’Tis the season of apartment searching: Things I wish I knew before moving into my 1st apartment

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’Tis the season of apartment searching. As we’re heading closer to the end of the school year, the anxiety of finding housing for next year is slowly creeping up on us, especially for our current freshmen. You know, you can’t live in the dorms forever! (But you actually can if you really want to.) This marks an exciting chapter for many of our freshmen, as it’s going to be their first time officially living on their own without anyone cooking and cleaning for them.

You’re going to realize eventually, after living in your apartment for a few months, that the dorms weren’t all too bad. But of course, there will be things you’ll never look back on, and you’ll be eternally grateful you’ll never have to step foot in the dorms again.

Living on your own can be a scary thing. You’ll now have to keep track of rent, utilities and internet payments, and don’t even get me started on the cost and stress that comes with furnishing your apartment. There are so many things I wish I knew before I quickly made my way out of the dorms and into my apartment after my freshman year.

First off, I wish I knew how stressful and complicated furnishing your apartment can be, especially the common area. When I first moved into my apartment, my apartment mates and I couldn’t decide what the best way to split the cost of furnishing our shared space was. Should we just split the cost of everything evenly? Or should each person be in charge of buying individual items? For the sake of making moving out of our apartment easier, we found that having each person purchase certain items would be the easiest. In comparison to splitting the cost of all the furniture equally, when someone moves out, they can just take the items they bought instead of figuring out how much they spent on every single thing in the common area.

Furnishing your apartment can be quite pricey, even if you’re planning to buy everything from Ikea. A small dining room table can easily cost over $200, and couches can be ridiculously expensive. I would highly recommend that you purchase as much furniture as you can from Free & For Sale or another secondhand outlet. Most of the items listed on Free & For Sale are practically brand new! Start your search early, though, because all the good items tend to sell out quickly. Don’t waste your money on new furniture because you’re going to have to get rid of it once you graduate!

Secondly, keeping track of rent, utilities and internet payments can be a struggle. Splitting this responsibility among your apartment mates is a great way to stay on top of it, as each person is only responsible for making sure their assigned bill is paid on time.  

Lastly, chores are a thing, and you need to assign them or your apartment will become a chaotic mess — trust me. Make a chores board by purchasing a whiteboard or a calendar and assign who will take out the trash, vacuum the floors and clean the bathroom on certain days. Having the mentality of “whenever you notice the trash is full, just take it out” will not work. This will create a game of how high you can stack your trash before it collapses. Assign chores to hold people accountable!

Having your own apartment for the first time is super exciting. It’s one of your first experiences of adulthood, which means it comes with a lot of responsibilities, but it’s nothing you can’t conquer!

Contact Kelly Fong at [email protected].