My First Apartment https://www.myfirstapartment.com Sat, 21 Oct 2017 16:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Is It Time for You to Move Out? https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/is-it-time-to-move-out/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/is-it-time-to-move-out/#respond Sat, 21 Oct 2017 16:00:04 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=26123 The thought of moving into your first apartment can be pretty daunting. You’ll need to understand rent, deposits, insurance, grocery shopping, cleaning… it’s a lot of responsibility to take on. However, there are definitely signs that it is time to move out and into your own first apartment. Ask yourself these questions… if you’re answering…

The post Is It Time for You to Move Out? appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
The thought of moving into your first apartment can be pretty daunting. You’ll need to understand rent, deposits, insurance, grocery shopping, cleaning… it’s a lot of responsibility to take on. However, there are definitely signs that it is time to move out and into your own first apartment.

Ask yourself these questions… if you’re answering “Yes” for most of them, congratulations! The search is on!

If you find yourself thinking “No” for these questions, keep the topics in mind and give yourself some more time before starting the apartment hunt.

Independence

Are you ready for complete independence?

This may feel like an easy “YES!,” but think through what complete independence may mean. With little support from family, you will be on the hook for every aspect of your life, from paying bills on time to cooking each meal to keeping your apartment secure.

Are you feeling frustrated with your current living situation?

Unless you aren’t content with your current situation, don’t feel the need to move out right away. It’s a big commitment, so wait until you feel like it’s a good time to make the change.

Do you have good transportation options after your move?

How will you get to work? Are you able to get to and from the grocery store? Will you need to buy a car?

Do you have some basic housekeeping skills?

Do you know enough about the kitchen to cook yourself meals? Do your laundry? Clean your place?

How do you feel about living with roommates?

Many first apartment are actually roommate shares? Would you be willing to live with roommates? Do you have potential roommates in mind?

Have you done any preliminary research to determine what area you’d like to live in?

If you haven’t yet, start to research where you’d like to live.

Money

Do you have a significant savings built up? (Check this calculator to see how much you need.)

Moving causes lots of expenses, from deposits to move-in fees to surprise expenses. You will need some significant cash ready for your move.

Do you have a steady source of income?

This is the most important requirement of your landlord, and potential landlords may reject you if your income does not meet the property’s requirements. Typically, you need to make at least 3 times your monthly rent.

Is your income enough to pay for rent, utilities, cable / Internet, renters insurance, and other monthly bills?

Similar to the above, remember that there are more bills than your cost of rent. Ask potential landlords for an estimate of electric and water for the unit and research extras like cable and parking.

Do you have resources to furnish an apartment?

Whether it’s money or hand-me-downs, think about how you can furnish your apartment to make it livable.

The post Is It Time for You to Move Out? appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/is-it-time-to-move-out/feed/ 0
My First Apartment Furniture Purchases: Prices and Product Reviews https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/my-furniture-purchases-a-review/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/my-furniture-purchases-a-review/#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:00:57 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=26117 Buying your first furniture can be really fun, but it can also stressful when you have dozens of different options and don’t know which ones to choose. It’s especially hard if you’re ordering online and don’t have the chance to see the product in person before making your decision. In an effort to alleviate some…

The post My First Apartment Furniture Purchases: Prices and Product Reviews appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
Buying your first furniture can be really fun, but it can also stressful when you have dozens of different options and don’t know which ones to choose. It’s especially hard if you’re ordering online and don’t have the chance to see the product in person before making your decision.

In an effort to alleviate some of that stress for you, I’ve gone through all of my first apartment furniture purchases and reviewed them. My total bill? Just over $1,100, $1,118 to be exact!

End Tables – $16

I got the IKEA Lack Series side table. I got two of these because they’re so cheap and versatile. The black version of this has been like $8 for ages now, and the other ones are about $10.

  • Price: 5/5 Great price.
  • Assembly: 5/5 Really easy. No tools required at all.
  • Transport: 5/5 It’s super light and fits in a car.
  • Quality: 4/5 It’s a table. It does it’s job. It’s nothing to write home about, but what do you want for $8?

Coffee Table – $20

I got the IKEA Lack Series coffee table (the small one). I paid about $25.

  • Price: 5/5 Great price.
  • Assembly: 5/5 Really easy.
  • Transport: 5/5 It’s very light and fits in a car.
  • Quality: 5/5 It’s everything you could ask for, considering it’s a $25 IKEA table. I’m very happy with it.

Couch – $299

I got the IKEA Knislinge Series Sofa. I paid $299.

