The ultimate list of new homeowner “must haves” to launch your fresh life

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Mother fucking home owner mug by MaxandMitchCo

Betsy needs help!

The situation: My man and I just purchased our first home: an adorable 1928 brick midwestern dream that needs a little TLC. This is our first home, and the first place we’ve lived since selling all of the stuff we owned that wouldn’t fit into a 1998 Plymouth Breeze with us and our dog, Frank. Which means we need A LOT OF STUFF! We’re getting married in a few months, which presents the perfect opportunity for people to buy us this stuff.

We’ve never lived in a non-apartment setting before, so we don’t have any “home-ownery” stuff like hoses and ladders, nor do we have an “fixy” stuff like tools. We have small stuff like kitchen appliances and utensils because they could fit in the Breeze, and close contact with dog hair for 18 hours wouldn’t ruin them.

The question: What would you suggest we register for? Knowing our guests, we’re looking for things in the $25-$150 range.

I can help! Mah man and I moved into our house almost a year ago. Before that, we’d ditched a lot of our stuff so we could squeeze into a studio apartment, so we’ve gone through the holy-crap-we-need-to-buy-all-the-things period.

This was helpful in our new home ownership:

  1. We waited to buy the goods until we were in. This gave us a chance to see what we really needed, what we could do without, and most importantly: what we could get from friends or family who were upgrading or had extras.
  2. We were used to moving to new apartments every couple of years, and being poor. So we had bought crappy, low-quality junk, mostly. When we bought a house we realized it was time to start buying quality stuff: metal, well-made, more expensive in the short-term but much less expensive than buying over and over again.

I’ve made a list of goodies we needed, and linked to some that we’ve liked or coveted at Rockethaus. I’d also recommend you find a good local hardware store (Ace and TrueValue count!) and get familiar with their inventory. Print out this list and take it along!

In the meantime, Amazon will help you be sure of what you’re looking for.




Some odder stuff:

  • A fire safe, and/or a safety deposit box for your deed! (!!!)
  • If your house came with filters — a reverse osmosis built-in, or one in a fridge — you can look for replacement filters and ask for those!
  • Curtains!
  • House numbers
  • Welcome mats!

Okay, so that wasn’t a brief list — print it from here if you need to take it with.

And Homies, what else does a new homeowner need?

Comments on The ultimate list of new homeowner “must haves” to launch your fresh life

  1. In my opinion, when you do buy a garden hose, go ahead and get a better quality one. The first one we bought was one of the cheapest and plastic-y. After using it a couple times, it permanently kinked in a million places. It turned into a huge, awkward eyesore. After a season watering the garden with it, we couldn’t take it any more, and bought the more expensive woven one. Worth every penny!

    Gift cards are definitely a good way to go, if your friends and family don’t think they are too impersonal. We used some of ours to rekey our house (we had three different door keys >.< ), which is a lot more expensive than you would think!

  2. Along with the lawnmower I would say also a weed whacker/trimmer/ whatever your local dialect calls them. Gift cards to home improvement stores are also fantastic because you never know what crazy fixes will pop up. Oh and a good general how to book.

  3. Even though we already had one from the bits and pieces we’d put together as we needed them over the years, the all-in-one tool kit that we got as a wedding present has probably seen more use than anything else from our wedding registry. Helps so much that everything has a place where it’s supposed to go (so we don’t lose yet another tape measure) 😉

    Also, if you’re planning on doing a lot of work yourself, an electronic multi tool along the lines of a dremel or something similar is probably our favorite power tool. Great for all sorts of small scale projects.

  4. Lamps! Like curtains, they’re more expensive than you think (new) and you probably need them.

    Door mats (inside and out) were the biggest thing I didn’t think of until everything was a mess. I like one in front of the kitchen sink too.

    I also love microfiber dusting cloths, and my feather duster.

    I always think it’s nice to register for some fun/pretty stuff for friends and family who would like to get you a gift you will enjoy for a while, and not just find crazy useful. A wine rack? Flower pots/stands?

  5. Cat, yes to the flashlights! I have a few on every floor: an electric lantern, a snake light, a tri-pod light, a few handheld flashlights – because you need them to see under the sink where you need your hands so it must work hands-free, in closets, and in emergencies.

    I would add 3M wall hangers for putting up art on the walls. Even though you could nail into your walls, why would you when these are super strong? I also put those furniture sliders on the bottoms of all my furniture (so I wish I would have registered for them as they add up quick). They come in handy for moving the china cabinet to retrieve cat hair Rhinos.

    If you register for a hose, also register for a hose retract storage box.

