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WHAT'S ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW...

...before moving out and living on your own? I mentioned in Monday's post that so many friends are making the move to New York which is making me all the more eager to do the same. I'm crossing my fingers to make it happen in early 2013 which means I have a few months to save my pennies and soak up all the advice you have to give...

What's one thing (or two or three) you wish you knew before moving into your first apartment?

40 comments:

KathleenEL said...

I'm moving in 14 days across the country for law school! If anyone has great advice I would love to know!

Cara said...

That my neighbor's upstair would keep us up at all ours of the night!

Alex said...

that your first NYC apartment is not going to be perfect or amazing!

Rachel Black said...

Location is KEY! Especially in NYC, you'll be walking or taking public transportation everywhere, so make sure you're close to the places you'll need to go on a regular basis, like the grocery or pharmacy like Walgreens. You don't want to be carrying groceries for 12 blocks or getting a cab every time you need more milk!

I've also LOVED living close to where I work. It makes the commute so much more bearable and my nights don't seem so short by being in traffic :) Not always possible, but when it is, it's great!

College Prepster said...

Love this!!

Can't wait for you to a) visit and b) move here!

madeleine said...

I never thought about outfit advice! No one is there to give any, so now I snap pictures and send to my mom. Also, be patient when decorating. My dad always reminds me to collect not just buy!

Forever Young said...

Watch your utility costs! Turn off lights and don't let the faucet drip...The benefits of rent that includes that includes electricity, water, gas, and trash removal should not be underestimated as that can be a $200+ savings every month...especially in the heat of summer or the dead of winter!

Chelsea said...

Find a good handyman, invest in comfy bedding and good sofa, and know that the imperfections in your new place make it your home!! And love every minute of it!!

Chelsea
www.hautechildinthecity.com

Merry Alana said...

I agree with the previous comment that location is key. Make sure you're on a good transportation route, and close to a grocery store if you don't have a car.

L J said...

Try to sign a 6 month lease if possible, not a year :)

Viviana said...

When I first moved to NYC I made the mistake of believing I needed a broker to find a good apartment. WRONG. They charge insanely high fees and there's a good amount of management companies that don't charge any broker fees.

j whitney nic said...

Having your perfect little apt. takes time! You can't have it perfect all in one day.

Ellie said...

1. Craigslist can be your best friend (I scored amazing bedroom furniture for an amazing price), but sometimes, you have to spend a little more in order to keep your sanity.

2. Prioritize the things you need and the things you want for budgeting purposes.

3. Try to avoid paying Realtor fees when possible!

emily fitzgerald said...

Here in new York, you'll have to chooses between a nice apartment and a nice location. Choose location. More specifically, choose a location that's relatively close to where your other friends live. Trust me on that one!

genelle said...

Don't snub what your parents offer. That tacky two cup coffee maker your mom offers will come in handy when it's freezing and you can't afford a latte from Starbucks!

Cassandra C said...

Try to learn about your neighbors! Nothing worse than moving in and being excited to sleep in your cute bed and having the people above you doing very load things right above your head. Live close to a grocery store and close to your friends! It also doesn't hurt to be able to see some green - even in the city :)

Tracy said...

1) Dry cleaning is expensive! Now I know why my mother laughed at all the silk I've purchased.

2) Water costs money? Silly, but so true. Often quarterly, a water bill can pack a punch. Cue shorter showers and larger loads of laundry.

3)An apartment doesn't come with sugar, flour, ketchup, etc. Stocking empty shelves is expensive!

Michaela said...

I would love to have known: 1. My upstairs neighbors were a disaster to live below hehe (I can relate to the other comments that said the same thing!) I can't even begin to describe the crazy things going on in their house.
2. When things break, it's my responsibility to fix them, so I would have made a list of important phone numbers (internet/tv support, washer/dryer tech, other handyman services) BEFORE being in dire need of them. It would have simplified my life greatly!
3. (You know this one) Designing the space takes time and that's okay! I have a tenancy to think I can whip out the design of a space quickly, and remember getting frustrated when I couldn't find certain pieces for my room last year. Eventually it all comes together though :)

So excited for your possible move! How fun!

