I just moved into a new place, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m living with five of my friends, a few blocks from campus in a beautiful house. In the weeks leading up to my move, I purchased lots of things – organizational files, pens, a nightstand, some vanilla candles, and more. And then we moved in, and I realized how much I still had to get. Bowls, cups, pans, silverware, knives, a closet cubby, a wastebasket, and those are the practical things I can think of off the top of my head. Too bad I have $38 to my name, and don’t get paid til later this week. Had I budgeted better (did I actually need vanilla candles before I moved in?), I might have found myself in a better financial position. Here are some things I wish I had thought of before I moved into my new house.
Make a list. Even if you’re a frugal spender, you may find yourself drawn in by the “Home Essentials” section at Target. “I do need these heart-shaped lanterns for my room! And this organizing tray is so cute and will definitely keep me organized! Oooh, and these patterned towels are way prettier than the ones I already have.” And then, you end up leaving Target with these things, but without things like silverware. Or hangers.
No, no, no.
Make a list and stick to it. Write down the essentials that you need immediately. There are some things that can wait until you get paid, or your parents toss you some money (hopefully). Prioritize the boring things and save the fun stuff for later.
Utilize your resources. I got lucky, in that someone I knew had recently updated their kitchen and was planning to get rid of plates, bowls, cups, silverware organizers, oven mitts, and pans. I intercepted and managed to get a good stock of stuff for my kitchen. See if you might be in a similar situation, or if your parents have extra stuff stashed away in an attic somewhere. If nothing else, hit up a thrift store or a dollar tree. You might not get matching plates, mugs, and bowls – but is that really important to you?
Have your essentials ready to go. Nothing’s worse than spending a few hours moving boxes and driving around in the 90 degree heat (thanks, San Diego!) only to get into your new space and realize that you don’t have the things you need. Like a shower curtain, shampoo, and conditioner to take a much-needed shower. Or food. Do a bit of shopping, or bring these things with you in a box labeled “Essentials.”
Make sure you have adequate storage. Bins might be my new favorite thing. Stacking bins that fit in your closet or under your bed are the best. Closet cubbies and built-in shelves are the best. Spacious drawers are the best. Storage places, you da real MVP.
With these tips, you should be ready to make your new house or apartment a real home.