Renewing Your Lease

June 19, 2009 at 1:07 am (Apartment Living) (, , , , , )

I had planned on moving out of my apartment when the lease was up. I found a place that was cheaper and even had a gym! (Which is something my current apartment complex does not have but that I desperately wanted.) The one I had picked out was 20 dollars cheaper a month and boasted the same ammenities plus more.

Two days ago I received a piece of mail from my apartment complex informing me that if I was going to renew my lease, I should do so soon. As a bonus to me as a loyal apartment customer, they were going to offer me 10 dollars off a month! Now granted, this isn’t cheaper than the place I wanted to move, but it was a nice incentive to stay. The more I did the calculations for the cost of a new pet deposit, moving costs, the pain of moving in the first place, etc., it seemed far more logical now to stay.

But the point of this post is not to enchant you with my money saving tales, but to let you know that you should try to bargain with your apartment complex in the rent department if they try to keep it status quo or up it. More often than not they are willing to try to cut some deals to get you to stay. Afterall, a tenant who pays a bit less is better than no tenant at all!

So hey, pop your bad self in that rent office of theirs and tell them what is UP. What’s the worst that can happen? You actually end up moving to the place you originally planned to move into?

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Plan for the Unexpected Financial Burdens

April 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm (Apartment Living) (, , , , , , , )

When I made my list of things that needed to be covered each month, I didn’t exactly jot down everything. I don’t buy birthday presents every month, nor Christmas presents. I don’t get an oil change all of the time nor get my car fixed. But these are all financial traps that can quickly bring you into debt if you’re a credit card happy fiend. I started a list that will probably have to be edited in the future of things that you WILL need extra cash for and will need to plan for when you run into extra money. Sometimes it’s not there to spend on yourself, but to plan for things down the road.

1. Birthdays: I’ve got a bit of a system with birthdays. I try to shop online on places like amazon to buy cheaper things that are the same as what they want. I also have a chase debit card that gives me points when I spend money so I can redeem them for gift cards. These make great gifts!

2. Christmas: Definitely watch out for this. Don’t spend beyond your means because one happy day may mean misery for years to come if you’re not careful.

3. Car maintainance: Oil changes, unexpected repairs, breakdowns…Cars aren’t MADE to last. Keep this in mine the next time you decide to eat out twice a week because “it’s only 5 bucks each time”. That’s 40 bucks a month! On just lunch twice a week!

4. Overspending on Groceries: It’s way easy to do. One friend get together here, 5 extra items beyond the norm there…the point is, EVERYTHING you do adds up. Holidays are a wicked time when it comes to groceries because most people plan on doing SOMETHING for them.

5. Pets: Vet care, food, shelter, water, anti-flea and worm medications, illness, litter, leashes, etc. Pets are EXPENSIVE. Do not think of them like plants that need some water and they are good. It’s not how the bargain between pet and owner works.

6. Personal maintainance: Medications, hair cuts, new clothes, makeup, cologne, perfume. I guarantee you aren’t figuring these bits into your grocery budget. On the occassion you need makeup, spend 10 bucks less on groceries so it makes up for purchasing it. It’s allllll about financial balance.

7. Fun time: Do you have a “fun” budget? Want to go to the movies? Go to a museum? Go out to the bar with friends? Take your lady or man friend on a date? And don’t forget to generously tip your server! Nothing looks worse on a date than appearing like a cheapass.

Watch your bad selves ladies and gents! Even if apartments can be cheaper than housing, don’t fool yourself into thinking it means you have more to spend!

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Apartment Freshening Tips

February 23, 2009 at 12:03 am (Apartment Living) (, , , , , , , )

Now from personal experience I can assure you that apartments can get some fairly strange smells about them. It’s not only your stuff that’s going to cause a weird smell combo, but also apartments upstairs, downstairs, the hallway, etc. My friends rented an apartment where the man upstairs smoked weed and the smell drifted through the air vent into their apartment. Charming.

So in my short time in this apartment, I’ve developed what I like to think are smell coping mechanisms.

Let’s start with the basics:

1. I own cats. Cats can smell. So can dogs! For dogs, bath them often enough so that they don’t stink up your place. You may be so used to it that when you walk in, there’s no noticeable difference. But for the rest of us? Trust me, we CAN smell the difference. For cats, the trick is changing the litter often and washing things they commonly lay on. You could invest in a litter box that has a lid with a filter. Or you can dust in baking soda over the litter to absorb odors. Plug in air fresheners can help if the litter box is confined to a certain room.

2. Air purifiers can help pick up things like mold, dust, dirt, fur, etc. I have one that helps immensely with odors and the like. I just set it up in a room and turn in on. *Sniff* Ah beautiful.

