If you’ve lived in any number of Chinese apartments or dormitories, you know by now that the standards of living here are much different than the norms in your home country. Not necessarily bad, just different.
So if you’re planning to move to China and will start looking for your first apartment, well, you’re in for a treat… unless you’re going for a high-end place in a community with lots of foreigners, you might find that your apartment is lacking in some areas. Don’t worry! This is completely normal.
Whatever your situation, here’s a short list of some things you might want to consider adding to your home or office to make it safer and generally more livable~
Doesn’t hurt to double check your current products, either!
We’ve also included the Chinese translations for your Taobao shopping pleasure – and if you’re a Taobao newbie, send us a message and we’ll help you get started…
Another tip to narrow down your search is adding the words “家用 jiā yòng” to your query which simpy means ‘for household use.’
**Note: These screenshots are just examples of where you can buy them, we are in no way endorsing these specific vendors
We’d bet a pretty penny that a lot of our readers do NOT have a plunger in their home bathroom. Or their work bathroom, for that matter. Why not? Most likely because Western toilets are still relatively new to a large part of the population. No worries, it’s best to be prepared when nature calls.
And FYI, you don’t need to call a plumber every time your American friends come over for tacos! A simple plunge should do the trick~
jiā shī qì
In many cities, the air just gets too dry sometimes. A humidifier will help you moisturize the air and be more comfortable breathing. There are many different types to choose from, and a lot of times the cheaper ones work just as fine as the pricey ones.
We recommend keeping in your bedroom, but don’t overuse or risk the increase of dust and mold.
chú shī jī
A dehumidifier is the opposite of a humidifier, duh. It reduces the level of humidity in the air, usually for health or comfort reasons, or to eliminate musty odor.
It can also be used in your laundry area to help dry your clothes faster!
Fire Extinguisher 灭火器
miè huǒ qì
How about a fire extinguisher? Where’s the closest one to where you are right now in case of an emergency? If you don’t know, then that’s a huge potential problem… accidental fires can start when you least expect it and a lot of times they can be stopped fairly quickly with the right extinguisher.
Safety first! Keep one behind your front door or in your kitchen and make sure everyone in your household knows how to operate it.
WIFI Router 路由器 w/ Settings in English
wifi lù yóu qì
Your internet connection is your lifeline to the rest of the world. (Well, the “world” that isn’t blocked here in the mainland.) If you buy a Chinese router, it’s very rare that the settings would be in English. Sometimes a simple restart will fix a problem, but what if that doesn’t help? You’d have to call a local friend or the internet company to come and fix it. And most of the time it’s just a quick setting to change.
Since there’s no easy way to search for an electronic with English settings here, we recommend buying an American brand like Netgear or an international brand like TP-Link. It’s still not guaranteed to have an English option, so maybe going to the store and asking in person is the best ‘route’ to go for this item.
Spare Keys 一套备用钥匙
yī tào bèi yòng yào shi
Lost your keys somewhere? Accidentatlly locked them inside? Spare keys are as vital as anything else in your life… and you often don’t have them when you need them! They are cheap and easy to make. Look for a small key shop or even a stand like what’s pictured above.
It’s not like you can keep a fake rock outside your door, so we recommend making a couple sets and giving to a trusted friend or two who live nearby. Trust us, your landlord probably won’t answer the phone at 2am when you’d like him to come open your door!
**And obviously, don’t write your address on the keychain or keep a spare in your wallet. I hopefully don’t need to explain why.
Carbon Monoxide Detector 一氧化碳报警器
yī yǎng huà tàn bào jǐng qì
With news stories coming out in the past few years of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning around the country, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Do we sound like your mother yet?
Carbon monoxide dectectors come in various shapes, sizes, and prices. Don’t buy the cheapest one and remember to check the batteries every few months.
We recommend putting them in your bedrooms or whichever rooms you spend the most time in.
If you have roommates or live in a dorm environment, padlocks give a small added level of protection that you can put on your door, windows, luggage, whatever. Padlocks aren’t the only level you should have, though. Be smart and take care of your belongings.
It’s also a good item to keep in your gym bag for your locker, or your backpack when traveling in hostels around China.
bǎo xiǎn guì
For those who want extra security for their most important documents, jewelry, and maos, get a safe! Harder to break into and often flame-retardant, these little strongboxes will keep your valuables safe from almost anyone. Almost.
Just don’t forget the code or lose the keys. Then you could be in big trouble… and we can’t help you there.
Very rarely will you find an oven in your apartment rental in China unless another foreigner has lived there before you. If you don’t know how to pan fry a chocolate chip cookie correctly, then this item is essential. The home-use ovens are probably smaller than what you’re used to, but it’s better than nothing.
We recommend a big enough one to roast a whole chicken in. Or maybe even a turkey.
Air Filters 空气净化器
kōng qì jìng huà qì
Arguably the most important item on our list! If you plan on living in China for any extended period of time, air filters (with an s) are your top priority. Until the rapid development, coal production, construction, and factory output, etc, of our host nation levels out, we can’t expect the pollution outside to go away.
There are also cheaper DIY options that just require a fan and a replaceable HEPA filter. Both options work just as well.
We recommend at least one for each bedroom, office, and living area. It will help you sleep better. And not die.
Not necessarily for use in your home, but always keep a few next to your door for when you go out and can’t see across the street.
PM2.5 Air Quality Monitor 空气质量检测仪
kōng qì zhì liàng jiǎn cè yí
Turn your air filters on and off and watch your air quality tester go nuts! Besides the entertainment factor, these little devices are quite accurate at letting you know how much pollution is getting into your home.
Keeping the PM2.5 count under 50 will do wonders for your health and well-being.
We purposefully did not include dishwashers or clothes dryers, those are just luxuries…