Apartment rental - packing list?

Oct 21st, 2009, 02:44 PM
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Apartment rental - packing list?

Q for those of you veteran apartment renters:

Do you have a special packing list for stays in an apartmetnt (instead of hotel)? For example, small bottle of dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent; or perhaps a couple coffee filters...

Or do you just buy whatever you need after you arrive?
yk is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:03 PM
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I just looked at our pre-trip check list. Other than what we always travel with, the only thing we now take to apartment or house rentals are cloth shopping bags, a knife sharpener, and a pound of our own coffee. We once or twice packed our own knives (we do cook when we rent), but finally settled on a small sharpener instead.

Just as a side note, it may be a function of the kind of places we rent these days, but I have found all of our rentals over the past three or four years to be very well equipped on arrival. We look for an initial supply of dish washing fluid, paper towel, clothes washing powder, hand soap, etc, and have rarely been disappointed. In those few cases where something was missing, we simply picked it up at the local grocery store.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:09 PM
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Hi Anselm, how do you pack your pound of ground coffee? Doesn't your entire suitcase smell like coffee after the trip (not necessarily a bad thing, I guess )?
yk is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:10 PM
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I always like to take my own chopping board / bread board. I have a couple of plastic mats which are light to pack and work really well as an alternative.
PRLCH is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:32 PM
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We've stayed in well-equipped apartments as well. They've had toilet paper, paper towels, detergent (for dishes and laundry), napkins, and basic condiments. I have brought a bag of coffee just to start out with, but often there is coffee there already (put bag in larger plastic baggie to protect it). I do bring along some of our favorite tea as well.

I replace supplies that we use as the week goes by. My strategy is to just buy things when I get there.

Along with Anselm I've brought a couple of cloth shopping bags. I also bring a lot of quart and gallon size baggies. I find them convenient whenever I travel for organizing different things, but in an apartment they are also useful to store leftover crackers, cheese, etc.
cw is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:41 PM
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Detergents, coffee filters, etc. are available in any supermarket and since you have to go grocery shopping on your first day anyway, there is absolutely no need to shlep these things in your luggage. If you are lucky your precedessors have even left their half-empty packs in the apartment for the next tenants to use.

Check if sheets and towels are provided. In the meantime this has become standard in most places but not long ago it wasn't, so better check, and if it isn't stated clearly, ask again.
quokka is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:41 PM
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I usually buy whatever I need when I get there, but normally the apartment is already furnished so they already have most things I need. The only thing that I did buy was a hot plate and a small pot; I bought these in Germany. Oh, and I didn't bring any of the stuff I bought back to the States, I just left them with friends since I know I've got to go back anyway.
nancicita is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:56 PM
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yk, like cw, we put the coffee in a large baggie and zip it closed.

There have been a few places where we discovered that we were missing something that struck us as fundamental (who equips a kitchen without a measuring cup, for example?), so we simply bought one at LeClerc or Monoprix and left it behind as a small contribution to kitchen happiness.

Having been renting for a decade now, my sense is that owners are much more thorough and attentive to those kind of details. We're a fry cry from a rental we did in October 2001 where we discovered there were no lids for the saucepans. (It's amazing what you can do with tin foil when you put your mind to it.)

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 04:13 PM
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I seldom take anything -- except maybe some teabags so I can have a cuppa before going out the first time. Everything else is either supplied by the owner, or can be easily found in local markets. Owners provide lots of different levels of supplies - some nothing except cleaning supplies and toilet tissue, othere an almost full kitchen of staples and food things.

One thing I've purchased maybe 4 or 5 times (and usually leave behind) are inexpensive ice cube trays.
janisj is online now  
Oct 21st, 2009, 04:17 PM
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The place we're renting soon is managed by an agency, not a private owner. I emailed about cleaning supplies and they replied that they do not provide dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent or soap. So, I'm expecting minimal supplies.