3. Vacuums with bags tend to get what I call ‘Smelly Bag’. For the faint of mind, translation: your vacuum bag smells like a butthole. This is the advantage of having a bagless vacuum. If you love your baggies though, perhaps consider buying some  scented carpet dust to throw over the floor and then vacuum up for a nice smell that lingers.

4. I light a few candles before company comes over to burn out any noxious fumes floating about when I’m preparing for their company.

5. For an all-over fresh apartment scent, place a medium sized pan on the stove. Throw in some cinnamon sticks, orange peels, etc. (Get creative!) After adding a lot of water to it, allow it to boil for an hour or two. Keep refilling the water as it evaporates. The smell of cinnamon fills your living space and it smells QUITE lovely.

6. If you’re simply to cheap to buy cinnamon sticks, buy a lemon or lemon juice and place it with some water in a bowl to pop in the microwave. (Obviously you’re going to be cutting this lemon). Lemon is a natural ‘smell good’ fruit. It’s why they always make lemon scented hand wipes at places like Red Lobster.

This I may add to later. It’s simply too rich of a subject to ignore!

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Living Expenses

January 27, 2009 at 2:43 am (Apartment Living) (, , , , )

Living in an apartment isn’t peachy keen when you actually consider the bulk of what you have to pay for. So consider this:

1. Car Insurance: If you’re under 25, you pay more. Not a careful driver and have tickets? You pay more. You told the DMV you moved out and removed yourself from your parents policy? You DEFINITELY pay more.

2. Internet: The cost depends on how fancy of a connection you get. It also depends on who you go through and what’s available in your area.

3. Food/ Grocery: I do hope you planned on eating. It’s a good thing!

4. Cable: I don’t have it specifically for cutting costs, but I’m going to assume you want it. Some apartment complexes have deals though. Just ask them.

5. Rent: You’re not living there for free, let me tell you.

6. Utility Bills: If you want say…water, electricity, heat, etc…you kind of need to pay for that.

7. Gas: It’s my lifeline for work. And no work? No pay. No pay? No apartment.

8. Your problems: An odd title, but true. Do you have to repay debt? Student loans? A therapist? Medical bills? A bill for all your new furniture you ordered for the apartment? These are your own little idiosyncrasies and extras. Not everyone will share ‘your problems’ so this number is tailored to you.

9. Pets: Got’em? They need food too. And their vet checks. And their toys. And their litter…collars…bedding…leashes…cages (birds people, birds), etc. You don’t just bring animals in. You need to (well, SHOULD) tell your complex about them. It costs extra a month. Plus extra that is non-refundable.

Before you consider that you’re wearing big kids britches and are striking out on your own, you need to do the big kid thing and write an honest list of expenses to get an idea of what it’s going to cost you. I broke down my car insurance to a monthly pay, same with rent, food, bills, etc. The end total will tell you how much you need for each month. And don’t live right to the last cent if you don’t have to. Put some in a savings or checking account for emergencies. And believe me…they happen.

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Pros and Cons of a First Floor Apartment

October 29, 2008 at 9:55 pm (Apartment Living) (, , , , , , , , )

Is the first floor actually a good idea? There are some obvious things some people think of right away, but I’m going to do the thinking for you and list pros and cons.

Let’s start off on the wrong side of the bed:

1. If people pull into the parking lot at night, their lights will shine RIGHT into your apartment. You’ll always have to remember to keep blinds closed at night, or invest in some hefty blankets to pin on the windows to keep the lights out.

2. People who live on any of the other floors will always go tromping in and out of the complex and you’ll get to hear every bit of it. The first floor is the central area where people will always come walking through the front door that’s near yours to go wherever they need to.

3. First floor apartments make great locations for people to break into.

4. You can’t keep your blinds open because anyone who parks can see right into your apartment and see what you’re doing and every possession you own.

5. Bugs seem to be more prevalent. This can depend on how far the apartment goes into the ground through. My friends have a ground level 1st floor apartment, which means it’s partially underground. They get MANY bugs.

6. You can hear the neighbor’s footsteps above you every now and again.

7. Heat rises, so in the winter higher heating bills could be a concern unless you have an insulated-by-the-gods apartment.

On the bright side of the street:

1. You won’t have to worry about disturbing any neighbors below you.

2. They stay cooler during the summer.

3. If you’ve ever had to haul heavy bags or groceries upstairs, you’ll understand the luxury of living in a first floor apartment. And if you have kids good luck hauling the stroller up.

4. You will feel like you’re living more in a house than an apartment because you’ll have immediate access to outside and your car.