  • Price: 4/5 I suppose that for a couch it’s a really good price, but couches in general are always going to be expensive if you don’t want a used one.
  • Assembly: 2.5/5 Full disclosure, I put this thing together myself, and this is definitely a two-person job, so I’m not sure if I can give an accurate assembly rating. If I had had a second person to help, I probably would have given it a 4/5. But hey, I got it together eventually.
  • Transport: 2/5 The only reason why this doesn’t get a 1 on ease of transport is because I did eventually get it home. There’s no way this unassembled product could fit in the average car. Maybe if you have a truck or a minivan, you could fit it inside, but seriously, this thing is big and heavy. I actually had to tie it to the roof of my Ford Focus with string and travel home at 15MPH in what was the most terrifying driving experience in my life. (Due to some human error and very strange, unforeseen circumstances, I couldn’t use IKEA’s delivery service, and it was either abandon the couch I’d already paid for in the parking lot or find a way to get it home).
  • Quality: 5/5 Overall, it’s a really nice and comfy couch, especially considering the price. It’s nice and sturdy, and has nice enough cushioning that I’ve never hurt myself plopping down forcefully. I haven’t had to do so, but I imagine that spending the night on this couch wouldn’t be bad.

Dresser – $130

I got the IKEA Malm Series 4-drawer chest. I paid about $130.

  • Price: 3/5 The price for this was okay, I guess, but I’d originally planned on getting a much less expensive dresser, until I saw it in person and realized that the cheaper one had really strange proportions that I wasn’t happy with.
  • Assembly: 4/5 Easy. It took some time, but not too much.
  • Transport: 4/5 It’s kind of heavy, but not overly so, and it fits in a car.
  • Quality: 5/5 It’s a dresser. The drawers are a good depth and length. It does the job.

Nightstand – $30

I got the IKEA Kullen Series 2-drawer chest. I paid $30.

  • Price: 5/5 It’s a fine price.
  • Assembly: 5/5 Really easy.
  • Transport: 5/5 It’s very light and fits in a car.
  • Quality: 4/5 It’s a great little nightstand, with “little” being the operative word. It’s really nice, but boy is it short. Like assembling the couch, this is an issue that I could have avoided with some better planning, but it’s wayyy too short for my bed, especially since I opted for a taller mattress.

Kitchen Table and Chairs – $99

I got the Mainstay 5 Piece Dining Set. I paid $99.

  • Price: 5/5 This is a great price for a sturdy table with four comfy chairs. Most other options I saw were at least double this price.
  • Assembly: 3.5/5 It was pretty easy to assemble, but it was no IKEA table. But really, the reason why it doesn’t get a higher rating is because it took me a little while to get it together–maybe an hour or so. There was nothing inherently difficult about it, though.
  • Transport: 4/5 I had this delivered, but I probably could have fit it in my car with the back seat down. It was really heavy, though, so I’m glad I didn’t have to carry it anywhere.
  • Quality: 5/5 I’m quite happy with the table. The chairs are comfy and the assembly is sturdy. It’s not too big, but it’s large enough that I can use it as a desk when I’m not eating.

Bed Frame – $200

Zinus Upholstered Bedframe, for $200.

  • Price: 5/5 I’m really happy with the bed for this price.
  • Assembly: 4/5 Putting this together was really easy, but only once I realized that the bolts to put it together don’t come in their own package. They’re actually already screwed into place, and you just have to loosen them a little to assemble the pieces. This would have been super convenient if the instructions had indicated in some way that this was the case. As it was, I almost ended up calling the company to complain before I finally figured it out.
  • Transport: 4/5 This was kind of heavy, but one of the reasons why I picked this bed frame was because when it’s disassembled, all or the parts fit inside a zipped compartment in the headboard, so the box it comes in is surprisingly small. I definitely could have fit this in my car (with the back seats down).
  • Quality: 5/5 I’m really happy with this bed frame. It didn’t require buying a box spring or anything–it comes with support slats. I’ve had it for a few months now, and it doesn’t squeak at all. Also, I think it’s really pretty (although I’ve been told by my mother that it’s hideous. To each her own, I suppose).

Shelves/Storage – $70

I got this 8-Cube Organizer from Walmart for $70 (but you can get the same thing from IKEA for more or less the same price, which I recommend doing if you have that option. Walmart delivery is NOT worth the hassle.)

  • Price: 5/5 The price was fine.
  • Assembly: 3.5/5 Go with the IKEA version for easier assembly. I figured it out, but after putting together a bunch of IKEA furniture, I found the instructions and assembly for this piece rather frustrating.
  • Transport: 2.5/5 This thing was insanely heavy. I could move it with help, but wow was it heavy. Also, it was really long. I had it delivered, so I don’t know for sure, but I’m not sure if it would have fit in my car if I had had to drive it home, even with my seats down–it was weirdly long.
  • Quality: 5/5 It’s fine. No complaints.

Mattress – $249

I got the Spa Sensations 12″ Memory Foam Comfort, ordered from Walmart. I think I paid just under $250 for a full.

  • Price: 5/5 Great price for a mattress.
  • Assembly: N/A You take it out of the box (it’s been vacuum sealed to take up as little space as possible), and then it re-inflates.
  • Transport: 5/5 I picked this up from the store, and it came in a box small enough that it fit in my trunk. You might need a second person to help you carry it if you’re travelling large distances with it, but it was definitely manageable.
  • Quality: 5*/5 *This is the rating my SO gave the mattress. My rating would be lower, but that’s because I’m weird. It turns out that this is like the softest, squishiest mattress ever, which everyone but me thinks is great. Seriously, this is the comfiest mattress my SO has ever encountered, and if that’s your thing, this is a great mattress for you. But if you’re like me and want something firm to sleep on, skip this one.

If you want to know what else I have in my apartment, check out my previous post, Everything I Own: A Complete Room-by-Room Furnishing Checklist.

The post My First Apartment Furniture Purchases: Prices and Product Reviews appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/my-furniture-purchases-a-review/feed/ 0
Everything I Own: A Complete Room-by-Room Furnishing Checklist https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/26110/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/26110/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:00:46 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=26110 Having lived in my new apartment for about a month, I went through and created a pretty comprehensive inventory of everything I own. Hopefully, this will help you while you’re packing for your own move. MFA has written a checklist like this before, but I thought it might be helpful to see a list of what I…

The post Everything I Own: A Complete Room-by-Room Furnishing Checklist appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
Having lived in my new apartment for about a month, I went through and created a pretty comprehensive inventory of everything I own. Hopefully, this will help you while you’re packing for your own move. MFA has written a checklist like this before, but I thought it might be helpful to see a list of what I actually own, not just a general list. You might find that I have plenty of things you’d never need, but if it helps you remember even one thing you’d forgotten, then I’ve done my job.

I’ve organized my list according to room, bolded the items I consider essential, and italicized the items I don’t actually own but that other people might consider vital. 

Bathroom List

  • Bathmat (2): one for the shower, one by the sink
  • Shower curtain and rings
  • Trash can
  • Plunger
  • Toilet brush
  • Bath towels (4 or 5)
  • Washcloths/Hand towels (4 or 5)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toiletries: Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.
  • Toilet paper
  • Tissues
  • Medicines
  • Sewing kit

Bedroom List

  • Lamp (2): I have a floor lamp, since there’s no overhead in my bedroom, and a small light for my bedside.
  • Nightstand
  • Dresser
  • TV
  • Fan
  • Pillows (4): I really like pillows… there’s no such thing as too many, right?
  • Bed frame
  • Mattress: I have a full-size
  • Blankets, sheets, pillow cases, etc.
  • Full-length mirror
  • Chair: My room felt empty, and my kitchen table came with more chairs than I needed, so I just threw one of the chairs in the corner of my room
  • Sterlite drawers: This is where I keep all my arts and craft supplies
  • Makeup mirror
  • Makeup, hair brush, etc.
  • Trash can

Living Room/Study List

  • Couch: It doesn’t have to be a couch, but you’ll probably want someplace comfy to sit
  • Coffee table: Like the couch, it’s not entirely necessary, but you’re gonna want some kind of surface to put things on.
  • End tables (2): They were $10 from IKEA—I couldn’t resist
  • Computer, monitor, speakers, printer, etc.
  • Wi-Fi modem
  • Cube Organizer (2X4 size): If you don’t know what this is, check out this link. I use it for a bookshelf, shoe storage, and stand for my computer monitor, and to store the following:
    • Scotch tape
    • Scissors
    • Pens and pencils
    • Pen/pencil holder
    • Eraser
    • Binder for important files
    • Shoes
    • Books
    • Notebooks/notepads
    • Umbrella
    • Stapler
    • Thumb tacks
    • Binder clips
    • Crayons
    • Colored paper
    • Glue
    • Printer paper
    • DVDs
    • Envelopes and stamps
  • Doormats (2): I’ve got one for the front door, one for the back.
  • House plants
  • Floor lamp: If you don’t have an overhead light, you’ll want one.
  • Bulletin/dry-erase board
  • Calendar
  • Desk: I don’t actually have one myself, because I do my studying on the couch, but you might want one.
  • Extra seating: If you plan to have guests, you might want a place for them to sit.

Kitchen List

  • Table and chairs: The table I got came with 4 chairs, but since it’s just me here, I only put three of them together—two for my table, and one for my bedroom. I’ll assemble the fourth if I ever need it.
  • Area rug: I only got this because my whole apartment is carpeted, so I needed something to go under my table and protect the floor. Plus, it was only $20 at Walmart.
  • Garbage can
  • Dish towels (4 or 5)
  • Hot pads (3)
  • Place mats (2)
  • Toaster
  • Paper towel holder
  • Blender: Actually, it’s a personal blender bottle, I love it, and I use it for everything.
  • Scrubby brush: I think sponges are yucky, so I do dishes with this instead.
  • Cutting board: I got a small one, but I really wish I’d gotten a bigger one.
  • The following kitchen utensils:
    • Spoons (7): My mom packed utensils for me, so the fact that I have seven is just because that’s the number she gave me. There’s no special reason for the number.
    • Forks (7)
    • Butter knives (7)
    • Sharp knife (2)
    • Serving/mixing spoon (2)
    • Silverware tray/organizer
    • Tea strainer: I drink a lot of loose tea.
    • Garlic press: I use a ton of garlic and IKEA had them for a dollar apiece.
    • Ladle
    • Spatula (2)
    • Wooden spoon
    • Cheese grater
    • Funnel: You would not believe how hard it was to find a funnel. I went to like three stores!
    • Mugs (5)
    • Glasses (5)
    • Serving/mixing bowls (5): 3 large, 2 small
    • Frying pan (2): one large, one small
    • Sauce pan (2): one large, one small
    • 2 baking dishes: one large, one small
    • 2 loaf pans: I like to bake bread
    • Storage containers (3 sets from IKEA): Each set came with tons of different sizes, and I use the large ones to store dry goods, and use the others for plates/bowls when necessary.
    • Measuring cups
    • Measuring spoons
    • Strainer/Collander
    • Baking sheet
    • Dinner plates (4)
    • Small plates (4)
    • Soup/cereal bowls (4)
    • Ice packs (3 or 4)
    • Lunchbox
    • Ice tray
  • The following kitchen supplies:
    • Ziplock bags: large and small varieties
    • Aluminum foil
    • Plastic wrap
    • Garbage bags
    • Dish detergent: My apartment has a dishwasher! How lucky am I??
    • Bendy straws
    • Paper towels
    • Dish soap
  • Coffee maker: If you’re a coffee drinker, you might not want to forget this.
  • Microwave: This was included in my apartment, but if it’s not included in yours, go get one!
  • Water filter: I’m a tap water person, but it you’re not, don’t forget your Brita filter.

Closet List

  • Several (dozen) clothes hangers
  • Laundry basket
  • Laundry detergent
  • Drying rack: I really wish I’d brought one for my laundry.

ETC…

  • Light bulbs
  • Decorations: paintings, posters, pictures etc.
  • Power strips (3 or 4)
  • Vacuum
  • Dust pan
  • Broom
  • Batteries
  • Command Strips and Command Hooks
  • Duct tape
  • Tools:
    • Hammer
    • Allen keys
    • Screwdrivers: Flat-head and Phillips-head
    • Tape measure
    • Nails
    • Wrench
    • Flashlight
    • Pliers
  • Cleaning supplies:
    • Carpet cleaner
    • Bathroom cleaner
    • Fabreze
  •  Pet supplies:
    • Food bin
    • Food and water bowls
    • Litterbox
    • Toys
    • Cat carrier

What essentials did I forget? What items can you not live without?

Note: The photos are for illustration purposes only, not my actual furnishings.

The post Everything I Own: A Complete Room-by-Room Furnishing Checklist appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/26110/feed/ 0
Getting Involved in Your New Community https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/getting-involved-in-your-new-community/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/getting-involved-in-your-new-community/#respond Sun, 15 Oct 2017 16:00:34 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=25725 For many of us, moving into our first apartment also means moving to a new city or state! Whether you move for work, friends, love, or adventure, it is a very exciting time. However, after the excitement of your move fades, it can become difficult to find and make friends or feel connected to your…

The post Getting Involved in Your New Community appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
For many of us, moving into our first apartment also means moving to a new city or state! Whether you move for work, friends, love, or adventure, it is a very exciting time. However, after the excitement of your move fades, it can become difficult to find and make friends or feel connected to your new community. Instead of getting down, take the time to get involved in your new community, which will help you make friends, learn the area, and join fun activities! Here are some ideas of ways for you to get involved and have some fun along the way.

Volunteer at a local charity

Volunteering is a great way to meet people while doing some good in the world! There are plenty of different types of charities in every town, from animal shelters to food pantries, to local parks. Start off by searching for “Charities in my area” online and pick a few that look interesting and fun! Some will require you to complete training, but will be a great way to get involved locally while meeting other like-minded people!

