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Occupying an apartment from scratch

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by dixiehack, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Thanks to some life circumstances I can't detail right now, I am moving into an apartment tomorrow morning with virtually nothing to put in it. I've got some clothes, toiletries, a laptop, a few groceries from where I've been staying. I have been gifted some silverware and a new set of plates. I may or may not get to bring in a spare bed. The new place has a dishwasher, stove and fridge.

    Otherwise I'm at zero, and have a small budget to work with. This is my first time living alone and first time to start with so little. I'm trying to wrap my head around everything I need, from washer and dryer to toilet paper and shower curtain, and prioritize accordingly, but I'm overwhelmed. So I'm calling on SportsJournalists.com hive mind to help me think this through.
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    It sounds like something's gone bad in your life. I'm sorry Dix.

    Obviously, the toliet paper is important. Get a couple pots and pans because cooking is much cheaper than eating out. Otherwise, go to yard sales and garage sales and see what you can find. Sometimes you can find couches or beds for a fraction of a price than if you found new.

    Good luck.
  3. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    Find out if there's an active Freecycle group in your area. People give away all kinds of stuff, including furniture and appliances and smaller things, too, like pots and pans.

    Good luck.
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear of your circumstances, Dixie. Hope things turn around soon.
    If you want to learn the ways of living cheaply, I have a feeling you've come to the right place.

    A few basic tips off the top of my head:
    1) Don't buy a shower curtain, just buy the vinyl liner ($6). That's all you need for now. The liner is what does the job. The curtain is just for show.

    2) If your circumstances aren't related to unemployment, you might be able to sneak a few rolls of toilet paper or paper towels from the office. A lot of places stash an extra, unopened roll or two in the stalls.

    3) Like Baron said, check garage sales and yard sales for furniture. Check the local thirft shops, too. You can often find things like dressers, tables and chairs for cheap. Also reach out to friends and family and see if anybody has something they're looking to get rid of.

    4) When you go grocery shopping, take a calculator with you and add up the total as you go. Keep to a strict budget. When I was a bachelor, I'd put about $20 aside every paycheck and do the "big trip" to the grocery store about every two months. That was when I stocked up on cheap food like mac and cheese, hot dogs, beans and rice, pasta and sauce, canned goods ... all things you can freeze or keep in a pantry. The food groups are boxed, canned, frozen/freezable and refrigerable. Those might not taste great or be the best food for you, but you can get creative with them and endure until things stabilize.
    You'll have to supplement those with smaller trips for things like detergent and toilet paper, of course, and the occasional fast food meal.

    5) If you use liquid detergent, buy the 100-ounce bottles. Best value for the money.
    Does your apartment complex have public washing machines? Or will you have to find a laundromat? Laundromats are damned depressing places, but they are efficient. Thanks to the multiple machines, you can get a week's worth of laundry done in two hours.
    In either case, either get a roll of quarters from the bank or save your change each day and put it in a jar for that purpose.

    Hope that helps a tiny bit.
  5. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    If you do use a laundromat and don't want to pay for dryer sheets, find one left in a dryer. They're good for at least 5 cycles.

    One table and one chair is important. It's nice to have a place where you can sit, sort out papers, have a meal etc. And if you are comfortable with it, let your friends and associates know that you are looking for stuff. A lot of people have things in their garage or storage that they don't need but don't want to just throw away or donate. Or perhaps they'll lend it to you for the short term.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    A couple of other thoughts:

    1. If funds are short, check out the local food pantry to see what they have. My wife once brought one of our neighbors there, as a favor because the neighbor had car trouble, and walked away with a bag of non-perishable groceries and a gift card to the grocery store for herself, even though she tried to decline. It's not every food pantry, but the one she went to was trying to give away stuff because they had just had a shipment come in. You might be able to save some money there, for now.

    2. If you haven't already and live near one, get a library card. Checking out books there is free and you'll want something to keep your mind occupied instead of sitting in an empty apartment by yourself.

    3. As silly as it may seem, if you have a couple of bucks saved, see about getting a Beta fish or some other fish and a small bowl, to keep you company on those days and nights when you're by yourself. It'll give you someone to talk to, even if you feel silly talking to a fish.
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Get two trash cans (one for the kitchen, smaller one for the bathroom), and a roll of trash bags.

    You'll be amazed at how quickly trash piles up. And it'll take you about a week to discover that plastic grocery bags don't really substitute well for real trash bags.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Email a small group of friends, the people you trust and those who live close, and just tell them what's up and could they spare anything. Maybe concentrate on folks who have been in the same house for a few years and have had a chance to accumulate stuff. Looking around my house, if I got a request like that from a friend I would be able to give him a bed, a couch, a small TV, a DVD player, some wearable clothes and more than a few other household items. Not only to help him out, but he would be doing me a favor by clearing some of the stuff out of my house.
  9. Greenhorn

    Greenhorn Active Member

    Brita pitcher/filters. Always a must for me.

    And good call on the library card.

    Best of luck.
  10. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Towel, for the bathroom floor coming out of the shower.

    Where you're moving, can you get a wireless card (if you don't already have one)? Would give you more mobility over just a cable install.

    Craigslist a lot of stuff. You'll be surprised what's on there for free.

    Good luck, dixie.
  11. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    In 1997 I moved from NJ to Guam with a guitar and three suitcases.
    I lived in a small studio with a kitchenette for a year.
    Although I was homesick, depressed and a barely functioning, raving drunk for most of that year, I look back on it fondly now.

    I lived on Guam for another two years, but by that point I had accumulated stuff again - a nicer place, friends, a girlfriend, a reasonable semblance of normalcy and sobriety.
    It had really lost all of its romance.
  12. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Are you a coffee drinker? If so, do you have a coffeemaker with you?

    Do you know the distance between your shower rod (assuming you have one) and the floor?

    Is your tub the kind that's slick and you fall without a rubberized mat to stand on, or is it the safer kind?

    If you're not comfortable answering here, PM me. And as others have said, good luck. Also, you have friends here and elsewhere. You'll get through this.
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