5. Moving in and out won’t be such a pain in the butt.

Truly the decision relies on what you maintain as top on your priority list. Safety is huge on mine because I live by myself. I did look for first floor apartments, but I also loved the light shining through my windows too much to want to keep them closed with blinds all day. I live on the third floor because of the great view I have. The 2nd floor was out for me because I would end up hearing people below me AND above me. Not a fan. My drawback is hauling up groceries. It’s heinous getting heavy bags up the stairs and moving in was pretty bad. It made me want to sell a lot of my possessions.

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What apartment best suits my needs?

October 8, 2008 at 1:08 am (Apartment Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Looking at fancy dancy apartments and their layouts is pretty fun while skimming through renting websites. Some come equipped with a work-out center, others a pool, some even have a balcony. All of this sounds pretty snazzy, but in all inner reflection and truthfulness, will you actually use any of it?

My sister rented an apartment with her boyfriend that came with a balcony. He’s a smoker and they live on the 3rd floor. In this instance it’s handy for them because smoking isn’t allowed inside their apartments. Even if it was, she wouldn’t allow him to because she has asthma and is allergic to smoke. I thought I wanted a balcony because I had plants I wanted outside. But truth be told plants only live outside for the summer months before they are done for. So my thinking wasn’t logical because I wouldn’t use it in the winter months and I’d be paying for a pointless extra. Rather than all that, I opted for an apartment with a big bay window. It gave me a little more space in the apartment because the window is pushed out, and I have gorgeous sunlight that streams into my living room. Bonus for this too because I won’t need to have lights on as much. Then I can set my pots and plants on the sill of the window and have them all year round!

If you are sold on a cable company such as Comcast, you may also want to watch the area you move to. Some apartment complexes sign deals with cable companies that restrict you from going to anyone but them. My apartment complex only allows some form of AT&T dish network or DirectTV. They don’t allow Comcast. So I really can’t get any fabulous deals in that area.

If working out is important to you, maybe you should opt for an apartment that has a workout center. As a caution, don’t count on it being fabulous. It’s not like a gym where there are machines as far as the eye can see. Usually there are a handful for all to use.  Though I once found an apartment complex that had a full gym for residents to use and a free tanning bed to boot. Sort of oddly unhygenic if no one is monitoring it’s wipedown, but that’s another matter.

My apartment complex has a pool, but I never used it. They don’t allow you to bring guests in, so unless you have a spouse, family, or best friend/ roomies living with you, single people like me seem to get the shorter end of the stick.

In all genericness, just ask lots of questions and take notes if necessary. Some places have gas stoves while others have electric. Most places come with major appliances, but again, some do not. I guess the beautiful people are those who have microwaves that come with their apartment. If you want your own washer and dryer, either rent an apartment with one, or rent one with hookups and bring in your own. My apartment has rules that you can’t fashion or install your own blinds, but if you want theirs, you must pay 60 dollars and they will install them for you.

Think!

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The Courtesy Candle

September 23, 2008 at 11:29 pm (Apartment Living) (, , , , , , )

I grew up with a shameless brother and father so I was already prepared for the onslaught any future bathroom of mine would sustain. And you should prepare your bathroom for the same. Think of it as a war zone, a war zone in which you will be occupying often. And everyone appreciates clean trenches.

My sister stays with me a few nights a week to make her drive to class shorter for her. She has an interesting ritual that involves drinking lots of water and using the bathroom for both numbers…A LOT. The situation that occurred today reminded me that I should warn the rest of you to BE PREPARED.

My brother-in-law isn’t the most courteous in regards to his bowels, so when he stopped by today I was weary. The first place he stopped after arriving at my place was, of course, the bathroom. Now I was ready for what was about to happen because it’s happened so often. On the counter top next to the toilet sat a nice cranberry candle. It’s referred to as the ‘courtesy candle’. If you are a wonderful person who is about to expel not-so-wonderful things, you light the candle to help clear the air. Well after about 5 minutes of him in there, my sister urged him to hurry because now SHE had to go. He flew out and she flew in. Cursing also came out of her along with insults towards his “sphincter” (in only a way my sister can accomplish). After she was completed, he went right back in. Now keep in mind, when she went in, the candle was lit. At this point though, I think it probably had it. The amusing part of this was that my walls have strange yellow drippings on them going from about the ceiling to midway on the walls. We questioned where they came from but couldn’t really figure out why they were there. I joked when he was in the bathroom that now I knew, the walls were melting from the evil he was letting out. My sister said the walls must be crying. I’ll admit I like her version better. After they were both done playing tag-team-bathroom, I’m fairly certain my entire apartment smelled like a beagle’s butt. We decorated the bathroom with candles everywhere and it looked like we were trying to perform a seance in the bathroom to exercise demons (really, we were).

