Going from a dorm room to your first apartment is a milestone. For many people, it represents their first real independence. It’s an opportunity to show that you can stand on your own and support yourself.
However, a big move like that also represents a challenge. Most dorm rooms are very small and require little in the way of furnishings. How can you make the move from a dorm to an unfurnished apartment without breaking the bank? All it takes is a bit of creativity and ingenuity – and these tips.
Best Tips for Your College Apartment Packing List
First, you need to write up a college apartment packing list. This will help you prioritize items and decide on the best places to save.
A bed is usually at the top of any apartment packing list. It’s the most vital piece of furniture you will need every day. After that, you will want to add such things as a couch, easy chairs, kitchen table, kitchen chairs, and so forth. After that, you should list the things that will make you happy and comfortable.
Put your immediate needs at the top of the list. You should take care of them first and then worry about the rest. For instance, if your apartment comes with a breakfast bar and barstools, you can save money by not buying a table right away.
Furthermore, don’t start buying the small stuff on your apartment packing list before you have set up a budget. You could go broke buying pots and pans, even if the website says they are on sale. To avoid online pitfalls, you can consult FTC rules about online shopping before you go on a spree!
If you start months ahead of your move-in date, you will have even more time to find deals and be picky. It will help you save money and find the best items. Remember you can rent a small storage unit to hold your furniture until moving day. Our self-storage sizing guide can help you find the perfect fit.
Consider Length of Use
You are furnishing an apartment, but is it where you will live for an entire year? It’s possible that you may move again and again before you finish college. Even if you stay in one place until graduation day, it’s likely you will move then. With that perspective, you can focus your efforts on serviceable furniture and not the most expensive.
If you have graduated, that’s different. It may be time to start collecting furniture that you want to keep for years. Still, you don’t need to spend your whole budget on the latest, greatest thing. It will pay to choose pieces that will last, even if they need to be refinished or recovered.
Ask Family and Friends
Before you spend money, you should consider putting out the word to your family and friends. Just send an email and let them know that you would be interested in anything they might not need anymore. You may score some nice stuff as they give it to you instead of donating it.
If you are in college, the only thing that really matters is daily comfort. You don’t need to focus on fashion or decor. However, when it comes to “soft furniture” such as couches and easy chairs, you should make sure there is no smell!
For those who are establishing an actual home, what do you do if somebody offers you a sofa that you don’t like? If it’s solid and you like the shape of it, don’t turn it down because you dislike the upholstery. You can always use a slipcover. A well-made piece of furniture can last a lifetime if you treat it properly. Try to see the potential and remember that you have the ability to refinish or repaint it in due time.
Go Thrifting and Antiquing
Instead of buying overpriced cookie-cutter furniture from a chain store, look for good used furniture. You might be surprised at what you find, and you won’t have to put the furniture together! There are three options these days: the local online marketplace, thrift stores, and antique stores.
You can get great deals if you watch the online marketplace on your social media. Make sure that your setting is: local. Marketplaces will have twice as many ads unless you exclude items to be shipped. Your goal should be to buy from local sellers who are selling off their own household items and furniture at rock bottom prices.
Of course, thrift stores are another option for furniture and household goods. That should save you a bundle and outfit your new place with the items you need for everyday living. There are some great kitchen storage items that can save space in a small apartment.
People who haven’t spent a lot of time in antique stores sometimes make the mistake of thinking that antiques equal expensive. However, that is very often not the case. Just because a place calls itself an antique store doesn’t mean it is only selling expensive pieces.
Finding Everything on Your Apartment Packing Checklist
When it comes to furnishing your first apartment, the key is to be patient and creative. Don’t feel like you have to fully furnish your apartment overnight. Focus on your immediate needs, and then have fun finding the rest. In the end, you’ll have a unique space that feels like home.
While your apartment is bigger than your dorm room, you still may be pressed for space. We recommend a storage unit to keep your apartment from feeling too crowded. You can tuck away seasonal clothing and other off-season items. Find us in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas.