If you’ve just earned your college degree and are finally ready to head out on your own, consider this guide on first apartment essentials, well, essential!
It’s a milestone. A rite of passage. A close to one chapter of your life, and the beginning of a new one. Getting your first apartment will be exciting, challenging, stressful, confusing, and rewarding all at the same time.
Of course, as with most things in life, you can help avoid unnecessary confusion and eliminate stress by preparing in advance. Doing a little bit of research now will save you tons of heartache in the future.
Before you can move in, you have to find an apartment. This process unto itself can be difficult. Not only because you will likely have to wade through dozens of different options, but also because there is some amount of pressure involved.
After all, at a bare minimum, you will likely be living in this place for six months to a year. Can you afford it? Is it in the right neighborhood? Using a tool such as NextDoor helps you stay in the know with what’s going on in your neighborhood.
Does it offer the conveniences that you are expecting? And perhaps most simply, do you like it? Finding the right place is crucial, and should be considered a top priority.
To find a place that meets your needs, online tools offer obvious benefits. Of course, if you are looking for your first apartment, you already know this, as you grew up with a smartphone in your hand.
That being said, you may not know where to look or how to get started. Sites like ForRent are a good place to start, as they can help you search apartments for rent in NYC or Los Angeles – if there are apartments to be found, ForRent has them.
Better yet, you can filter by price, number of bedrooms, pet availability, and several other pre-requisites that may be important to you.
It’s worth noting that there are other means of finding apartments as well. You may also consider using sites like Craigslist or even the classifieds, but you will likely find the experience a bit hit and miss. One option offers a scavenger hunt, while the other delivers exactly what you’re looking for.
If you lived in the dorms during college, you have a leg up when it comes to first apartment essentials. And that is because you’ve likely already done a bit of the grunt work. Let’s assume that you already have paper towels, toilet paper, toiletries, soaps and cleaners, and hygienic products. (If not, buy these first!)
The next step will be to furnish your cupboards with kitchen essentials. This includes basics like salt, sugar, flour, butter, and various spices. After all, you’re a college graduate now; it’s time to ditch the pre-packaged food.
Then there are the various cooking utensils, dishes, and cookware items that you will need to compile. This includes knives, pots and pans, plates and cups, serving dishes, and other miscellaneous items.
Finally, with these essentials out of the way, you can start focusing on items like trash cans, brooms, vacuum cleaners, clothes hampers, plungers, towels (both for you and your dishes), and other random items that you’re likely to forget about until you need them.
And last but not least, you are going to need furniture. This includes chairs, couches, bed frames, mattresses, desks, dressers, dining tables, dining room chairs, coffee tables, entertainment centers, kitchen islands, side tables, sitting tables… you name it.
Even a small apartment can fit a lot more than you might expect. If you’re wondering how you’re going to pay for all of this, that’s a good question.
To avoid breaking the bank and going needlessly into debt, compile a list of essential items, research their prices, and prioritize them using a simple cost-benefit analysis. If you graduated college, using a spreadsheet should be easy for you!
Once you’ve found the right apartment, taken care of utilities, and stocked your new home with essentials, you can make it your own. But perhaps not in the way that you expect.
Comb the neighborhood for coffee shops and restaurants. Find out where the local bars are. See if there are any cool local movie houses, theaters, or clubs.
And don’t be afraid to knock on doors and introduce yourself. Part of making your first apartment your own is actually living in it – this means not only furnishing it and putting photos and art on the wall but becoming part of the neighborhood as well.
The sooner you embrace your new surroundings, the sooner you’ll be comfortable and content in your new apartment.
Jessica is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter!
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