Your home is your biggest and most important investment. So, why wouldn’t you take proper care of it? Just like a car needs regular oil changes, keeping up with home maintenance tasks is a must. It is much easier to do your chores every now and then instead of having to pay for big repairs.
All these tasks can seem quite intimidating, especially if you are a new homeowner. Let’s face it; nobody wants to spend their day off pulling leaves out of a gutter. Or, even worse, nobody wants to spend the entire day figuring out how to drain a boiler. Good news is that you can do all the tasks on your own, even if you have absolutely no experience. If you get stuck, you can always use Google or call a friend.
In order to get all the tasks done and also maximize your efficiency, it is smart to create a home maintenance checklist. Start by writing down some regular tasks that you can do every weekend. To help you out, we’ve created a checklist that includes tasks that should be done monthly, quarterly, biannually. We also included some activities that can be done seasonally. Keep in mind that our you don’t have to strictly adhere to our checklist. You can take care of your home whenever you want and as often as you want. And, as long as you don’t forget to accomplish all of these tasks, your home will be in a good shape for years to come.
There are some tasks that should be done on a monthly basis. You can pick one weekend every month and turn home maintenance into a family activity by involving your children in some of the tasks as well.
Once the snow melts and the trees begin to bud, your home is ready for the spring clean and maintenance. Here are some tips that will help you prepare your home for the rest of the year.
Summer is great for focusing on the exterior of your home, including your lawn and garden.
Check grout in bathrooms, kitchen, etc.; repair as needed. This will prolong the life of your tiled surfaces and just looks better.
Fall is the season during which you should finish all the tasks you didn’t have the time for so you could get your home ready for winter. Rain, snow, and cold weather can cause significant damage so make sure you are prepared.
There’s not much you can do outside during winter. Instead, focus on the interior of your home and check out all those little things you may have overlook or postponed for some time later. Also, if you have any interior DIY projects, winter is a great time to do them.
Home maintenance expenses can sneak up on your. Unlike a lot of the costs of homeownership, home maintenance is not included in your monthly mortgage payment and can add up to thousands of dollars per year. Expert recommendations differ, but a general rule of thumb suggests budgeting $1 per sq/ft per year based on the size of your home or 1% of your total home value.
If you find yourself with a major maintenance expense and don’t have the savings to cover it, you could always consider a cash out mortgage to cover the cost of major repairs like a roof replacement. Enter your information below to see what you qualify for.
Apartment checklist. The time has finally come – you are officially an adult and about to live in your own apartment for the first time ever.
While you’re probably thinking about all the beautiful decorations you’re going to buy, there is something else you need to do first.
You will have to buy some basic goods you never had to buy before.
Let’s face it – have you ever had to buy your own towels, dishes, or silverware? We thought so.
Moving into a new apartment can turn out to be a daunting task.
There are some items that you’ll obviously need such as furniture and appliances.
But, it is very likely that you may have overlooked some other necessities.
Have you bought a bath mat, cutting board, corkscrew or shower caddies?
You may not need all of these items, but some of them sure can come in handy.
Take a look at our checklist before you finally move in your new apartment and see if you have everything you need.
Consider this section as an extra short version of all must-haves.
Make sure you bought all these items before moving at all.
Then, keep them close by when you move.
You’ll probably want to unpack these first before anything else.
You definitely don’t want to find yourself be searching for a shower curtain instead of getting ready for work or class.
A mattress should definitely be one of the first few items you buy for your new place.
Picking out the right mattress can turn out into a very time-consuming task.
You probably will be fine sleeping on the floor for one night or even a week.
But, life gets crazy busy when you’re moving and you might find yourself sleeping on the floor for a month because you didn’t buy a mattress on time.
We recommend ordering your mattress online from one of the many startups that have popped up in the last few years.
It’s easy to have the mattress shipped directly to your new place, they come quickly, and they’re cheaper than your standard mattress.
Plus they’re comfortable! We like Nectar mattresses, our readers get $125 off by clicking through this link.
When you walk inside your new apartment, you’ll probably want to decorate it somehow.
And, it is also very likely that you’ll need to put something together, for example, a bookshelf.
When that time comes, you don’t want to be unprepared.
There is nothing more frustrating than being in an unpacking groove only to realize you lack the basic tools.
Make sure you have a hammer, a screwdriver, wall hooks, and some nails.