Attend your neighborhood Farmers’ Market on the weekends

If your neighborhood is lucky enough to have a local farmers market, visit! Not only can you stock up on fresh produce and unique items for your new apartment, but as you shop, talk to the vendors and other patrons! Introduce yourself and ask for recommendations of things to do in the area. The vendors likely have strong ties to the community and will be excited to help you out.

Attend town events, like parades or festivals

As you’re commuting or exploring in your new city, look for signs and advertisements for local events! From summer parades to food festivals, start to attend those that look interesting to you! Many towns won’t have more than a few big events per year, so it’s easy to block your schedule or invite new friends to attend with you. Don’t see many signs? Search online for community events.

Head to the park with a book, picnic, or your pet

Check out your local park to get some valuable time outside! Bring along something to do, like a book to read or a pet to play with. Not only will you enjoy some relaxing time outside, but you can meet other people who are spending time there as well.

Pay visits to local restaurants and nightlife

Much like the local farmers’ market, take your business to locally-owned shops and restaurants! Introduce yourself to the employees and ask for recommendations of other restaurants or activities to get involved in. They may even know a few people you’d get along with!

Remember, moving into a new community can push you outside of your comfort zone. Embrace it! Take the time to enjoy every bit of your new city!

The post Getting Involved in Your New Community appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/getting-involved-in-your-new-community/feed/ 0
Shopping for a Space Heater? What to Look for Before Buying https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/space-heater-safety-what-to-look-for-before-buying/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/space-heater-safety-what-to-look-for-before-buying/#respond Sat, 14 Oct 2017 14:00:09 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=26083 Sponsored Post Fall is just around the corner and you are starting to feel the chill in the air, especially if that cheap landlord of yours is holding off turning on the heat. When an extra blanket no longer does the trick, a space heater can be a lifesaver to get you through even the…

The post Shopping for a Space Heater? What to Look for Before Buying appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
Sponsored Post

Fall is just around the corner and you are starting to feel the chill in the air, especially if that cheap landlord of yours is holding off turning on the heat. When an extra blanket no longer does the trick, a space heater can be a lifesaver to get you through even the coldest nights.

Before you curl up next to any old space heater, though, it’s important to think about safety first. Not all space heaters are created equal, and the worst ones can be downright dangerous. Space heaters cause about one-third of all house fires in the winter months — and a whopping 80 percent of winter fire deaths.

Yikes! When it comes to choosing a space heater, it’s absolutely critical to put safety at the top of your list when choosing a model to bring home to your apartment. There are definitely safe, effective space heaters out there — you just have to know what to look for.

1. Protection Against Overheating

Most space heaters these days have a thermostat to regulate the temperature, but if it fails, you need a solid back-up plan. Look for space heaters with a safety fuse that will trip and shut everything down if the machine overheats. A programmable timer is another must-have feature to help keep your temperatures at a safe, comfortable level.

2. Tip-Over Safety Features

Many space heater fires occur when the heater accidentally falls over and the heating element ignites flammable carpet or curtains. To prevent this, the safest space heaters have a sensor to detect a tip-over, and the whole thing is programmed to shut itself off when that happens. A well-designed space heater will also have a sturdy base for stability and be proportioned so that it’s not too tall and slender — a risky profile when it comes to being bumped and pushed around.

3. Ceramic Heating 

If your mental image of a space heater is of glowing red, electric coils housed in a metal cage, it’s time to go shopping for a new one. Today’s child-safe space heaters use a ceramic heating element and a fan for more even heating. Best of all, the element is inside the machine and can’t be touched by little (or big) fingers, which prevents burns.

4. Cool-Touch Housing

In addition to ceramic heating elements, look for space heaters designed to be cool to the touch. The casing should remain at a safe temperature, especially when you’re looking for an apartment-safe space heater that does not require too much room.

When it comes to packing the most safety features into one great product, the best space heater of 2018 may just be the NewAir Portable Ceramic Space Heater. Among this heater’s standard features you’ll find that it:
  • Evenly heats up to 400 square feet
  • Features a temperature range of 41 degrees F to 95 degrees F
  • Has high and low heat settings that give you a variety of heating options
  • Includes a programmable timer can be set from 0 to 12 hours
  • Has whisper quiet operation
With a sleek design and loads of thoughtful safety features to prevent house fires and burns, it’s both the best looking and safest space heater you’ll find anywhere this season. And, even better, by using the special promo code MYFIRSTAPT  My First Apartment readers get 20% OFF and free shipping.
Stay warm!
Elizabeth T. is a writer specializing in lifestyle pieces, how-to articles and DIY topics. She is an expert in breaking down complex topics into friendly, easily-digestible pieces.

