I spent this weekend moving into my apartment, which was an exhausting process! It felt like moving to college again, except there wasn't a move crew to help carry my stuff up, I had WAY more stuff, and I had to build all of my furniture myself. So basically like moving to college but worse, LOL. Thankfully my parents came down to help because they were a godsend - my mom is the home improvement expert and my dad helped lift the heavy furniture. It was such a hectic weekend but I finally feel a bit more settled into my place. I've compiled a list of ten things I've learned from this weekend, which will give you more perspective on how this process went for me!
- Ikea furniture can be really easy or really hard to assemble depending on your attention to detail.
You HAVE to pay attention to the slightest things, like which direction a lock is facing, otherwise you’ll get stuck. I recommend assembling with a friend, because 2 heads is better than 1! If you get stuck, check out to see if there are youtube videos on how to assemble the piece. Also, make sure you have all of the pieces when you get started - my bed slates were missing 4 major pieces that required me to go all the way back to the store, which sucked to drive through DC traffic but was the only option for me to get a functional bed!
- You don’t have to figure everything out day one.
My roommate and I are still deciding what furniture placement is best, how to organize our kitchen, and what art we want. It’s been a lot easer on my brain to divide up these tasks into small, manageable ones.
- It will take time to feel like home.
Living in an apartment in a busy city is very new to me, so I still feel a bit like a visitor now. My friends + family all point out that it will take a decent amount of time for your place to actually feel like a “home”, and that it’s totally normal.
- Make sure you have a tool set.
As a female I never thought about bringing tools, but my parents pointed out that these are crucial to building furniture, fixing things, and making my life 10x easier. They were right, as usual.
- Give yourself a few days to complete all of the major tasks.
I have this week to get everything adjusted before starting work, and at first I was thinking, “what am I going to do all week?!”, but now I have a lot of stuff to still organize, buy, or re-arrange. Having this time to help make my place feel more cozy has been a game changer.
- You will forget a lot of items.
Each day I remember a few small things (nail polish remover, a metal spatula, etc.) that I didn’t buy or bring. I’ve made a master list of all the things I still need then divide by store based on what items will be cheapest where - the stores I’m using are Target, Amazon, and T.J Maxx (seriously the best store ever).
- Explore your new neighborhood when you need a break.
I already know where the metro is, where the nearest Starbucks is, how to get to the grocery store, and where there are parks nearby. I've been taking 20 minutes here or there to go for a stroll and see my new area which is fun + revitalizing.
- Enlist help.
I couldn’t have made such a seamless transition without the help of my parents, boyfriend, and roommate. Having a support squad makes everything go a lot faster and also provides good opinions on where to place furniture and when building Ikea pieces (see #1!).
- It’s okay to spend money to make your apartment a home.
I get nervous every time I spend money (I’m not joking). But I realized I would rather have my place feel like it’s loved + lived in than be cold + sterile, even if it means spending extra money on throw pillows, curtains, decorations.
- If you have a roommate, communicate throughout the entire process.
Know who is in charge of what (ex/ what furniture to buy, who is setting up utilities, who will send in the first month of rent). Dividing and conquering has been great for my roommate and I, and talking about everything as we go has been as well. This made it easy to figure out who was getting what room, how we want to keep the apartment, and more!
I’d love to hear if you have any tips on the moving process + exploring a new city, and I hope this was helpful. I’m off to walk more around the city and go back to Ikea for the 4th time…