Must-Have Essential Items for a Comfy, Cozy, and Clean Home

Must-Have Essential Items for a Comfy, Cozy, and Clean Home

  • Feb 23

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my time living in various apartments, the most important lesson being that you should never respond to Craigslist rent ads that end with a winky face. The second most important lesson I learned is that you should really only buy what you need. It sounds goofy, and it is, but people don’t take this seriously enough. 

The reality is, we really only need basic essential items to live comfortably. 

But how are us average goons supposed to know which things are actually useful and which are just taking up space? Some of us may rely on our instincts to answer this question, which would be foolish. Why waste time when there’s a perfectly handy article right here? 

We here at Hate Stains love lists almost as much as we hate stains, so I’ve gone ahead and made you a helpful list of home necessities that will keep your house running smooth as silk. From toothbrush holders to stain removers (of course), we’re covering everything you need on a budget. New home owners or people who just moved into their first apartment lean in, because this one’s for you.

What Are Essential Household Items?

Well, there’s a general rule around this kind of thing, which is that house essentials are items that keep your home running smoothly. So that means you probably don’t need to buy that weird machine from Brookstone that makes you coffee while massaging your feet or giving you daily affirmations or whatever. 

Honestly, I’m going to go so far as to say that nothing at Brookstone counts as a house essential. Is that because they kicked me out of their store at the O’Hare Airport because I spilled my coffee on their roomba? Who can say. All I know is that stupid little machine hit my ankle with a force previously unknown to man and I did what I had to do.

In short, essential items are items you use everyday that genuinely make your life easier and, well, livable. For example: you need a microwave. You don’t need a soda maker. Do you see what I’m saying here? 

Now that I’ve beaten that into you, let’s go over some essential household items that will take your home from abysmal to adequate. 

List of Essential Items for Your Home (Divided by Room)

I’ve broken it down by room, so let’s start with the place where it’s easiest for us to spend money needlessly: the kitchen. 

Essential Kitchen Items

Aside from the mandatory things (like a fridge, stove, and microwave/microwave oven), here are the base new home essentials to keep you going:

Multipurpose Kitchen Utensils

Whether you buy them as a set (more cost-effective), or individually, you need kitchen utensils to cook, bake, or do pretty much anything in the kitchen. Start with a spoon, a can opener, some spatulas, a peeler, a cheese grater, and a pair of scissors.

Wine and Food Stain Removers

Say goodbye to your security deposit if you leave your place covered in sauce and wine stains from your weekly Wine-and-Spaghetti Nights. Try out this Hate Stain wine stain remover (which works for all general household stains), or this food stain remover to keep your kitchen spic-and-span. Essential items for rented spaces!

Some Good Kitchen Knives

The backbone of any kitchen house essentials. Stop trying to cut asparagus with a butter knife and grab yourself a cheap (but decent) set of kitchen knives. Trust me, they’ll make life easier. Plus, they’re great for self defense and/or murder. 

Basic Cooking Pots, Pans, and Bakeware 

Even if you’re not much of a cook, you should have some of these around in case you need to make something for the work potluck or hate-bake something for an enemy. 

Dinnerware & Glassware 

Gotta eat on something! While paper plates are the lazy man’s Fine China, and even considered essential items for some, they’re mad wasteful. Grab a cheap set of plates, bowls, cups, and silverware from IKEA or Target or wherever else they sell things in bulk for cheap off the backbone of underpaid workers. Don’t worry though, big business will get theirs when the revolution comes.

Make sure to get both plastic and glassware for different purposes! :)

Basic Small Appliances

This one is a little more open-ended and kind of depends on your lifestyle. If you do a lot of blending, get a cheap blender or food processor. If you feel like you can’t survive without an espresso machine, fine. Just remember that small house essentials like this can take up a lot of counter space if you’re not careful! 

Essential Items to Use in the Bedroom & Living Room

Marie Kando has taught us many things, mostly that none of us are as good at folding as we think we are. She also taught us that we don’t need a bunch of random crap in our living spaces. Here’s what we do need, though: 

Art & Decoration That Spark Joy 

Arguably the least essential of the essential household items on this list, but still good to have. Grab some art or plants or useless crystals or whatever to decorate your room with to make it feel a little more comfortable! Only get what makes you happy - remember that! 

Linens for Guest Beds (and Your Own)

These essential items are for those of us who can afford a home with a guest room (i.e. not me), but it’s also just good to have linens in general. Having extra linens around is good for when you’re doing laundry or you spill wine on your bed inevitably. Speaking of stains in linen…

Linen Stain Remover 

You’ll wanna have something around to get gross stains out of your sheet, which happen no matter how clean you are. Try out some of our products here and watch as your sheets go from tragic to terrific. We also have a blog devoted to this very thing!

Multiple Light Sources 

Don’t sit in the dark like some kind of blind cave goblin. Being that we need light to see, I feel like lights count as both decorations and house essentials. Grab some string lights, some small lamps from Goodwill, or those fun LED lights I see on Instagram all the time but can’t be bothered with. 

A Versatile Vacuum 

Carpets are the worst kind of flooring ever to be created and I will not be swayed otherwise. If your apartment is cursed with one, or even if it isn’t, you need a good vacuum to get out the grime that accumulates. Humans are disgusting and leave dust and fluid in their wake, so be sure you have a vacuum that can suck up all kinds of things. 

Storage Bins 

Those of us who are in a new home or apartment may realize too late that when the realtor said ‘cozy’, they meant impossibly small. Storage bins are the answer to this. Use clothing bins in your closets, and food containers for your kitchen, even bathroom bins for your toiletries. Trust me, these are the solutions for small household item storage.

Essential Bathroom Items 

Aside from a toothbrush, towels, and hygiene products, here’s the only stuff you’ll really need for your bathroom:

Laundry Essentials

If you’re blessed with a washer and dryer, I hate you, and I envy you, and maybe I should marry you. But also, you’ll need laundry detergent, fabric softener, and a laundry basket regardless. 


A must-have essential item, otherwise where are you going to put all your Q-tips and cotton balls and other detritus that accumulates in a bathroom? Not the toilet, goofball! It’ll get clogged! Get a wastebasket. 

Toothbrush Holder 

Please God get this. Placing your toothbrush on the sink a) gets toothpaste everywhere, b) leaves stains, and c) is gnarly. Just get a cup if you don’t want to  spend cash!

Wall Hooks

These are good if you have more than 1 towel. Absolutely a new home essential for those looking to save even an inch more space in their tiny, tiny bathroom.


Need I say more? I needn’t. 

Shower Curtain Liner 

One of the most under-appreciated essential items for the home. If you don’t have one of these to put on the inside of the tub, water is going to get literally everywhere on your bathroom floor, which can lead to mold and/or you slipping around the floor like a slapstick cartoon character. 

Bath Mat 

This is great for all of the reasons listed above, but also because bath mats dry your feet super quickly! They get dirty easily though, so be sure to wash them regularly. 

Shower Caddies 

This was the small household item I didn’t know I needed until I spent 2 minutes trying to pick a slippery shampoo bottle off the floor. Leaving your shampoos, conditioners, body washes, exfoliators, and whatever else you have around makes your bathroom look dirtier than it is. Shower caddies rule for saving space! 

Final Thoughts

There you have it, folks. Whether you’re just moving in or trying to downsize, this is the list of main essential items you’re going to need to survive (probably). If you’re left wanting more, be sure to check out our website or read our blog for cleaning tips and tricks! 

Hope this helped!


Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor