Things I've Learned From Apartment Living:

by Meghan Medford in

This goes out to all the recent grads out there….

1. Rent ain’t cheap. No matter how big and beautiful that paycheck looks next to your new college diploma, it will never be big enough - at least if your major is fashion. If you’re going into oil and gas, you’ll probably be just fine. 

2. Don’t try to fill your apartment with decorations all at one time. Better to wait it out and find pieces that you really love (and can afford). Learn from my mistakes! And for the love of all that is good and holy, do not jump on a trendy, hipster bandwagon, vowing never to get off. That train will end and you’ll be stuck with faux, furry pillows for years. 

3. Find somewhere close to work. It may sound silly, but my apartment complex was filled with older married couples and the lamest pool parties of all time, but it was seven minutes from work. So you may have to sacrifice a sweet party scene, but hey, at least your Monday morning commute after Sunday Funday will be that much shorter. 

4. Be nice to your neighbors. No one likes a stuck-up that’s too good to say hello. Also, you may have a Houston Texans player that lives down the hall from you and takes pity on you when he sees you moving out our 32” TV and gives you his 60” flat-screen for a steal! Being friendly can make all the difference.

5. But don’t be too friendly in case they misinterpret your friendly wave for an invitation to ask you out.

6. AND DON’T EVER DATE YOUR NEIGHBOR. I learned the hard way. (I really hope he’s not reading this). No matter how nice and fun it could be, if it ends badly, you will spend the rest of your lease trying to avoid him in the stairwell and peeking out of your peephole before you leave for work in the morning.*side note: he was a very, very nice guy and we had a fun time, but the romantic feelings were, unfortunately, one-sided. 

7. Stand up for yourself. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of by the property management, fight ‘em! Verbally, not physically. Or physically, if that’s your style. But let them know where you stand and that you aren’t some dumb girl that can be taken advantage of when it comes to rent. If that doesn’t work - just cry. Crying always works. I made sure to put on fresh mascara when I went down to the office to contest my lease renewal so that the black goo would stream down my face easily and make the burly manager even more uncomfortable. I left with my rent lowered 10% and the property management team terrified to see me in their office ever since. Crying on command is a valuable tool in your early twenties. 

8. Invest in a broom or a Swiffer. It comes in handy for cleaning and for telling your upstairs neighbor to keep it down on the tap dancing practices. 

9. Also buy a carbon monoxide detector. They’re super cheap and can save you from not knowing that your stove is accidentally leaking carbon monoxide for several weeks. That’s a whole other story in itself. Learn from my mistakes, people!

10. Finally, don’t take it too seriously. Have fun in your apartment living years and then celebrate like crazy when you graduate to a home and you don’t have to renegotiate your lease every year - no more mascara tears!