The post Shopping for a Space Heater? What to Look for Before Buying appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/space-heater-safety-what-to-look-for-before-buying/feed/ 0
Keeping Your Low-Budget Apartment Welcoming https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/keeping-your-low-budget-apartment-welcoming/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/keeping-your-low-budget-apartment-welcoming/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 16:00:28 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=25848 So, you’re living on a very low budget. So low that your furniture is all preowned and you’re using a cardboard box as a nightstand. This doesn’t mean you (or your guests) should feel like you’re living in squalor. Be clean One of the most important things you can do to make your low-budget apartment…

The post Keeping Your Low-Budget Apartment Welcoming appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
So, you’re living on a very low budget. So low that your furniture is all preowned and you’re using a cardboard box as a nightstand. This doesn’t mean you (or your guests) should feel like you’re living in squalor.

Be clean

One of the most important things you can do to make your low-budget apartment welcoming is to keep it clean. There’s nothing wrong with a threadbare couch or a table that’s held together with duct tape, but there’s only so much disorder one apartment can support before guests start turning down your invitations. If your furniture is visibly distressed or your building itself is already run-down, don’t add to it with dirty dishes and piles of clothes on the floor. Sweep or vacuum your floors, wipe down the inside of your microwave, take out the trash often, and for goodness sake, don’t leave food containers strewn across the floor. Low-budget should never mean dirty.

Be kind (to your space)

Since you might not be able to afford much on a low budget, treat what you have with care. Just because your things didn’t cost you much doesn’t mean they don’t have value. This means picking up after yourself. Hang your posters straight and stack your books neatly. Keep your bed made, even if it’s just a mattress and a sheet on the floor. These are your things now, no matter how many previous owners they’ve had, and if you keep your things strewn about the apartment like their worthless, you (and your guests) will start to think of them that way.

Be creative

Make the space yours. You don’t have to spend money to give your apartment a little personal flair. Decorate it with things you already have. That picture of your best friends? Hang it up where you’ll see it every day (and maybe use it to hide that weird stain on the wall). Have a favorite mug? When it’s not in use, it could be your table’s centerpiece (bonus points if you pick some flowers to give the place some color). Too hot to keep that pretty blanket on your bed? Use it as a decorative throw (plus, it can cover that spot on your couch where the stuffing is starting to fall out). Get creative!

It’s easy for a low-budget living space to appear gross or unwelcoming, but it doesn’t have to be that way! With care and a little work, you can keep even the most ramshackle apartment homey and comfortable.

The post Keeping Your Low-Budget Apartment Welcoming appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/keeping-your-low-budget-apartment-welcoming/feed/ 0
Multipurpose Decor: Making the Most of Your Space https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/multipurpose-decor-making-the-most-of-your-space/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/multipurpose-decor-making-the-most-of-your-space/#respond Wed, 11 Oct 2017 16:00:35 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=25781 Decorating your first apartment is a ton of fun, but comes with its own set of challenges when you are in a small space. Apartments can feel cluttered when there is not enough storage space, as most people will leave all of their favorite items on display. What I’ve found to be the key to…

The post Multipurpose Decor: Making the Most of Your Space appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
Decorating your first apartment is a ton of fun, but comes with its own set of challenges when you are in a small space. Apartments can feel cluttered when there is not enough storage space, as most people will leave all of their favorite items on display. What I’ve found to be the key to successful decorating is to buy multipurpose decor and pieces that you love and are still functional. Instead of having to get creative or having to squeeze your belongings into a tiny closet, choose furniture and decor that help solve some of your space issues without adding bulk.

Here are some great ideas for multipurpose decor that will make you feel stylish… and savvy.

Hutch $210 from Target

Hutch

This isn’t your grandmother’s china cabinet! Hutches can provide awesome storage plus creative opportunities to display your favorite decor and design styling. Choose hutch with a classic design – like a this one from Target  – that is not too bulky or deep (to save on space), and remember, these make great accent pieces! If you find an old hutch at a garage sale or secondhand store, consider taking a Saturday afternoon to paint it, cover it in craft paper, or refinish it to fit your apartment’s style!

$19.99 each from IKEA

Shelving

Shelving is awesome functional space. Use new shelves to display your favorite items and get them off of other valuable space (i.e. move knick knacks from your TV stand shelves to wall shelving and use that space to store throw blankets or DVDs). Find some cute floating shelves – like these from IKEA – to hang on open walls to add some creative decor to your space without adding big furniture!

$99.00 from Walmart

Entertainment center

Your entertainment center – like this one from Walmart– is one of the best multipurpose pieces you’ll have! If you find an old dresser or traditional TV stand, set your television on top of it and leverage drawers and shelves to store extra items. Use closed drawers and covered shelves to store items that aren’t as “sightly,” then place your favorite knick knacks on display. This way, you get some storage space and some decor space — a win-win!