ECQ said...

1. all about location!! i chose apartment over location last time and it wasn't the best decision. also pick somewhere you feel safe in!
2. its not going to be perfect. you're always going to want something you don't have. the weird quirks will be what you remember
3. be patient! it takes a while to make it feel like home

The Yuppie Files said...

Keep a meticulous budget! Your utilities will add up & I second the person who commented about looking for any utilities that are included in rent. You'll have to go without some things (whether its cable or dining out) but keeping a budget will help you realize when you actually can afford that happy hour or dress.

Your first apartment will not be perfect, but it will be yours. Embrace the hand me downs & mismatched furniture!

Megan said...

1. Don't pack too much! I went way overboard with kitchen essentials, and barely use them!
2. Turn lights off! Utilities add up big time! And if you have roommates, make sure you ask them to pay their part way in advance to avoid conflict/confusion.
3. Make sure your landlord knows of any damages before you move in. When it's time to move out, they can charge you for anything you didn't report before you move in.
4. You probably won't become friends with your neighbors unless they need a corkscrew. Don't stress over it.
5. Buy a Brita pitcher. Your fridge probably won't have a filtered water spout on it.
6. If you're living with roommates, try to make a plan or negotiate who does what chores. It can be really frustrating being the only person who cleans.

Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

1. Natural light makes a small space better than a darker bigger one.

2. Add at least 10% to your budget for unexpected costs.

3. Pack an espresso machine!

Elizabeth said...

I've lived in my first apartment for a month now and I've definitely learned that it takes time to decorate and make the space your own. Great things can't be rushed!
And make sure you know where the fire alarm is before you start cooking on the stove ... something I learned the hard way :)

Shorely Chic said...

fun!!

1) don't live on the 6th floor of a walk-up (like I did)
2) make sure you love the neighborhood, it should definitely have a cute little restaurant/cafe near by to call your own and be on a quieter street, off of an avenue :)

Good luck and can't wait to see how you decorate it!!

Peaches Burlap Sack said...

All I can say is, you go girl! I live one mile from the house I grew up in. It's a small town with gravel roads and only 3 stop lights. So, my advise would be, ENJOY IT! I am sure it will be an experience you will never forget. Lindsey - Peaches Burlap Sack

Becca said...

Keep track of your extra keys... leave one with your parents or someone you trust in case you get locked out. Keep your super's cell phone number in your phone in case you get locked out and his number is in your apartment (and give his to someone else nearby in case your phone is in your apartment with your keys.) Do nice things for your super so he'll want to be there in a pinch in case you need him. And entertain a lot-- even if your place is small! Diet Coke removes soap scum from old porcelain bathtubs... it's true and that fact is also was what got me to stop drinking it:-)

Dianachristina7 said...

1. A pull out couch is an excellent idea for a studio
2. Never try to stay on your budget when going out to dinner with a group of people
3. The sale section at bed, bath & beyond is pretty great
4. Borrow as much as possible from your parents (like dishes and utensils!)
5. The etagere (structure that fits above the toilet) is a great way to get more shelf space into your bathroom.
6. Get creative and don't sweat the small stuff :)

- Diana

Chelle {Everyday Polish} said...

Such a great talkback topic! The number 1 thing I wish I knew is that home would never feel like home again. Check out the rest of my response over at EP today :) http://www.everydaypolish.com/2012/08/thursday-talkback-what-i-wish-i-knew_16.html

jessinbelgium said...

1. Ask friends with apartments for their trusted handymen - especially a plumber.

2. Don't go too nuts decorating all at once. Its fun to put the apartment together slowly and one of the best moments you'll look back on is when the movers have left and its just you and your boxes there on your own - seems like the whole world is just ahead of you.

3. Will is spot on - budget for 10% of unexpected costs!

4. Find some new recipes/cocktails that you've never cooked before that make the place seem like home. Once you move again, you'll look back on it and say "that's what I cooked up in my first apartment". Nostalgia is the best :)

Have fun!

Jess {JessinBelgium}

Amanda said...