In my limited experience, it seems like private owners tend to stock the apartments better than rental companies.
yk is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 04:25 PM
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Hi yk,

I'm not a veteran, but so far my experience has been that apartment kitchens come pretty well equipped.

I don't think bringing laundry detergent or dishwasher soap is a good idea because sometimes you need to use a particular type of soap with the appliances. The places I've rented with washing machines and dishwashers all provided the soap and a couple of times there was a note saying to only use the detergent provided. In one apartment you even had to use a particular type of toilet paper.

3 out 4 apartments I've rented were well stocked with things like coffee filters, coffee, tea, sugar, salt, olive oil, and vinegar left by previous renters. One place had even more than that, it was stocked like a kitchen at home and the owner left a welcome basket with fresh milk, cheese, and fruit.

3 out 4 had stuff like shampoo, conditioner, body wash and/or soap (and not the exact same 3 that had stocked kitchens)

So to answer your question, I would never take kitchen stuff with me (besides, my suitcase usually weighs about 5000 lbs already ). I think it's easier to buy whatever you need there.
Apres_Londee is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 04:30 PM
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a couple of things we typically bring

- thin flexible cutting boards - great for picnics on the go too - fit in the outside pocket of luggage & take up no room
- bunches of zip loc bags - great for snacks, leftovers, whatever. Can never have enough and they take no room
- 25' roll Al foil
- 10pack cheapo wash cloths. bathroom and/or kitchen use (not both)
- tea bags, snack bars, nuts etc, esp for 1st few days till we get local supplies
- some aromatics/spices. A tsp or 2 folded up on Al foil.
- 1-2c powdered laundry soap - for hand washing.
- a few small blue-ice packs to keep lunch bucket cool
J62 is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Oh, I didn't see this:

>>>they replied that they do not provide dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent or soap. So, I'm expecting minimal supplies<<<

It's possible that while they don't specifically promise to supply it, other guests have left what they bought. I think I'd wait to see what's what when you get there and then buy anything you might need.
Apres_Londee is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 04:36 PM
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I do like my own stuff sometimes and I hate to have to spend money on it if I only need a little. I pack all of this in one large gallon baggie, so it's not much, it doesn't weigh much or take up much room and it saves me some euros.

I pack a small bag with a few of my favorite spices that I always cook with, even if I am only going to cook one or two meals. I put them in those little tiny zip-locks, just enough for a few dishes.

I buy a cheap package of henckels steak knives at Target, $10 for 4, I usually bring two with me, I hate dull knives and these are really good...at first. I too leave them for the next people. I also buy the BIG package of my favorite sponges at Costco and bring one. I hate to use someone else's sponge.

I bring one pound of my favorite coffee for mornings, put inside two zip-locks to minimize the smell.

For laundry I bring a couple of dryer sheets, in case there is a dryer, a tiny little spray bottle of oxy for stains. I
buy detergent there

I bring a little zip-lock of a couple of pens/markers and a pad of post-its.a few rubber-bands, a few paper clips and maybe 2-3 clothes pins and a very small roll of duct tape.. All this has come in handy and not for what it was intended for .

I also bring a shopping list of the things that I need when I first get there, I look around to see what is on the list and just cross it off and then I am off to the store, which is my favorite part of renting. I can spend hours in the grocery store the first day. I do not bring bags, instead, I buy the ones they have for 20cents and just reuse them the whole week. Things that I need the first day include: tp, paper towels, garbage bags, Kleenex, kitchen and laundry soaps, oil, vinegar, butter, jam, water, diet coke,WINE, good salt which I bring home, and a few foods we alway have, yogarts, milk ect.

I also bring one bar of my deoderant soap, I haven't seen Irish Spring in Europe, and a couple of little bottles of lotion, a small bar of soap for hand washing, and even the sewing kit and shoe cleaner from past hotel stays, they are the perfect size.

