Getting your first apartment and moving out of your parents’ house is a milestone every twentysomething goes through. If you went to college, you’ve gotten just a taste of what it’s like to be on your own, but a dorm room or off-campus housing is nothing compared to actually moving your stuff out and paying a monthly rent. You learn a lot once you take the big step from living with the ‘rents to being on your own. Here are 7 things you’re bound to learn when you get your first place:
1. Toilets get dirty really quickly.
I didn’t realize toilets could get mold until I moved into my new apartment and the toilet seat had… mold on it. More often than not, if you’re moving out on your own for the first time, you probably haven’t had to regularly clean a toilet. So you might not understand just how quickly it gets dirty.
2. Not all Swiffer pads are made equal.
One thing you do learn when you have to clean and manage your own house is that you’re sometimes better off buying slightly priceier name brand products than hitting up the 99 cents store for the bargain. Swiffer Wet Wipes are neecessary but ain’t cheap. The “bargain” versions usually dry out really quickly, and you wind up using more pads to clean the floor than you intended. Do your research before you pick up any household products.
3. Throwing shade solves nothing.
You’re bound to get into arguments with your roommates. It’s just a natural side-effect of people living together. But no matter what your squabbles, be open and honest about them. Address issues as they happen–dont’ give resentment time to fester, because it will color your interactions with your roommates. If you’ve got an issue, don’t leave a passive aggressive note, don’t send a shady email. Buck up, sit down with your roommate and openly talk about your issues. Shade does nothing but cast a dark shadow over the house, and your home should be a place of relaxation–not petty fights and turmoil.
4. If your S.O. doesn’t live with you, they don’t need to be at your apartment most days during the week.
This isn’t college anymore. People are paying rent and electricity up in their house. We know you love your girl/boyfriend, but the fact of the matter is, unless they are writing a monthly check to your landlord, they don’t live in your apartment and your roommates do. If you need to be with your S.O. every day during the week, consider making a schedule outlining whose house you will stay at on each night. Nothing is more annoying than having signed up to live with two people when you’re really living with three, because your roommate wants to have her boyfriend over every day after work, and sleep over every night. Consider the other people who live with you, and the infringement on their space.
5. You don’t need to be friends with your roommate.
People expect to move in and have everything be all peachy with their roommates, but sometimes it’s not. There can be a lot of frustration there–you go in with the expectation of making a new lifelong friend, and you wind up with the opposite. Remember that you don’t need to be BFF with the person you live with–you merely have to tolerate them. Find a way to live together peaceably without needing to be joined at the hip.
6. Getting a cleaner is cheaper than you think.
It used to be a luxury to have a maid, but now it’s actually kind of affordable. For about $40-$50 you can pay for someone to come in and clean your house for at least an hour. If you live with more than one person and you all pitch in, you can actually hire someone to do all that scrubbing you either don’t have the time or will to do yourself. Groupon has great deals on home cleaning sessions.
7. You need to be more respectful of your neighbors than you think.
This applies particularly if you’re moving into an area going through gentrification. You do not want to be that jerk from whatever small middle-of-nowhere town coming in to a city and helping uproot and displace the population of people who were already living in the neighborhood. Try to interact with your neighbors, even if they’re a different nationality or come from a different socioeconomic background from you. See kids sitting on the stoop? Maybe try talking to them instead of making a police complaint–they lived there before you, they know more about the neighborhood than you do. Try learning about the culture of the people living in your area. Always hold the door open, always say hello. Be respectful, and for goodness sakes, try to treat people as human beings, not just background props to whatever Girls or Living Single fantasy you might be trying to live.