A little over a year ago I moved into my first ‘home’. I had been living in hostels for close to two months and was ready to work and settle down. Prior to the hostel living I was staying with family and prior to that I was backpacking North America. In short, I needed my own room desperately and now that I had a job I could actually afford one.
This was my first flatting experience in a three bedroom apartment. Thankfully it came furnished and ready for the new tenant. I stayed there for 5 months and then moved to the house I currently live in with three other flatmates. I must say none of these experiences have been as bad as people warned. In fact I really enjoy where I am currently living and am happy I have avoided most horror stories.
I feel like nowadays it’s more common to be convinced to stay home. I kind of strongly disagree. If you are studying or trying to save money it makes perfect sense, but there is a lot to gain from flying the nest. A whole lot to learn about yourself and other people.
Here are a 13 observations from by first year flatting.
1. Furniture. Most of my observations revolve around buying things. Not all places come furnished and it is important to know what you will need. Also, think ahead, if your lease is only 6 months then do not buy useless furniture that you will need to transport down 4 flights of stairs.
2. If like me your first home is overseas, stop buying things. Get the essentials, but do you know where you will be next year? Can you attach Billy to your back? No, and I am pretty sure most backpackers will refuse him entry.
3. Billy? Billy the bookcase. You know the one everyone has from the magic land we call IKEA. Story time – Before moving day, my flatmates and I took a trip to IKEA. Coming from New Zealand (the land of deprivation) I had little clue of what to expect. I was told IKEA is like Disneyland on crack for adults. This is a pretty accurate description. We made our way through the aisles imagining what living together would be like, enjoyed some classic IKEA food and made long detailed lists of our must have items.
Anyhow, the point of this point is go to IKEA if you have never been. Get all of the essential first flat items that you will find in every single other flat. Be ware of the drawers. Yes, the bed with the drawers is just as useful as it sounds, however drawers are the most frustrating things to put together.
4. If you are reading this I am assuming you are planning on moving out or have? I can therefore also assume you have already discovered that sadly money does not grow on trees. However, people like to convince you that food does. Technically they are right. But it does not just appear and this is a pretty tough lesson to learn.
In the hostels there was generally one free meal a day and for the rest I would go out and purchase the essentials daily. This really is not a great habit when you are trying to live like a normal person. The reality is that no matter how much you try, the pantry will always be empty. Apart from those few random items and inedible things. Unless you like eating ketchup with a side of tennis ball and a layer of plastic glove or live in a supermarket.
5. There is never any toilet roll, paper or whatever words you prefer. You may have bought a pack of 24 rolls last week thinking you could defeat the monster, but some how it has been gobbled up. You can try taking turns at purchasing it, but there will always be those couple of days when you are forced to run up and down two flights of stairs to use the one roll that is left in the house.
6. Pots, pans, spatulas, cutlery, white ware, glasses and colanders are all items you must purchase. You can try convince yourself you can live without a baking tray or frying pan, but you simply cannot.
7. Pots, pans, spatulas, cutlery, white ware, glasses and colanders excite you. You can no longer walk into a homeware store with your parents and roll your eyes. You will not go into those shops without saying one of the following phrases:
- “I have one of these at home”
- “You know what I could use this for…”
- “I have been meaning to buy one of these”
- “No, that doesn’t match our color scheme”
- “Can I have this for Christmas?”
- “I really need one of these…” – Lets be real for a second. You do not ‘need’ the mechanical egg whisker, because no one does and you are vegan.
8. Recycling sucks. I am pro recycling, I just do not enjoy doing it. -2 degrees outside and the last thing I want to do is the recycling. So what do I do instead? I have actually begun to convince myself that I should keep the cardboard boxes and bottles. Somehow I will need them one day or maybe I could start a cool project.
Here is an example of a recycled multiple photo frame piece of art. #proud #sarcasm
9. There is a reason your mom told you to lay down some newspaper before trying new art skills. Now you understand why there is a deposit. I am exaggerating a little. I have never messed up that badly, but did go out and buy a number of cleaning supplies and tools that I have never used again.
10. Investing in headphones is a good call. Sometimes you don’t want the whole house hearing you rock out to Hannah Montana’s Hoedown Throwdown. And sometimes you want to block out or courteously ignore whatever is going on around you.
11. While we are on the subject of noise lets talk neighbours. Some are pleasant and others decide to give you a speech on being too loud as you turn the lock into your new house for the first time. This did happen and it did make us slightly less compassionate towards the neighbour. It turns out he is just one of those people who enjoys complaining a lot. Watching TV at a reasonable level until 10pm has the same affect on you, as your kids screaming from 6am does on me.
12. Take Out, Takeaway, Delivery and what not. I hope I am not the only person who buys far too much food when it comes to take out. I will make sure I get my moneys worth before paying for that delivery. This food has to last me two days. That is exactly what I am thinking when I order it. The result can go one of two ways:
- I realise my stomach can hold a lot more of this delicious food than I thought – possibly because I starved myself in anticipation for this meal. I end up demolishing the whole lot and passing out in a huge food comma.
- I force myself to eat half the first night before realising I ordered enough food to feed an army. I become the person I hate and have to throw away the insane amount of leftovers.
13. Realising you probably couldn’t move back ‘home’. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but I just cannot imagine it happening. I like the independence and have gotten stuck in my way of doing things. This might not mix well back ‘home’.
In saying that, going back ‘home’ was great. I visited for a month and must admit it was nice having things done for me. I realised how much I despise my two weekly (holy crap I have no more clothes) laundry sessions. The constant worrying about my location was both annoying and nice. Honestly 95% of the time it could take days, possibly weeks before someone would actually notice I was missing.
There you have it! Thirteen observations, lessons, tips and advice (or whatever you would like to class these things as) to do with moving out for the first time. I hope somebody out there enjoyed my rambling.
Thanks for reading.