This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CORT. All opinions are 100% mine.
After spending two years in the dorms at my university, I was so sick of cafeteria food and community bathrooms that living off-campus was the only option I’d consider for my junior year. I found a cute three-bedroom condo about a mile from campus to share with my favorite people, and I couldn’t be any happier with where I ended up! Seriously, there’s a pilates studio, cream puff bakery, and mini grocery store within 2 minutes of my door. 🙌🏽
Leaving the dorms meant having a lot more responsibility though, and I definitely made some rookie mistakes during my first semester here. From figuring out how (and when) to file a maintenance request, to learning that groceries don’t last nearly as long as you think they would, these are some tips I’d give anyone moving off-campus!
Have A Go-To Grocery List
After eating at a buffet-style cafeteria for two years, I felt pretty clueless walking into a grocery store and actually having to buy things other than snacks. I quickly realized that remembering an entire kitchen’s worth of food was impossible, so I started keeping a basic grocery list in my notes app. There are lots of staples on it like pasta, bread, and bananas (I eat at least two a day), and whenever I think of something extra I’d love to have around, I just add it on.
You’ll save yourself a ton of time at the store if you organize your list by category! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked through the entire store only to realize I forgot some veggies on the other side.
Learn How To Cook ASAP
I’m six months into living off-campus but I still don’t know how to cook, and it’s really starting to hurt. Pasta is only good for so many lunches/dinners/snacks, so I would recommend learning how to make a few great meals early on! Having delicious prepped meals in your fridge will keep you from eating out too often and, depending on what you make, leave you a lot healthier too!
Buy Basics In Bulk
Now that a janitor isn’t changing out the toilet paper in your community bathroom everyday, you’ll have to monitor your own supply. Things like toilet paper, paper towels, and hand soap go a lot quicker than you’d think, so I suggest buying them in bulk!
Decorate Your Room With Things You Love
It sounds obvious, but I didn’t start adding personal touches to my room till last month and it’s made such a difference in my mood and overall happiness! This is a lot easier if you have a private bedroom, but even if you’re sharing a room, you can still add your favorite posters and pictures to your side of the wall.
I recently installed a pegboard on the wall above that desk and I’m slowly starting to add cute prints to it, so if you’d want to see a DIY post on that or know some great print shops, let me know in the comments!
Make Friends With Your Neighbors
You don’t have to hang out at their apartment or have deep conversations with them, but acknowledging your neighbors’ existence and saying hi when you pass them will save you in so many situations. Have a package being delivered to your door but it’s raining outside? Forgot to feed your pet but you’re out for the weekend? Need an extra cup of sugar for your recipe? You never know when something like that will come up, and it’s a lot easier to ask a neighbor you’re friends with to do you a favor than one that’s a total stranger. You’ll also feel more comfortable asking them if your music is too loud, or letting them know their’s is!
Be Smart About Furniture
Living off-campus most likely means getting your own furniture, which is way more of a hassle than I ever thought it would be. Fortunately my roommates lived in an apartment previously, so they brought most of the furniture for our place, but most people I know weren’t so lucky!
Most students only live in their apartment for two to four years before moving away to a new apartment or city. It’s a lot more convenient to just rent furniture, which I didn’t even realize was possible until CORT reached out to me about their furniture rental service!
CORT offers furniture on-demand, meaning they’ll deliver and set it all up before you even arrive at your new apartment, and take it away when you move out—no hassle for you! They have a great selection of furniture for your bedroom, living room, and dining room, so all you have to do is add your own personal touches with cute pillows or decorations.
Take Care Of Rent Early
Speaking of renting, paying rent is also a thing you’ll have to get used to. Most apartment owners and landlords are super strict about when your rent is due, and will charge you a hefty fee for being late. Mark your payment date on your calendar for every month, and aim to have your rent in a few days early if allowed!
Keep It Clean
Cleaning is important no matter where you live, but it’s even more important if you’re living in an older complex like mine. Roaches do exist, and will leave you screaming and jumping on your bed if you don’t keep your place clean. Make a habit of cleaning your floors, counters, and bathrooms every week, and make sure dirty dishes make it to the kitchen ASAP!
My place is really old, and has tons of random holes in the walls and under sinks that me and my roommates are convinced serve as roach passages, so be sure to check every corner of your place and plug any up with paper towels or something bug-proof. Honestly, if you live in an old complex and want any advice, I’ve dealt with just about every problem possible so leave me a comment with your questions!
Know How To File Maintenance Requests
Garbage disposal not working? Dishwasher flooding? Air conditioning not turning on? These are all very possible events, and definitely happened at the same time on Superbowl Sunday in my condo. Knowing how to file a maintenance request will save you so much time and stress when something goes wrong, so ask your apartment owner or landlord where you can fill one out!
Get Lots Of Candles
This is more of a personal thing, but having candles totally changes the mood of my room and I have one lit almost everyday. Go to Marshall’s or TJMaxx and grab a bunch (that’s where I’ve found the cheapest ones), coordinating with the season of course!
If you’re moving off-campus and have any questions or just want some advice, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!! And don’t forget to check out CORT Furniture Rental!