Amazon Basics has a great home maintenance toolkit to get you started.
Accidents are quite common when moving.
Usually, people tend to cut a finger, sprain an ankle, or trip and fall down.
If you do get injured, you’ll want to have a first-aid kit nearby.
Make sure to include the following:
What are the chances for remembering to bring a step stool with you in your new apartment?
Make sure you put it on the top of your checklist.
A step stool can be extremely valuable during unpacking, especially if you’re short or if your apartment as high ceilings.
It is recommended to buy a step stool that is light, easily portable, and easy to store.
It would be a bummer to unpack all the things in your new home only to realize that you don’t have anywhere to plug them in.
Make sure to purchase batteries, extension cords, and power strips before moving so you could finish unpacking as quickly as possible.
This one is a no-brainer.
You might make some mess while moving in or find spots that the previous tenants forgot to clean.
Make sure that your cleaning supplies are easily accessible so you can clean everything before you start unpacking.
Here are some items you might need:
Check out our house cleaning checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the bases!
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Talking of bathroom essentials, here is another one you shouldn’t forget. After a long day of unpacking, you’ll probably be dying for a hot shower. And, using a shower without a shower curtain is a great way to ruin the floors in your brand-new apartment. To prevent this from happening, make sure to pack all the toiletry items you might need, including a shower curtain.
Unpacking and moving in is hard work. When you take a break, you’ll probably want to grab something to eat and drink. You could use paper plates and cups for the first few days, but why don’t you make things easier and immediately buy a full dish set? Here are some items you might need:
We absolutely love a well-outfitted kitchen, check out our list of kitchen essentials to see our recommendations on everything from flatware to pots and pans.
Here are a few things you should do before you move in:
For more tips, check out our moving checklist to make sure you’re all prepped for your big day.
It is impossible to think of all the items you will need in your kitchen all by yourself. This checklist will help you get all the items you need to cook like a boss, keep your leftovers properly, and, most importantly, host awesome parties.
Sometimes cooking can be a chore – make your life easier with an instant pot. Saute, simmer, pressure cook or use it as a crock pot, this is the swiss army knife your kitchen needs to whip up dinner in a pinch.
Here is the room that you’ll probably spend the most time in. Comfort is key! And for us, this all starts with choosing the right sofa. We’ve included some of the best sellers below to help you start your search.
The only thing you need in a bedroom is a bed, right? Well, not really. Here are all the other items you’ll need to make your bedroom a cozy place.
Decorating your bathroom can be quite fun. And now that you can buy all the bubble baths and hair products you want, you might get a bit carried away. If you get too excited about choosing the right soap that you forget to purchase a toilet scrubber, this checklist will save the day.
When people start coming to your new place, you’ll want them to fall in love with it as soon as they come in. Here are some items you can place in your entrance area or corridor:
So, you made your first apartment checklist, prepared the apartment, and now you’re finally ready to move in. Here are a few things you should do upon moving in:
Don’t worry if you don’t get all the items at once. Moving in generally requires lots of trips to the store. However, to make things easier for you, you can plan those trips in advance. For example, you can start by buying the things that are a must. Then, you can do the shopping for each room separately. Don’t spare any money on essential items. They should be high-quality items since you will have them for years and, hopefully, you won’t have to buy them the next time you move.
You’ve finally found the home of your dreams and now you’re ready to sign the contract. But, there is one key step before making the purchase final – getting a home inspection. The freshly painted walls, hardwood floors, and granite countertops are simply superficial touches. What you don’t see is the dangerous wiring, ancient plumbing or foundation cracks. All these defects can be revealed if you hire a home inspector.
A home inspection is, basically, your chance to investigate a property thoroughly and reveal any serious flaws. People usually hire an expert that walks through the house and makes a report that lists the major components of the home, the condition they are in, and whether something requires maintenance once you move in.
If you sign a purchase agreement that has an inspection contingency, then you can walk away from the deal without any penalties if the home inspection reveals some serious flaws. You can also ask the seller to make all the necessary repairs, saving you money and hassle.
Even though you might hire a home inspector, it is wise to have your own home inspection checklist which can help you get the most out of the inspection report.