Enjoy every minute and do as much as possible. Explore every neighborhood, walk down as many streets as possible, go in every store you see that you like, try every restaurant, and make a list of everything you want to do.

I lived in NYC for eight years until I suddenly traded it in for the suburbs to move in with the greatest guy ever. I miss the city, but am so grateful for the time I spent there.

If you need ANY advice, help, etc. - please reach out!

You're going to love it.

Best wishes!

Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~ said...

i never moved into an apt - but they key to NYC apt is have ur door man be ur BFF - makes a world of difference!

Mademoiselle Michael said...

I'm sure you will get to NY before you know it! Keep chasing that dream!

-Always plan for unexpected costs, and have an emergency fund.
-Sacrifice space for location (aka live in the smallest apt in the best/safest neighborhood)
-Look for character: crown molding, hardwood floors, tall ceilings, exposed brick, as those are things you can feature, and won't have to cover up with items you'd have to buy! (saves $$)
-Don't live in a ground level apartment. It's easier for people to break in!
-Splurge on organizational items!!!

:)

Lexi said...

I would absolutely love to someday move to NYC! Best of luck!!
♡ Lexi @ Glitter, Inc.

Andrea said...

1. It'll be more expensive than you think. Little costs (Netflix, ordering out for dinner here & there, running out to buy Drano when you almost flood your bathroom from the shower...) will add up!

2. Stop watching Law & Order: SVU late at night by yourself. You will only freak yourself out. (But it's OK because that happens to every girl living alone in the city.)

3. It's worth it to pay a little extra for your apartment to be in a safe neighborhood. You'll feel so much better about life if you love your unit & love your neighborhood and can safely run around at all hours of the day or night.

Good luck! xoxo

Maggie Rose said...

Hmm, my first place was a perfect beginner spot, but I definitely never finished decorating or even furnishing it! Budget was just too tiny. Definitely talk out cleaning/payment/noise/guest expectations with roommates - getting it all in writing doesn't hurt either. Skip cable - netflix still is all we have! Kitchen storage is an issue in rentals - my first (new construction!) place didn't have cabinets wide enough for my dinner plates. Look for signs of pests when you tour. Screw the damage deposit and hang pictures. Paint (different managers will be more lenient, or just ask forgiveness later). Best of luck!

Elle said...

1. location is key. make sure you are in a safe neighborhood near places you spend your time (grocery store, work, etc.).
2. make sure to measure your space and draw a floor plan before you buy furniture. there is nothing worse than buying a piece you love that doesnt fit.
3. make sure you take pictures of your space before you do anything to it, that way if there is damage you can show your super.
4. sign a 6 month lease. you may not want to live there after the first few months and trying to get out of a lease is a pain.
5. listen and smell. try to look at it when most people are off work and will be home. you want to make sure you don't have really loud neighbors or ones that smoke/cook or do anything that smells bad. also, hardwood floors are really loud if your upstairs neighbor has them.
6. make sure everything works. heating, stove/oven, lights, shower, if something can go wrong, it will.
7. budget. the little things add up. heating and AC are expensive. so is tv and internet.

Elle said...

1. location is key. make sure you are in a safe neighborhood near places you spend your time (grocery store, work, etc.).
2. make sure to measure your space and draw a floor plan before you buy furniture. there is nothing worse than buying a piece you love that doesnt fit.
3. make sure you take pictures of your space before you do anything to it, that way if there is damage you can show your super.
4. sign a 6 month lease. you may not want to live there after the first few months and trying to get out of a lease is a pain.
5. listen and smell. try to look at it when most people are off work and will be home. you want to make sure you don't have really loud neighbors or ones that smoke/cook or do anything that smells bad. also, hardwood floors are really loud if your upstairs neighbor has them.
6. make sure everything works. heating, stove/oven, lights, shower, if something can go wrong, it will.
7. budget. the little things add up. heating and AC are expensive. so is tv and internet.

Amy said...

I just moved to New York City on my own after a divorce at 25 (wow, that's a downer to start a comment!). Living on my own for the first time in 6 years! I've focused on making my bedroom a haven. Clean, peaceful, good lighting, etc. It's where I start and end each day so I want it to be a positive, uplifting environment.

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