For this post I am partnering with Apartment Guide to reminisce about my first apartment as part of their “Blast From the Past” project. As an Apartment Guide Blog Partner, I will be sharing ideas to make your apartment feel like home as well as a few stories from my own experiences as a renter.
When I was asked to write this post, I almost forgot that the little hardwood floored, 1920’s studio Mr.C
and I spent all of last year in was not actually my first apartment.
My first place was a comfy 2 bedroom that I rented with my bestie, Kt, during our senior year of college. By then we had both decided we’d had enough of dorm living + dining hall meals – it was time to have our own space, the chance to cook our own meals, and plus it turned out to be cheaper than living in the dorms.
Don’t get me wrong – living on campus was fun, we meet lots of great people, Kt was on hall council, I was a Resident Assistant (RA) for a year, and I think everyone needs that experience – but after 3 years it was just sort of time to move on. So we did! Our place was a block from the university and came almost fully furnished (we just had to provide the beds and a microwave). Here are some pictures from move-in day (before we cluttered it up with all our stuff!):
As I look at these photos of that first apartment, two things come to mind. First, I realize just how much I’ve learned since being a first-time renter! And second, there are so many good memories and crazy stories I can link back to that place.
But before I share some of those, here are a few things I’ve learned since being a naïve, first-timer:
✓ Before renting, ask lots of questions about the building, the neighbors, and the area you are moving to. After figuring out if the rent & utilities will work in your budget find out if it has the amenities you want. For example 1 washer + dryer for the whole building turned out to not be that great – so we often found ourselves at the laundry mat. Shoddy internet service did not thrill us either. Being across from a church didn’t automatically make it a nice, quiet neighborhood. In fact we ended up flanked by a major party house which hosted many rowdy weekend bashes. This was okay sometimes, when we wanted some free, drunken entertainment – but for the most part it was annoying. Bumping bass beats does not a good lullaby make.
✓ Inspect the apartment thoroughly during a showing. You can find some great checklists online that will help you with this. If we had known this before hand, we might have been tipped off to the fact that millions of lady bugs that would later invade or that a stained ceiling is the calling card of a roof leak (we spent many days dodging buckets full of water after big snow/rain storms). It is suggested that you turn on all the faucets to make sure they work and to look in cabinets, especially those under the sinks, to check for signs of rodents. Speaking of – although there was nothing we could have done about this one – we ended up having a raccoon inhabit our water heater closet for a better part of the year! But I’ll tell that story a little later.
✓ Don’t be afraid to make your rental feel like home. With all the rules and limitations landlords like to set (ie: no using nails) it can be hard to know where to begin. But after you’ve reviewed your lease and figured out what you are allowed to do – just go crazy! Use wall-paint-safe tape to hang photos and posters. Brighten up your bland space with colored bedding and pillows. Find a funky, graphic shower curtain. Buy some friendly houseplants or cacti. The more your place screams “you!” the happier you’ll be! Trust me. And if you need some inspiration, be sure to check out Apartment Guide’s blog where they offer tips on how to decorate your apartment and make the most of your space.
Aside from all the things I learned from my first rental experience, the next (and best ) takeaway is definitely the many memories I made there.
If those walls could talk… No seriously!
If those walls could talk they’d chatter about all the pumpkins Kt & I carved, the euchre nights we hosted, the hours we spent typing papers on the balcony, and our late night walks to Walmart for ice cream. They’d laugh as they remember Kt teaching me to cook and the ridiculous notes and drawings we’d leave for each other.
They’d smile at our long heart-to-hearts and TV dates, cuddled up on couch catching up on our favorite shows. They’d be shocked that I actually spent all year sleeping on an air mattress even after Kt teased me about not having a “real” bed. And, they’d nod proudly, as if they’d known all along that we’d be alright after all, and that we’d get through those tests we’d stressed over, graduate school applications we freaked about, and thesis papers we’d frantically pieced together.
Oh, and they probably thought it was quite a hoot when we found out about our new roommate….
It all started when Kt heard noises coming from a closet in her room and though it was me (what?! pranks can be fun) – but it turned out to be nothing. Then, Kt heard the same noises again, this time during the night and she thought someone or something was breaking in. Armed with a broom (and maybe a skillet…), we opened the closet to find…nothing – yet again! Finally, a couple weeks later, Kt discovered poop in the closet. Gross. Later still, we found ripped up shreds of paper on the closet floor. A raccoon for sure!! We contacted the property manager and they took care of the issue (they think “Raken” – that’s what we named him – came in through the air vent). Anyway, all we know is that we’re so lucky that when we opened the closet the first time our furry little friend was not inside. We would have DIED!!
Haha! So there you have it – the long awaited raccoon story, a little look back at my first apartment
experience, and a few tips on how to choose + decorate a new place for you newbie renters out there.
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Whew, that’s all from me for today – what a fun blast from the past!
Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partner with bloggers such as me to participate in blogger programs. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any products and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.