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First Apartment 101: Surviving Your First Year

Student Housing - Posted On 08/31/2017 02:06 PM, Last Updated 08/31/2017 02:38 PM

If you think moving away to college is scary, trying moving into your first apartment in college! I moved into my first apartment my sophomore year, and while I definitely am in love with the freedom it brings, it does bring on a new set of challenges. Roommates, grocery shopping, signing a lease, and figuring out expenses are just some of the many things to consider when moving into your first apartment. Here are my tips for helping you survive your first year out of the dorms!


When I moved into my first apartment, I chose my closest friends as roommates. While this sounded super amazing at the time, it actually failed especially within the first few months. Now, I live alone in a nicer apartment ten minutes from campus. This works better for me. I have found from both myself and other friends that rooming with friends is not usually the best situations. You never really know a person until you live with them, and while you might love watching movies with your friend on Friday nights, you might not like her habit of blasting music until 2 am. I think the best roommates are people you like but are not close friends with.

Your college Facebook page or housing website probably has resources for students looking for roommates. This is a great place to start your search, just be sure you meet with your prospective roommate first to make sure you are on the same page about the important stuff. Here are some questions you should ask before moving in with someone:

  • At what time do you usually go to bed on weeknights? Weekends? While you may not think this is a huge deal, especially if you have different bedrooms, it is always good to keep in mind. If you like to go to bed early, you probably will not appreciate your roommate watching TV in the living room all night
  • Are you a clean person? If you are a neat freak, you will not appreciate a roommate that does not know how to clean dishes
  • How do you plan to pay rent and utilities? I do not mean for this to be an overly personal question, but a general idea of how your roommate plans to pay rent can help avoid a situation where he/she is not able to pay their share. Do they have a part-time job? Financial aid? Parental support?
  • How do you feel about having friends over? It is important for your roommate and you to be on the same page regarding visitors. Do they have a significant other who will spend the night a lot? Do they host study groups after class?
  • Which chores do you mind doing? If they absolutely refuse to clean the bathroom, that might become an issue.
  • It is important that you and your roommate are on the same page about the big stuff. If you do not end up being best friends, that is perfectly fine. The most important thing is that you are able to respect each other and your personal space.

    The biggest challenge that comes with moving into your first apartment is usually the finances. Depending on your lease, you will likely become responsible not just for rent but also for cable, the internet, groceries, electric, and water fees. I personally believe it is easiest to split all costs down the middle, but there could be situations where one roommate might pay more. For example, if you have the master bedroom and everyone else lives in closet rooms or shared rooms, then you might pay a little more in rent. These are numbers you need to figure out before you sign the lease. Consider downloading a money transfer app to make splitting bills stress-free (see below)! I recommend keeping a calendar in a central place like the fridge with a reminder for the due dates of all important bills. Designate one roommate for each bill whose responsibility it is to submit it on time.


    When it comes to sending and receiving money for bills, I cannot stress the value of PayPal enough. I have been using Paypals money sending app Venmo since I began college two years ago. It works almost like social media for your bank account. Sending and receiving money is as easy as texting, and you do not have to bother going to the bank or passing a check to your roommate. I go to school four hours away from home, so Venmo makes it easy for my parents to send me funds for books or groceries every once in a while.

    PayPal also makes it easy to do good with the PayPal Giving Fund which donates 100% of proceeds to a charitable organization such as Let Girls Learn and the Boys and Girls Club. Any payments through the end of August will receive a 1% match by PayPal. These charities are dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all children. PayPal makes it easy to discover and donate to new charities while browsing, so you should be sure to check out the Giving Fund for more information.

    Moving into your first apartment in college is honestly so exciting! You will love the freedoms that come with living outside of a dorm, like cooking your own food and buying furniture! It will take some getting used to, but you have definitely got it under control! 

  • Driscoll Property Management www.driscollpm.com 

  • by Samanthability

Apartment Living Checklist

Rental Tidbits - Posted On 08/23/2017 04:45 PM
Rental Checklist
Driscoll Property Management

College Survival Tips: The Dorms

- Posted On 08/01/2017 08:38 AM, Last Updated 08/01/2017 11:57 AM

I am sure you are feeling a mixture of excitement and nervousness as the summer counts down and the first day of college gets closer and closer. College is a huge change and it is not something that should be taken lightly. One of the biggest adjustments you will face when you start college is living in the dorms. The dorms can be fun. They are a great place to meet your new best friends and make some great memories, but they can also be a chaotic catastrophe of loud music, roommate fights, and pop-in guests all while you are trying to sleep or study. Here are my tips for surviving college dorms while keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy. 

Eric Raptosh Photography/Blend Images/Getty Images

Prepare For The Move

Moving into a dorm is not the time to skimp on the essentials. Have enough clothing for all types of weather, pack two sets of sheets, and make sure you go grocery shopping as soon as you move in. Your roommates and friends will soon get annoyed if you are always bumming snacks off them. Since you are around all these new people, there is a significant chance you are going to catch a few colds this season. It may seem ridiculous to buy cold medicine and cans of soup when you are not even sick but trust me, it will come in handy when you are writing a 20 page final paper while battling a 102 degree fever.

