So, I just moved into my first apartment. Even though I consider myself logical and well equipped in the domestic skills apartment, I’ve definitely learned a lot since I moved in two weeks ago. I’d like to share my newly acquired wisdom with those of you considering off campus housing in the near future.
1. Avoid large, time-consuming DIY projects
Apparently, I watch way too much HGTV, and consider myself the Jonathan Scott female equivalent (Property Brothers, anyone?). As a poor college student, I accepted all of the beat-up, free furniture family and friends offered me—and then I decided to rehab it. My projects included sanding and staining an entire dining room set, as well as distressing and painting a dresser, desk, and bedside table. Thankfully, my parents talked me out of reupholstering the couch. I don’t necessarily regret revamping my furniture, as it turned out really lovely in the end. However, I did spend the last three weeks of summer in the garage, covered with sawdust and paint, and gagging on paint/stain fumes. I really would have preferred spending that time with my family. So, my advice? Stick to one statement piece to rehab—rather than the furniture for your entire apartment.
2. Bring a brother (and his friend)
My family drove from outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a U-haul to move me into my apartment—I had a ton of crap. Movers can be expensive, but it’s near impossible dragging furniture up to a third floor apartment without any help. Luckily, I have a generous brother, who offered his assistance, and persuaded (blackmailed, probably) a friend to help as well. The two of them miraculously hauled a dining room set, a couch, three armchairs, a bed, a dresser, a desk, and a nightside table up three flights of stairs. And it cost my parents only a six-pack of beer and a couple of pizzas.
3. Sign up for a laundry service, if your building doesn’t have washers/dryers
I scoffed at the idea when my roommate first mentioned using a laundry service—how extravagant! Then I considered schlepping my laundry up and down all of our stairs, and around the block…in a Boston winter. Then there was the hassle of having enough quarters, the inconvenience of sitting at a Laundromat for two hours (when I don’t have enough time in the week as it is), and making sure I have enough laundry detergent and dryer sheets. I checked out the service my roommate was planning to use; you choose a day, the service picks up your laundry, washes/dries it per your instructions, and delivers it two days later. After doing the math, I realized I would be spending about only $1.50 extra per load—totally worth it, considering the convenience.
4. Bring a toolbox
Did you know that a vacuum cleaner doesn’t come assembled? Maybe that’s a dumb question, but I definitely didn’t know. Thankfully, my aunt gave me a stocked toolbox equipped with screwdrivers, a hammer, and all. So far, I’ve used it to put together the vacuum cleaner, assemble a bench, and hammer in a nail that was sticking out of the floor. Needless to say, it has been useful.
5. Command strips, command strips, command strips
Command strips (with or without hooks) will become your best friends, especially when you’ve just moved into an apartment you don’t own and your landlord would appreciate you marking up his walls. We have command hooks in the kitchen, adorably displaying our oven mitts; I have command strips in my room, sticking my posters to the wall; we have command hooks on the back of the bathroom door for our towels. The possibilities are endless. Stock up.