    Go around the house and check out all the fixtures and register for replacements if any are leaky or nasty (faucets, showers, sinks). These can be expensive, but in range for gifting. You can put big ticket items on as well (grill, vacuum, dishwasher, washer, dryer) because groups like to sometimes go in on larger items that are really needed. I chipped in with a bunch of coworkers to buy a Bugaboo (read: overly expensive yet awesome stroller) for a girl in the office. There is buying power in groups. And if you really need something, people will feel good about a gift card because it can go towards something larger than they can afford.

  6. Okay – tools. Lots of people have had really great ideas (stud-finder is awesome – helps you hang pictures, hooks, and shelves without ripping out your drywall the minute you put something heavy on it), but I’m going to make one, non-paid plug for a tool brand: Craftsman. They cost a little more than most tools, but they tend to be a bit higher quality AND (here’s the kicker) if they EVER break or bend or have bits that don’t work, Sears will exchange them for a brand new one NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Forever.

    You DO have to make sure you get the “forever guarantee” ones, though. I know they have a couple of lines now that are only partially guaranteed.

    Also – go easy on the kitchen stuff at first. It could be tempting to get every kitchen gadget ever, but you might not use them (ever) and you could run out of kitchen space real fast. My advice? Register for a nice set of durable dishware (especially if you have chipped, mismatched, or plastic stuff now) and heavy-duty cookware. One stockpot that can go in the oven, one saucepan, and one frying pan are about all you need. 9×13″ and 8×8″ glass baking dishes can also be used for casseroles AND cakes. Restaurant-style aluminum baking sheets (the kind with the edges) are also super versatile – they can make everything from brownies to cookies to roast pork loin to vegetables. It’s better to have a few high-quality, versatile kitchen things (knives! Get good knives!) than a lot of crap. Plus, kitchen stuff is relatively inexpensive (even the good stuff) which makes them a nice, tangible, usable registry item.

    I also second making a list. We did that when I moved to NY from ND (into the boy’s apartment – he didn’t have a lot of stuff, and what he did have was mostly hand-me-down or cheap) we made a list of everything we needed, from a vacuum cleaner to cake pans to a new couch, and then kept our eyes peeled at thrift stores and for sales and saved money for the big stuff. We’re still patiently adding to our furniture collection now that we’re in a house (rented, alas).

    And keep in mind that while you can splurge on a few essentials up front, you can generally survive without a lot of stuff in the short-term. Even if your house looks empty, don’t rush out and buy a furniture “set” from a big store – keep an eye out for quality, durable, comfortable, usable stuff that appeals to you. So good luck! And I think we need an update once you register!

    • Seconding this because it cannot be said enough: CRAFTSMAN HAND TOOLS. My father won’t buy anything else, BECAUSE they will absolutely take them back and exchange them for any reason (for instance, he just changed some pliers because he wrecked them on something he was working on) forever. he’s exchanged tools that were 20 years old. When my FH and I bought our house, buying Craftsman hand tools was the best advice we got. (second best advice was to register for Home Depot gift cards.:-/)
      The only other thing I could say is don’t worry too much about details. live with stuff for a while and then decide what you want to do. We were planning on redoing our kitchen right away, but living with it as is has changed our plans. we’re still going to redo it, but we’ll do it differently now that we know how we’re using it.

  7. Best wedding gift ever: The Black and Decker Home Repair book.

    We have used it to do a million projects on our new house that I never imagined we would be able to, like installing a completely new outlet in the middle of a wall, or replacing large amounts of drywall. Neither my husband nor I is especially handy, and this book has saved our butts on several occassions now. Even with internet at your fingertips, I recommend getting this book, or an equivalent (although we did some research and this is supposed to be the best – the person who gave it to us was in construction for years).

  8. Oh how many trips I have made to hardware store down the street since we bought our house! We discovered with a house that we needed more laundry baskets. I’m not sure why I can explain why we needed more laundry baskets when we bought our house, but maybe because the laundry was in the basement and our bedrooms were on the second floor? Also, for the yard, you may need loppers and clippers to trip bushes, trees, and other plants. And this fall, go buy yourself some bulbs and plant them. Daffodils and tulips. It will be lovely.

  9. A TOILET PLUNGER. Seriously, it’s something that you don’t think of buying until you NEED one right now.

    Get a stud-finder as well. Skip the electric ones that sense the wall “density” and instead get the $8 one that is literally just a fancy magnet. You just move it in a figure 8 on the wall until it sticks to one of the screws holding the drywall to the stud. You just double check up and down for more screws along that stud (just to be sure that the magnet didn’t just find some rogue nail). Super simple.

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