Leaving the dorm life behind means having a lot more responsibility, and I definitely made some rookie mistakes during my first lease. From figuring out how (and when) to file a maintenance request, to learning that groceries don’t last nearly as long as you think they would, these are some tips I’d give anyone moving off-campus!
After eating at a buffet-style cafeteria for two years, I felt pretty clueless walking into a grocery store and actually having to buy things other than snacks. I quickly realized that remembering an entire kitchen’s worth of food was impossible, so I started keeping a basic grocery list in my notes app. There are lots of staples on it like pasta, bread, cereal, and whenever I think of something extra I’d love to have around, I just add it on.
LEARN HOW TO COOK ASAP
Pasta is only good for so many lunches/dinners/snacks, so I would recommend learning how to make a few great meals early on! Having delicious prepped meals in your fridge will keep you from eating out too often and, depending on what you make, leave you a lot healthier too!
MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS
You don’t have to hang out at their apartment or have deep conversations with them, but acknowledging your neighbors’ existence and saying hi when you pass them will save you in so many situations. It’s a lot easier to ask a neighbor you’re friends with to do you a favor than one that’s a total stranger. You’ll also feel more comfortable asking them if your music is too loud, or letting them know their’s is!
TAKE CARE OF RENT EARLY
Paying rent is also a thing you’ll have to get used to. Most apartment owners and landlords are super strict about when your rent is due, and will charge you a hefty fee for being late. Mark your payment date on your calendar for every month, and aim to have your rent in a few days early if allowed!
KEEP IT CLEAN
Cleaning is important no matter where you live. Roaches do exist, and will leave you screaming and jumping on your bed if you don’t keep your place clean. Make a habit of cleaning your floors, counters, and bathrooms every week, and make sure dirty dishes make it to the kitchen ASAP!
GET LOTS OF CANDLES
This is more of a personal thing, but having candles totally changes the mood of my room and I have one lit almost everyday. Go to Marshall’s or TJMaxx and grab a bunch (that’s where I’ve found the cheapest ones), coordinating with the season of course!