Move-In Day Do’s and Don’ts

It’s been two weeks too long my friends, but let me tell you, they’ve been a crazy and very busy two weeks. I moved into my apartment last Saturday and after spending a week settling in and visiting family and friends in Ohio, I finally found the time to sit down and write this blog. So as promised, let’s talk about some of the do’s and don’ts of move-in day.

Do: Take your time

After the initial hour or so of unloading your car, truck, or move-in van, things start to slow down as unpacking begins. I think it’s important not to rush the unpacking, especially if you’re arriving early to campus like me. Obviously take care of the essentials like clothes, toiletries, cookware, plates, food, etc. However, when it comes to decorating your room or arranging furniture you might want to take it slow and really look at the spaces you’re moving your things into.

Most of the decorating I did in my room didn’t happen until the day or two after I had moved everything in, so even though my walls were a little sad my first night in the apartment, the next day I was able to make decisions about exactly how I wanted my room to look without feeling rushed or tired. My roommates and I also moved furniture around a little the first week and are still putting up decorations here and there as we find the time and space for them. I think it’s important to remember that you’re building your little home away from home and you should take your time doing it so it’s just the way you want it.

Don’t: Expect to have remembered everything

Whether you’re living on campus or off it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to make a few trips to Walmart on move-in day and the days that come after that, even if you think you’re prepared. As someone that lives six hours away from college, I was super worried about forgetting one or multiple things at home because it’s not easy for me to just go back and get them.

I did forget my Keurig which was a bummer, but my roommate brought a regular coffee maker with her and I’ve been able to use that which is awesome (thanks Leah, you da bomb). I also forgot a few little things like extension cords, plug-in air fresheners, and ibuprofen, but I remedied that within the first two days I was here. I’m sure once classes start I’ll discover a few more things I’ve forgotten, but thankfully I have a car and a little cash to take care of that.

Do: Ask questions (even the little ones)

This year, I’m living in a large apartment complex in Athens called Riverpark and I’m already loving it for the amenities and community atmosphere. However, with a large apartment complex comes a very busy leasing office, especially on move-in day and it can be a little overwhelming. Because of this, it can be very easy to forget to ask important questions, which is what happened to me.

For the first several days we had no idea where to get our mail, I had forgotten to ask how to sign up for online rent payment and didn’t get my laundry card; those are some very important pieces of info to be without. Eventually I found all the answers to those questions, but I wish I would’ve asked them on day one because it was not fun worrying about them my first weekend here. So, take my advice and take your time in the leasing office. They might be busy, but you’re the resident, so make them slow down and answer your questions because you’re probably paying them a good chunk of change anyway.

Don’t: Fight your feelings

So, it was the Monday night after the Saturday that I moved in and things were great. I was hanging out with my mom, watching the season finale of the Bachelorette (*SPOILER*: can you believe that she ended up with smooth-talking Bryan? Personally I liked Peter more, but the dude just wasn’t ready to commit) and then suddenly I just got really sad really fast. I couldn’t figure out what exactly it was, but I just felt weird and off. After talking with my mom for a while, I realized that it was just “first apartment jitters.”

Now, I realize that isn’t a real thing, but basically what it came down to was that I was adjusting to the simple fact that I was going to be living on my own for the first time. Of course I had roommates, but I was still on my own to an extent. When you’re in a dorm, there is still someone “in charge,” someone to go to when your neighbors are being crazy loud and obnoxious, and someone who has a lot of the answers to your questions. However, when you live off-campus, you’re in charge, you get to politely try to deal with your neighbors, and the leasing office can answer most of your questions, but a lot of times, you’re on your own. It’s a huge adjustment, but it was hard for me to accept that it made me a little sad and overwhelmed. However, once I figured out that’s what was bothering me and just accepted it, the feeling passed and I got back to being happy and excited to live in my first apartment.

Hopefully you’ll find some of this advice helpful if you too, are moving into your first apartment. But I’m definitely not the first person to have done this, so if you’ve got any tips or tricks of your own when it comes to moving in, let me know down below!