I guess the point of this is I haven’t found an air freshener yet that I am completely comfortable with. Most have these strange, fruity smells that just keep whatever bad smell is around and adds a dash of fruity with it too so the air smells like fruity-farts. My advice is to either invest in LOTS of candles, air freshener, and any other aroma-soothing items for your bathroom. I’m lucky enough to be on terms with my sister that dictate that we can speak to each other however we want. But you’re not going to get to tell grama how much the bathroom smells after she’s used it when she’s over.

I don’t say this for their sake even necessarily. If you have to use the bathroom soon after they are done, how great is it going to be to walk into a cloud of doom? Save everyone, including yourself.

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The Magical Apartment Ordeal that Everyone Wishes For

September 21, 2008 at 5:22 pm (Apartment Living) (, , , , , , , , , )

I was elated a few days ago, and for the past while I’ve had some issues figuring out what advice to give. But what is advice but experienced echoed in magical storytime? So my elation will now become something you suddenly all want to know about. So sit around me in a circle kids! (Stop talking, picking your collective noses, and pay attention for once.)

When I chose this apartment complex as my nesting grounds, there were a few move in specials that were lumped with it that tend to happen in many complexes. (Not always specifically MY deals, just good deals in general to entice you. Stop taking things so literally.)  The good deals they lured me in with were: 300 dollars worth of ‘money’ that I could apply towards anything I wanted that came as an expense from the apartment complex itself, 1 free accent wall painted to the color of my choice (basically 4 colors they said I could have it and even picked the colors out for me), and then free cable for one month.

Now for some of you, I’m sure free cable would be fantastic, because hey, free cable! Well I don’t watch TV so I didn’t give 2 rat rumps towards it. Yeah, you heard me, I don’t watch TV. Get over it.

Well the thing about apartment complexes is they like to give you lots of paperwork. Copies of all signed forms, notices that the parking lot is being renovated and you need to park in the next state or something, that they are implementing new policies that you can’t have friends in the pool with you because 1 jerk spoiled it for everyone, and so on. Well I got LOTS of these cable notices. The month after I moved in they planned on switching it from 40 dollar a month cable that you could ONLY get through them, to 22 dollar a month cable you could either get through them, or 30 dollar cable you could get through AT&T. Me being the studious lass that I am, I read through everything given to me. Not that I needed to mind you, but if there were some fine print that said something like, “…and you will agree to sell your first child’s virginity to a fat old man who owns this place named George…”, I MAY have some issues with that! Somewhere along the way, I could have SWORN I read one of the flyers stating that if I didn’t want cable after they did the switchover in September, I needed to include a note with my rent check stating that I no longer wanted cable and wished to have it disconnected. Sounds plausible yes? Well it sounded plausible to me, and that’s what matters. Being that I don’t watch it, I never bothered to turn it on to see if it was disconnected or not.

Let’s now fastforward 2 weeks. Two of my dear friends and their spawn child (whom I also love dearly) came to visit me. They do happen to be TV watchers. They decided to turn on the TV and lo and behold, I still had cable for some reason! “Hm”, I thought to myself curiously, “now that is a bit odd!” Fortunately for me, my apartment complex has office hours that leave them open everyday at least at some point. Unfortunately I called when they were supposed to be open and they were not! (What the hell people, false advertisement. FALSE ADVERTISEMENT.) I needed to wait until Monday to contact them.  Well I did so Monday and no one was there then either! (Damnit people.) Tuesday rolled around and I forgot. (My bad!) Wednesday happened and my golden opportunity of glory was at hand. Hear me roar apartment complex!

I called a very nice woman who answered the phone who obviously knew it was me calling and decided to answer my plight because I’m cool. I told her of my situation and how I was unsure why the cable wasn’t cancelled. Well unbenownst to me was a wee little fact I failed to acknowledge. APPARENTLY I was supposed to go in and sign off as saying I didn’t want cable rather than stick a note in with my rent check. Because APPARENTLY the place the check goes is not anywhere near where they or I are. Fine. She was gracious enough to offer me a deal though.

“Here’s what I’ll do…”, said this wheeling, dealing apartment saleswoman, “…how about I contact the office that collects the checks FOR you, and if we can track down the note we’ll take it off your bill. Oh but wait, it looks like part of your move-in special for 300 dollars covered it.”