Make Sleep a Priority

You may find that you are struggling to sleep in college. You might be a light sleeper or have noisy roommates or neighbors keeping you up. This is when you want to make sure you have your sleep essentials: eye mask, ear plugs, and even a white noise machine. If you are staying up to hang out with friends or cram for your next test, you may develop a warped sleep pattern and find yourself never knowing if you are going to get 4 hours or 10 hours of sleep a night. A consistent sleep schedule is vital for your physical and mental health so do not put it on the back burner.

Create Roommate Agreement

If it seems you and your roommate are not agreeing on a lot of the key issues, it might be time to talk about them or even make a roommate agreement. Some colleges, including my own, had every room create a roommate agreement detailing what was and was not acceptable. Your roommate may not know that it bothers you that she has not done any of her dishes in a week. The only way to know what each person needs to get along is if you talk about it.

Find Safe Haven

Even if you have talked it out with your roomie that is not a guarantee that she will always listen. It is a good idea to find a safe haven away from your room just in case things with your roommate hit a boiling point. This could be the library, a cafe, or a friends room. Any place where you can relax and get away from the stresses of class and dorm life will do.

Ditch Any Bad Friends

You will meet a lot of people your first year and many of them will become your friends. Since you are casting a wide net you are bound to drag in a few bad friends. New found friends can turn out to be toxic in a number of ways: one friend can be too clingy, another can pressure you into partying way too much, and others can simply flake out on you. Do not feel obligated to be friends with everyone you meet especially if they give you reasons not to trust them. I have seen lots of college students who will still hang out with their friends who are not good for them simply out of the fear of seeming rude or missing out. In a couple of years from now, you will only regret not ridding yourself of these toxic friends sooner.

Take care of yourself

Since you are no longer living at home, there will be no one there to tell you that candy is not a meal or that you need to clean your room. Trust me, I know that feeling is refreshing. But you will soon realize that all the rules and regulations that your parents have been pounding into your head for the last 18 years actually serve a purpose. College gives you more freedom than you have had before but do not let all that freedom keep you from taking care of yourself. You do not have to turn into a fitness fanatic or a health nut. Just try to get some physical activity in and make sure you are eating some sort of vegetables that is not a pizza topping. Taking care of your living space is just as important as taking care of your body. Things can get gross in a college dorm room so do not add to it by ignoring two weeks worth of laundry or the trash can that is overflowing with Cup O Noodles containers.


For Families: Do not compare your college experience (or anyone elses) with your childs experience. You may have had a blast in college or your childs brother may have loved living in the dorms, but that does not mean this particular child will feel the same way. Be supportive as your child transitions from living at home to living on campus.

The Golden Takeaway:  Moving into the dorms can be exciting and overwhelming all at once but everything will be fine if you keep these tips in mind and do not forget to take care of yourself.

 by Veronique Hoebeke, Associate Editor

Dorm Organization Tricks

Rental Tidbits - Posted On 07/20/2017 08:19 AM

17 Super Simple Dorm Organization Tricks

Going back to school might make your brain feel like a mess, but that doesn't mean your room should look like one.

Gabby Noone
Gabby Noone

1. Use soda can tabs to hang more clothes in your closet.

Instead of dropping cash on space-saving hangers, save soda tabs and use them to fit twice the amount of hangers in your closet.

Instead of dropping cash on space-saving hangers, save soda tabs and use them to fit twice the amount of hangers in your closet.

2. Store snacks in an over-the-door shoe organizer.

3. Keep your cords tidy by attaching binder clips to your desk.

4. Use bed risers that double as a power source.

Increase your under-the-bed space and your outlet access.Available here.

Increase your under-the-bed space and your outlet access.

Available here.

5. If you have a kitchen, use file dividers to store pans.

Let's be honest, you will probably never use these to file actual paper anyways. Put them to good use!

Let's be honest, you will probably never use these to file actual paper anyways. Put them to good use!

6. Use small tension rods to the make the most of tiny, blank spaces.

The same method works for shoes, too.

The same method works for shoes, too.

7. If you don't have room for a bedside table, use a mattress caddy.

It stays put by sliding under your mattress. Only $7.93! Available here.

It stays put by sliding under your mattress. Only $7.93! Available here.

8. Line your standard plastic storage drawers with decorative paper.

Plastic storage bins are boring and expose all of your junk. Line them with colored paper that matches the rest of your room.Instructions here.

Plastic storage bins are boring and expose all of your junk. Line them with colored paper that matches the rest of your room.

Instructions here.

9. Use an over-the-door hamper on the back of your closet.

Since your floor space is limited, why waste it on a pile of dirty clothes? Make this DIY version from an embroidery hoop and a large pillow case.Or buy one here.

