When I was still living under my parents’ roof full-time, things were expected of me. I made my bed each day, kept my room tidy, and didn’t leave my shoes in the hallway. I helped do dishes. By age 10, I was responsible for washing, folding, and putting away my own laundry. I didn’t have to scrub floors or clean gutters but I had responsibilities and I was considered fairly independent for my age. So the adjustment to dorm life with its stocked community bathroom and meal plan weren’t a big deal. The real transition came the following year when I moved into my first apartment.
It’s a reasonably nice place with plenty of space for four reasonably clean and responsible girls. We have the coveted luxury of a washer/dryer as well as a dishwasher in our apartment. Be very jealous.
But no matter your background in domestic life or the caliber of your first independent living arrangement, there are still going to be some eye-openers. Following are a small sample of things you probably never considered before apartment living
1. Toilet paper
Never in my young life did I imagine running out. Bathrooms were always stocked. And if they weren’t for some reason, I knew with confidence, there was a giant Costco stash of TP in the basement. Now without a basement or a toilet paper fairy, this is something I had to get a handle on quickly with my new living circumstances.
2. The stove
No matter how much of a mess was caused by the dinner preparations, the family stove was always sparkling (though I can’t say I ever actually noticed). But now I notice and nothing is sparkling. Grimy and sticky have a life of their own.
3. The dishwasher
I know. I have a lot of nerve complaining. At least I have one. But growing up, the sound of dishes clanging against each other and cabinets opening and closing on a Tuesday morning before I even get out of bed was just background noise. As it turns out, that job’s a pain and someone has to do it.
4. Cleaning products
A plethora of products was always at my disposal at home. Nothing ran out -- kind of like the toilet paper. Mops, brooms, mold cleaner, window cleaner, hardwood floor cleaner, cleaner for every nook and cranny of the house. Such choices. This is a new and overwhelming aisle at Target for me.
Bathroom rugs were a pleasant, soft, fluffy place to warm my feet when I got out of the shower. My bedroom carpet was always clean because shoes weren’t allowed and someone had been vacuuming. Not so in most college apartments. Now I’m always wearing shoes just because I don’t want my bare feel to touch the floor!
6. Being alone at night
Never did I go to bed in an empty house growing up. With busy roommates, though, someone is always missing. A few times, I found myself alone in my apartment at night. It’s very quiet, and I don’t like it.
7. Light bulbs
How many 20-year-olds does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, actually. But when she lived at home, she never really had to do it.
I think this is the point where I say thank you to Mom and Dad.