A Few of My Favorite Things

As many of you know, I recently moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and this summer was my first chance to spend a solid block of time in my new home and city. And let me tell you it has definitely been a learning curve.

For starters, the traffic here is INSANE. I live in Indian Trail, a city about 30 minutes southeast of Charlotte and about the same size as Lancaster, Ohio (where I used to live) but there is soooo much more traffic than I’m used to. Plus it’s not just a bunch of cars stuck for a while, there are some rude and inconsiderate drivers who just make things worse. Suffice it to say I’ve gotten a little frustrated and my road rage monster has reared its head a few times – but I mostly just yell alone in my car and honk occasionally.

I’ve also learned to live with the heat this summer. This week the high has been in the 90s every day and it can feel even hotter, so shorts and tank tops have become hugely integrated into my wardrobe. It’s also disrupted my workouts a bit; around mid-May I started each morning workout with a warm up jog around my neighborhood. But the heat, coupled with some minor asthma has made it impossible to continue this routine, so instead I’ve been relying on my trusty old jump rope for my morning cardio.

Complaining and some minor adjustments aside, I’ve begun to really love this new city so this week I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things about it with you.

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(Fun fact: I love puns, the sound of music, and I have a blanket that looks like those curtains).

Southern Hospitality

Alright, so even though I complained about the traffic and people being rude drivers, this saying is actually quite a reality. Obviously everyone has their bad days, but when it comes to customer service, neighbors and sometimes even a stranger, people around here are super nice! It’s hard to describe other than calling it what it is, Southern Hospitality. I think there is just more of an easygoing vibe down here then what I’m used to in Ohio and maybe because of that people just seem more polite to me. Who knows if I’m right, but y’all sure are sweet.

Beach Living

One of the best things about living in North Carolina, at least in my opinion, is that the ocean borders one of sides of the state. That’s a big thing for someone who comes from central Ohio and used to drive 12 hours one way to get to the Outer Banks for vacation. This year my family and I went to Carolina Beach, North Carolina and it only took us three hours to get there. It was like a day trip! There are so many different beaches you can go to along the coast of North Carolina, so not all of them are a short trip, but being able to go to any beach just for the weekend if you want to is nothing to sniff at.

The Queen City

When I lived in Lancaster I was about the same distance away from Columbus as I am from Charlotte now, so living near a big city isn’t super new to me. But because I’m new to the area, I feel like I’ve had a lot more motivation to explore Charlotte and all the Queen City has to offer. I found a couple of pretty cool spots during this past Christmas and both are food related because my stomach is the way to my heart.

The featured photo on this blog is a picture of two fruit tarts from Amélie’s French Bakery in NoDa, the historic and entertainment district in Charlotte. Amélie’s has several locations, but the one in NoDa was the first one I ever visited and is their flagship bakery. I’ve been back several times with my family since my first visit, I’ve tried something new at each visit and I’ve never been disappointed. The fruit tarts always taste beautifully fresh and the layered chocolate torte is a must try for chocolate lovers.

My second find is the 7th St. Public Market in Center City Charlotte. For those of you familiar with Columbus, it’s similar to the North Market, but on a smaller scale. About half of the single story market is filled with restaurants and sitting areas, while the other half has stalls of goods like wine, bread, artisan soaps and other merchandise. I’ve never eaten at any of the restaurants in the market, but the food always smells good and the wine and bread we’ve purchased in the past from the vendors have been excellent.

In a month, I’ll have been living in this new city for exactly one year, but it feels shorter for me because most of that time I’ve spent in Ohio at college. This summer has given me a great opportunity to get to know the new city I live in and spend time with my family while doing it, something I’m extremely grateful for.

I’ve got a few more weeks left before I go back to Athens for school, so if you’ve been to the Charlotte area or know someone who has, let me know if there are any other adventures I should take before I leave!

