So the inevitable time has come. The day every mother anticipates with an emotional cocktail that ranges from pride and joy to fear and dread (and everything in between). Our youngest child, Charles The Younger has left for college, and Mr. Handsome and I are officially Empty Nesters! I thought I’d be devastated, but I’m here to tell you...it’s pretty good! In fact, I am pleased to report that Charlie has both delighted and surprised us with the lessons he’s obviously absorbed through the years, and is not employing in his shared room at university. See? They are listening! I am floored.
START WITH A CLEAN SLATE
When it comes to furniture (and depending on the budget) a mix of new and 2nd hand items is usually the best way to get them started. You can scour Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for second-hand tables, and bookshelves. With a good wipe-down these things can easily look good as new. As far as sofas and mattresses go, it’s probably best to buy new (always). The everyday basics and extras like dish ware and power strips can be bought on Amazon and IKEA. The fun decor driven stuff can always be found at the local Target or if you have some time before the move, Etsy has some great stuff as well. I'm contributing what I can so some good kitchen basics like our old pots and pans from Williams-Sonoma and the boring but important items like bins and hampers from The Container Store.
Where to save and where to splurge
I am a strong believer of spending money where you spend your most time; when it comes to the extras. Advice for apartment beginners? Upgrade to some proper pillows, make life and food prep a little easier with some sharp Japanese knives, and a chic set of Turkish towels will instantly upgrade your shower routine. Oh, and stylish reusable coffee cups! Make your own coffee (when you can) instead of spending $5 on a latte every morning. They add up quicker than you’d think!
A few little thing here and there can really make any first time apartment feel more like a home. A comforting Home fragrance is a big one. There's no such thing as too many candles. Oil Diffusers are another option, easy to use and landlord approved! Especially great for the more easily distracted. Just add a few drops of fragrance oil, set it, and forget it.
“Your first apartment is a perfect storm: an intersection of many needs and low resources,” says Mara Leighton from Business Insider. And, I concur. Moving them out can be both a lesson in restraint (do you really need that?) and in the gentle art of letting go (agh!)
My final piece of advice for the beginners? Make your bed (every. morning.), don’t let the dishes pile up, and call your mother. She’s most likely freaking out.