Finding a good home inspector might take some time. If you have a real estate agent, then it is very likely that he will recommend several inspectors. You should also do research on your own and ask for recommendations from your friends, colleagues, or family members. Keep in mind that licensing requirements for home inspectors vary from one state to another. For example, in some states, a home inspector must complete training, pass an exam, and demonstrate experience in order to get licensed. However, in other states, home inspectors are not required to be licensed at all. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) provides an interactive map which lists home inspection license requirements in all states.
Once you find a home inspector, make sure to ask for a sample report before you hire him. Some reports might be 100 pages long while others only contain checkboxes. A longer report doesn’t necessarily have to be better. Make sure to check with the inspector what is included in the inspection. If there are certain concerns you want to have addressed, ensure that the inspector adds them to the list.
The scope of a home inspection depends on the inspector. However, there is one thing that is consistent – all inspectors focus on the physical components of a home. This certainly covers many things but doesn’t include absolutely everything.
A home inspector can only report what he can see, not what is inside the walls or underneath the furniture. However, if there are accessible crawl spaces in the home, the inspector will enter and check the foundation. In addition, the home should be vacant so that the inspector can inspect as much as possible.
A home inspection typically does not include:
There are some red flags you should look out for in every home inspection report. For example, a water leak can cause a lot of trouble to homeowners. However, locating the source of the leak can be a bit tricky. Make sure that this is included in the report and that the inspector checks the plumbing properly. The water should be turned on during the inspections and the faucets should run for a period of time so that leaks can appear.
Make sure that the home inspector pays attention to any structural issues. Even though a small crack seems innocent, it can cause larger problems. Inspectors should look for cracks between doors and windows, bulging walls, and sloping floors.
Even if your home has a concrete foundation, it doesn’t mean that it is immune to termites and other wood-destroying insects. They can crawl through small spaces and damage wooden structural supports and even porches and windows. It is recommended that your home inspector searches for these pests since they can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Keep in mind that the home inspector typically only searches for problems and won’t estimate repair costs for you. If you have any questions, make sure to discuss them with your inspector and ensure that you are making a good investment.
Below we cover our 80+ point home inspection checklist. While we always recommend purchasing a home inspection prior to buying a home, you can use this list as a way to do your own DIY inspection while you’re house hunting and before making an offer.
Before checking the interior of your new home, don’t forget to check what the exterior is like.
Getting a home inspection is only one part of the home buying process. If you’re interested in learning more about buying a home we recommend reading our article about what to look for when buying a home. If you’re ready to buy a home we recommend checking your rate below to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your mortgage:
And if you’ve made your purchase, we definitely recommend downloading our new house checklist to make sure your home is move-in ready on day one!
Nothing feels quite as good as a squeaky clean house. Our house cleaning checklist has 144 tasks and we promise, if you or your housekeeper complete all of them, your home will feel brand new. This checklist goes room by room to help you clean your home, and we even included a bonus spring cleaning checklist at the end for those times when you want a deep cleaning.
Before we dive into the list, it’s worth calling out some of the supplies we think you’ll need to complete the job. We try to keep toxic chemicals out of our home, so we prefer natural & eco-friendly cleaning supplies.
Includes hallways, stairs, etc.
Every so often you’ll want to go above and beyond your normal cleaning routine. We think this is the perfect spring cleaning checklist. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until April! In some cases we’ll go through these tasks every 3-6 months.
You are ready to find the right home: You have a budget. You know your affordability amount. You’re pre-approved for a loan. You’re working with a realtor, or you are comfortable working on your own. You know your timeline. You’re now a highly-qualified buyer, the only thing standing in your way is finding that perfect house. The great home search has begun!
Moving into a new home or apartment? With the whirlwind of things to do, it’s easy for some smaller items to fall off to the wayside.
That’s why we created this moving checklist. There are a few basic things you can do early on in the process to make moving day a breeze.
So? What are the things to do before moving? Below we’ve listed 12 important things to do when moving.
The easiest way to simplify your move into a new home is to reduce the amount of stuff you have to sort, pack, transport, unpack, and organize. Go through your current home room by room and take a long hard look at everything you own. Make a list of what you want to keep and what you’re ready to get rid of.
Depending on how far you’re going, there may be quite a few things in your pantry or refrigerator that aren’t worth moving. Take stock of food that is expiring soon, frozen food, or items that are hard to transport. If you can, try to use these things before your moving date, and avoid repurchasing these items at the grocery store leading up to the big move.
