There’s nothing more grown-up than signing a lease to your first apartment.
Finally! You’re not limited to a small box split evenly between you and one other person. You can keep good food in the cabinets when those dining hall meals just aren’t cutting it, decorate the living room however you want, and even have your own shower.
You’re so adult. So independent.
Until you realize that you know exactly nothing about being a responsible adult living in a real life apartment. So, for all of you who may be about to sign a lease for next fall, let me give you some advice…and a couple of ways not to ruin your first college apartment.
1. Expiration Dates Are A Thing
It’s exciting to finally have a refrigerator and freezer of your own. Now, instead of surviving off of granola bars and Poptarts in the early hours of the morning, it’s easier to whip up a salad, or unthaw some chicken.
Unfortunately, fresh food comes with a catch: it will start to smell like you’re hiding a decaying corpse in your kitchen if you forget about the carton of milk in the back.
Don’t end up like me – sitting on the floor in front of my refrigerator at midnight, with a rag in one hand and a bottle of disinfectant in the other, trying not to breathe through my nose as I searched for the source of the dead-body smell.
2. Learn Basic Adult Rules
Apparently there are some rules when it comes to keeping a house/apartment that adults just know. I don’t exactly know how and I’ve been waiting for around for quite some time for this magical grown-up fairy to bless me with the same knowledge.
Here’s an example of things every adult seems to know that I didn’t: dishwashing liquid and dish soap are two COMPLETELY different things.
One of them leaves your dishes smelling lemony fresh and the other one leaves your kitchen drowning in a pool of bubbles and murky dish water. Make sure you know which one you’re putting in the dishwasher.
3. Follow Up With Maintenance
Maintenance is there to help you but college campuses can be crazy. Sometimes, your request for a quick fix could be lost in the shuffle or accidentally ignored. Don’t be afraid of being rude. Call them again.
If not, you might come home to find that the small leak you reported earlier in the day has turned into a flood that soaked the kitchen, living room, and your favorite Jonas Brothers poster.
4. Pay Attention To the Specifics
In the excitement of finally getting a key to a real life apartment, it’s easy to forget to read the fine print. Does your University not allow Christmas lights? Do they only want a specific type of furniture?
If I’d have read the fine print, I probably would have noticed the part that said “Hey, college student, we don’t provide any lamps or additional sources of light so the second the sun goes down, you’re going to find yourself in a pitch black room.”
How did this lack of information help me ruin my first apartment? Ask the darkened stain on the carpet of my bedroom where I tripped and spilled tomato soup all over the floor on my first night.
5. Get To Know The People Above You
It’s a lot harder to ruin things when you have other people to ask. Sometimes, when your oven doesn’t work during the first week of school, the apartment above you will let you use their stove top to make soup…which you will promptly spill on the carpet of your bedroom (see above).
Besides that, it’s also nice to know who to call when their toilet starts leaking into your bathroom below, making the whole area smell like sewer water.
6. Regular cleaning is important
Have you even seen a cockroach run across the floor of your apartment in the dead of night? Neither have I, and I’m 98% sure that it’s because of my frequent vacuums of the dark corners of the apartment.
Invest in some windex, lysol, and plenty of clean rags.
Bleach cleaner is going to be your best friend, especially when flu season rolls around and your University announces that everyone is required to get shots because there have been too many cases of mumps on campus.