20 Home Essentials Every Classy Girl Over 20 Has

Whether you’re just getting your first place or you’ve been on your own for years, you’re going to want to take notes. (And probably make space in your cupboards too.)

By Renée Walton5 min read
Pexels/cottonbro studio

At the risk of appearing ungrateful, does anyone else think we need an opportunity to receive household items aside from a bridal shower? I’m (kind of) kidding, of course, but with my wedding festivities far in the rearview mirror, there are several household essentials I find myself wishing I had registered for – if only I had known. 

A list of true essentials for a classy and practical home certainly would have come in handy back then, but it’s never too late to welcome these tools into your home. So, without further ado, here are 20 household essentials every Evie girl needs.

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1. Dutch Oven 

A Dutch oven is an absolute must for top-notch soups, stews, breads, and roasts. On the surface, a Dutch oven looks like a big, heavy stockpot – but it’s actually so much more than that. Because they’re made of cast iron, Dutch ovens maintain a consistent temperature and can seamlessly go from the stove top to the oven. The material also lends itself to hearty, crusty bread because it allows a layer of steam to stay in the pot while baking.

There’s a common misconception that Dutch ovens are expensive, big-ticket items, but in reality, there are affordable options to match any budget. And keep in mind that with proper care, a good Dutch oven will last you a lifetime, so it’s well worth the investment. 

Martha Stewart Round Dutch Oven, $53

Lodge 6 Quart Essential Enameled Dutch Oven, $90

Our Place Cast Iron Perfect Pot, $175

2. Tea Kettle 

It’s true – you could heat up water in a saucepan for tea. But if you’ve always wanted to be a tea girly (and with all of tea’s benefits, who wouldn’t?), a cute kettle is essential. They’re functional and look so classic on your stovetop. You can also opt for an electric kettle for piping hot water in a matter of minutes. 

Whistling Tea Kettle Stainless Steel, $28

7 Cup Electric Jug Kettle China Rose, $83

MacKenzie-Childs Royal Check Teakettle, $148

3. Knife Set 

Having the right tools makes all the difference when it comes to meal prep, and sharp, quality knives are no exception. A chef’s knife, paring knife, and serrated knife are absolute essentials, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a set of steak knives on hand, too, for intimate dinner parties.

Quince Essential Japanese Damascus Steel Knife Set, $130

Quince German Stainless Steel Steak Knife Set, $50

4. Glass Containers for Leftovers 

It’s time to bid farewell to the sauce-stained plastic storage containers that are taking over your cupboards. (Let’s be honest, half of them are probably missing lids, anyway.) Invest in glass containers for a less toxic way to store your leftovers, without fear of consuming harmful microplastics. 

Anchor Hocking Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids, $7

Camyron Glass 11 Container Food Storage Set, $174

5. Slow Cooker

Perfect for those busy days when you need a warm, easy meal, a slow cooker is everyone’s favorite kitchen helper. And with so many different features, colors, and sizes, there’s a slow cooker to match everybody’s taste and budget. 

Need some slow cooker inspo? Check out these recipes for hassle-free weeknight meals. 

Beautiful 6 Qt Slow Cooker, $50

Our Place Dream Cooker, $250 

6. Bed Frame and Side Tables 

When my husband and I first moved in together, we plopped our mattress and box spring down right on the floor until we could find just the right bed frame. It didn’t take long for that setup to feel stale, sad, and just a little blah. In order to get a comfortable, supportive night’s sleep (ie, with airflow on all four sides of your body) and an aesthetically pleasing bedroom retreat, an actual bed frame and side tables are essential.  

While that might sound like a big investment (especially if you’re just starting out), there are endless options for affordable bed frames, so you can get up off the floor without breaking the bank. And don’t forget about the magical thrifting world of estate sales and Facebook Marketplace. Also keep in mind your furniture doesn’t have to be a matching set – the eclectic look can be cohesive and oh so tasteful too. 

Feehley Upholstered Platform Bed, $294

Coleman Upholstered Wingback Bed, $1,006

Westerleigh 1-Drawer Nightstand, $104

Arlow End Table With Storage, $393

7. Dryer Balls

One simple switch to lighten your toxic load is to replace your dryer sheets or fabric softener with wool dryer balls. Like dryer sheets, they soften clothes and reduce static. And bonus: Dryer balls reduce drying time, so you can save a little money on energy costs. Miss the dryer sheet freshness? Add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. 

Branch Basics Wool Dryer Balls, $19

8. Extra Sheets and Towels for Guests

Even if your overnight guests have to couch surf due to limited space, you can still make them feel at home with the right linens. In this case, your old sheets and stained towels from college just won’t do. A fresh set of quality sheets and a few extra bath towels can go a long way in making friends and family feel welcome. 

Pact Organic Cotton Luxe Towel Set, $90

Quince Organic Brushed Cotton Sheet Set, $90

9. Waffle Bathrobe 

Practical and cozy is a winning combo every time, and there’s no clearer example than a classic waffle bathrobe. The cotton material is highly absorbent, making it perfect to wrap up in after getting out of the shower. Keep it on while you’re getting ready to make any day feel like a spa day. 

