Basic Housewares and New Home Essentials

Laughing couple preparing breakfast in kitchen
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Whether you're setting up a home for the first time or you're replacing lost items, this checklist of house essentials can help ensure you're covered for the basics. It can also come in handy when you need ideas for wedding, anniversary, and shower gifts.

Major Appliances

Some major appliances may already be in place in your home, especially if you're renting. New homes usually have no appliances other than heating/cooling equipment and a hot water heater.

  • Refrigerator with freezer
  • Range or cooktop and oven
  • Microwave oven
  • Freezer, chest or upright (optional)
  • Dishwasher (optional)
  • Clothes washer and dryer

Countertop Appliances & Accessories

Most countertop appliances have "manual," or non-electric counterparts. For example, you can opt for a stovetop coffee maker instead of a standard plug-in drip coffee machine.

  • Toaster or toaster oven
  • Mixer (handheld or stand)
  • Blender (standard or stick)
  • Coffeemaker
  • Electric kettle

Cooking Implements

Active home cooks tend to acquire specific and specialty cooking tools over time, based on the type of cooking they do. But a basic set of implements will suffice for most recipes and dishes.

  • 6-, 8-, and 12-inch frying pans 
  • 1-, 2-, and 4-quart saucepans with lids
  • Dutch oven or large pot with lid
  • Stockpot (optional)
  • Steamer pot or steamer basket
  • Casserole dish
  • Roasting Pan

Bakeware

Baking tends to be more precise than everyday cooking, so it helps to have the most standard tools, such as a classic 9-inch pie pan, to follow baking recipes without having to make modifications.

  • Heavy baking sheets
  • Cookie sheets
  • 9-inch pie pan
  • Rectangular bakers or baking dishes 
  • Rolling pin
  • Metal cooling racks
  • Ramekins or custard cups

Kitchen Utensils & Tools

A well-equipped kitchen feels more like a home kitchen and less like a rental property. Think about the items you most often reach for as well as some cook's favorites that you may not have tried, like a spider strainer.

  • Large- and medium-size mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Canister set (for storing grains, flour, and other dry staples)
  • Kitchen tool holder
  • Spice rack or holder
  • Colander or set of strainers
  • Silicone spatulas
  • Metal spatula or flipper
  • Wooden spoons
  • Spider skimmer
  • Can opener
  • Wisk
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Cheese and vegetable grater
  • Plastic and/or metal serving and cooking utensils, such as large slotted and regular spoons, soup ladle, potato masher, large meat fork, and stirring paddles
  • Knife set, including paring, chef, and serrated knives 
  • Steak knives
  • Cutting boards
  • Vegetable cleaning brush
  • Potholders, hot pads, and oven mitts
  • Dishcloths and tea towels
  • Trivets

Tableware & Serving

Dishes and silverware go quickly whether you're cooking a family meal or hosting a dinner party. It's best to have extra settings for the most common items.

  • Flatware settings (dinner fork, salad fork, teaspoon, soup spoon, knife) for eight to 12 people
  • Everyday dish setting (dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl) for six, or as needed
  • Fruit or dessert dishes
  • Glassware assortment, including 4-, 6-, and 8-ounce glasses
  • Small bowls, such as cereal bowls, if not included in dish set
  • Coffee mugs and teacups
  • Salt and pepper set
  • Cream and sugar bowl
  • Napkin holder
  • Set of serving bowls 
  • Teapot (if you don't have an electric kettle)
  • Serving platter

Floor Care & Cleaning Items

There are an endless array cleaning supplies you can buy, but a basic collection will get you through most everyday chores. Even professional house cleaners rely on relatively few supplies.

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Floor mop, scrub pail, scrub brush, and cleaning rags
  • Long bottlebrush
  • Scouring or pot cleaning pads, or brushes
  • Dust Rag
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths (optional)

Linens & Towels

As with dishes, having more sets of towels and bed linens means you won't have to wash items in a hurry because you've run out. It's also nice to have plenty of good linens for house guests.

  • Bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Washcloths
  • Bed sheets
  • Blankets and bed covers
  • Pillows and pillow covers (include extra for guests)
  • Tablecloths 
  • Cloth napkins
  • Placemats