I'm going to be moving into my own apartment for the first time (!!!) and I was wondering if you had any tips on small apartment life?
Congrats! And… I have NO idea! I don’t know about your situation or your finances or even what current things you have/know/do! So let’s come at this from another angle.
Here are the tips I would give MY past self when I first moved into an apartment:
- Make a cleaning schedule. You can do different things on different days (ex: Wednesday: clean bathroom, Thursday: clean kitchen) or make it a standing date to clean your entire apartment on one particular day of the week. Either way, it will make your living environment healthier and make you less stressed in the long run. You don’t want to let everything pile up to the point where you stare into the abyss of your home and say “I could just… ..burn it… all… down…”
- Wash up dishes/put them in the dishwasher right after you eat – it will save you a TON of time and dishes piling up. If you’re too busy to stick to that, wash up dishes every night before bed – the warm water may help soothe you into a more relaxed state. Or it may make your carpal tunnel less noticeable.
- Don’t forget to take out the trash often. Try not to make eye contact with your neighbors as you throw your garbage into the dumpster and loudly shout at it “NOW STAY DEAD.” It never stops being funny.
- Buy extra vacuum bags now so that you don’t wind up like me, screaming in your living room at 11AM before a guest comes over to see your dusty filth-pile of a home.
- Have multiple trash cans. That way your hopes and dreams have several areas of the home to be collected in.
- All-Natural Cleaners are great (like vinegar, baking soda, borax, Nature’s Miracle, Seventh Generation, etc.) because they’re not harmful to the environment and they ensure that you’re 4AM suicide thoughts aren’t THAT easy to go through with.
- Wood polish always smells like a lemon had sex with a very irritated fairy, use it liberally to impress guests into thinking your home is clean.
- Febreeze: For when your anxiety gets so bad that trekking down to the laundromat just isn’t an option.
- Cook for yourself – not only will it save you in costs but it will also help your health to know what you’re putting into your body. Because when the doctor says “What the fuck have you done to yourself?” you want to know exactly what to counter with.
- Learn to cook some simple meals if you don’t know how to already. YouTube is a great place to learn recipes if you don’t have family or friends to teach you. Because they’re all too busy with more important things, like Not You.
- Invest in a decent set of knives. You don’t need anything fancy starting out but two very nice knives (one bigger and one smaller) will take you a long way. Try to keep them sharp enough to stab the occasional robber.
- A crockpot is great if you have a busy schedule. There are tons of recipes you can just throw in the morning and come home to at night. Because that’s your life now. One long string of whatever is easiest to survive on.
- Invest in a few nice pans – you can actually usually find cheap sets of pans at thrift stores, especially cast iron pans that just need to be seasoned. Like you, they need to go through the fire a few times before they’re ready to get a'cookin’.
- Spices are your friends! Don’t be afraid of trying new ones – try to use them liberally, just like the college degree that put you in $120,000 worth of debt.
- If invited to a friend’s home for dinner, bring a bottle of wine or a pre-made side dish. Your friends will think that you’re actually a person who knows how to shop at a market and somehow this is important.
- Organization is FUN – don’t be afraid to organize your clothes, your art supplies, your photos, etc. It will save you time and effort in finding things, which is priceless and ultimately the soulless necessity to owning objects.
- Learn to do use some simple tools – a hammer and an electric drill are your friends – if you treat your friends like tools that you weld at your leisure to hang a vanity mirror in your bathroom so you can see how big your pores have gotten.
- Never underestimate the value of labeling. Even if you can’t organize the minutiae of your life, you can organize the minutiae of your stuff. It’s fine… It’s fine…
- Call maintenance when you need them. That’s what you pay your rent for. Your hard earned dollars, slowly rolling back on themselves to give you half-assed labor that shows up at the worst possible time of day and tracks mud through your home is definitely worth it.
- Get the new CFL lightbulbs. They’ll cost you less and last longer. Because there’s always hope for another year, I guess.
- Budget for your bills before everything else, especially your rent. You’ll need a place to live if things go to shit, even if you have to live in the dark for a few weeks. Hey, it’s like camping, except with considerably less bears! Win-win!
- Work out a grocery budget and try to adjust your diet around the sale items. Going on food stamps is definitely an option if you’re below the poverty line but be prepared to spend a little bit of cash on fresher fruits and veg so you don’t get scurvy. There’s no joke here, that’s honestly just a depressing enough reality for most of the population.
- If you can, budget some fun time! Even if it’s just chilling in a park for a few hours with some $2 wine and a load of awkward stranger-stares, it’s worth it to get out of your apartment now and then and find some fun.
- Remember: people expect gifts. Put aside money so that you can appease their holiday and birthday appetites, like the Gods demanding sacrifices. If all else fails, bake cookies or offer virginal blood (virgin sourcing not my concern).
- Hygiene is super important! Don’t be a stinky dinky. You can always make some shampoo stretch with a little bit of water and a good shake of the bottle.
- A calendar hung somewhere prominent will help you keep track of this new and exciting time of adulthood, or as I like to call it “New Human Survival Skills.”
- Water – It’s a thing people need, I think.
- Buy better shoes and you won’t have to buy them as often. Not that you can because you’re probably poor, but it’s something to consider getting angry about.
- Tank tops/T-Shirts work in all seasons when layered.
- Remember to close your windows when it rains because water is damaging to your life and electronics.
- Turn off your TV/electronics at night because now you’re an adult and welcome to the Twilight Zone of dead static silence.
- Speaking of electronics, treat them all like tender angel babies. You don’t want a sudden $400 expense because you forgot to take your phone out of your back pocket before you went peepee.
- Sweaters and robes are your friend in winter; heating bills are not. Budget accordingly.
- Colleges have free or lower-cost health programs, such as free check-up clinics, free flu shots and even free dental care – most are students that are learning, so it’s fun that they don’t have a filter yet and will blurt out if you’re close to death!
- Don’t get drunk without a sober friend to help you home because you REALLY don’t want to remember a wormy dude with a music note tattooed on his hand assaulting you later.
- Wear condoms if you’re having sex. Yes, ANY kind of sex. If you’re not fluid-bonded, it needs a wrap-up – and even if you are, toys are always better with (toysafe)condoms for an abundance of reasons – including just being better lubricated.
- Get some apps to help you stay safe. “Guardly” is great for alerting someone when you may be actually missing and not just bored listening to a friend’s record collection for hours on end.
- Flannel sheets when it’s very cold out are basically a full-body orgasm.
- Just keep on keepin’ on.
Giant Caveat: Yes, I’m aware some of this are darkly sarcastic verging on a touch troubling, but they’re what I would tell myself, personally, if I had it to to do all over again. Personally, I feel like they would have helped me and perhaps writing this out helped me get over a few of them now, or just to keep on keepin’ on with what I have to work with currently. So, keep on, no hate, just love. <3 My only final tip would be to accept friendships whenever they come along, even if they wind up hurting you, cut out toxic people from your life if they’re holding you back and to always try to come from a place of love before considering anything else.