(gif credit http://bit.ly/2tWSZX1)

5 stores to explore when furniture shopping on a budget

In four weeks I will be moving into my first apartment (screams internally with stress and excitement) so I’ve been shopping for odds and ends throughout the summer for my bedroom as well as the kitchen and living room I’ll be sharing with my roommates. This week I was on the hunt for a nightstand to go beside my bed and as a result I ended up visiting a lot of different stores and various websites. I was looking for something affordable, but sturdy and with some storage as well.

Here is my ranking of the five stores I was the most interested in during my search and which one ultimately had the nightstand I was looking for.

Nightstand criteria:

  • Small and easy to assemble
  • Multiple shelves, drawers or a combination of the two
  • Under $50

5. Target

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I was really hoping I would be able to find what I was looking for at Target because it is my go to store when it comes to shopping for college, especially for school supplies, but it came last in terms of furniture for me.

There were several tables I found that were very similar to what I wanted, but only a few in my price range. I found this table in the clearance section, my favorite place, and it was marked down to around $30, had a drawer for storage and was pretty sturdy. But I wasn’t a big fan of the natural wood and would’ve preferred a shelf on the bottom.

4. T.J. Maxx

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Okay, so I used to hate T.J. Maxx because I was a very impatient shopper. I liked to go into a store, spend about twenty to thirty minutes finding what I was looking for and then leave. But, let me tell you my friends, I have found my patience and discovered the beauty that is T.J. Maxx. If you’re willing to take your time and look at everything in the haphazardly organized clearance sections you can find some amazing things at great prices.

While this is more of a cart than a nightstand, it was more of what I wanted than the previous table because of the multiple shelves. “Why are shelves such a big deal” you ask? I’m kind of a “cluttery” person and stack things wherever I can find the room, especially books that I read before bed or textbooks for class, so I love furniture with shelves. The only problem I had with this one was that it was around $40 which was near the top of my budget.

3. Wayfair

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I love online shopping for the convenience and occasional free shipping, but I have never actually used Wayfair before and only started looking at it this week because of a recommendation from my mom. Upon further exploration of the website, I’ve decided I’ll most likely be a customer in the future.

They have such a huge selection and I did find a really nice nightstand that was on sale for $37.99 and it had the whole drawer-shelf combo going for it. I found it earlier in the week and kept it as my “backup” if I didn’t find anything in a store. It was also going to require some assembling, probably not an insane amount, but enough that I was also deterred from it just a little bit.

2. I’ll Second That Consignment

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If you’re a college student on a budget, second hand furniture and consignment stores are your best friend. This store was another recommendation from my mom and is about five minutes away from my house in Indian Trail, North Carolina. I really love consignment stores because the owners usually have high standards when it comes to “gently used” and you can find some amazing furniture, housewares and home decor for a lot less than retail prices.

This wicker nightstand was super affordable at only $18, had several shelves (one already filled with books!) and obviously required no assembly. Similar to the nightstand from Wayfair, I kept this in the back of my mind as a possibility throughout the week. I was sold on the price, but wicker didn’t match the furniture I knew was already going to go in my room.

 

1. IKEA

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This store is not for the faint-hearted or someone who isn’t super fond of crowds, especially on a busy Saturday afternoon. Before this trip to the Swedish, home furnishing retailer I had never been to IKEA and was overwhelmed to say the least. But I stuck it out and after looking around for a little while I finally found a winner!

This wire storage table was the perfect combination of drawers, an affordable price of $14.99, and very little assembly. It’s small enough to fit under the desk I also ended up getting at IKEA and matches it too. The slightly stressful trip ended with some frozen yogurt and cinnamon rolls to take home for the next morning, which definitely sweetened the deal.

It can be hard to go shopping for furniture, especially when it’s for your first apartment and you’re on a budget. I was only shopping for a little nightstand this time and had a bit of a hard time choosing which one I wanted. My advice is to shop around and take your time, because if you find something you love that’s also a quality piece of furniture hopefully you can continue to use it for several years.

I hope some of this advice helped and you can use it next time you’re shopping for something specific.

Do you have any stores you love shopping at for your college dorm or apartment? Let me know in the comments!