$39.99 from IKEA

Side tables

Side tables, from bedside tables to coffee tables, are a great way to add some functional style to your space. When you find tables – like these from IKEA – that have underneath storage, snap them up quickly! Those shelves and drawers are the perfect way to add storage to your room without unsightly clutter.

When you’re smart with decor choices, your apartment will feel much larger than it actually is! Keep an eye out for these pieces on sale and in secondhand stores to find them for even better prices. Share your other tips and finds below!

The post Multipurpose Decor: Making the Most of Your Space appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/multipurpose-decor-making-the-most-of-your-space/feed/ 0
3 Ways to Keep Meals Interesting https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/3-ways-to-keep-meals-interesting/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/3-ways-to-keep-meals-interesting/#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:00:32 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=25902 If you’re not a natural chef, it’s easy for dinner time to become a chore when you first start cooking for yourself after a lifetime of meals that someone else prepared. Not only is this a shame—food is one of the best parts of life!—it potentially hazardous to your health (pizza for dinner four nights…

The post 3 Ways to Keep Meals Interesting appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
If you’re not a natural chef, it’s easy for dinner time to become a chore when you first start cooking for yourself after a lifetime of meals that someone else prepared. Not only is this a shame—food is one of the best parts of life!—it potentially hazardous to your health (pizza for dinner four nights in a row?!) and your wallet (ordering takeout every night for a week?!). Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep you mealtime from getting stale (pun intended!)

Have a weekly New Recipe night

Each week, I pick one (simple!) recipe to try for dinner or dessert, either from the cookbook my mom sent me, or from one of those enticing cooking GIFs that show up on my Facebook feed. This is a fun way to experiment with cooking, get to know your kitchen, and try new things! (Just make sure you always have a pizza in the freezer in case of epic failure!)

Have a potluck

Invite some friends over for dinner with the rule that everyone has to bring something. Whether you end up with a table full of home-cooked dishes or a whole bunch of takeout, it’s a great way to add some variety to your kitchen. If you’re lucky, there will be plenty of leftovers to keep your next couple meals interesting. Don’t forget to have some plastic wrap ready, though, because your guests might want some leftovers, too.

Make your own “Menu”

Now, when I say “menu,” what I really mean is a “Possible Meal List” (but “menu” just sounds a lot fancier). My biggest problem when it comes to meals is actually just remembering what foods exist. I’ve gone days eating nothing but fried rice, mac and cheese, and PB&Js purely because I couldn’t think of anything else I might like to eat. My solution to this was to make a list of every meal I enjoy that I could think of, no matter how simple or seemingly obvious, from grilled cheese, to homemade pizza, to mushroom quiche. Now, if I’m not sure what to have for dinner, I have a whole “menu” of choices. (I also use this to plan out my meals before grocery shopping. After each meal on the list, I write out the ingredients it requires so I can easily add it to my grocery list and I don’t have to run back to the store later in the week to get the ingredients I forgot).

See these posts for more tips on finding new recipes to try:

Sam’s Favorite Cookbooks and Websites for a Novice Cook

Cooking At Home: Recipes Galore Online!

The post 3 Ways to Keep Meals Interesting appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/3-ways-to-keep-meals-interesting/feed/ 0
5 Ways You Can Declutter Your Apartment Today https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/5-ways-can-declutter-apartment-today/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/5-ways-can-declutter-apartment-today/#respond Sat, 07 Oct 2017 14:00:03 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=26016 Every Fall I get the urge to declutter my space. It’s like my own version of Spring cleaning, except it’s “all of my stuff needs to go” Autumn. If you’ve got the declutter bug like I do, here are 5 simple ways that you can declutter your apartment today. 1. Get Rid of the Knick…

The post 5 Ways You Can Declutter Your Apartment Today appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
Every Fall I get the urge to declutter my space. It’s like my own version of Spring cleaning, except it’s “all of my stuff needs to go” Autumn. If you’ve got the declutter bug like I do, here are 5 simple ways that you can declutter your apartment today.

1. Get Rid of the Knick Knacks

The first thing I do when decluttering is to take an empty box around and collect all of the items I no longer want. Throughout the year I find myself buying small candles and other dust collectors that don’t add anything to my decor and take up room on my bookshelf. Smaller decor pieces grouped together tend to make things look messy and cluttered, while larger items draw the eye in and add interest to your space. I always get rid of any small decor I don’t want first, and then move on to other items.

2. Keep Surfaces Clean

One way to instantly make your apartment look less cluttered is to clear any surfaces of unnecessary items. This could include keeping appliances under the counter until needed in the kitchen, keeping the coffee table and end tables clear, or keeping toiletries in the bathroom drawer instead of on the counter.