“WHAT?!”, I roared, but only in my head. Instead I actually said, “Well that would be simply lovely if you could do that for me, I really appreciate it.” Normally I want you to know that I am NOT this saccharine, but when it comes to me and my money, I like to keep it. So I’ll be a little overly sweet if necessary. Not at all dubious, I felt very assured they would track down my note within, oh, 1 hour, and this whole ugly mess would be left behind me. She promised to call me back the next day with news (good news I assumed). The next day happened and there was no call. I felt like I was the victim of a 1 night stand and she was out and about like a trollop solving everyone’s issues but mine. Unacceptable. The next day I called and was on the phone with a different woman. I informed her of my plight as well verbatim as I spoke of it with the other woman. I informed her of what the other woman told me and waited for a miracle to happen. She instead informed me that the woman probably didn’t get back with me because they were swamped in the office. I was assured though that sometime that week I WOULD be getting a call about the situation.

About 2 days later I received said call.

“Hi, sorry about getting back with you so late! This is Jan, the person you spoke with about your cable and the bill the other day. Kristen, the girl you spoke with originally would be calling you, but she’s giving a tour right now and we wanted to tell you the situation regardless. I’m sorry to say, but we couldn’t find your note anywhere stating that you didn’t want cable. However, I do want you to know that Kristen spoke to the manager and she decided to simply shut your cable off now and give you a full months refund.”

FABULOUS.

So in the end, I’m going to guess it had a little something to do with my sorry attitude and my politeness as to why they would decide to give me a refund for something they absolutely didn’t have to do. I was elated though!

So perhaps this is the difference between an average and good apartment complex. Also you should be polite.

The end.

Good story huh?

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What is a security deposit for?

September 2, 2008 at 10:28 pm (Apartment Living) (, , , , , , , )

Moving in to an apartment means you’re going to have to pay a rather hefty fee that they hold for the entire time you live there. Most people realize that this comes with the territory, but there are some poor, uninformed souls out there still.

My security deposit was 250 dollars while my rent is 520 every month. I’ve seen places where the deposit is as low as 100 dollars and others as high as a months rent. (Holy cow!) The deposit is their way of making sure you all stay good boys and girls. (Though there is a legal deposit limit.)

Let’s back up a bit though and cover some ground. When you sign a contract to move into an apartment, you don’t just slap on a happy face and pay rent. Apartment renters require some more financial means from you called a ‘security deposit’. When you are signing your contract to move into your new abode, they require financial security from you. As long as they have your money, it’s their safety in a sense. If you refuse to pay your rent they will simply keep it for good. If there are damages to your apartment, they will take out of the deposit what it costs to fix those damages. Now if you are good boys and girls like I mentioned before, you get your money back! Now isn’t that just lovely?

If you want the full deposit back, it will depend on how anal your apartment complex is. Most will repaint the walls and do basic cleaning. But if there are obvious gashes, stains in the carpet, or other things ruined, they will hire a professional to come in and fix these things and charge you what it cost them (in essence taking from your deposit). Things like holes in the wall from thumbtacks or nails are things you need to fix. A smooth application of some spackle should do the trick, yes?

Note also! You cannot use your security deposit as a substitute for rent, nor can you do so when moving out. Don’t think you can get away with it either. Apartments can give bad recommendations of you to other apartments and mess with your credit a bit too if you tried to avoid payment.

So lead the path of the righteous and good. Treat your place well and clean it before you leave.

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What things will you need when first moving into an apartment?

August 29, 2008 at 5:52 pm (Apartment Living, Necessary Apartment Items) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Well hey, it’s kind of hard to shop for things for your apartment when you don’t really know what to expect! To be completely honest, I didn’t even do my shopping until AFTER I moved into my apartment for most things because I didn’t want even MORE to pack. But for the sake of the readership, I’ll divide what you’ll need into the categories of the rooms in which they will belong. It’s a generic list of course tailored to my lifestyle. Adjust accordingly!

Kitchen:

This is a key area for me because when I have guests over, this is where everyone loves to be. I can make everyone feel more at home with things I can make for them. The better/more supplies I have, the better off I am (or at least it feels that way). To have a workable kitchen, I made sure to have…

1.   Coffee Mugs – Coffee, tea, all delicious!

2.   Glasses – If  you’re not someone who likes to do dishes every few days, perhaps buying a few more to compensate will help you out.

3.   Can opener – I recommend not buying an electric one. It’s tempting, but you can’t use it in power outages and whatnot.

4.   Spatula – Turn burgers, chicken, fries, pancakes, lift cookies, biscuits, slap your boyfriend, etc.

5.   Silverware/ silverware holder/ knives – Silverware is easy to find, but don’t get knives that are TOO cheap. You don’t want them dull after using them for, say, 2 months.

