If you had to set up a house/apartment from scratch - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What would be your must-have items? I have a friend who is starting from scratch and she has no idea where to start. It will be her and her 3 young children. I would like to get them a few things and also give her a list of what she needs. She's feeling very overwhelmed! Thank you!

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#2 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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You may want to help out with cleaning basics. Spray cleaners, mop, broom, dust pan, etc.

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#3 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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You may be surprised at how many people have things to donate to help.

I started a household from scratch twice, once overseas and then when we returned.

My dh and I had one big dish to eat from. We ate stews together from this dish. We had enough utensils for each person--fork, spoons, knife--and a soup bowl for each. I had two big pots for cooking and one small one for things like boiling water for tea or eggs. One frying pan. I never baked. One coffeepot. One cutting board.

I had a scrubby for the dishes. I don't remember whether we had towels.

We each had our own bath towel and face towel.

Things I think I'd need to run a kitchen in the US:
Dutch oven
Frying pan
2-3 sauce pans
Toaster
Coffeemaker
Strainer (for pasta and beans)
2 Cutting boards
Containers for storing leftovers
Measuring cup(s)
Can opener
Wooden spoons
Bowl scraper
Spatula
Jelly roll/cookie sheets
9 x 13 pan

Dishes, cups and flatware

...and then add as you go. As long as you have the basics to cook soups, stews, pasta dishes and simple meals, you're OK. You can mix cookie dough in a Dutch oven if you have to, yk?

Cleaning items...laundry baskets are always useful, as are storage bins.

Even now, bedding is kind of an issue for us. It seems we can never have enough blankets. Couches can be found and covered. Meals can be eaten on the floor (the way we did it starting out). Everyone can sleep together until enough bedding/furniture appears.

Focus on clean, well-fed, warm and securely loved.

I could see the people from our local SVdP helping someone in her shoes go through the store for the basics they would recommend. Many of the volunteers are older women with a lot of experience. Maybe ask there. Good luck!
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#4 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 04:20 PM
 
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I remember in my first apartment I started out with a futon and a TV. My I have accumulated a lot of "stuff" since then.

I would start with making sure everyone has a place to sleep. Beds/mattresses/futons/cribs/etc. Plus sheets, blankets and pillows. That would be most important for me because take-out food is available, take-out beds are not.

Then I would move on to the kitchen. I have seen starter sets in places like Wal-Mart that include pretty much all the basics - pots and pans, cooking utensils, assorted gadgets and even a dishrack. Usually they come out in time for back-to-school, but you should still be able to find them. They aren't the best quality, but it is a good start and things can be replaced in time. Dishes, utensils, glasses, dish cloths and towels.

Bath towels, shower curtain, toiletries.

Once everyone was clean, fed and had a place to sleep I would work on a table and chairs, a couch, a tv (if wanted), and dressers for clothes storage.

Keeping things clean - a vaccuum (if carpeted), broom, mop, bucket. I wouldn't spend a tonne on chemicals as vinegar and baking soda can do a lot.

She should also think about window coverings if she is moving to a place where they are not provided. Even el cheapo blinds can add up if there are a lot of windows, and it is always something I forget to budget for when I move.

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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#5 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 07:39 PM
 
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IKEA used to sell something called "Kitchen in a Box" or "Kitchen Starter Kit" (I forget the exact name). And, it had everything you'd need - plates, glasses, silverware, pots, pans, kitchen utensils, prep knives ... I looked online just now, but didn't find it. Maybe it's only sold in the stores, or maybe it is discontinued. It was a real bargain.

I've seen a kitchen starter kit in Target too - super cheap. One version was aimed at those starting their first apartment. Another was for those going away to college (assuming a kitchen was in the dorm room).
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#6 of 9 Old 10-14-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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Hope you've checked out the local thrift shop--goodwill or what have you. Awesome way to outfit a kitchen and home.

There's been a lot of great suggestions. Is she leaving an abusive husband? Are there any social services (gov't or otherwise) near you that can help out?

One thing I didn't see mentioned is a vacuum cleaner. Obviously not something required right away but if she's got carpets in her place, she'll need one eventually. (ETA: Oops, I guess it has been mentioned. Oh well!)

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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#7 of 9 Old 10-15-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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If I were doing it from scratch, I would start by looking at it like camping:

For cooking, one pot, one spoon, and one knife is enough to start
One bowl and one spoon per person
Dishcloth
Dish towel
sleeping bags
foam mat if needed under sleeping bag
pillows
basic clothing
One towel and washcloth per person
Some cleaning rags for cleaning the place
Whisk broom
Basic clothing and toiletries

Then later I would add things as I had time and money. Vacuum, cutting board, full-size broom and dustpan, mattresses....
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#8 of 9 Old 10-15-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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Fire extinguisher
Smoke detectors with batteries

Then the items listed above for eating, sleeping and cleaning.

Next of importance on my list would be a bookshelf with some books for the kids (libraries are great, but I firmly believe all kids should own should books of their own).

Tanya
Mom to John (age 11), James (age 9) & Katherine (age 5)
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#9 of 9 Old 10-16-2009, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaske View Post
If I were doing it from scratch, I would start by looking at it like camping:

For cooking, one pot, one spoon, and one knife is enough to start
One bowl and one spoon per person
Dishcloth
Dish towel
sleeping bags
foam mat if needed under sleeping bag
pillows
basic clothing
One towel and washcloth per person
Some cleaning rags for cleaning the place
Whisk broom
Basic clothing and toiletries

Then later I would add things as I had time and money. Vacuum, cutting board, full-size broom and dustpan, mattresses....
This has almost everything I'd say. I'd just add some way to keep food cold, like a fridge/mini-fridge or ice chest. Beyond this list things really become luxuries, presuming you don't count a foam mat as a luxury. Eight place settings of flatware is not necessary for everyone to eat together. It's just more convenient.

Start with this list. The kitchen things are perfectly fine used from a thrift store. Buy more things to expand from here as funds become available.
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