3. Clean Out The Closets

Dedicate a few hours just for cleaning out your closet spaces. This includes coat closets, bedroom closets and the linen closet. Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a while, store away seasonal items, and clear the floors of clothes and junk. For the linen closet, throw out anything stained or with holes and replace with fresh towels/linens of the same color. Having them all one color will make the linen closet look neat and organized.

Pro tip: If you have different color sets of linens, store each matching set in its pillow case for a quick find.

4. Buy Some Catch-All Baskets

I keep medium-large baskets in all of our main living areas to catch clutter throughout the day. At the end of the day, return all of the items to their correct spot. My current favorites are seagrass baskets with handles, but anything that blends in with your decor would work. We use these to catch things when we’re in a hurry (keys, sweaters, books, etc.).

5. Do A Virtual Decluttering

This one may not reduce visual clutter, but it will make YOU feel lighter and less cluttered, which will spark decluttering in other areas of your apartment. Start by deleting old emails, photos, text messages, and TV shows. We could all use a little more storage on our devices, so this will help free up some space, and I guarantee you will feel great afterwards.

Share your favorite decluttering tips in the comments below!

The post 5 Ways You Can Declutter Your Apartment Today appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/5-ways-can-declutter-apartment-today/feed/ 0
What You Forgot to Ask Your Potential Roommate https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/3-questions-you-forgot-to-ask-your-potential-roommate/ https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/3-questions-you-forgot-to-ask-your-potential-roommate/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 16:00:45 +0000 https://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=26014 I’m sure you’ve already asked your potential roommate all the basics. You know where they’re from, how late they stay up, and how messy they are. You’ve talked about their party habits, whether they have a significant other, and their favorite hobbies. But there are a few topics that probably haven’t come up yet. Here are…

The post What You Forgot to Ask Your Potential Roommate appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
I’m sure you’ve already asked your potential roommate all the basics. You know where they’re from, how late they stay up, and how messy they are. You’ve talked about their party habits, whether they have a significant other, and their favorite hobbies. But there are a few topics that probably haven’t come up yet. Here are three things you’ll want to discuss sooner rather than later:

What is your ideal room temperature?

My friend found himself in for a big surprise when he discovered his new roommate’s air conditioning preferences. On a breezy, seventy degree day, my friend had his AC turned off and had opened the windows to take advantage of the beautiful day. When his roommate came home, he immediately closed all the windows, turned on the air, and set it to cool down 65 degrees. Uh oh… Enter: Roommate problem. Personally, I try to use my AC as little as possible (my apartment is usually about 78 degrees), so this would have been a HUGE issue for me. I can’t imagine being okay living with someone who keeps their apartment that cold (or paying my half of that AC bill!)

TLDR: Ask your potential roommate: How cool do you keep your house in the summer? How warm do you keep your house in the winter? Do you often open windows?

How long are your showers? How long is too long?

Think about how long you take in the shower. Do you require a solid 30 minutes? Or do you cut it off right at five? Or maybe you’re somewhere in between? Whatever your answer, consider what you think is too long and then ask your potential roommate how long they usually take. This might seem like a weird question, but keep in mind that you guys will likely be splitting the utilities 50/50. Are you okay with paying half the water bill if your showers are half as long and half as frequent as your roommate’s? Or maybe you’re a water-conscious person and can’t stand the idea of living with someone who takes long showers. Whatever you both prefer, figure it out now rather than later.

TLDR: How long can your roommate spend in the shower before you start wondering if he drowned in there? Will your roommate get annoyed with you if you take a long, relaxing shower at the end of the day?

Do you plan on getting pets? Would you consider pets?

I’m sure you’ve already asked your potential roommate if she has any pets. However, it’s one thing for her to tell you that she doesn’t currently own any, but how are you going to react six months from now when you come home to find she’s adopted a cat? Maybe that would be a great surprise, or maybe it would have you reconsidering your living arrangement. A friend of mine had her heart set on getting a dog once she’d been in her new place for a year and had the money to do it. Except, the girl she planned to live with for the next several years is terrified of dogs. Now my friend either has to go without a furry companion or find a new place to live when her lease is up.

TLDR: It’s not enough to discuss current pets. Know whether you or your perspective roommates want pets in the foreseeable future. Do you need prior warning if your roommate wants to adopt a dog? What about a hamster? Or a snake? Clearing this question up front is especially important if you have allergies.

The post What You Forgot to Ask Your Potential Roommate appeared first on My First Apartment.

]]>
https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/10/3-questions-you-forgot-to-ask-your-potential-roommate/feed/ 0