6.   Toaster – Who doesn’t love some crunchy bagels in the morning? Or toast? Or warm, gooey poptarts, or….

7.   Big Serving spoons – These are handy for serving vegetables and fruit or stirring and cooking.

8.   Tupperware – I use it for leftovers and for bringing food to work. These are pretty much a staple of my kitchen.

9.   Dish towels – I guess you don’t HAVE to have them, but I like the convenience of wiping my hands somewhere without worrying about having to buy more (like paper towels).

10. Mixer – For those of you who don’t bake, it’s not a necessity. But I like making baked goods, cakes, etc. So for me? I HAVE to have one.

11. Baking pans – Cookies are pretty okay to cook on them, but I also use them for fries, pizza, and any generic non-liquid situation that is popped into the oven.

12. Pots and pans – I prefer non-Teflon since it’s not the most healthy thing to cook in or on. Try not to get cheap things that won’t last you. If you’re gonna move out, make sure you buy some supplies that are worthy of buying in the first place and will last you a long time. As for sizes, you want a variety. Some frying pans are nice for pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, etc. Medium sized pots are good for cooking veggies, rice, etc. For large ones? Stews, soups, lasagna noodles, etc. For those daring enough, a wok could be added to this area for stir fry!

13. Broom/ swiffer – I have several tiled areas in my apartment and it’s just nice to not have to bend down with a wet sponge and a paper towel.

14. Dish soap – Good for soaking greasy dishes or cleaning things that won’t fit into a dishwasher.

15. Paper towel – This is more functional for me when I need to clean up cat messes and don’t want it on my nice dish towels. But I’ve also used them for window cleaning and small messes on the floor.

16. Tea kettle – I like my instant coffee and I like my tea.

17. Salt/ pepper shakers – I haven’t invested in a true set of my own yet but I have the disposable ones for now and they function just fine. If you want to impress your friends, you can always invest in the grind-it-yourself salt and pepper dispensers. Those are more expensive to buy, and also to refill.

18. Various spices – I’m not a fan of bland food. Oregano, parsley, thyme, basil, garlic, paprika, onion powder, cinnamon, ginger…these are all your friends!

19. Garbage can/ garbage bags – If you don’t plan on buying these things, I would love if you wrote back to enlighten me on how that’s working out for you. Truly.

20. Saran wrap, aluminum foil, sandwich baggies – Leftovers are always abundant in my house and rather delicious the next day when I don’t feel like cooking. Saran wrap keeps it fresh and fancy. Foil is for wrapping my pans in. I HATE cleaning baking pans, so the metal keeps the fry grease off. Though in retrospect it’s probably not too helpful to the environment. Sandwich baggies are good for ANYTHING really. Just handy to have around I suppose.

21. Plates – As one reader pointed out in the comments, yes, they are needed. (I eat on plates, I swear.)

22. Dish dryer – If you find yourself going into an apartment without a dishwasher, you’ll need some place to stick the wet dishes after you’ve washed them.

23. Crockpot – It’s great to just throw some things into a pot, simmer it all day, and have dinner ready when you feel like it! And for those bachelors who think they don’t need one, just WHERE are you going to put those hotwings you’re cooking for when your buddies come over for football?

24. Oven mitts – I have the flat kind, and also the ones that you wear! It helps to have multiples. I also use the flat ones to set pots on when I have guests for dinner and want to set the food on the table.

25. Bowls – Soups and cereals are just FAR too difficult to eat on a plate! Large bowls are good for putting fruit in, mixing ingredients for baking, etc.

26. Microwave – Far easier than firing up the ol’ stove for everything, I wager.

Cleaning Supplies:

Gotta keep the place clean! Probably not much more unsettling than going to a friend’s apartment and it’s funky-not-so-fresh. Plus you don’t want to get sick. If you leave little bits of food in your kitchen, bugs are sure to come. Don’t get off on a bad start to a nasty feeling and looking apartment.Though if you are someone who likes to live organically, shop at your local Whole Foods (or organic store of your choosing) for organic cleaning supplies. (A vinegar and peroxide mixture is my sisters personal favorite.)

1. Windex – For those ever so sparkly windows and mirrors.

2. Laundry detergent/ dryer sheets (or fabric softener) – Gotta keep that slick, sparkling look about you! Plus I don’t want to smell your week-old undies.

3. Bleach cleaner – For sinks, tubs, counter-tops, etc.

4. Toilet cleaner/toilet brush – Yeah about this. I REALLY hate toilets that look like another culture is cultivating itself on the insides of the bowl. PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. Clean your toilet at least once a week. PLEASE.

5. Vacuum – Don’t buy a cheap one, it won’t last and you’ll get pretty ticked when the belt, bag, suction, etc doesn’t work! Yay http://www.consumerreports.org! They are pretty nifty with helping you find a decent vacuum within your price range.

