11 practical items new homeowners might not realize they need
These practical items will ensure your move-in goes smoothly
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New homeowners know the difference between "wants" and "needs" when curating a shopping list for their new home. It's a given that you'll want to allocate most of your budget to brand-new furniture and home décor, but you need to ensure all of your bases are covered: meaning you need to invest in practical and safety-related items, too. This way, you can settle into your new home knowing you have the best of both worlds.
Still, are you having trouble knowing where to start? The following expert-approved items ensure both practicality and usefulness. Of course, they might not be the most exciting home items to add to your list. Still, you will thank yourself when you inevitably need them as the unboxing, decorating, and moving process progresses.
1. A high-end self-emptying robot vacuum
"When you buy a home for the first time, you are often coming from a smaller place like an apartment, condo, or a shared space," points out Karen Lee, founder of Smart Robotic Home. "Although you do not notice it at the time, the amount of cleaning you must do to maintain a house is a lot more strenuous than an apartment."
Naturally, this is why every new homeowner needs a robot vacuum. Between pet hair and dust, among every other mess that can show up quickly. Who has the time to keep up with that? Not us—and that's why this is an essential home item.
"A robot vacuum makes it easier to enjoy your new home as it does all the vacuuming for you. They are also great for carpets and make your home look super clean without doing too much," explains Lee.
2. A comprehensive first aid kit
According to Julie Rollend, director of Alarm.com, it's crucial to pick up a first aid kit before the unpacking or renovations begin. You probably won't have to use it—but ensuring you have everything you need in case there are any bumps or bruises along the way will make a difference at the moment.
3. A set of powerful flashlights
"Don't wait until the lights go out to buy several flashlights," points out Rollend. "You'll want to remember to keep them in easy-to-find areas of the house in case of a power outage, and don't forget to stock (or charge) the batteries." The GearLight LED Flashlight Pack includes two heavy-duty and water-resistant flashlights that are powerful enough to light up an entire room as needed.
4. This set of smart plugs
Installing smart plugs around the home is fun and novel—but it's another quick and easy way to save energy throughout your new home. "Devices like TVs, game consoles, and coffee machines still draw energy even when they're turned off [if plugged in], and smart plugs eliminate waste by cutting the power supply to these devices when they are not in use," explains Rollend.
5. A set of indoor and outdoor video cameras
"Think about installing motion-sensor outdoor lights for safety and convenience," suggests Rollend. "This will allow you to keep an even better eye on the home, inside and out. The Alarm.com system will also allow you to customize video alerts to focus on people, vehicles, animals and know whether it's a critter or something more serious."
6. At least one or two fire extinguishers
Safety is king—therefore, you'll want to mount fire extinguishers on your backdoors. "A fire extinguisher is a piece of active fire-fighting equipment that is used to put out or control small flames in the event of a fire—and every homeowner should learn how to use it," says Brian Hong, CEO and owner of Big Easy Roofing. "It will help prevent further damage to the curb appeal, but in cases of a massive fire, you should also have your contact list of emergency services ready."
7. A quality air fryer
"You'd also need an air fryer," adds Hong. "Worrying about the electrical bills? Fret not! Trust me: it is more costly to use gas or an electric stove than to have the convenience and versatility of an air fryer for new homeowners." Ultimately, a worthy air fryer also promotes healthier cooking—even if you're busy unpacking and don't have time to spend hours in the kitchen.
8. A basic but sturdy claw hammer
According to Richard Fortenberry, owner of Handyman Connection of Woodstock, a basic claw hammer will come in handy big time—even if you don't think you need one. There will be countless times you need to pound a nail in, pull one out or pry something up, so a hammer is one of those tools you always want to have at your disposal for all kinds of projects. Just remember to keep your fingers out of the way!
9. A set of various sized screwdrivers
A Phillips screwdriver—with the x-shaped tip—can be used for multiple purposes. You'll want to have several on hand with different tip sizes for various projects or find one with interchangeable tips. According to Fortenberry, you will also need a flathead screwdriver for items that have straight screws, such as light switch plates and outlet covers. "The screwdriver I recommend most for the home is a ratchet screwdriver set," he explains. "These sets provide all the different heads that you should need, and the ratchet helps take the strain off the hand."
10. A basic tape measure
A tape measure is indispensable for home improvement projects. You'll use it countless times when hanging pictures or sizing up spaces for everything from window coverings to new appliances or fixtures. When looking for a good tape measure, make sure it is not too heavy, has a top and bottom hook, and is flexible, so it does not break," explains Fortenberry.
11. A high-quality power drill and drill bits
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.