Remember being a teenager, when everything your parents said was silly, outdated and obviously unfounded? Right – wait until you move into your first apartment and learn all those hard lessons your mom and dad were just trying to protect you from. You’ll be amazed at how many times you say to yourself, “Oh, now I get why mom said that,” or, “Wow, who would’ve thought it, dad was right.” Here are nine mistakes that pretty much everybody makes while living on their own for the first time.
1. “Why would I buy a plunger?”
You know that wonderful, reliable plumbing your parents’ house had? Don’t expect such luxuries in your “new” – yet very, very old – apartment building. P.S. When a situation strikes that calls for a plunger, it may be too late to run out and buy one. Do yourself a favor and keep a quality one on hand (the cheap ones will turn inside out after the first plunge).
2. “Dish towels dry clean dishes. They don’t need to be washed. Ever.”
One morning, you’re going to wake up and get knocked out by some awful, sour smell that you won’t be able to track down. Let me save you the trouble – it’s your dish towels. All that water and kitchen odor and tiny spills here and there that you mop up will eventually turn your towels into soggy, stinky piles of good-for-nothing cloth.
3. “How hard could window blinds be to install?”
Harder than you think. Curtains? Not so bad. Blinds? Expect to let your landlord keep part of your deposit when he sees how many times you unsuccessfully tried to set up the blinds, only to end up with bare windows and many, many holes in the window frame.
4. “If I can’t see under my furniture, does that space exist?”
This is going to blow your mind, but when you clean, you have to get behind and under your furniture, not just around it. Otherwise, you’re going to have bits of food, paper scraps and dust everywhere, but you won’t be able to figure out why you have ants or what’s making you sneeze.
5. “I don’t need a real mattress, I have a Futon.”
You’re also going to have future back problems and major chiropractic bills. Futons are only somewhat acceptable as couches (most of them are far too hard to be comfy), but they’re entirely unacceptable as beds.
6. “Mothballs totally deter mice.”
Yes, they do – but there’s not much you can do to deter the smell of those mothballs. If you’re afraid of rodents running around in your kitchen, sweep and mop every week, set traps, move… whatever you do, though, don’t dump a bunch of mothballs behind your refrigerator.
7. “My dad has a toolbox, which is good enough for me.”
Trust me, you need a toolbox, even a basic one and even if the hammer has a neon pink handle. Just because you hate DIY projects, that doesn’t mean tools won’t come in handy one day, particularly when you least expect them to. You can thank me later.
8. “How much damage can bleach do?”
Just take a look at my favorite pair of capris and my beloved navy bedspread, and you’ll see – both have pink splatters on them now, thanks to spilled bleach. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a washer and dryer right in your apartment, use powdered bleach, not the liquid kind. Transporting a bottle of liquid bleach is far too risky – it can seep out even if the container’s closed.
9. “Mom, stop it – the apartment layout’s fine.”
Think this one through, especially if you have a roommate. For example, a railroad-style apartment seems okay, until you realize that your roommate has to walk through your bedroom just to get to the bathroom. Hello, awkward date nights.
Michelle Greene is the Social Media Coordinator at Lincoln Property, a company founded in 1965 for the purpose of building and operating quality residential communities.