Are you going to pay for a moving company? If so, you’ll want to do some research on different movers in your area, get some quotes, and schedule your moving date ahead of time.
We recommend getting a quote from UShip, they can cover your entire move, and they’re great for shipping vehicles if you’re moving long-distance.
If you’re relying on the good graces of your friends and family, it’s best to start lining up your help as soon as possible. You might also want to consider reserving a moving truck from a local rental company.
You’ll want to get your packing supplies ahead of time. If you can, keep an eye out for free boxes on Craigslist or from local businesses. Otherwise, you’ll want to purchase boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and markers.
It’s also a good idea to get a wardrobe box – folding all of your clothes for a move only to unpack and rehang them in your new home is silly. Save yourself the time and hassle.
If you’re moving into your first place, or you’re expanding into a larger home, order some essentials ahead of time. A little planning ahead will make your first few nights in your new home much more pleasant.
For some inspiration, check out our New House Checklist that covers all the essentials and necessities.
If you did a good job at #1 on this list, this part is much easier. Moving day is chaotic enough, do yourself a favor and pack your boxes ahead of time.
Start with the items that you won’t need in the days leading up to the move – think out-of-season clothes, books, decorations, home office, garage, etc.
Work your way through the house until you get to the essentials – toiletries, your current wardrobe, and the essential kitchen items should come last.
If you’re moving during the week, make sure to get the time off of work. Even if you’re moving on a weekend, you might consider taking off the day after your move, so you can get settled into your new home.
Make sure to call your utility companies and let them know you’re moving. In some cases, that will mean canceling service with your existing company and setting up services with a new provider.
Make sure to call the company a week or two before your move-in date – in some cases, a technician may need to come to the house before they turn on services.
You’ll want to make sure you have water, power, gas, sewer, trash service, and internet.
Missing important mail after you move can create some real problems, especially when tax season comes. To make sure nothing falls through the cracks, file a change of address with the post office.
You can do it online here, and it only takes a few minutes. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve updated your address with your banks, insurance providers, credit card companies, and other major institutions.
When moving into a new home, you never know who has keys to your existing locks. Old tenants, previous homeowners, or even some of your neighbors might have spare keys.
It’s a good idea to replace the locks on move-in day, make sure to order a replacement lock set ahead of time. Check out our post on the best smart locks for some recommendations!
Your new home will be much easier to clean before everything is moved in. We recommend scheduling a deep cleaning prior to move-in the day if you have the chance.
Amazon offers a new program that makes it easy to hire local professionals for in-home services.
Make sure to save your receipts through your moving process. In many cases, you can deduct your moving expenses from your taxes at the end of the year, saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on how far you’re moving.
Everything from small items like moving boxes to big-ticket items like the cost of a moving company could be eligible. You can go here to learn more about whether or not you qualify for a deduction.
If you’re in the process of purchasing your new home, it’s a good idea to make sure you are getting the lowest interest rate possible to keep your monthly payment affordable.
Check to see how your mortgage payment compares to our partners below!
Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or you’re moving to a new house, the kitchen will be an important part of your new home.
Our checklist of kitchen essentials has all of the tools, utensils, cookware, and gadgets you’ll need to whip up some delicious meals.
Below we’ll cover the necessities you should have for your first kitchen as well as some nice-to-haves that will help expand your cooking repertoire.
Our list below has two categories for every section – Essentials are things you shouldn’t be caught without, and Splurge items that you could consider buying if you have room in your budget, think you’ll use them, or want to up your game as a chef.
We’ve kept our budget for our essential items capped at $500, so if you’re outfitting your kitchen for the first time you won’t have to break the bank.
You’ll always need to eat, and no matter where you live you’re going to have a place to cook.
When we created our list of kitchen necessities, we wanted to make sure we considered the quality of every item as well as the cost. In most cases, you’re better off spending a little more on a utensil that comes with a lifetime guarantee and is going to last for decades over a cheap product that will only last until your next move.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the author of The Food Lab, is a world-renowned chef and food experimenter. Many of the items on this list are recommended as part of his essential toolkit for any aspiring chef.
Most of the items are under $15, are battled-tested by professional chefs, and will last you for years.
Utensils are one of the most used tools in the kitchen. They don’t need to be fancy or expensive, but if you’re like us, buying the right items can make your time in the kitchen much more enjoyable.
