Being a Grown-up Volume 1: Your Apartment is Not Your Dorm Room

Posted By Heather Rusick on 1/23/17 3:44 PM


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So you've crossed the stage, grabbed your diploma and are on your way to true adulthood! There's no manual for how to approach the rest of your life, but you can have some control over your living space, which will now become your refuge from the real world. Here are a few tips for making your apartment more habitable than your dorm room.

1. Transform Your Space With Color
Paint is an inexpensive way to completely transform your living space within a few hours. Take a look at paint websites like Behr or Sherwin-Williams to get an idea of color combinations that you like. They also offer virtual paint option that let you visualize what your painted room will look like. Check with your landlords to make sure they're okay with you painting the space; some may ask that you return walls to a neutral color before you leave.
2. Plant Power
Add a little green to your life with plants, succulents or flowers. If you choose the right varieties, they are simple to maintain and add life to even small spaces. Easy plants to begin with are spider plants and English ivy; both require minimal sunlight and water to grow quickly. You can also pot some fresh herbs such as mint, basil and rosemary that not only look great, but that you can use in your cooking rather than ramen seasoning.
3. Clean Your Bathroom Weekly
When you have a communal bathroom in college, you become accustomed to wearing flip flops in the shower and seeing hair clogs. In your apartment, there's no quicker way to turn off your friends (or potential Tinder match!) than to have these kinds of conditions in your bathroom. If you want a nontoxic and inexpensive bathroom cleaner, a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle does the trick. For tougher tub stains, use a mix of baking powder and water for enough cleaning power to tackle the grime.
4. Master a Few Recipes
Once you finally have your own space, you obviously want to have your crew over for an evening of dinner and drinks. But...what do you make? Become friends with a sharp chef's knife and your kitchen. Learning to cook for yourself and others is a tool you'll use for the rest of your life. Not sure where to start? A highly recommended site is Simply Recipes, which divides recipes by cuisine, course, main ingredient or season. The author, Elise, shows you step-by-step breakdowns and an explanation for every delicious dish. Another site with thousands of possibilities is, which has a vast array of recipes that even noobs can master. Once you get a couple of go-to recipes under your belt, having friends over for an evening won't seem like such an intimidating task.
5. Keep Ahead of Dust and Dirt
Dusting and sweeping are two necessary evils that you must keep up with regularly to maintain a clean apartment. If you have animals, this is especially important because their fur multiplies quicker than gremlins after midnight. Do a quick sweep or vacuum before you leave for work every morning, or make it a part of your bedtime routine. Dusting electronics, fans, baseboards and so on can be reserved for a once-a-week cleaning. You'll notice the difference when you hit a lazy weekend and decide to do nothing but binge-watch your favorite new show.
One of the strangest realities you'll discover about this next stage of life is that we're all just kind of making it up as we go along. As long as you feel good about where you put your head every night, take some comfort knowing that your new space can be worlds better than your dorm room.