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Common apartment problems and how to fix them

Most college students do not stay in a dorm for their full four years on campus — after sophomore year, it is usually off to their first apartment.

UE - Most college students do not stay in a dorm for their full four years on campus — after sophomore year, it is usually off to their first apartment.

Living in an apartment gives students much more privacy and independence. However, apartments sometimes come with many problems and headaches that students are not prepared for and are not used to dealing with on their own.

ROOMMATES

Of course when renting an apartment while in college, roommates are inevitable. They help with the cost of apartment living and can be good company. Having a roommate can be fun and exciting, and can also create lifelong friendships. Nevertheless, living with someone else is not always easy, even if they have been friends for years. Having roommates that do not always see eye to eye can cause conflict with apartment living and make your college experience miserable.

If choosing a roommate is an option it is a critical decision. Choose a person(s) that has the same type of lifestyle. There is a lower possibility of problems between roommates if overly neat people room together and messier people room together instead of complete opposites.

Even if choosing a roommate is not an option and roommates have different lifestyles, setting some guidelines at first is always a great way to prevent conflict. If one roommate likes to go to bed early, letting the other roommate know beforehand could prevent any future issues. Another matter to discuss is cleaning; splitting up cleaning duties can make living together go smoothly and inhibits one person from doing all the work.

SMALL SPACES AND ROOMS

Apartments are normally not very spacious, especially the bedrooms. This can be very frustrating when it comes to storing many personal items including clothes and shoes. Adding shelves on the wall, elevated shoe racks, and portable drawers and cabinets will help maximize potential space while staying organized.

Hanging large mirrors on the walls of a bedroom or living area will make the space appear larger as well. Be sure to check with the landlord before making any changes that cannot easily be removed.

APARTMENT MAINTENANCE

Apartments normally come with appliances like refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, heating and air conditioning, and sometimes come with dishwashers and washers and dryers. However, all these appliances may have issues or even break.

Dad normally is not around to fix it, so the landlord is the person to call when anything like that breaks or is not working properly. It is best to look the issue up online to make sure that it is actually broken before calling the landlord every time the AC makes a clinking sound.

Aside from the maintenance of these appliances, sharing them with roommates is necessary. Sharing food can sometimes be a problem, so create different sections of the fridge where each roommate can put their own food. If a dishwasher included with the apartment, this may be the most frequent issue to have, considering all roommates will be contributing their dishes.

Taking turns emptying the dishwasher could easily solve this potential problem. Creating a chore schedule has also proven to be helpful. This way everyone pitches in and the duties are evenly distributed.

LAUNDRY

Not all apartments come with their own washer and dryer. If an apartment does not, consider where laundry can be done, like at home on weekends or the closest laundromat. If there is a washer and dryer (which is great), assign different days for each roommate to do their laundry to avoid confusion and frustration between roommates. Also, it is probably best if everyone buys their own laundry detergent.

NEIGHBORS AND NOISES

Every apartment is going to have neighbors. It is great to get acquainted with neighbors in case of an emergency and can also be a way to meet new people and make new friends. Respecting neighbors in the apartment complex is important. If friends are over just keep in mind that most apartment walls are very thin and neighbors may be trying to study and can probably hear every word blasting on the radio.

SAFETY

Living in an apartment off of campus can sometimes be dangerous. There are not always people around like in a dorm. Try to always travel in pairs, like in elementary school use the buddy system. Always carry a cell phone and a small bottle of mace or a whistle in case of an emergency. Never walk alone at night and if it cannot be prevented, let a friend know the intended plans and an expected time home.

MAIL MIX UPS

Getting letters and care packages is common for college students; although, they might not always make it to the correct apartment. Normally, each apartment will get their own P.O. Box to receive mail. Sometimes there are mix ups and a different apartment can end up with another apartment’s mail or packages (which is another great reason to get along with neighbors).

STAIRS

Many apartments do not have elevators so stairs are a must. This may not sound too horrible and can be great exercise, but consider how many flights of steps there are when carrying groceries and moving in and out of the apartment.

Investing in large sturdy reusable bags to carry groceries and other items in with one trip may be well worth the money.

PARKING AVAILABILITY

Not many people think of how much parking is available in an apartment complex until there is very little or none.

Although, it is very common to have limited space in apartment parking lots, especially when it is on or near campus. If parking space is scarce, riding a bicycle to and from campus or places nearby could be a way to make parking spot hunting less frequent.

Living in an apartment for the first time can be a great experience. Finally having the independence as an adult, but as an adult you must prepare yourself for issues that may arise. Getting through them does not have to be as difficult as they may sound and using these tips may make a more memorable college experience.

USA today