Top Budget-Friendly Kitchen Essentials To Buy For Your First Apartment  

Getting ready to move into your first apartment? How exciting! Before you go shopping for all the items on your “want” list, it’s important to start with what you need. At the top of the “needs” list? Kitchen items. There are a number of budget-friendly kitchen essentials you can purchase to give you all the necessary tools to whip together delicious meals and timely snacks.

In no particular order of importance, here is a list of kitchen essentials for first apartment renters:

kitchen essentials infographic

Coffee Maker

If you’re someone that can’t function without a morning cup of Joe, a coffee maker is a must. But a coffee maker can be helpful beyond just making coffee as well. You can heat up water for making tea, and it’s a fantastic way to prepare water if you’re into instant ramen.

Coffee makers are some of the most common appliances found at your community Goodwill location. So whether you’re moving into a new apartment here in Arizona, or you have a college-bound child and you’re looking for a cheap, essential appliance, you can’t beat the dependability (and the price) of a Goodwill-purchased coffee maker.

Repurposed Dishes

Buying new dishes from the store can quickly become expensive. Even the “discounted” dish sets are pricey. And for the amount of money you’re spending on the store-bought dishes you only end up with a few plates and bowls.

Instead, you can have way more fun with repurposed dishes bought from Goodwill. First, for anyone that isn’t sure about buying used dishes, it’s no different than eating off a plate at your favorite restaurant. Except by repurposing these dishes, you can transform them into your own fun works of art.

So if you don’t like the design, change it! Just pick up any food-safe paint from a local arts and crafts store (if you’re not sure what you’re looking for you can ask anyone in the store and they will help you out). Nobody said you couldn’t have fun creating the perfect dishes! Best of all, it instantly becomes a conversation piece whenever anyone visits.

Knives (With Sharpener)

Having a good set of knives is key. Have you ever tried to cut through a tomato with a dull knife? You end up with a pulpy mess closer to ketchup than an actual slice. Goodwill is an excellent place to buy knives.

Make sure to either get a set that has a sharpener built-in, or look for a stand-alone sharpener. This way you don’t have to toss out the knives when they go bad. You just sharpen them up and they’ll be as good as new. With this little tool you’re basically buying brand-new knives from Goodwill for a fraction of the price.

Cutting Boards

Having a good cutting board is key. You don’t want to start chopping away right on the countertop, because that’s a quick way to ensure you never see your security deposit ever again.

With cutting boards, you give yourself a safe place to cut. Plus, you can move food around to the stove or other locations as needed. Some of the best cutting boards at Goodwill are the foldable plastic ones. Foldable options are fantastic, because it makes it easier to curl up and move about without spilling. Plus, you can toss them into the dishwasher or sink and clean them away (wood you’ll want to hand wash while not letting it soak, because the wood will eventually split).

Measuring Cups and Spoons

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of making a delicious meal and suddenly discovering you don’t have the measuring cups and spoons. Eyeballing spices and liquids is far more difficult than the professionals on cooking shows make it look. Thankfully, you can find these at your neighborhood Goodwill and it doesn’t cost much to stock up. Whether you want plastic or metal or even glass measuring cups, you’ll find it all on our shelves.

Pots and Pans

Have you seen the price of quality pots and pans? They are incredibly expensive for a set. And you know what ends up happening? You use one or two of the pots, the rest just collect space in the back of a cabinet.

So instead of buying expensive sets that you’re not going to always use, why not save some cash and buy them used at Goodwill? This way you can either buy a full set for far less than what new costs, or you can buy one or two pots at a time. Doing it like that is a great way to grow your kitchen set without spending much money up front.

Goodwill is also a great place to find cast iron skillets and pans. Anyone that cooks with cast iron will tell you there’s nothing like it. Cast iron absorbs the flavors of past meals, which just enriches the flavors.

Now, chances are the cast iron was thoroughly cleaned before being put on the shelf, but you can still season the pan prior to using it yourself. It’s super easy to do so. First, set your oven to 350 degrees. While it heats up, wash your skillet with a soft cloth and mild soap. Then, dry off the cast iron and apply vegetable oil onto it (some people prefer melted shortening).

From here, take a clean towel (paper towel works as well) and coat the entire skillet. This includes the bottom and handle. After this, just pop it into the oven upside down (so the opening faces downward) and let it bake for an hour. And that’s it. You have a like-new, pre-seasoned cast iron pan, all ready for your next meal.


Just like pots and pans, bakeware is expensive when you buy it new. And often you don’t know what you’ll need or what you won’t need. So instead, buy your bakeware from Goodwill. You can pick out the exact sizes you need for a recipe and slowly build up your kitchen essentials one at a time.

Electric Tea Kettle

These are not as common as coffee makers, but you might still find one or two on hand when visiting Goodwill. Now, you’re not going to be able to make coffee with the kettle (unless you’re into instant coffee), so in this way it’s not as versatile.

However, on the other side, you can heat up far more water than you would with a coffee maker. What’s great about this is, if your stovetop is slow to heat up water, you can quickly bring water to a near-boil with the kettle, and then pour it into a pot on the stove. It saves time and is an inexpensive addition to your kitchen.

Chip Clips

Don’t underestimate the importance of these little guys. Have you ever bitten into a stale Cheeto? Not great. Keep your snacks fresh by stocking up on these chip clips.

Every Purchase Goes Toward a Great Cause

Here at Goodwill of Northern Arizona, every single purchase you make helps those in need right here in the community. What’s better than stocking up for your first kitchen apartment for a fraction of the price while also helping those in need? It’s a win-win. So if you’re apartment shopping, come on out to Goodwill of Northern Arizona! You never know what treasures you might find.

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.

*Daily deals are valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott, and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details. Dollar Day pricing adjustment goes into effect on Jan. 5, 2023.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center.