Since your floor space is limited, why waste it on a pile of dirty clothes?

Make this DIY version from an embroidery hoop and a large pillow case.

Or buy one here.

10. Use ice cube trays to keep your jewelry organized.

Also works with small office supplies.

Also works with small office supplies.

11. Keep your necklaces tangle-free by tacking them to a bulletin board.

12. Invest in a laptop lock.

Protect your laptop when you need a bathroom break or if you just have a roommate who always forgets to the lock the door.Available here.

Protect your laptop when you need a bathroom break or if you just have a roommate who always forgets to the lock the door.

Available here.

13. Divide an underbed organizer.

Admittedly, this is for the very ambitious student. Get a plastic under bed organizer (like this). Cut pieces of heavy posterboard to fit and divide by each weekday. Use it to plan out your weekly outfits in advance or which textbooks/notebooks you'll need for each day.

Admittedly, this is for the very ambitious student.

Get a plastic under bed organizer (like this). Cut pieces of heavy posterboard to fit and divide by each weekday. Use it to plan out your weekly outfits in advance or which textbooks/notebooks you'll need for each day.

14. Turn a TV table into a foldable ironing table.

Doubles as an extra workspace when you're not ironing.Learn how to make it here.

Doubles as an extra workspace when you're not ironing.

Learn how to make it here.

15. Use removable plastic pods to keep your toiletries organized.

You can attached them otherwise overlooked areas, like the side of your desk or closet door, and make the most out of your tiny space.Available here.

You can attached them otherwise overlooked areas, like the side of your desk or closet door, and make the most out of your tiny space.

Available here.

16. Use a shower caddy to organize your school supplies and save desk space.

17. Organize your desk drawers with these dividers made from old cereal boxes.

Cereal is now one of your basic food groups, so you might as well make the most of those empty boxes.Instructions here.

Awesome Decorating Tips for Your First Apartment

Rental Tidbits - Posted On 05/31/2017 11:12 AM, Last Updated 05/31/2017 11:24 AM

Moving into your first apartment gives an awesome feeling!!! Finally you will be having your own space (no roommates) where you can have things just as you like. At the same time, it can be an overwhelming experience too. Where to start? What to look for? Where to look for? These are some common questions everyone has when they want to decorate their first apartment. Here are few handy ways to make your first apartment feel like a home.

Decorating Tips for Your First Apartment

Think about a budget and allocate proper time and energy

You will probably start with a limited budget, especially when you have invested most of the funds in acquiring the property. That is totally ok! Always be honest about how much you really want to spend on the items that you need as well as spend your energy on allocating appropriate amount to each of the items.

Stick to the basics

If you are starting from scratch one thing you need to know is that it is different for everyone! If you are moving in with your family or a friend or a relative, all will have different needs. Spend your money on the things that you really need once you move in. Initially do not waste your money on the things that you can do on your own or manage to do without for few weeks or months.

Get a paint job!

This is applicable if the house is already not painted. Painting the walls is an easy and cheap way to immediately change the fell of your space and make it look livelier.

Pay attention to the flooring

You will not believe how much adding a rug or two can actually shape your rooms. You can easily find a great area rug for cheap and the best part is that you can change them if you get bored with the style or pattern. An area rug definitely pulls any room together.

Do not ignore the windows

Nobody likes to see a naked window. Always ensure that your home looks presentable to people who live in it (including yourself). Make sure that it remains private at the same time (beware of people looking in from the windows!). Choose the curtains which will match with the rooms furniture and the stuff in it.

Choose the right furniture (& not too much of it)

Yes, you heard that right! Choosing the right kind and type of furniture is very important. Do not stuff the rooms with too much of it. As this is your first home, you will want to put some extra bucks and buy costly furniture that looks elegant and fashionable. However, it is advisable to start with the essentials and then invest in bigger items.

Plug in a few lights!

You need to lighten up those areas which look dull. Nobody would like to see a dim corner. Put up a nice and beautiful lamp and see the magic. It will brighten up the room and your room.

Time to show your artistic side

No, we are not telling you to build art work. Looking at the same big blank wall is no fun. How about putting a piece of art and turn up the rooms mood? Selecting a few pieces of art from a nearby art gallery can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your new home without breaking your budget.

Lets go green

Have you thought about putting up plants? No? Think about it! Plants are cheap, easy to put up and will make those empty corners look dynamic. If you are not that informed about what kind of plants to buy, talk to a local gardener or a friend who has some idea about what will look good in your new house.

Take what you love!

Despite of whatever we have mentioned so far, there might be one piece that you absolutely love. If you really can not stop thinking about it, go for it! Do not think about spending a little extra, it is your first home after all.

Lets party!

The first thing which you need to do before inviting people for a party would be to clean your home in and out. Adding to that, inviting the people you love to be with will definitely make your first apartment feel like home!

www.rentalcluster.com Author Sharon 

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