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Last month we discussed the intricacies of finding the right apartment for a newlywed couple and filling it with a couple of pieces of reduced price furniture. Now, we will discuss the best way to obtain the goods that can turn an apartment into a home.

A minimum of stress is key here. Otherwise, you end up with too many things and nowhere to put them, or too little and no means to make a cup of coffee the morning after your wedding.


Sit down with your significant other and discuss what you need to set up your new life together. Walking into a store or scrolling through a website without a checklist of necessary and desired items is a sure-fire way to end up with a whole bunch of things you have no use for.

If either of you already has the basic kitchen, bathroom, and dining necessities, resist the urge to dump everything you have and start all over again. Instead, take the opportunity to go for those extra touches such as a high-end coffee-maker, scented candles or a beautiful vase. On the other hand, if you are just starting out, you will need to start from scratch.

Here is a basic list for a new Jewish home, broken down by room:

Bathroom: towels, toilet bowl brush with holder, garbage can. Your apartment might already have a shower curtain or glass shower door, but if not, purchase a curtain. If you want to add a little more to the room, buy a bath rug, toothbrush holder, and soap dispenser. A more minimalist approach would be to use a towel on the floor in place of a rug, any plastic cup for a toothbrush holder, and regular bar of soap in a dish.

Bedroom: linen, pillows, comforters, nightstand lamp. You will need them all.

Kitchen: hand towels, mugs, small set of meat and milk dishes, two sets of cutlery, one dish drying rack, two frying pans, two 8-quart pots, two 2-quart pots, hand mixer, hand blender, teakettle if you like tea, French press for coffee lovers, a set of knives, cutting board, vegetable peeler, can opener, two spatulas, soup ladle, measuring cup and measuring spoon set, sandwich maker (great to take on vacations), toaster oven (can double as a dairy oven), colander, ice cube trays and salad spinner.

Basic cleaning supplies, not including cleansers are: scrubbers, broom, shovel, mop, long gloves, iron and ironing board. For a more minimalist approach, buy exactly what you need and add from there. For example, buy just four cups, four plates, four sets of cutlery, two pots, one kettle, and two good knives. Divide the four between dairy and meat and label appropriately. Then, as you begin to bake, buy the baking appliances and measuring cups. While this is not the most efficient method, it will keep costs down.

Dining and living area: a set of dishes for Shabbos, cutlery, nice drinking glasses, napkin rings and/or napkin holders, place mats, throw pillows and/or throw blankets, and a magazine rack. For the minimalist, none of these would be necessary, you can simply use the weekday set for Shabbos.

Jewish traditional items: a washing cup, candlesticks with tray, challah board and basket, kiddush cup, mezuzot with parchments, a crock pot if you plan on making cholent and a hot-water urn for Shabbos. Again, a minimalist can do without any of these things with the exception of mezuzot.

Modify the list as needed, keeping in mind storage space and how often you will use each item. For example, don’t add baking items if you hate baking. If you love wine, add a corkscrew. Be careful not to add things you hope you will use, such as a juicer. If you aren’t using it now, odds are you won’t use it after you get married. Remember that many things can serve multiple purposes, such as a knife that peels and crushes garlic or a pot that can be used as a mixing bowl.


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Pnina Baim is the author of the Young Adult novels, Choices, A Life Worth Living (featured on Dansdeals and Jew In The City) and a how-to book for the Orthodox homemaker, Sing While You Work. The books are available at Pnina is available for speaking engagements and personal consulting. Contact her at [email protected].