24 things under $20 for your first apartment

Household 6 min read

Your first “big kid” home. It’s a scary, exhilarating and liberating thing, all wrapped into one. But here’s the deal—often it takes awhile to get settled, organized, and get into a routine. The transition into the “real world” can be hard enough, and if your place doesn’t feel like your home, or makes you anxious because nothing has a place, it makes that transition even harder.

Do yourself a solid and start collecting small items now that will make your future home relaxing, clean, and put together. Whether you’re looking to get organized, stay healthy, or save the environment, we’ve got you covered.

To make your place homey:

Bulldog clips

Let your art speak for itself. Who needs bulky (and weirdly expensive) frames when you can go the more artistic route? Art clamps are a minimalist’s dream for bedroom decorating.

bulldog clips

Guest towels

Look at you, all adult and stuff. Try adding a few extra guest towels in your closet for surprise visitors. The best part about having a cozy home is making it cozy for your friends, too.

guest towels

Warm light bulbs

Turn off those glaring fluorescent overhead bulbs and switch to something softer. Soft white (2700K – 3000K) bulbs add a warm glow to your room without the harsh milk-aisle lighting.

warm light bulbs

Mini speaker

Take out your earbuds and stay for a while. You deserve a home that’s cozy, beautiful, and filled with your favorite music. Invest in a Bluetooth speaker with great sound and you’ll be feeling right at home sweet home.

mini speaker

Cozy throw

Every girl deserves a grown-up “blanky.” Find a big soft-knit throw that will be your go-to for movie marathons, sick days, and makeshift beds when your friends need a place to crash.

cozy throw

Cute coasters

Protect your coffee table and look like a grown-up with bright coasters that show off your place’s style. Whether you DIY them or find quirky ones at a second-hand shop, this is a fun way to bring color into your house.

cute coasters

To save you major cash

French Press

It’s no secret so many of us are addicted to coffee. But do our wallets really need to take such a hard hit? Instead of spending $3 on coffee a day, buy yourself a beautiful French press. You’ll save $90 a month by brewing your cup of joe at home.

french press

Engery-saving outlet cover

When you leave your hair dryer, curling iron, phone charger, etc., plugged in but aren’t using them, you’re still drawing the energy out of your outlet (and increasing your energy bill). If you’re someone who forgets to unplug, save yourself some major cash with an energy-saving outlet cover.

energy saving outlet

To keep your place clean and organized

Bed risers

Chances are your room is tiny and you need some serious space. The best way to make room, without adding clutter, is mounting your bed on bed risers. Give your bed a good lift, clean out the dust bunnies, and make space for storage units underneath.

bed risers

Quirky catchall tray

You know all those little things that have no real place? Hair clips? Jewelry? Things that kind of live at the bottom of your purse, but are still important? They deserve a spot to live in your room. By buying a cheap catchall tray, you can keep all those essential trinkets in one pretty piece of pottery.

catchall tray

Velvet hangers

Say bye-bye to clunky plastic hangers and hello to these chic babies. Using velvet hangers is a simple change that will leave your closet less bulky and more streamlined. It may not be a Carrie Bradshaw dream closet yet, but it’s a start.

clothes hanging in closet

Key hooks

If only we could get back all the time we’ve frantically spent running around our apartments looking for our keys. Keep yourself organized and have a designated spot where you always hang your keys. There are so many cute key hooks with message boards so you and your roomies can also leave each other cute notes, or reminders to get more TP.

Baking soda

Having baking soda on hand is an easy way to make your apartment smell fresh. Weird smell in your fridge? Add baking soda. Terrible stench coming from the trash? Add baking soda. Want a clean bathtub? Add baking soda. (We swear it has cleaning super powers.)

Floating shelves

No money for a bookshelf? No floor space for new furniture? Enter: the floating shelf. Add them to corners of your room to maximize space for your favorite books, picture frames, and plants.

floating shelf

Plastic storage bags

These guys are storage lifesavers. Perfect for storing your off-season clothing and flexible enough to shove under your bed—out of sight, out of mind.

Wooden crates

Have a fruit market in your neighborhood? How about a grocery store? Ask the employees if you can have a few fruit crates for storage. Not only do they add great storage and a rustic look, but if you get the right person at the store, you can get them free of charge.

wooden crate

To save the environment

Dish drying rack

Do we really need to run our dishwashers that much? For big pots and pans that take an entire load to finish, try washing by hand. The more you let dry on a drying rack, the more water you’ll save. Win!

dish drying rack

Reusable coffee cup

The no-brainer way to stay environmentally friendly? Stick with a reusable coffee cup or water bottle. There are plenty of brands that make beautifully designed cups that are cooler than any plastic bottle out there.

reusable coffee cup

Separated recycling bins

It’s 2017, so if you’re not recycling, it’s time for you to jump on the train. Make it easy on yourself by buying a recycling separator that divides the trash for you. Saving the world is as easy as paper, plastic, can.

recycling bins

Reusable grocery bags

Who needs all those plastic bags anyway? Stock up on some cute canvas bags to hold your groceries and give the environment a break. Not only are you saving the environment, but you’re giving yourself an excuse to buy some new cute bags, too. Boom!

reusable grocery bag

Laundry drying rack

By skipping the dryer and investing in a drying rack, not only will you save the environment, but you’ll give your clothes a much-needed break from being over-washed.

laundry drying rack

To keep you healthy

Silk pillowcase

Silk pillowcases are luxurious and they’re not just for George Michael music videos anymore. (Yes, “Careless Whispers,” we’re looking at you.) Silk pillowcases are great for your skin and hair and you can get them for pretty cheap if you search hard enough. Yes, beauty sleep is as easy as changing your sheets to something a bit more glamorous.

silk pillowcase


Adding some green to your room is not only a huge design win, it’s actually good for your health! Indoor potted plants help purify the air and increase oxygen in the room, helping you sleep better and relax.

Lavender essential oil

So your room is looking cute, spacious, and homey, but you’re missing one essential thing: the sleep-ability factor. By adding lavender essential oil to your skin before you go to sleep, you’ll have a much easier time getting beauty rest.

lavender essential oil

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