I love renting apartment, hope you do too!
susanna is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 04:44 PM
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Hi YK,
My short list includes: rubber gloves for washing dishes,
Vacuvin & a few rubber stoppers so no wine goes to waste, and a keychain flashlight (for fall/winter travel) to navigate dark hallways during early morning boulangerie runs. When our destination is Paris (as it often is), I can't wait to shop for coffee, spices, mustards, etc. Of course, it all depends on where you're headed. EJ
elsiejune is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 05:01 PM
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Pepper grinder and pepper.
Cheese grater
Knives and sharpener
Toaster – that can be used on a gas stove.
Heat deflector – apartment saucepans can be very thin, and so burn food easily.
Blu-tack – for pinning a map to the wall.
Ipod and the device to allow music to be played through an FM radio.
Small torch.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 05:11 PM
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If you arrive late on a Saturday, you may find that the local grocery store is closed and will remain closed until Monday. I always find it helpful to bring a few items, just in case:

- coffee filters / coffee (small pack, vacuum sealed, that makes 1-2 pots only)
- ziplock baggies (quart and gallon)
- one roll toilet paper
- mustard in those little packs you get from take-out places. I just keep them in my daypack to use on sandwiches. I know everyone sells mustard, but I don't like carrying a tube or jar around with me.
- ice cube trays, little ones

In my experience, the supplies vary so much that I never know what to expect. Anything I get is welcome. The rest I just buy when the stores open.

So, yk, where are you planning to go now?
swisshiker is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 05:40 PM
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If you arrive late on a Saturday, you may find that the local grocery store is closed and will remain closed until Monday.

We had a similar experience a few months ago in Budapest. We arrived in the evening and stores were closed. The following day was a national holiday, so stores were closed that day as well. And our apartment had almost nothing - except for toilet paper and 3 drops of dishwashing liquid.

In any case, these are all great tips, and it's interesting to see the range of items people bring (or not)! I especially like the small packet of spices idea.

swisshiker, I'm heading to Barcelona next month.
yk is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 05:59 PM
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I just get whatever I need upon arrival. I can't think of a time where it has been a problem but I have only ever rented in big cities in Western Europe. One time I thought I was getting a hotel in Liguria and it turned out to be an apartment--it wasn't a big deal.

EJ, no wine goes to waste when I'm around.

I think I need to start traveling with those of you who are so well-organized!
Leely2 is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 08:08 PM
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I bring one silicone ice cube tray, as usually there is only one small one provided. Then, I empty it into a bowl bowl placed in the freezer and refill it every time I think of it.

I also bring dried herbs (in those tiny zip locks for pills) to start out with. Collecting fresh herbs may require visiting more than one market and the bunches are usually enormous (sometimes they'll split them). I pack white peppercorns, too. I buy fleur de sel once there (and extra to bring home). Collecting basic herbs and spices in Paris can really add up! So, unless you plan to collect them in pretty bottles or tins (with those lovely labels in French) to bring home with you (great for refilling at home), bring your own herbs and spices.

I also bring an assortment of zip locks (pint, quart, gallon) which come in handy for all sorts of things - these are pricey in Paris, and you have to know how to read the boxes (and have a basic knowledge of metric versus inches). But, I also carry a tape measure, which also comes in handy.

I bring enough coffee to get started (vacuum sealed).

If I plan to do any serious cooking, I pack a good saute pan (one with just "helper" handles, rather than a long handle), unless I'm in the mood to add to my collection that particular trip. And, I've never had a suitable knife provided, so I bring one of those (medium, all purpose) as well.

I wouldn't bother with things like coffee filters, dish soap, paper products. There will likely be enough left over by previous guests to get you started.

When shopping for things like vinegar, oil, resist the urge to buy a lot more than you'll use up. It's nice to leave things behind for others, but, again, those things really add up.

The problem with getting everything you need after arrival is that it takes more time and effort than you would presume (and will cost much more).
djkbooks is offline  

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