Apartment living can be an exciting time for most college students who are trying out this whole ‘adult-ing’ thing for the first time! While it is a fun transition, there are some things you should be prepared for, so here’s some tips for surviving apartment living for the first time in college.
Get cheap or free furniture.
While you may be excited to release your inner interior designer, your budget may be limited as a college student already paying thousands of dollars on tuition. You should keep in mind about how many more years you have left attending your college to determine how much you would invest in furniture. Many apartments that aren’t owned by the school itself aren’t furnished, and it can be hard not to go overboard when shopping for furniture.
If you have the money for it, IKEA is a great place to start to get essentials like beds or study desks. Simply walking around can give you inspiration, but don’t be tempted to buy every little thing! IKEA also has a returns section that has huge price reductions on usually already-built furniture, so make sure to check that out. Another way to get cheaper furniture is to check out your local Goodwill. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find a great couch or dining table! Lots of schools also have free or for sale Facebook pages that other students or new alumni post their items on, and you can usually find good sales through them especially when the school year is ending and people are moving out!
Set a cleaning schedule.
In apartment living, it’s very important to set rules and boundaries early on with your roommates in order to avoid conflict down the line. Having a set cleaning schedule that everyone agrees to follow will make sure everyone’s doing their part in maintaining cleanliness of the shared space. It will also keep any confusion from occurring as to who’s supposed to be doing what chore and when. One way you can keep track of who does the chores is having a chart in a space everyone can see, like the kitchen fridge. By doing this, you can be held accountable and it’s an easy way for your roommates to see who’s turn it is and what needs to get done.
Set a reminder for paying rent.
Since it’s your first time living in an apartment, you might forget to pay your rent every month. Keep track of the day that it’s due. One thing that helps is to have a planner or calendar app, and place a reminder at least a week ahead of when the payment is actually due. Sometimes the stress of academics, internships, and jobs can build up and paying your rent on time is probably the last thing on your mind. By being early on your payments, you could just get it out of the way!
Be excited about the ability to cook for yourself.
While you had the convenience of meal plans at school, it’s not a secret that you have to start cooking for yourself now that you’re transitioning into apartment living. While you may have tons of experience cooking or none at all, being able to cook for yourself in general is a great opportunity to make healthier choices. You now have the freedom to make whatever you want! While it may sound daunting at first to those who have never made anything besides microwaveable mac n’ cheese, there are plenty of healthy and easy recipes you can find on Pinterest and tutorials on YouTube. Having to cook for yourself now can also help cultivate a new hobby where you can express creativity through the food you make. It’s also a great way to make your apartment feel like home by inviting a few friends and having dinner parties or potlucks!
Take advantage of your apartment’s amenities, if you have any.
A lot of apartment complexes near colleges have pools, gyms, or lounge areas that are available for tenants. If you’re lucky enough to have these amenities, make sure to use them! It could be a great way to have a study break once in awhile by releasing some stress at the gym, or taking a dip in the pool when the weather’s nice and warm outside. Some complexes even have lounge areas where tenants can be free to study and also make friends, since apartment living can feel a little lonelier than dorm living for some.
Address conflicts early.
Apartment living can be a fun time for you, especially if you’re living with your best friends! However, as seen in the TV show ‘Friends,’ things aren’t always perfect and conflicts can arise in living situations. If you ever have an issue with your roommate(s) that’s bothering you, it may be easier in the moment to brush it off or be passive aggressive about it. However, it’s best if you tell them straight up (in a respectful way) and be open to compromise with each other as soon as possible. Otherwise, it’ll build up over time and eventually the little things that bother you won’t seem so little. It’s important to make the shared living space a peaceful place for everyone to come home to. You already get enough stress from your classes, you definitely don’t need any at the apartment!