We love OXO kitchen products. These budget-friendly 9” Stainless Steel Locking Tongs by OXO are a steal at under $15, are sturdy enough to flip a steak, and have nearly replaced all of our other kitchen tools.
Our spatula of choice is OXO’s fish spatula. It’s slotted, which means you can drain off any liquids before transferring them to a plate.
It’s stiff enough to handle a thick cut of meat but flexible enough to wedge into the nooks and crannies of your pan.
We also recommend getting a silicone spatula to use for non-stick pans so you don’t scratch the surface. Again, OXO makes a sturdy, high-quality silicon spatula that we love.
And we’re not the only ones – it’s rated 4.5 stars on Amazon with nearly 1,500 different reviews. At about $10, it’s a great value buy.
For soups, stews, chili, and other liquids, you’ll want something to scoop your delicious creation out of your pot and into your bowl. Again, it’s OXO to the rescue with this nylon ladle for $7.
It’s hard to argue with over 1,000 reviews rating it at 4.5 stars on Amazon.
Now that you have all these great tools, make them easy to reach with a utensil holder for your kitchen counter.
We think this jumbo stainless steel utensil holder looks great on our counter, but they come in tons of flavors.
In most cases a whisk isn’t necessary, you could get it by using a fork. But if you’re a baker, pancake enthusiast, or just like the convenience of a whisk, we recommend this basic 9″ whisk for $9.
You only need one whisk in your life, and this one will do you just fine.
It might seem odd to some, but chopsticks make an excellent cooking utensil. Great for stirring, tossing, or placing food, they’re especially useful when cooking in a wok or other rounded pans.
We like these 14” stainless steel chopsticks for cooking.
For soups & stews, we also recommend having a skimmer on hand as well, in case you want the liquid to drain before scooping something up.
These can also be very helpful when frying foods. There are plenty to choose from, but we like this highly rated steel strainer with a bamboo handle for under $10.
There are a few basic knives every kitchen should have, and they don’t need to break the bank.
When considering a good knife, we look for a sharp, sturdy blade, a comfortable handle, and durable construction.
These knives will hold up through years of use, can be resharpened over time, and many come with a lifetime guarantee.
Sturdy, sharp, and pointed at the tip, these knives are great for cutting through meat, bone, and hearty vegetables. They’re built to rock back and forth as you cut, and generally have some heft to them.
We like the J.A. Henckels Classic 8″ Knife, with its full tang blade and triple-riveted handle. It’s has a comfortable grip with a bolster that makes it easy to maneuver while chopping.
We think it’s the best chef’s knife you can buy for $50, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Santoku knives come from Japan, designed by chefs to slice, dice, and mince. Unlike a western chef’s knife, santoku blades are not meant for chopping through bone or hearty vegetables like carrots or squash.
However, their straight, sharp edge makes them great for chopping just about anything else, and they are far more agile and maneuverable than a typical western chef’s knife.
Having each style of knife in your kitchen means you’ll have the right tool for each job.
Our pick for santoku knives is the Victorinox 7” Fibrox santoku knife with its ice-tempered carbon blade makes for a high qualified knife that handles well.
Victorinox (makes of the Swiss Army Knife) includes their patented Fibrox non-slip grip on this knife, giving it a textured handle that is comfortable to use while still allowing for a firm grip.
Great steak knives are worth the investment, and shouldn’t set you back much. J.A Henckels, the maker of our pick for a western chef’s knife, makes a beautiful 8 piece steak knife set.
We like these for the same reasons we like their chef’s knife – full tang blade, sturdy rivets, a comfortable handle, and a lifetime guarantee.
Bigger isn’t always better. We like this 4 in. Victorinox paring knife for peeling fruits and vegetables or making other fine cuts.
A long bread knife is great for cutting up soft bread, hard bread like baguettes, cutting sandwiches in half, or even slicing meats in a pinch.
The Victorinox bread knife is great, but at nearly $50 is a little indulgent. This 8” bread knife from OXO will do the job just fine.
It’s highly rated with nearly 600 reviews on Amazon and comes in under $10.
If you’re sold on a santoku knife, but looking for an alternative to the western chef’s knife, a meat cleaver is a great alternative pairing.
