and receive alerts from any mobile device, no matter where you are. This one does seem a bit trickier to self-install, though, and some users struggle to properly set up the Wi-Fi connections—I struggled to get it to speak English.

Read our full Nest Protect review.

10. Batteries

It might seem obvious, but batteries are a must-have for every home. Get the big ones for your flashlights and stock up on AA and AAA batteries for all the remotes and other gadgets that make modern life so convenient. Everything from remote controls to LED lights rely on fresh batteries, and no one wants to be caught unprepared when the batteries run out.

Fuji EnviroMAX AA + AAA set

It may seem excessive, but you’ll save money and always be prepared when you stock up with this pack of four dozen batteries. Fuji EnviroMAX batteries are a good choice for environmentally responsible families and the combo pack (two dozen each of AA and AAA batteries) means you’ll always have the right size batteries on hand.

Polaroid Extreme Value AA 48 Pack

Another economical choice, these Polaroid batteries also come in a 48-pack. Note that these traditional batteries aren’t eco-conscious, but they are priced a tad below the earth-friendly GoGreen option.

Energizer 9V Lithium Battery

Some household items require specialized batteries, like this lithium battery designed for smoke detectors. At a whopping nine dollars per battery, the price can seem excessive, but these have a ten-year shelf life, so the cost over time takes away some of that initial sting.

11. Lightbulbs

Even if there are already bulbs in your home’s fixtures, you need backups for when those lights start burning out—and they always seem to do it at the same time. Stock up on energy-efficient bulbs or take it one step further with smart lightbulbs that you can set to turn on and off at designated times and control remotely through your computer or smartphone. Smart lighting increases convenience and security, uses less energy, and helps you save money on your monthly power bill and replacement bulbs.

GE Energy Smart Lightbulbs

If you aren’t ready to take the smart home leap, you can increase energy efficiency and minimize power bills with these 13-year LED bulbs. A pack of eight costs a little under $20 and compared to an incandescent bulb, can save up to $84 on energy costs over the life of the bulb.

Philips Hue White Starter Kit

Philips Hue Smart Lightbulb

Philips Hue Smart Bulbs

If you’re ready to upgrade to smart lightbulbs, this starter kit is the perfect place to start. It comes with two smart bulbs and a hub that can wirelessly connect to as many as fifty lights. It is pricey to get started at about $70, but this can be your first step toward making your whole house a smart home.

12. Lockbox

It’s smart to purchase a lockbox to hold important documents and other valuables. Make sure you choose one that is both water and fireproof. Depending on what you need to keep safe, you can find a box or safe starting at around $20 to safeguard crucial documents like birth certificates, banking records, and other sensitive information.

Vaultz Locking Utility Box

This little lockbox uses a combination lock and has chrome-steel corners for added strength. However, this is a fairly lightweight option that is best suited to protecting items like an iPod or small amount of cash. More important items should be kept in a more advanced lockbox or small safe.

SentrySafe Fireproof Safe 

Outfitted with a privacy key lock and fireproofing, this home safe offers protection for sensitive documents and valuables. It can withstand heat and fire up to 1550℉ for 30 minutes.

13. Tool kit

In order to fix things around the house, you need the necessary tools at your fingertips. It’s just not practical to borrow a tool from your neighbor every time something needs fixing.  (Plus, you don’t want to become the Homer Simpson of the neighborhood.)

Stanley Homeowner’s Tool Kit

Increase your homeowner abilities with this 65-piece kit. Whether it’s a hammer, a screwdriver, or a measuring tape, this kit is the perfect starting place for your future tool shed. While most customers love the tools, they’re not as crazy about the case—it takes up a lot of space and may not stand up to the test of time.

Black+Decker Twenty-Volt Lithium Drill

If you feel a little more advanced, consider picking up a cordless cordless drill (Amazon). The light, compact design is perfect for putting together furniture, making small repairs, and hanging up those beloved family photos. This one won’t cut it for bigger jobs, though, so if you’re planning on a lot of drilling, you might need to look for something else.

On Shine 8-drawer rolling tool chest with lock

As your tool supply grows, you’ll need a good place to keep everything organized and in good repair. This rolling storage chest includes trays, drawers, and cabinets perfect for keeping all your tools safe. With a price tag of more than $200, you need to be committed before putting in your order. 

14. Hangers

All that new closet space is like a dream come true, but you need the right supplies to make your dream function properly. Be sure to stock up on hangers—basic plastic ones come in a variety of colors, or you can upgrade to wooden hangers that can be affordable.

Mainstay Standard Hangers

If you can’t bear the thought of wire in your closet, these clothes hangers are an affordable way to upgrade. You can grab a pack of eighteen for just under $12. However, there are some notches on the hangers that some customers have reported cause damage to shirts.

House Day Wooden Hangers

If your closet is sacred, you may want to opt for velvet or wooden hangers. Even though it’s an upgrade, you can still find deals. These solid wood hangers come in a pack of 20 for under $25.

Hangerworld Foam Garment Protectors 

These foam guards for wire hangers are a sturdy, affordable way to get started on organizing your closet, and you don’t have to get rid of all those wire hangers you already have. However, they don’t last forever and can be tricky to apply without tearing.

15. Smart doorbell

Now that you’re in charge of your castle, you can benefit from knowing who’s at the door—even when you’re not home. A Wi-Fi enabled smart doorbell lets you see when that important package is delivered, when the kids get home from school, and who dares knock during the dinner hour.

Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell

Original Ring Doorbell product image

Ring Smart Doorbell

This video doorbell lets you see and speak to visitors whether you’re upstairs or in your office across town. It starts at under $100 and is easy to install on your own. The motion detector has had some glitches, so be aware that it may capture people as they walk away, instead of as they approach your door.

Anko Wireless Doorbell

If security isn’t your main concern, you might like this wireless doorbell that has customizable chimes, a remote control, and receivers that you can place anywhere within 1,000 feet so you never miss a visitor. Even though the doorbell comes with two receivers and transmitters, it can’t be used on multiple doors. To outfit additional entrances, you’ll need to purchase another one.

16. Iron and ironing board

In order to stay presentable at work and keep tablecloths in their best condition, you need an iron and ironing board. Make sure you complete your ironing setup with extras like a squirt bottle and spray starch so your shirts and trousers look just as crisp as when they were new.

Sunbeam Steam Master Iron

This dripless iron will leave your shirts crisp and your wallet fat, coming in at just $30. Be warned that the anti-drip promise isn’t foolproof, and some users find the iron heavy after a long ironing session.

URPOWER Garment Steamer

You can banish wrinkles without the hassle of pulling an ironing board with this handy tool. It heats up in two minutes and provides seven to 10 continuous minutes of steam. This handheld steamer is best suited for small jobs, as large items require multiple refills of water. 

Household Essentials Ironing Board with bamboo legs

For those who like the neat lines an ironing board provides, check out this stylish board that comes with attractive bamboo legs. It also includes a scroch-proof cover and features an extra-long surface that makes it easy to get crisp tablecloths, drapes, or other long linens.

17. Security cameras

Keeping an eye on your home—and your loved ones or pets—is more important once you’re a homeowner. Security cameras can provide extra comfort, especially when you’re getting used to a new neighborhood and routine.

Wyze Cam Pan

Wyze Cam Pan

Wyze Cam Pan

This little camera is so affordable that you can outfit your entire house with video surveillance. The Wyze Cam Pan features two-way talk, night vision, and advanced motion tracking. Best of all, there’s no required subscription—the app is free.

Blink Home Security Camera System

For right around $100, you can rest easier with this simple simple camera system . This starter kit sets you up to capture HD images, and it provides both live-feed viewing and video recordings. There’s even a motion-activated mode that automatically records five to ten seconds of activity after movement is detected. Note, however, that some of the app functionality is limited, so be on the lookout for updates.

You can also get quality surveillance and extra security from our favorite security cam picks under $50.

18. Fire extinguisher

Smoke alarms aren’t the beginning and end of fire safety—you also need to be sure your new home is equipped with a fire extinguisher. It’s not just the professionals who need these potentially lifesaving devices.

Fire Gone Fire Extinguishers

Another option is a single-use aerosol fire extinguisher that is handy to keep under the kitchen sink or near the work table in the garage. While these are convenient, you need to use good judgment before reaching for them. For example, the force of a one-time extinguisher could actually spread a stovetop grease fire.

First Alert Fire Extinguisher

First Alert Fire Extinguisher

You can opt for this heavy-duty multipurpose home fire extinguisher that fights wood, fabric, paper, flammable liquid, and electrical fires. It comes with a 12-year warranty and includes a mounting bracket.

19. New door lock

Chances are you’re not the first person to call your house home. The safest way to ensure random keys to your front door aren’t floating around in the world is to swap out your current door lock for a new one.

You can make a straight trade for a standard lock, add a new deadbolt, or upgrade to an electronic keyless lock. Smart locks get rid of lost keys all together.

Schlage B60N626 Deadbolt

This deadbolt is easy to install, which means you don’t have to be a home improvement superstar to add extra security to your new front door. This Schlage deadbolt fits your door’s pre-drilled holes and is rated to reinforce your door against attempted break-ins from crowbars, lock picks, and kicking.

Schlage Connect Smart Lock

Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt

Schlage Connect

With this smart lock you can use a code instead of a key for easy entry. It also provides extra security when you need to let in a neighbor to water the plants or give the kiddos entry after school. This is one of the highest-rated electronic door locks for security and it works with any Z-Wave home automation device. That way you can set up a routine to have your smart porch light come on when you unlock the door.

20. Welcome mat

Last, but not least, is a mat for your front door that shows off your personality and keeps mud and other detritus from crossing the threshold.

Have fun picking out a doormat for your new home, but don’t forget about safety. Make sure the welcome mat (and any other area rug) doesn’t turn into a tripping hazard. Secure rugs with rug pads or grippers.

Pure Coco Coir Doormat

This natural fiber doormat comes in seasonal designs and has built-in nonslip backing to keep your porch safe for all visitors. Best of all, coconut coir is naturally resistant to fungi and bacteria, so feel free to roll out this mat in all weather and even humid conditions.

Veken Non-Slip Area Rug Pad Gripper

Stamp out tripping hazards in every room with this area rug pad gripper that comes in four sizes. It comes with a two-year product warranty. That means if you have any problems with your rug pad, the company will replace it for free.

We hope this list makes you feel prepared to stock up your new home with all the necessities. If you have experience buying and taking care of a new home, what other must-have items would you add to this list?

*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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