5 Rules for Apartment Living

Whether you’re sharing an apartment or living alone, the transition to independent living brings new responsibilities and possible issues. Here are some tips to help you out as you try to make your first home away from home.

1. The Apartment

After searching online, asking around about apartments is one of the best ways to find out what it’s like to live in different apartments and get more details about apartments that don’t put a lot of information online. Reaching out to friends in the community and online apartment ratings can help, and some universities even have off-campus apartment matching services.

2. Roommates

Once you’ve picked an apartment, you may also have to deal with roommates. Some things, like shared chores and spaces, should be discussed early on.

Being a college student needing sleep and study time, so noise issues can become a big problem. Whether the noise is coming from your apartment-mate or a next door neighbor, the contributors at lifehacker.com have come up with a form to help. The form letter also has a space to notify the recipient of other types of disturbances such as smoking, littering, and not cleaning up after Fido’s little gifts.

3. Cleaning/Organizing

For college students, time is short and clutter is plentiful. Don’t make a mess, and try to keep things in organized spaces.

The most frustrating thing is being ready to walk out the door and realizing that you don’t have your keys. Start putting your keys in the same place each time you walk into your apartment. Also, put your bookbag and anything you might forget that you need for tomorrow by the door before you go to sleep. Making a list of to-do items and putting it on top is also a good idea.

Keep only the things you need, toss out old products you will never use. Clear off the clutter on your desk at least twice a week. If not you’ll probably end up doing work in bed which can make it harder to sleep.

Clean your dishes or at least fill them with soap water as soon as you finish eating. Before leaving for a trip, take out the trash and pour some pinesol in the drains.

Air fresheners are also nice to have around, I would recommend Pure Citrus because to me, that stuff is just happiness in a can.

4. The Cash-Strapped College Life

When we as college students decide to move out of our parent's houses, we sometimes discover that this "adulthood" thing is pretty darn expensive.

Shopping around for books online and at bookstores may take more time, but it can save you some money. To help plan out your budget, some grocery stores allow you to check their prices online.

If you live in an apartment where the utilities aren’t included in the rent, there are a few things you can do to conserve energy and water. Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth, washing your face, etc. It’s also probably not necessary to run the water when you’re just washing your hair or shaving. Turn off the lights and unplug when those things aren’t necessary.

Open the blinds for natural lighting when it’s available. The overhead fan can help during the winter as well, if you can find a switch to change the rotation from counter-clockwise to clockwise.

5. Cooking

When Mom is no longer cooking for you, you'll have to either invest in lots and lots of chinese takeout or learn the art of boiling water and setting timers. There are so many types of rice or pasta sides you can make just by boiling water and pouring in a packet. Frozen bagged or regular canned vegetables are easy to prepare, usually by just pouring the can into a pot and heating it up or following the instructions on the bag. For the main part of a meal like this, I would usually just heat up some canned fish like pink salmon or mackerel. Other quick meals can just be some soup or microwave dinners. Eating an actual meal doesn’t mean that you have to be Emril Lagasse, just that you can follow heating instructions without burning down your apartment complex.