I have dreams of living in a wide open space, with vaulted ceilings and walls of windows and plenty of room for my pet blackbird to fly free. Being that I am poor, I’ve accepted the fact that I will be relegated to the status of cheap apartment dweller for several more years until I (a) make it big, or (b) marry rich. Sadly, I don’t see either happening. However, I believe there are ways to incorporate elements of my dream space into my meager budget; it all starts with a list.
While I was in Austin, I decided that it may behoove me to look around at apartments (since I had basically already made up my mind to move there before I even visited). I was talking to my mom about it beforehand and she suggested that I make a list of things that I wanted in an apartment that were non-negotiable. It was like she read my mind, because I was already in the process of brainstorming things that are of deep importance to me when it comes to my living space. I took a little stroll down memory lane and revisited in my mind all of the apartments I’ve lived in over the past few years, remembering both the good and the bad (and let me tell you: I have lived in a lot of awful apartments), and came up with a pretty reasonable list of demands. They may or may not be helpful to other apartment dwellers.
1. Laundry facility on-site
This is so essential. I would love to have a washer/dryer actually in my apartment, but I would happily settle for one that is a few steps outside my door. I currently have to use the laundromat, and it is such a hassle; it costs an arm and a leg, and I have to sit there and watch it while it spins around in circles. It’s such a hassle that I end up doing laundry far less often than I should. No laundry facility on-site = clothes never get washed = smelly Kendall = no friends. It’s a lose-lose.
2. No basement units
I have lived in so many basement units because they’re cheap, but they’re also like living in a dark, dank cave: they’re freezing in the winter and they get only slivers of light. Basement units also increase the risk of pest problems, and personally, I am over sharing my living space with rodents, thank you very much.
3. Good amount of storage space
My material possessions are plentiful (I am Queen Pack Rat) and I need some extra space to store it all. One apartment I lived in had only a medium-sized closet for storage space, and the space had to be split between me and my two roommates, who also had a lot of stuff. Suffice it to say, my clear RubberMaid tubs were forced to serve a dual purpose as storage containers and functional bedroom decor. Never again.
See 2. I am tired of living like a vampire.
5. Secure entry way
Scary thought: I have lived in a lot of apartments on streets near bars where drunks could easily stumble into my dwelling in the wee hours of the morning if I happened to forget to the lock the door (and I’ve had a lot of roommates who don’t see the importance of keeping the doors locked). To keep my paranoia (and my mother’s) at bay, I would love to live in a gated apartment complex, or even a complex that you have to buzz people to let them in. I would sleep much more soundly.
6. Proportionate room sizes
The apartment I currently live in has the weirdest layout ever. My and my roommate’s bedrooms are giant, like size-of-a-normal-living-room giant, and our living room is a fraction of the size of a normal bedroom. It’s nice to have a big bedroom, but a small living room makes it really difficult to entertain and have people over. I’d like to have a normal-sized bedroom and an equally normal-sized living room, for symmetry’s sake.
7. No slanted ceilings
My current apartment has slanted ceilings in the kitchen and bathroom, and when we first moved in, I thought it was very charming and quirky. It was like living in a dollhouse. But I’m a tall person, and after 6 months of constantly bumping my head against the ceiling, the charm has faded.
8. Lots of closet space
I have a lot of clothes. And shoes. And coats and scarves. Closet space is necessary.
As a sidenote, it was really helpful for me to make a list ahead of time because sometimes I start to feel rushed or just get overexcited and end up committing to a place whose glaring flaws I have been blinded to. If you know what you’re looking for, you can consult your list and make more fully informed decisions that way. All of which is to say: I found a lovely place in Austin to live that meets the majority of my criteria, and I am way excited to move in July!
What are the most important things you look for when you’re apartment hunting?