Wednesday, October 7, 2020

So You're Settling Into Your First Apartment

Chicago, IL, USA

First of all - congrats! I have lived in downtown Chicago for the last two years but when I moved into my first apartment with three roommates, they were rockstars and mostly had it furnished! So as I got ready to move into my studio apartment it was all on me. 

Your first apartment is an exciting experience, and it can be easy to overload ideas and make purchases ahead of time. I get it! My mom can tell you how many Target, Home Goods, and Walgreens trips I made preemptively made before both moves I definitely had ideas I wanted to implement ASAP.

However, there are definitely some things that can be done as you live in the space. You might think you have everything figured out but as you live in the space you'll see what works and how you can make it the most livable for you!


For starters: take an inventory of what you already have! For me, I already had most of the furniture that would fit into my studio. My bed frame, mattress, dressers, shelves, TV, and coffee table were all coming with me from my last apartment which helped me save a lot of money. I didn't want to replace any of the items because they were all relatively new and would fit into my space perfectly. Taking an inventory can help you save money and start visualizing what you already have in your new space. 


You'll also want to take a tour or if that's impossible to get a virtual tour and the measurements of the space. I hadn't toured my unit before I signed but I was familiar with the building because my friend, Alexa, lived here and they provided YouTube video tours of the different units available for me to get a better idea about the space. You wouldn't want to overspend and get more items than will fit comfortably in the space.

Use Your Resources

Once you know what you have in your wheelhouse and the space you have to work with, its time to ask other people what they have that they like, dislike, and potentially are getting rid of. My parents were huge resources for me with kitchen appliances, plates, and flatware! Your extended family or friends of friends might be selling or getting rid of something that could be useful to you so its always worth an ask. I bought my couch from a friend of a friend so I saved money and trusted the previous owner. 


As you move into your new home, pack a small bag of items you'll need right away (think skincare, toiletries, a few changes of clothes, chargers, etc.) and focus on cleaning the different surfaces before unpacking anything. When unpacking, try to tackle it room by room. I recommend kitchen and bathroom first!


Now that you've unpacked your belongings and your furniture is moved in, you can play with where to place things. Before finalizing any floor plans or adding anything to the mix, move some items around and see how they look. Facetime friends and family, ask opinions and take those into consideration. I know a lot of my friends helped me brainstorm new ideas and placements that made my unit more cohesive. 

As I began to make purchase decisions, I got a lot of my items from Amazon, Home Goods, and Target. These stores have affordable furniture, decor, candles and more that can help your new place feel like home. I looked for an aesthetic I wanted and I know I can build on as I evolve and grow. 


I waited until I knew where I wanted the furniture to hang up decor and get any final touches. Once I knew where I wanted my bed, couch, etc. I then planned out my gallery wall and other personal touches. I still made sure to position the wall decor with enough room if I did decide to move items around later on. I looked for frames on Amazon and printed my memories at Walgreens. Additionally, I took pieces that I found as I cleaned out my dad's condo and included them in the planned alignment.

As I settled in, I also picked up a faux fiddle leaf fig tree, bathroom storage, and a compact desk to help with my current work from home situation. 

My biggest advice to you as you get ready to settle into your new apartment is to not buy everything you think you might need ahead of your move. You don't need to have all the answers right away, and as you live in your new place you will find that something might work differently than you antipcated. There will be new ideas and ways you will want to improve your space and you don't want to have spent a majority of your budget early on. 

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