Grocery List For Your First Apartment

The Best Grocery List For Your First Apartment

Moving into your first apartment can be a really exciting and rewarding experience. However, it can also be overwhelming and stressful, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. It can be hard to know what to buy and how much of it, especially if you’ve never done it before. This is where a proper grocery list comes in handy. 

In this blog, we’ve created the ultimate grocery list for anyone moving into their first apartment. Whether you’re living alone or with roommates, this grocery list will ensure that you’re always stocked up and ready to cook up a delicious meal.

First Apartment Grocery List Tips

Plan your meals in advance

Meal planning is the best way to save money, eat healthily, and avoid last-minute stress. Decide on meals you’d like to make before heading to the store. This doesn’t have to be complicated; start with a list of your favorite meals and build from there. Also, don’t forget about snacks and beverages – these can add up quickly. You can use online resources to help you plan your meals, like Pinterest or food blogs.

Stick to the basics

When building a grocery list, it’s essential to prioritize the basics. This includes things like milk, eggs, bread, and fresh produce. Figure out what you need before you go grocery shopping and stick to the essentials. It’s easy to get caught up in all the different options at the store, but don’t forget that your budget might not allow for it.

Avoid impulse buys

Food marketers know how to lure shoppers into making unplanned purchases. Before heading to the store, make a list of everything you need, so you’re not tempted by items that are not necessary. It’s also helpful to know which stores are guilty of their elaborate displays that draw shoppers into buying too much.

Stock up on nonperishables

You never know when you’ll have a busy day or unexpected guests. It’s always a good idea to have some nonperishable items on hand, such as pasta, canned vegetables, and soups. These items last a long time and can be used in various dishes. It’s also helpful to buy in bulk when you can to save money.

Be aware of expiration dates

While it’s tempting to buy in bulk to save some cash, be mindful of the expiration dates of food items. Make sure to check the date before adding them to your grocery list, so you don’t end up throwing things away. In addition, aim to buy only what you need to avoid waste.

Grocery List Essentials For New Apartments


In your pantry, you can keep a variety of essential items, including staple foods, dry goods, and your favorite snacks. Consider stocking up on the following items to ensure you’re well-prepared:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Broth (Vegetables, chicken, or beef)
  • Canned soup
  • Bread
  • Canned beans
  • Snacks (Cookies, chips, etc.)
  • Tea or coffee
  • Honey
  • Cooking oil
  • Vinegar
  • Bread crumbs
  • Spreads (Jams, peanut butter, Nutella)

If you prefer not to store dry foods in their original packaging or want to prevent any potential pest issues (like cockroaches), I highly recommend investing in OXO Containers specifically designed for apartment use. These containers provide an organized and secure storage solution for your pantry essentials, giving you peace of mind.


If you love baking, here is a list of essential ingredients that you should add to your grocery list for your next baking session:

  • Sugar: Used to add sweetness to your baked goods.
  • Flour: The base ingredient for most baked recipes, providing structure and texture.
  • Baking soda: A leavening agent that helps baked goods rise.
  • Corn starch: Often used as a thickening agent in baking recipes.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds flavor and aroma to your baked treats.
  • Yeast: Essential for making bread and other yeast-based recipes.
  • Baking powder: Another leavening agent that helps create light and fluffy baked goods.
  • Cocoa powder: Perfect for adding a rich chocolate flavor to your desserts.

Make sure to have these items on hand to create delicious baked goodies!


In this section, you have the opportunity to tailor your choices based on your personal cooking preferences. I have compiled a list of essential spices and ingredients commonly found in many kitchens. This includes the following:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon (ground or sticks)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Parsley
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Cumin
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Chili Powder

Feel free to explore these options and experiment with various combinations to enhance your culinary creations.


Regarding this section, it is crucial to recognize its significance as it encompasses all the necessary items required for meal preparation and consumption. 

The fridge should ideally contain an assortment of vital components such as fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, milk, yogurt, cheese, deli slices, chicken, ground meat (turkey, chicken, or beef), seafood, eggs, butter, juice, water, and coffee creamer. 

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your fridge is fully stocked with indispensable ingredients for a well-rounded and fulfilling culinary experience.


In our freezer, we have a convenient assortment of frozen items that can cater to your needs. Here are some of the essentials you can consider adding to your new apartment grocery list:

  • Frozen vegetables: Easily add a nutritious touch to your meals with a variety of frozen vegetables.
  • Frozen fruit: Enjoy the convenience of having a selection of frozen fruits on hand for smoothies or as a refreshing snack.
  • Frozen meals: Explore the array of single-serve frozen meals, including options like pizza, for quick and effortless dining.
  • Ice cream/Popsicles: Treat yourself to a delightful selection of ice cream and popsicles, perfect for indulging in a sweet treat.

By having these items readily available in your freezer, you’ll always have a variety of options to suit your meals and cravings.


As a proud Canadian, I thoroughly enjoy incorporating sauces into my meals. Whether it’s drizzling ketchup on my fries, hamburgers, hotdogs, or practically everything else, sauces add that extra punch of flavor. To make your kitchen well-stocked, here’s a comprehensive list of essential condiments:

  • Ketchup: A classic choice that pairs perfectly with burgers and fries.
  • Mustard: A tangy and versatile condiment that complements a variety of dishes.
  • Barbeque Sauce: A rich and smoky sauce, perfect for grilling and marinating meats.
  • Maple Syrup: A beloved Canadian staple, adding sweetness to breakfast dishes, desserts, and more.
  • Soy Sauce: A key ingredient in countless Asian-inspired dishes, bringing a savory umami flavor.
  • Mayonnaise: A creamy and versatile condiment that enhances sandwiches, salads, and dips.

By having these condiments readily available, you can elevate the taste and enjoyment of your meals.


As the one who frequently falls ill in our household, our medicine cabinet is always well-stocked. In fact, it’s almost equivalent to having our own pharmacy (just a playful exaggeration, of course!). But, when moving into your new apartment, it’s important to ensure you have a variety of over-the-counter medicines on hand. Here is a comprehensive list of essential items to consider:

  • Antacids such as Tums or Pepto Bismol for indigestion
  • Vitamins to support overall health
  • Ibuprofen, available as Motrin or Tylenol, for pain relief
  • Cough syrup to alleviate cough symptoms
  • Allergy medication options like Benadryl, Reactant, or Claritin
  • First aid kit or band-aids for minor injuries
  • Laxatives, should you require them

By having these medications readily available, you can be prepared for various health situations that may arise.

Cleaning Products

When it comes to cleaning, I personally enjoy discovering and utilizing various cleaning products. Being mindful of the fact that this would be my first apartment, I made a concerted effort to acquire a comprehensive set of cleaning supplies.

While it’s not obligatory, I suggest including the following essential cleaning supplies in your shopping list:

  • Dish soap
  • Dishwasher pods (if your apartment has a dishwasher)
  • Sponges
  • Lysol spray
  • Multi-purpose cleaner
  • Pine Sol
  • Mop
  • Broom & Dustpan
  • Dry Swiffer Mop
  • Bleach
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth
  • J-Cloths/Cleaning cloths
  • Baking soda (for the fridge, to maintain food freshness)

I purchased some of these items from Amazon, while others I found at Walmart or our local grocery store.

Final Verdict

Creating your first grocery list may seem like a daunting task, but with our ultimate grocery list, you are now equipped with everything you need to get started. Remember to always have essential items such as dairy products, frozen foods, meat and protein, grains, fruits and vegetables, and spices and herbs on your list. By following this list, you will be able to make delicious meals and lead a healthy lifestyle. Happy shopping!

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