I’m very lucky to have my apartment. It’s not too much of a walk-up and hasn’t (fingers crossed) been infested with bed bugs or roaches. I even have a gas stove, which I’ve been told by real adults is a good thing. However, like any first apartment, it has some drawbacks. Some of these things just come with the territory when finding an apartment in your budget, others could have been avoided if had known what to look for. I learned from my mistakes, and now you can as well without ever having to make them yourself.
1. When looking at apartments, I forgot to see if I had cell service. With WiFi seemingly at every coffee shop and street corner, cell service is an afterthought. Especially in my own apartment, it’s rare that I’m not on WiFi, but when it goes out, or a friend stops by, the dead zones in my apartment become all-too-apparent.
2. I didn’t make note of the electrical outlets. Realizing you don’t have enough electrical outlets can be a big problem, but realizing you do have enough just not in the right places is equally frustrating. For instance, I don’t have one near my bed, which means if I want to charge my phone during the night I have to (*gasp*) put it away.
3. I bought furniture before I moved in. Moving into a new apartment is stressful, and like many people, I handle stress with lists. I had a whole slew of furniture I wanted, and I wasn’t going to let time hold me back. However, reality had other plans. I completely overestimated the size of the apartment, and had to send a desk, chairs, and an entire rug back, which is a lot of fun with three flights of stairs.
4. I didn’t clean the oven. Because of this, I didn’t notice the puddle of olive oil from the previous tenants that had pooled at the bottom. If there’s one text your parents don’t want to get from their newly moved-out child, it’s “ha ha something smells weird?” I called the gas company, who immediately told me to take my cat and my important belongings outside. Fortunately, when they arrived, they found the innocuous root of the problem right away — but you should always call the gas company, even if you’re not sure!
5. I got a white rug. A white rug is clean, chic, minimal. It ties the room together without detracting from the decor. It’s also a blank canvas perfect for shoeprints, spilled wine, and pet hair, and not fun to lug out to the curb after your much more practical gray one arrives.
6. I tried to model my decor off Pinterest. What was a source of excitement pre-move-in quickly turned to jealousy as I tried and tried to get my apartment to match the twee and airy aesthetics of all the pins on my “Apartment” board, rather than focusing on my own style. Just scrolling through the #pinspiration hashtag on Instagram is enough to make anyone give up on life and just move into a cardboard box:
7. I wanted to be fully moved in and finished decorating after a week. I spent the last four years moving in and out of dorm rooms in a matter of hours, how could a week have gone by and I still only have a mattress in my apartment? Things take time but, more specifically, deliveries take time, and as per #3, apartments require time spent in the space before you realize what it is you actually need.
8. I expected it to be perfect. What’s a girl gotta do for a city apartment with hardwood floors and high ceilings and natural light? In reality, have a billion dollars, in practice, adjust her expectations. Sometimes, to unlock your door, you have to turn the knob and body-check it with your hip to get it to pop open. Sometimes, your friends get the lock jammed in your bathroom and you have to go “Oh, yeah, that happens,” and help them from the other side. Sometimes the fire alarm goes off every time you cook and the window looks out into someone else’s bedroom. But sometimes, those things are worth it.
(Images via New Line Cinema, NBC/GIPHY, and author)