Our homes are our sanctuaries. They contain our beds, our comfy blankets, our favorite pair of slippers — but they should also contain a few super important basics to keep us safe and ensure we're never caught without something we need. Basically, there are just things every home should have — no ifs, ands, or buts.
And I've written about it before — I spent a lot of my 20s not having a few basic home essentials that I now literally can't fathom living without. And worse yet, I sometimes found myself in situations where my life would have been infinitely easier if I just had one simple thing, like duct tape or a sponge. Now that I'm beyond that and much closer to 30 than 20, I have vowed to never go back, and specifically make it a point to keep a few basics in stock at all times. Since doing this, my quality of life has increased ten-fold; not to mention if just feels really good to know you're being responsible.
So if you're about to move into your first home or apartment, or if you already live on your own but just haven't fully taken the leap into adult possessions and are desperately looking for guidance, here are eleven items that you should always have in your home — no exceptions.
1. Fire Extinguisher
Kidde Full Home Fire Extinguishers, $16.27, Waresdirect.com
OK, hopefully you already have this one covered, but if you don't, stop everything you're doing and go out and get one right now. Seriously. A UK study on the effectiveness of fire extinguishers showed that an estimated 80 percent of home fires are extinguished with fire extinguishers, and the fire department is never needed.
2. Flash Light
Mini Flashlight, $2.99, Lightinthebox.com
A flash light is the kind of thing you only realize you don't have when you need it most, and that's not a particularly fun situation to be in. Plus, they're just crazy helpful for looking for things that may have fallen under the bed or in the back of your closet.
Duracell Copper, $0.49, Eshop.macsales.com
Spare batteries just make life easier. Because instead of having to stop everything you're doing when something looses power, you can simply go to wherever you keep your batteries, replace them, and viola, keep going!
4. Smoke Detector
Much like a fire extinguisher, a smoke detector is a must. Most rental places are legally required to have one, but if you own your own space you also shouldn't forget to make sure you have one up and running. Seriously. No excuses.
5. Carbon Monoxide Detector
Kidde NightHawk AC/DC, $29.33, Walmart.com
According to the CDC, approximately 5,000 Americans die a year from carbon monoxide poisoning — something which is completely possible to avoid if you have a working detector. And remember, unlike gas, carbon monoxide is odorless, meaning you won't be able to detect it without one.
6. Cleaning Basics
According to Martha Stewart (the ultimate grown up), we don't need as many cleaning supplies as we often think to be totally covered for basically any situation. She noted you really just need a universal cleaner, a more abrasive cleaner for tough buildup, regular sponge, a wire sponge, and rubber gloves.
Clorox Liquid Bleach, $3.99, Walmart.com
OK, I know that bleach is technically a cleaning supply, but it's worth it's own category just because it's so freaking useful. It's a must have for unexpected disinfecting (AKA if you have pets or something gross gets trekked in from the outside), and it's also great for basic laundry purposes and keeping your whites bright. So grab a bottle the next time you're out if you don't already have one!
8. A Good Vacuum
I spent far (far!) too long subsisting on a broom and dust buster, and so I can tell you first hand that a quality vacuum is a game changer. It's awesome for unexpected messes, and also just brings your entire home's cleanliness level up a notch (or ten).
9. A Tool Set
WorkPro 54 pc Lady Tool Set, $25.11, Walmart.com
You will never regret owning a quality tool set. Whether it helps you out when putting together a piece of furniture or allows you to make a necessary if unexpected repair, you absolutely will find a use for it.
10. A First Aid Kit
Uline First Aid Kit, $29, Uline.com
Much like a flash light, a first aid kit is never something you want to discover you don't have when you actually need it. And if you don't want a whole kit, at least make sure you have some basics, like disinfectant and band aids.
11. Good Kitchen Knives
Chicago Cutlery Insignia, $133.49, Kitchencouture.com
Alright, while not technically a necessity, quality knives will seriously change your life. Food prep will become so much easier and you'll suddenly realize that chopping isn't hard — you just never had the right tools. As soon as you've secured everything else on this list, treat yourself to a good set of blades.
Being a grown up is hard, so don't make it any harder on yourself by neglecting to keep a few basics around the house that will just make things easier (and in some cases, way safer). And once you have these essentials covered, you can get started on acquiring the fun stuff (margarita maker, anyone?).