It’s a rite of passage. We move out of our parent’s house and into a apartment of our own. My first apartment in my college town was slightly older (cheaper), but was constantly being outfitted with new furniture, had utilities included, and was close to campus, so I loved it. My new apartment in my new town is much older, but I only had about a week to find it and pay deposits. I had no idea what I was getting into.
Let me first say I love my apartment. It might be older, but it is in a cool suburb part of town and literally SEVEN minutes from work in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Since I was moving in alone, without roommates to split bills, I needed something on the cheaper side that wouldn’t be a 40-minute commute. I looked at so many studios and one-bedrooms before I found my place. When I described where it was everyone I talked to was excited, and when I described the actual unit everyone was worried I was moving into a run-down and moldy old space. It is definitely older, but I had no idea of the strangeness involved in moving into an old apartment.
You are always warm
My apartment has radiators. Let me repeat: MY APARTMENT HAS RADIATORS. I had literally never seen a radiator in real life before I moved into my apartment, which led to me calling my aunt one day asking, “Is it supposed to making a noise like a tea kettle? It’s getting hot in here, how do I turn them down?” My mom tells everyone, “Lindsey’s apartment has radiators, how cute,” like it’s a signal for a super old, gross unit, but honestly they are clean, and that tea kettle noise means warmth is coming. Unfortunately, seeing as Alabama weather is crazy and it has been 77 degrees in the afternoon and freezing rain at night, my radiators have been a little confused. I just get to be toasty all the time.
Everybody wants hardwood floors
My apartment is all hardwood, and it is beautiful, but for someone not used to wearing shoes or socks all the time it can get a little out of hand. If I wear shoes then I’m getting dirt everywhere and I’m uncomfortable. If I don’t the floor is cold, and my feet get dirty (no matter how clean the floor is). Thus the houseshoes were born. I found an adorable pair with a little bow at H&M, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. Also, get rugs. Rugs are awesome guys, they can brighten up an area, but you don’t have to cover your beautiful floors wall to wall. Just remember to get rubber backing on them or you will slip and slide.
Never underestimate the power of paint.
You have to pay a deposit so they can repaint your apartment for you, right? Well, they do a great job getting all the nooks and crannies. They paint right over windows and door knobs, but generally give the space a clean look. Be wary of movers (or family helping lug in furniture)—decades of layers of paint makes it easier to chip. (Although Target now sells paint stickers so you can actually brighten up your apartment without losing your deposit.)
Parking gives you something to talk about
So I chose my apartment partially for the distance from work—SEVEN minute commute, y’all—but I had no idea parking was such an issue in certain places in Birmingham. I’ve never lived in a place where parking is a topic of conversation, you just drive to where you’re going and park and that’s it. Now, if I want a designated covered parking spot I have to pay, and if I don’t pay it’s just “good luck to ya.” Most of the time it’s really not an issue, but when that one car holds onto the primo spot for two days, I get a little vindictive.
You don’t have to buy a washer and dryer
Sure, having a washer and dryer might be handy if you don’t like carrying your underwear down a flight of stairs, but it’s such a great workout. It gets even better when you realize you don’t have enough coins (or $1 bills to turn into coins) or the laundry machine eats them alive without letting you do laundry. You make friends that have a washer/dryer fast, and cherish their kindness. Update: The apartment office just told me that the dryers cannot dry the same amount as they can wash in the dryer. Is that jacked up or what?
Honestly, I love my apartment, and these things, while sometimes super irritating, are also part of what make my building unique. I like the area I live in and after a while, even these small things won’t be so cumbersome or irritating. There are downsides to everywhere. Ultimately it’s about finding a balance between little things you have to put up with or big things that are hard pass.
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