Everything you should know before moving into your first off-campus apartment

Freedom at last

As you grow in college, so do your housing options. The dorms are a convenient living situation for a while, but as an upperclassman, moving into your own place is an important step for independence. Sure, it may not be a palace, but you and your friends have been waiting to move in since you signed the lease last year. All of the things you now have to deal with don’t really hit you until you actually start your new off-campus life.

In order to help you transition from living in a dorm to living in your very own house, we have put together a list of things you should know before moving into your first apartment.

Everything costs money

Thanks, captain obvious. Seriously though, many services that used to be taken care of in the dorms, like having your garbage hauled away, actually have to be taken care of. Looks like it’s finally time to start that compost pile you’ve been thinking about. You’ve got to pay rent to your potentially (definitely) money-hungry landlord. On top of that, you’ve got to cover expenses for wifi, heating, electricity, water, groceries and more. Suddenly you’ve turned into an adult and getting mail has turned into opening bills. Welcome to the real world.

Should have gone to culinary school, right?

You need to learn how to cook

This is both a blessing and an arduous task. You might not be using a meal plan, which means no more dining hall food! This also means you have to nourish your body, get out to the store, pay for groceries, and make time to actually prepare the food. We’ve seen your future and it consists of eggs, noodles, and frozen chicken nuggets. However, take a few minutes to look up simple recipes and you’ll be surprised at what you can scrape together on a budget and limited time.

Clean. Please. Just do it.

Chances are the previous tenants left some pretty gross shit in the space you are now occupying. Do a nice sweep and sanitize the whole house when you get there. Then, make sure you whip out the Clorox and mops at least somewhat frequently. Do you dare break out the dreaded summer camp chore wheel to see who is scrubbing out the tub this week? Added bonus if you can kick yourself in the butt and actually get around to laundry before you’ve reached your very last pair of socks and everyone else decides that Sunday is also their laundry day.

Don’t forget the TP

You actually have to stock up on daily essentials. Items like toilet paper, paper towels, and hand soap weren’t even on your radar until you ran out when you really needed them. At least you will learn your lesson the first time this happens. Hopefully.

Decorating your house will make it feel like home

So your place comes “furnished.” Just like the dorms, you brought sheets for you bed and some towels. But now you have a whole space with common areas that need to become your own. Make it cozy, but also go crazy! Hang up some tapestries, lay down some rugs, and add some nice lighting. Yes, even that Game of Thrones poster your old roommate would have judged you for having. You’re no longer confined to just your sad, small dorm room.

Leave the passive aggression behind

Yes, that includes the sticky notes and texts you wish you could write. No one likes taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, or being reminded they owe utilities money, but these things have to be done. It’s best to talk things out with your housemates before any issues snowball. You will all be under the same roof for a while. Unless you want to have cringe-worthy interactions from here on out, make sure to clear the air. It’s important to remember that even if everyone has hit a rough spot living together, at the end of the day, we’re all just people.

Value the people around you

You have people to lean on. Your housemates will split the bills with you and help you when your car battery needs to be jumped. They’ll be there to see you at your worst even when you don’t want them to, but they will also share a drink and laugh with you at your best. Enjoy your time figuring everything out. And try not to sour your relationship with your landlord too much.