So you’ve made the decision to move away from Mum and Dad and set up house on your own – or at least with flatmates. Congratulations! But what are you going to need to set up house?
Kitchen: Flats usually come with an oven. Bare necessities are two dinner plates, bread-and-butter plates and bowls per person (visitors, multi-course meals and times when you don’t wash dishes happen to everyone), plus two or three teaspoons, two knives, a dessert spoon, a soup spoon and a couple of forks per person. For drinks, you will need about two mugs and two tumblers per person. You also need:
- at least one large kitchen knife and one smaller one;
- a chopping board, preferably wooden;
- about three saucepans, one of which should be biggish;
- a frying pan;
- a roasting pan with a grill rack;
- a tin opener, preferably one that has a bottle opener attached;
- a grater;
- wooden spoons – at least one;
- a ladle for soup and serving up casseroles, mince, rice and other sloppy, runny food;
- a fish slice for frying stuff and dishing up cake and pizza;
- salad spoons (but you can make do with regular spoons at a pinch);
- A mixing bowl that can double as a salad bowl (preferably several, but one is bare minimum);
- a jug or decanter for liquids;
- a baking tray, preferably one that has a rim;
- an ice cube tray for the freezer;
- a kettle;
- a dish rack, a brush for washing dishes, several tea towels and loads of dishcloths;
- a fridge-freezer.
Optional extras for the kitchen include blenders, cake mixers, cake tins, muffin tins, microwave ovens, toasted sandwich makers, etc. etc. For storage containers, you can wash out and keep ice cream container and the like, but stop saving them when you’ve got enough.
Bedroom: A bed (obviously), two sets of sheets (top and bottom), a duvet or bedspread, several blankets, at least one pillow plus two pillowcases for each pillow, a hot water bottle, one chest of drawers and a mirror OR a dressing table with drawers and mirror, and an alarm clock.
In a flat, personal computers and stereos should also be kept in bedrooms to prevent them becoming common property (which will happen if you keep them in the living room or other shared space). The same goes with other personal possessions such as hair dryers, razors, guitars and sewing machines. A desk and a chair for hobbies, writing letters, etc. in privacy is a must in a flat bedroom, especially a student flat (but these can go elsewhere if you’re living alone).
Living room: A sofa and armchairs, enough for every bottom in the house to sit on (guests can be accommodated on dining chairs). A television and a stereo are nice to have but not essential for living. A bookshelf is handy, but make sure you know whose books are whose. Nice but not essential items include coffee tables and beanbags.
Dining room: a table and enough chairs for everyone in the flat to sit on, plus an extra in case of guests. Tablecloths are nice but not essential.
Bathroom/laundry: a bathmat per person, two or three hand towels (sneaky hint – some bathmats can double as hand towels, but you’ll need about five in total), at least two towels and facecloths per person. Everyone should provide their own soap, toothbrush, razors, shampoo, etc. A washing machine is usually essential, but if you live near a laundrette, you can do without one. You can also do without one if you have time to wash by hand, but this is a long, hard job.
Cleaning: a vacuum cleaner, a broom, a dustpan and brush, loads of cloths, a toilet brush, a mop, a bucket (or several), a scrubbing brush. Various cleaning products, including baking soda, vinegar, vodka or other alcohol, disinfectant, dishwashing liquid, washing powder and soap. Also make sure you have a supply of loo paper and lightbulbs.