Defeating Apartment Anxiety: 4 Tips

By Francine Fluetsch on October 17, 2016

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If it’s your first time living on your own, you may start to develop something called apartment anxiety, but don’t worry, everyone gets it! After living with your parents for 18+ years and then battling the dorms, getting your own place off-campus should feel like a breath of fresh air, but the apartment anxiety starts to set in once you realize how many more responsibilities you now have.

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From paying the rent on time to learning how to feed yourself, a lot of the anxiety is going to be circulating around money, so here are some tips on how to combat the anxiety to make your off-campus experience a fun one.

Money calendar:

Living in an apartment means you are going to have to keep track of all your bills and when they are due. Rent is most always due on the 1st of the month, so that one is easy to remember, but what about the other bills? And how are you and your roommates going to pay for it? Usually the landlord likes having the money come for each item on a single check: rent on one whole check, water on one, gas on one, and so on, so you and your roommates will have to decide who is going to send the check to the landlord, and when you will all have to give the designated person the money.

Since this can become a touchy subject and cause anxiety, it’s a good idea to have a big calendar or whiteboard in the center of a shared space, where you can all write down when things are due, how much each bill will be for the month, and anything else that is money related that you will all have to share.

Failure to pay on time can result in you all getting kicked out of the apartment and then having an even harder time finding a new place, which is a worry you don’t want to add to your plate. Don’t let rent money ruin your living situation by keeping your bills organized.

Chore chart:

At home, you had your parents and siblings to help you clean, in the dorms you had a cleaning staff that at least took care of the bathrooms, but in your apartment, you and your roommates are on your own when it comes to cleaning, and this can lead to a lot of anxiety. If your living space is cluttered and dirty, it is going to be harder for you to focus on your schoolwork, and that is not an environment that you want to live in.

There are many ways that roommates go about dividing up the cleaning chores, but I think that a chore chart is the fairest way to go about it, and it will ensure that everyone is pulling their weight. Next to the chore chart, you can also have a running list of cleaning supplies that are running low and whose turn it is to buy said cleaning items. If you all don’t talk about it and just hope someone else will buy it or clean the place, chances are that it’s not going to get done, and once it has gotten bad enough, someone is going to snap and the living situation will get awkward, so don’t let it get to that.

Feeding yourself:

Some people have a diverse background in cooking, which is awesome, but I’ve found that the average college student only knows how to make about three meals, tops. And while cereal is a great dinner substitute, it gets old real fast. You don’t have to become a master chef any time soon, but learning how to make some simple dishes, even if some of it consists of frozen dinners, is going to make you feel better and help you concentrate.

Use this time in your life to experiment with food and actually learn to cook. You always have to eat, and once you learn how to nourish your body, you’ll be saving a lot of money by not always having to eat out all the time. The way to save money here is to split groceries with your roommates and trade off cooking. This of course only works for foods that you all like, but it really can be a time and money saver.

Rent furniture:

Apart from finding a place to rent, acquiring furniture is one of the most stressful things about moving into your own apartment. Furniture is really pricey, so a lot of students can’t just go out and buy brand new things. While there are some great places to get secondhand items, this can get pricey as well and will require you to rent a U-haul and put in the manual labor to set everything up, and then take it all back down when you are done living there, and then you have to store it or sell it, both of which are annoying.

Renting furniture is a great alternative and will save you a lot of money. You get new stuff, the rental places usually assemble and disassemble all the furniture so you don’t have to do anything, and you won’t be stuck with any random furniture at the end, so it will be smooth sailing all around.

These are a few of the common stress areas about first living on your own. Once you can take care of them, you’ll be able to ease into your living situation and really enjoy your freedom.

Looking for an easy way to furnish your off-campus apartment? Renting furniture from CORT saves you time and money. See how easy it is to get great looking furniture without breaking the bank.

Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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