25 Must-Haves for the Amateur Adult

band-aids, batteries, and other stuff you’ll kick yourself for forgetting

Lauren Fisher


When you move into your first place, or even your second place, you’re in for 99 trips to the store. After that 99th trip, you’ll pop a DiGiorno into the oven, drag your Craigslist mattress into the coziest corner of whatever room your friends dumped it in, and pop on some Netflix. The oven will beep; the pizza’s done. So you pull it out and head for the boxes where your kitchen tools are packed, panic rising within you as you discover your options for cutting said pizza are a steak knife and a plastic fork. You set to work sawing the pizza into the best triangles you can manage with your makeshift pizza cutter, mentally scheduling your 100th trip to the store for the next morning. It’s better to have and not need than it is to need and not have. So here’s a handy list of household items that are easy to forget but hard to live without, compiled by Volume One staffers who have lived through the tragedy.

1. Windshield Scraper

If you’ve got to be on the road NOW but your beater’s heater isn’t a winner, you’re gonna want to make sure you’ve got a scraper/brush combo tucked in the trunk.

2. Screwdriver

This is one tool you’ll need again and again to open battery compartments, hang pictures – the list goes on. And, in a pinch, turn that Phillips head around and use it as a (very) makeshift hammer.

3. Nail Clippers

There’s nothing like a hangnail to make you wish you had a pair of fingernail clippers handy. Try to keep them in a designated spot, because these will disappear again before you realize.


4. Drain Cleaner

Clogs happen. Keep some drain cleaner on hand so that if your sink won’t drain, you can save yourself a trip to the store.

5. Dustpan

Inexpensive, but easy to overlook. When you’ve swept the kitchen for the first time in forever, the last thing you’ll want to realize is that you’ve got no way to pick up the pile.

6. Scissors

A sharp, multi-purpose scissors will help you cut out the BS and take you far in life.

7. Winter Boots

I know, I know: 99 percent of the time your sneakers will get you through the day, even after a fresh snow. But invest in a pair of sturdy, water-resistant snow boots and you’ll thank yourself when the need does arise.

8. Plunger/Toilet Brush

I kid you not: My brother texted me once asking to borrow my plunger. The answer is no, and ew! When you need either of these items, you REALLY need them, so just err on the side of caution and keep them handy.

9. Box Fan

I protested, but the staff insisted that a box fan is a must-have household item. Run one to keep cool in the summer or to channel noxious fumes or cooking smoke.

10. Rubber Gloves

For whatever you need rubber gloves for.

11. Band-Aids

Even if you’ve mustered up the cash for a first aid kit, the first thing you’ll run out of is Band-Aids. Make sure to keep a box of assorted adhesive bandages somewhere you’ll remember to swiftly deal with cuts and scrapes.

12. Flashlight

Your phone might do in an absolute pinch, but there’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned flashlight to aid your eyes during a power outage, outside at night, or when you’re doing repairs in a tight space.


13. Batteries

Batteries are going to be the last thing on your mind when you buy a nifty new gadget, and nothing has a worse taste than the frustration of realizing the remote control for your new media player or bubble machine won’t work without some AAs. Keep an assortment handy so you don’t have to go out again.

14. Duct Tape


15. Lint Roller

Or you can make due by making a loop of duct tape and rolling it against your clothes.

16. Oven Mitt

Your guests won’t be impressed if you’re trying to fashion heat protection out of your dishrags when the casserole’s done.

17. Pizza Cutter

Because HOW CAN YOU EAT A PIZZA THAT’S NOT SLICED? (If you’re desparate, see #6 – Scissors)


18. Vacuum

Avoiding this purchase will lead to nothing but misery, particularly if you have carpet or rugs to maintain.

19. Bucket

The Volume One staff highly recommends you own a bucket. Or go Next Level™ by owning two. In the words of James, “If you need to bucket, and you don’t have a bucket, you’re gonna have a hard time.” And whatever you need the bucket for, a cereal bowl just won’t make the cut. Uses include: mopping, swabbing, gathering, carrying, retching, and so much more!

20. Lighter/Matches

Whether you need to start a campfire, light a candle to set the mood, or just burn random papers in your kitchen sink with the spray nozzle handy (admit it!), having a fire-starter of some sort is a must.

21. Ice Cube Tray

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and someone will leave theirs in the fridge you inherit. But chances are you’ll need ice at some point.

22. Jumper Cables

Having jumper cables can be the difference between a good Samaritan stopping to check on you and a good Samaritan actually getting your car going again. Take it from someone who’s driven a beater with a bad battery: Keep a pair of jumper cables in your car, and know how to use them.

23. Hangers

Now this one’s tricky. Get yourself some hangers to manage your closet. But don’t get too many hangers. They’ll either breed or disappear when you’re not paying attention, leaving you hangerless when you get a new jacket or wading through a mountain of brittle plastic when you need to grab something different.

24. Garbage Can

Try to grab one of these before your first trip to your new place. Trash cans are so ingrained into our routine we seldom think of them. Planning ahead and having a place to put moving trash will be a load off your shoulders.

25. Can Opener

Please, before you try stabbing your canned veggies open with a steak knife, just buy a can opener. We don’t want you to have to USE the Band-Aids.

How to Adult is sponsored by:

CVTC - Adult Education & College Prep
620 W. Clairemont Ave
Eau Claire, WI

How to Adult is sponsored by:

CVTC - Adult Education & College Prep
620 W. Clairemont Ave
Eau Claire, WI