Handy for cutting through thick meat, bone, and hearty vegetables, but also surprisingly good when it comes to finely mincing herbs or other vegetables.
A basic heavy-duty meat cleaver should last you a lifetime, and for just under $10 it’s worth having in your kitchen on the off chance you need it.
We do not consider any of these items essential, these all fall squarely in the Splurge category. You may consider a toaster oven, microwave, coffee maker, or blender, but we’ve found we can get by without them.
This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of cabinet storage or counter space, single-function appliances are hard to justify.
However, there are two items we want to call out because they are multi-purpose, and they have changed the way we cook for the better.
We can’t help but highlight our favorite kitchen appliance to date – the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot Duo 9-in-1 won our top pick for best pressure cooker, and for good reason – this little pressure cooker has garnered itself a cult following, with nearly 500,000 people on their Facebook group and plenty of sites dedicated to Instant Pot Recipes.
And it’s popular for good reason – it requires almost no set up, it’s easy to use, and is a 9-in-1 appliance – use it as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté, steamer, warmer, sterilizer and it makes cake too!
On top of everything else, the Instant Pot is built to be convenient – some models can be controlled with your smartphone.
This makes it easy to prep a meal before work, start the cooking process on your way home, and come home to a delicious homemade meal. The Instant Pot will be your new best friend in the kitchen.
Using a sous-vide has changed the way we cook, especially for larger groups. To cook using a sous-vide, you place your food in a sealed bag and use a water bath to heat it to the perfect temperature.
It becomes impossible to overcook a cut of meat with a sous-vide, it’s the easiest way to get juicy, tender meals with almost no stress.
It’s definitely not for everyone, but the cost of a sous-vide appliance has dropped dramatically in the last few years. The Anova cooker with Bluetooth, our favorite sous vide, usually sells for $150.
You can often find it on sale at Amazon, so it’s worth checking to see if you can get a deal on it.
If you decide on a sous-vide, we highly recommend you try these sous vide ribs from Serious Eats.
Of all the things you’ll buy to outfit your kitchen, the easiest place to blow your budget is with your pots and pans.
With all the different sizes, shapes, metals, and types of cookware, it’s hard to know what you will need, what you’ll use day-to-day, and what to avoid buying.
Our picks below are enough to account for most of your cooking needs. We think “less is more” when it comes to pots and pans – you can always expand your collection over time if you find you are consistently missing something to cook a dish.
But we can assure you, there’s no rush to buy that specialty paella pan right out of the gate.
Cast iron skillets can’t be beaten. They’re sturdy, easy to clean, they last for generations, and they don’t break the bank.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can try to find these at a local swap meet or thrift store – just make sure you’re ready to go through the process of cleaning & seasoning a used cast iron skillet.
We like Lodge brand skillets for a number of reasons. We recommend the 12″ skillet from Lodge, which is big enough to make most dishes but still small enough to use in a standard size oven.
Lodge pre-seasons all of their cast ironware, which makes it easy to use and ready to cook without the box. At under $30, it’s hard not to love these things.
Adding a potholder makes using a cast-iron skillet much more convenient, so either buy a skillet that includes a silicone handle cover or make sure to buy a potholder separately.
Even though we love our cast iron skillets, it’s nice to have a non-stick pan on occasion. A good non-stick pan is a great compliment to a cast-iron skillet and comes in particularly useful for cooking eggs, sauces, or delicate meats.
Again, no need to spend big here. This Cuisinart 12″ nonstick skillet is a classic – well made, can be baked in the oven up to 500 degrees and comes with a helper handle to make it easy to maneuver when it’s hot.
It’s rated at 4 stars on Amazon with over 800 reviews, and for about $35 it’s the only non-stick pan you’ll need.
A 3-quart saucepot will be your go-to for boiling water, whether it’s too hard to boil eggs, whip up some pasta, or cook some sweet potatoes. They also come in handy when making sauces or small batches of soup.
Our top pick is a 3-quart stainless steel saucepot from Cuisinart. It has a high-quality build and includes a pour spout on the side to help avoid spills. It’s a great deal at about $35, especially considering it comes with a straining lid.
It’s always good to have a large pot on hand for soups & stews. A basic stainless steel stock pot will handle almost anything you throw at it, no need to get splurge here.
They are truly all the same. Get this great set of 3 backing sheets from Amazon for $15 and don’t overthink it.