6. Sponges – General cleaning and kitchen supplies. Who knows if you’ll even have a dishwasher! And you need SOMETHING to wipe the counter.

7. Dishwasher soap – If you’re one of the beautiful people who got one in your apartment. And guess what? Don’t use dish soap as a substitute unless you want foaming soap and water to come spilling out of the sides of your machine.

8. Spot carpet cleaner – You know, for when you spill things on your carpet and don’t want to pay the complex to clean the stain or buy new carpet and charge it to you!

9. Spot laundry stain remover – I really hate it when I’m eating a salad with Italian dressing and a spot gets on my shirt. I love the few clothes that I have, so it’s a huge bummer when a stain ruins them for me! So keep something around for grass, blood, wine, dressing, and various other stains for your poor clothes.

10. Air freshener – Hey, clean air is still in the ‘cleaning supplies’ region. If your grandparents come over and bomb out the bathroom, whip out that Febreeze and have a field day. Go ahead, you earned it.

Bathroom:

The bathroom is my source of comfort mostly for the thought that it’s where I can be and don’t need an excuse to be there privately. I take great pains in making sure that I make my bathroom the most comfortable place possible. I pretend I’m thinking of going to a friend’s house and the worse case scenario happens (something like I start my period unexpectedly, I feel sick, I need a makeup overhaul, I need to desperately shower, etc. Just think of experiences where you went to a bathroom needing and hoping beyond all rational thought that they had what you needed for your emergency and they didn’t.) In this, my list will be EXTREMELY biased because I have taken great thought in what would make me and others comfortable and am sure to add those things in my setting. And truly, you spend lots of time in there everyday. You get ready there, relax, use the bathroom, clean, etc. Make it a place worth spending time in.

1. Hand towels – When people wash up, they don’t want to use the towels you used to dry your body with after a shower. They are extremely cheap and you can even buy a nice, full bathroom towel set so that you look like you actually planned a nice looking apartment.

2. Wash cloths – I use shower poofs for my personal cleanliness, but if I have guests, I know better than to not have any of these. There’s nothing worse than being ‘forgotten’ as a guest.

3. Towels – Try not to buy something JUST because it’s cheap. You want a high thread count and have 100 percent cotton towels. If you buy something lackluster, it won’t absorb the water off from your body which is kind of the idea. Be sure to have a couple sets for when you have guests and when your other towels are in the laundry.

4. Air freshener – I can tell you now, after observing people, the one thing they fear is leaving a smell behind when they know others are in the house and will need to use the bathroom too. Don’t give your guests reason to have embarrassment. C’mon! Your (insert parental figure) raised you better! Oust and Febreeze are rather nice brands that I’ve tried and don’t feel guilty recommending. If you’re having a party, light a nice candle in the bathroom and leave it lit for constant air freshening. Be careful though! Make sure it’s monitored or in a safe jar. Another good idea would be having a plug-in air freshener. I ordered some recently from bath and body works and the Moonlight Path scent is heavenly!

5. Rugs – I hate stepping out of a shower wet thinking I’m going to slip on the floor and go smashing face first to my doom. Rugs keep the water contained and keep the bathroom looking nice and well put-together. If you want to be extra snazzy, make the rugs match the towels. I have teal and black towels and black rugs to match. (Even my shower poofs are black and teal!) It’s also nice to have something soft to stand on when I’m standing in front of the mirror every morning to get ready. And when I say rugs, I also mean a snazzy toilet seat cover as well.

6. ‘Shower’ paraphernalia – My apartment complex had a built-in shower rod, but not all of them do. Most large chain (i.e. Walmart) stores have your basic needs: a shower rod, curtain, and rings. Since mine came with a rod already, all I needed was the curtain and rings. My friends had extra rings so they just gave them to me (a package of 12 or so should do the trick). As for the curtain? I didn’t get a decorated fancy one. I got the inner lining to prevent shower water from spraying my bathroom and that was it. I only have one light in my bathroom and shower curtains are fairly opaque. I like to see how I’m shaving and what I’m doing so I simply bought a clear, see through one. It was also labeled antimicrobial. Curtains can get moldy you know! Some places like Bed Bath and Beyond sell curtains that you can wash in your washer!

7. Guest needs – This is the unnecessary part so feel free to skip if you feel so inclined. In order for my guests to feel more at home, I provide basic necessities lest they stay and need things. I keep disposable razors at the ready, spare deodorant, a spare hairbrush/ comb, nail clippers, ibuprofen, Excedrin, shower soap, shampoos and conditioners, hair sprays/ gel, tampons/ pads, a spare toothbrush and toothpaste, spare makeup, and other generic needs as I think of them. I know people don’t HAVE to do these things. But isn’t it nice going to a friends house, realizing it’s too snowy to go home and then having them reply, “Oh don’t worry about anything! We have everything you’ll need.” And the best part would be knowing they are right!

