Moving into an apartment for the first time is very different than living in a dorm and it can sometimes be difficult to adjust from dorm life to the independence of having your own place to live. Here are some things I wish I knew before moving into my first apartment.
What college students should know before they move into apartments
- Keep your housemates/roommates informed if there are any issues with appliances. It is very important that you let your housemates know if there is an issue with the dishwasher, sink, toilet, etc. Don’t assume that they will notice if something isn’t working. Also, it is good to let everyone know; that way, when maintenance comes in, they won’t be surprised that there is a random person inside the apartment.
- Choose your housemates/roommates wisely. Just because you aren’t sharing a room with someone does not mean that everything will be okay. If they are a very messy person or like to party, or just have different living styles than you do, it can cause disagreements. I know of many people who absolutely hated their housemates because they would never clean up after themselves or they would eat other people’s food.
- If you are living with a large group, consider assigning chores. This can be a great way to hold people accountable and keep the place clean. My college apartment keeps a chore board which includes dishes, floors, counters, and trash and it switches weekly.
- Speak up if you have an issue with one of your housemates. I know I was scared that I would offend my housemates if I asked them to clean up or not play music so loud. Keep in mind that you deserve to be happy where you are living so just talk to your housemate if you are having a problem and be respectful with trying to come to a compromise.
- Set a budget for groceries. The food situation in an apartment is much different than it is while living in a dorm. You will have to cook your own meals and it can be beneficial to set a budget for groceries so that you are not going overboard and buying more food than you need. When I buy groceries for myself, I typically spend around $100 a week and I try to keep it at or below that amount.
- Coordinate kitchen supplies and common area decorations before moving in. It can be a good idea to figure out what kitchen supplies your housemates are bringing so that you do not have duplicates. In my apartment, we each brought around one expensive item that was shared by all of us in the kitchen, such as a blender, toaster, etc.
- Also, it helps to pick out a color scheme for the common area and figure out who is bringing which decorations and furniture.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your landlord. Your landlord is there to help you if there’s any issues such as a broken dishwasher or if the washer or dryer isn’t working properly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- Go to apartment events! While this might be different during COVID-19, if your apartment has events such as a pool party, go to it! This can be a great way to make friends with other people in the complex. I was apprehensive to go to these and my roommates never wanted to go, but even if you just go alone it can actually be a lot of fun and there is often free food.
- Try out recipes with your parents or siblings at home before you move into your apartment. It is definitely important to learn how to cook before you move into your apartment. Try out some new recipes and figure out which ones you like; that way when you are on your own in your new apartment, it will be easy for you to make meals and you will also save money by not eating out as much. This will also help you to avoid a cooking disaster in your apartment.
- Be clear about your expectations for having subleasers. Make sure that if you or one of your housemates has a sub-leaser that you all are on board with the situation. Especially during the pandemic, a lot more people are trying to find subleasers now that classes are online. Just make sure that if one of your housemates has a sub-leaser that everyone knows about it and is aware of who is living in the apartment. It is also important to keep gender in mind (for example, if the apartment is all girls, the other people living there might not be as comfortable if a boy moves in and vise versa) and make sure the people in the apartment are comfortable with the subleaser.
- Be mindful of having guests over. Especially during COVID-19, make sure to keep your housemates informed if you plan on having people over and avoid large groups. Follow the local guidelines for social distancing at all times.
- Take advantage of the amenities. This is probably one of the few times in your life that you will have a gym, pool, and study spaces right where you live. Take advantage of the different amenities your apartment has to offer and use whatever amenities there are. You are paying for these amenities so you might as well utilize them.
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