Quince Organic Turkish Waffle Robe, $50

10. Candles That Aren’t Toxic 

I’m a candle girl through and through, but the artificial fragrances and sketchy waxes used in conventional candles freak me out. Swap out your candles with cleaner-burning options to set a cozy ambiance without sacrificing your hormone health.  

Orchid + Ash Golden Candle, $48

Brooklyn Candle Studio Catskills, $38

11. Cast Iron Skillet 

In the world of low-tox cooking, the cast iron skillet is king. Make the switch to cast iron and avoid scary hormone disruptors that lurk in nonstick cookware. Like a quality Dutch oven, a cast iron skillet can be a lifelong kitchen companion with proper care, making it a worthy investment. Not to mention, food cooked in cast iron simply tastes better.  

Lodge 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet, $30

Our Place Cast Iron Always Pan, $155

12. Food Processor 

A multi-use tool that saves you time and sanity? Yes, please. A food processor is a must-have for chopping, pureeing, and blending. Models range from large and heavy-duty, to compact and affordable, so there’s a food processor for every space. 

Ninja Express Chop Electric Food Chopper, $26

Ninja Professional Food Processor, $99

13. Wood or Bamboo Kitchen Utensils

Ditch the combo pack of plastic utensils you bought for your first apartment and switch to a sturdier option made of natural materials. 

Farmhouse Pottery Essential Kitchen Little Spoons, $35

Williams Sonoma Olivewood Spoons, Set of 4, $100

14. Zester

Citrus zest adds a little zhush to every dish, but a zester’s utility doesn’t stop there – put it to the test to finely grate garlic, ginger, hard cheeses, and even chocolate.  

Thyme & Table Stainless Steel Fine Grater & Zester, $8

Microplane Classic Stainless Steel Zester, $18

15. KitchenAid Stand Mixer

A must-have for any avid baker or chef, a KitchenAid stand mixer is a bridal registry classic for a reason. In addition to whipping up doughs and batters, you can add attachments to make homemade ice cream and pasta, grind meat, and spiral vegetables. The price might be steep, but a stand mixer’s versatility and durability make it worth every penny. Not to mention, they come in dozens of colors to match your aesthetic: I’m currently swooning over this Dried Rose option.

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, $450

16. Big Platter 

A great big platter is a hosting must. Whether you’re serving appetizers, sides, desserts, or even a turkey or roast, you’ll be surprised by how often you reach for an oversized dish. Don’t be afraid to think big here – you’ll never regret having too large of a platter, but never having a big enough serving plate can be frustrating. 

CB2 Cuatro Rectangular White Serving Platter, $20

Pottery Barn Gabriella Rectangular Serving Platter, $39

Bistro Tile Fromage Serving Platter, $44

17. Non-Toxic Cleaners (All Purpose, Laundry Spray, Shower Spray, Etc.)

Embrace the cleaning power of plants. 

Swapping in natural cleaners for conventional brands might give you pause (do they actually work?), but rest assured that you can, in fact, have a sparkling clean home without the nasty chemicals and bleach. 

There’s no shortage of effective natural cleaners on the market, so try some out and find your favorite. And you might as well stock up – tidying up and wiping down your surfaces every day (or more, depending on the room and use) cuts down on how often you have to deep clean. 

Branch Basics Premium Starter Kit, $75

18. Airtight Food Containers

Keep things fresh and give your cupboards or countertops a streamlined aesthetic with matching airtight food containers. Buy a set of several sizes and shapes to meet your pantry’s needs.

Urban Green Glass Jar with Bamboo Lids, Set of 2, $33 

Airtight Food Storage Containers, Set of 32, $70

19. Baskets, Baskets, and More Baskets

It’s impossible for a household to have too many baskets. Stock up on your next thrifting expedition and get baskets for storing anything from blankets in the living room, to extra toilet paper in the bathroom, to your current bedtime reads on your nightstand. Place a basket on the kitchen counter to quickly stash clutter when unexpected guests drop in. It also never hurts to have a couple to spare for quick gift baskets.

Honey Can Do Natural Woven Hyacinth Nested Storage Baskets, Set of 3, $26

Multipurpose Stackable Seagrass Baskets, Set of 4, $50

20. Thank You Notes

Have you ever thought about mailing out a thank you note and then just…forgot? Avoid this faux pas by having a stack of thank you notes and stamps in your desk drawer ready to go at a moment’s notice. A quick thank you text is always appreciated (and super classy), but a handwritten note of gratitude will absolutely make the recipient’s day. 

Mid Century Modern Abstract Note Card Set, $17

Rifle Paper Co. Keepsake Card Boxed Set, $30

Closing Thoughts 

Stocking a home with all the essentials can be overwhelming. But remember, you don’t need to purchase everything right this second. Instead, invest in quality products over time as your budget allows. Soon enough, you’ll have an arsenal of tools to make your home as practical as it is cozy.

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