8.  Hand soap – I keep a couple different kinds. My sister is allergic to perfumes so I keep Dove liquid hand soap because it’s free of scent and dyes. On the other hand, some people enjoy having those fruity soaps so I keep the pump-foam soaps scented with apple and berry as well. I hate using  bar soap because of how it leaves residue behind, but that is just a personal preference.

9. Plunger – Be proactive for your own sake.

10. Toilet paper – You know, this is sort of an essential ingredient in the bathroom process! I don’t buy the most expensive kind, but I don’t buy the cheapest either. If it’s on sale and looks fairly decent, I do some prices versus brand versus quantity and quality comparisons and make my decision from there. I also have a handy dandy toilet paper holder as well to keep spares in beside the toilet. I can’t imagine anything much more annoying that being at someone’s house reaching for toilet paper and panicking, realizing there is only 1 square left. And conveniently they store it in their hallway closet or bedroom or something. THANKS.

11. Tissue paper – I can use toilet paper to wipe my nose just like the next girl or guy, but there’s something appealing about having some that’s lotion and soothing to your nose. I keep a fairly decent box around just because I hardly ever use it so expense isn’t an issue. I even have it under a pretty little metal box that matches my other things.

12. Garbage pail – Get a nice, big one too. And keep bags in it. It’s soooooooooooo gross when people use them without bags.

13. Reading material – C’mon, you thought you’d escape this one? You know your dad loves his magazine time. Don’t leave a bored bathroom reader. Put a few fun and unique reads in there (visual puzzle books, short stories, magazines, etc.)

Bedroom:

Well, we’re nearing the end of the line now. Let’s keep trucking along to create that great ‘I just moved, am living on my own, and actually know what I’m doing!’ feeling we’re all so desperately craving now. I don’t feel the need to make living room recommendations. That will be up to you for how you’d like your main room to look.

1. Sheets – Sadly I only have 1 set, but rest assured I WILL be getting another soon. Try to wash them every 2-3 weeks or at least once a month. It will keep your room smelling fresher!

2. Laundry basket – I keep my clothes in my room so that’s where I change. It’s handy to just keep a nice basket in there to throw them in.

3. Hangers – My dresser is tiny, so I need tons of hangers to keep my room not looking like a dump.

4.  Bed Spread – I have a nice gold, red, brown, and tan theme going for my room so of course I have a bed spread to match. To be honest, I don’t even USE it unless I need my room looking nice if people are going to see it. I have nice old cotton blankets for all other sleeping occasions.

5. Alarm clock – Getting to work on time is handy to pay for the apartment you’re living in.

Want to add to the list? You know what to do. Have a dispute? I don’t care. Whoops, I mean, please let me know. My hope is this helps you generate ideas for your own ideal living situation. After all it’s going to be YOUR place, YOUR decisions, and all about, well, YOU! Feels good to hear doesn’t it!

User submitted suggestions:

Batteries – Double A and triple A are the most commonly needed ones! Children’s toys need them, as do Wii remotes, portable controllers, etc. And NOTHING is more a pain in the butt that wanting to use something badly and having to run to the store to get more. I use Sanyo Eneloop batteries. They are rechargeable and sold on amazon.com. This site is my SAVIOR. I’ve tried other brands, but after a years time they just don’t hold the charge.

Extension cords – Quite honestly I’m surprised in myself for not remembering to include this on the list. I literally DEPEND on these things.

Scissors – Yes. You will definitely need these.

Kitchen mats – I will agree with adding this. If you’re spending lengths of time in front of the kitchen sink or stove, standing is a pain on your back and feet. Mats will take some of the hurt away. My mom uses carpeted ones in her kitchen, though I’ve also seen rubber washable ones.

Curtains/ Blinds – I’ve seen some apartment complexes that have buildings side by side, facing each other. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my neighbor watching me, no matter WHAT I’m doing.

Toys – No matter who you are, eventually you’re going to have a friend who has kids. And at some point they’re gonna bring those kids over. And how BORING is it being a kid and go to someone’s house and they have nothing for you to do! Disney movies are also your friend if you want to pop one in to entertain the kids for a time.

Tools – I don’t seem to use these as often because I have a great maintainance staff here at my complex. But opening up toys, measuring to fit furniture, and assembling things all need tools like screwdrivers, hammers, tape measures, etc.

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