We love our cast iron skillets so much we can’t help but get more of them.
An 8” skillet comes in useful when you’re preparing multiple dishes at once and need a second pan, and these 3.5 inch skillets are great for baking personalized dishes that can be served in the skillet, like an egg bake or corn bread.
You don’t realize the importance of a good cutting board until it’s too late. For us, a good cutting board has a large work area, does not slide around on the counter, and is easy to use.
Our top pick is a 10.5” x 14.5” cutting board from OXO. It’s large, has rubberized edges to grip the counter, and cleans up in a snap.
It also has a nice channel around the perimeter of the board to make sure any liquids won’t leak onto our counter (think juicy meats that you’re slicing to serve.)
Ever used a knife to scoop something up off of a cutting board? Scraping your knife blade across a hard surface is a great way to dull it or even chip it.
Bench scrapers are built to scrape the sticky dough off of a work surface, but they’re also great for scooping up chopped veggies or meat off the cutting board without ruining your knives.
We might catch some flak for considering this an essential, but ramakins are great for holding chopped food when you need to make room on the cutting board. Our favorite is sold as “custard cups”, $12 will get you 4 of them.
Another game-changer, we think this might be the best investment you make in your kitchen (next to a good cast iron skillet and some good knives).
A basic set of stainless steel mixing bowls will make your life easier when it comes time to marinate some meat, mix veggies, or toss a large salad, and they’re incredibly easy to clean.
Our top pick features 6 different size bowls for under $25 – a very worthwhile (and budget-friendly) investment.
With all this cooking going on, you’ll need somewhere to keep the leftovers. Tupperware is an area where buying cheap usually means buying a new set every few months.
This 28 piece set from Rubbermaid is easy to wash, easy to store, is shatterproof, and should last you a while – for under $40 it’s a no-brainer.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a large stainless steel bottle opener that pops a top with ease.
For wine, we like this professional-grade wine key, and for under $15 it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
A staple of every kitchen. No need to get fancy here – we like this stainless steel measuring cup set from Chefland.
Less than $10, highly rated by thousands of buyers, and eligible for Prime shipping on Amazon. What more could you ask for?
We prefer silicone trays because they’re much easier to get the cubes out of. This two-pack of trays makes 20 perfect cubes per tray.
These aren’t your grannie’s potholders (though she might enjoy these as much as we do). The Grill Armor Oven Gloves are wearable oven mitts that will protect your hand up to 932 degrees.
Are they ridiculous? A bit. But getting burned sucks, and having full use of all of your fingers when handling hot items is a game-changer.
Don’t ever overcook your dinner again. Having a thermometer in your kitchen solves two problems – the fear of undercooking your meat, and the disappointment of overcooking it.
This $15 instant-read thermometer is the best budget-friendly option. If you avoid overcooking one great cut of meat by using it, it has paid for itself.
A kitchen scale will change the way you cook for the better. Is it nerdy? A bit indulgent? Yes to both, but it’s the best way to get precise measurements in the kitchen.
This scale is a great option to test the waters with.
If you cook with garlic regularly, you know that mincing it with a knife is a pain. A garlic press makes this process quick and easy.
An added bonus – using a press will keep your fingers from having that funky garlic smell for the rest of the night.
A minor purchase, but a major convenience. Having these at the ready will make cooking easier, and they look great on your table as well.
If you regularly make tea or use a french press for coffee, you might consider getting a kettle – it’s far more convenient than whipping out your sauce pot every time you need to boil water.
Our recommended saucepot comes with a straining lid, so you could get by without one.
But if you’re regularly making pasta, or want an easy way to wash and dry your fruits and vegetables, a colander or strainer could be a worthwhile investment.
A few other odds and ends:
We hope you enjoy cooking in your new kitchen. We’ve hand-picked all of these items because we know they work.
They’re cost-effective, useful, well designed, and should last for years. Once you’ve assembled your dream kitchen, it’s time to get cooking!
Didn’t see your favorite kitchen utensil? If you feel like we missed something please drop it in the comments!
If you’re in need of some inspiration, we highly recommend The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. It’s by far the most fascinating look at the cuisine that we’ve seen, and the New York Times says it’s “The one book you must have, no matter what you’re planning to cook or where your skill level falls”.
What better way to celebrate moving into your new home and put your new kitchen to the test?