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Getting Your Own Place
Table of Contents
You must be able to answer yes to all of the following before you can live on your own.
- Do you have a source of income suitable to live on your own?
- Do you know how to clean up after yourself and do laundry?
- Do you own enough furniture to not look completely poor?
- Are you of the legal age to live on your own?
You should also call up the local companies that take care of utilities and get an estimate on your total deposits for them. Once you've got that, get a phone book, and look in the yellow pages for apartments. Call up every place and ask them how much the apartment size you're looking for costs, then go around to the ones you're interested in and see which ones look like shit and which ones are decent enough to live in. Keep in mind that while you may not mind living in a shitty place, you won't get laid nearly as much, and you may get your stuff stolen. Once you've found a suitable place you can afford, find the people in charge and take care of business. Be sure to ask if the water heater and stove use gas or electric, since that may or may not be another bill you'll have to pay. You should call up the utilities companies shortly after this and get everything set up, like electricity, cable, and internet. You may also want a phone line, but it's generally better to just get a cell phone.
This is an important point to remember: Certain rentals have certain utilities included, even in a major city, in my case. At my current place, everything is included except for electricity and internet. And that includes cable TV, water, sewer, pool and barbecue fees, parking, and security. Call and check to see what utilities may be included and save yourself the headache later.
When you're checking out the apartment always make sure to check behind everything, my place looked so clean it was sparkling when I first moved in but when I looked under my bed the for the first time... Lets just say I was less than pleasantly surprised.
Another thing you should always ask is to see if there are rat, insects, homeless people, etc. infestations in the house. Trust me, there are many people who sell apartments and leave the tens of thousands of cockroaches living in their walls a secret. On the topic of insects, if the apartment has a tiny hole that may seem harmless, it's not. Keep an eye for these holes and ask the landlord to do something about them. Cockroaches and other small insects do indeed live in them and yes, they will fucking bother you. Worse case scenario, get some spackle and patch that bitch up yourself.
Another thing homeowners don't tell you is the age of the house, the type of paint the house uses, etc. I would ask to see the deed of the house before going ahead and renting it. A friend of mine had some serious health problems because his house was old, and still used lead paint. Note: Many City Halls make the deeds public (Well, at least the one I work at anyways)
This part's fairly straightforward. You shouldn't move in without your utilities turned on. If you have a bunch of stuff that won't fit into your vehicle or the vehicle of anybody willing to help you move, you'll need to rent one, or hire a neighbor. Just take all your shit from your old place to your new place, it's not hard. Try not to bang up walls while moving, since you're on your own now, and damages come out of your pocket. You may also want to check to make sure the windows are all locked, since the last 2 apartments I've moved into had them unlocked and I didn't notice for a week.
If you live in/are moving into a condominium or apartment building with elevators, check and see if you have to make reservations to use the elevators. Often the maintenance workers will put up padding and carpeting in the elevator to keep you from fucking it up with your stuff. It would be a real bitch to truck a bunch of stuff over and find that you can't move in because you didn't let them know you needed an elevator.
If by chance you're a rich fucker who can afford to have a moving company come in and take care of everything, make the reservations anyway, or at least call and confirm them. If you don't, your shit may end up in the company garage gathering dust, or on the side of the street. I've seen both happen.
And for the love of God, PACK A FEW DAYS SUPPLIES BEFORE YOU MOVE. If your shit gets lost in transit, or stolen, or misdelivered, or rained on, etc, you're going to need the spares you have on you. That includes things like basic toiletries, a cell phone charger, clothes, your important papers (passport, Social Security Card, birth certificate, copy of the lease, etc), and some MONEY. Don't get blindsided by accidents; they're more likely than you think.
You will almost always have a landlord, remember that it is his job to make sure the water isn't brown and that the boiler is working. If you have a problem, call him instead of trying to fix it on your own unless you are 100% sure that you can fix it on your own easily. Ask someone else about this first! If you end up making it worse, you're liable to be billed, and you will piss off your landlord by making him work for an hour on something that would have taken five minutes to fix. On the subject of landlord, pay your fucking rent on time dumbass! If you miss rent for as much as one month and your landlord (or, alternatively, the person who owns the building) doesn't like you, it will be that much harder to get apartments in the future because of shit credentials.
Make sure you buy the expensive cleaning products, you do not want your bathroom or your clothes smelling like shit for a month because you were too cheap to spend a little extra. Some examples of top-quality cleaning products are Clorox Clean-Up, Windex, Draino, and Dawn Concentrated. Clorox Clean-Up comes in bottles and spray bottles, which makes it perfect for cleaning out just about everything. The chlorine will kill anything it comes into contact with, excluding you unless you're stupid enough to drink it. Got a smelly sink, or a bathroom that you just can't get the funk out of? Flush the affected areas with some of this, and you'll never smell that stench again. Some clinics and most hospitals use this for sanitation purposes; follow their example. Windex is particularly good for cleaning glass and metal surfaces like stainless steel and chrome. The active chemical is ammonia, which brings up an important point. If you're using Clorox and Windex in the same room, for fuck's sake have some ventilation going. Ammonia and chlorine create a gaseous chemical compound called phosgene, which is deadly enough to warrant extensive use in World War I. Don't mix the two unless you're going to become an hero. Draino is useful for unplugging clogged drains in your shower and sinks, however don't get any on you. It's incredibly basic, and will burn the shit out of you if you're not careful. Dawn Concentrate is great for washing dishes, if you don't have a dishwasher. A little bit on a scrubbing pad, and you can eat off it once you rinse it.
On the subject of doing dishes, here are some basic steps. First, use HOT water. Cold water won't kill bacteria that have settled on the scraps left on your plate. Don't be afraid to use plenty of soap, either. Food poisoning will make your life hell, if for no other reason than the feeling of pissing out your back and front while you puke. Start by rinsing the dishes under the hot water first, to loosen up all that crap. Then take your soaped-up scrubbing pad, and scrub it ALL OVER. Don't miss a spot, even the underside. You wouldn't eat off a toilet seat, would you? Well, if you scratch your ass and then pick up a plate, you might as well be eating off the toilet seat. So scrub them well, until there's no trace of food or whatever left on them. Rinse the dish well, and make sure to get all the soap off. It won't hurt you, but it will make your food taste funny the next time you eat. If you were lazy and left a cooking pot or pan unwashed for a few days, fill it with hot water and soap and let it sit for an hour or so. Then come back and scrub the shit out of it. When all is said and done, scrub the sink out too, so it doesn't smell. If you have a garbage disposal, run it with the water on to make sure that all the scraps get flushed down the sink. If not, empty the drain screen into the trash and replace it. Should your sink start smelling like your father's socks, either dump some baking soda or Draino down it. That will kill the stench.
And now, for the rest of your apartment. On this note, don't be a dipshit and postpone cleaning. When you get an unexpected visit from the hot girl next door you do not want your floor to be littered with old trash, nor do you want your toilet to smell like shit and be covered in it. When you start cleaning, clean from the top to the bottom. It makes no sense to vacuum before you dust. Take a broom and get the cobwebs out of the corners of your ceiling, and dust from the top of the room down to the lower bookshelves. Scraps of paper, receipts, empty food wrappers, etc. are pretty common trash on the floor of an apartment. Just make sure you throw shit away instead of dropping it on the floor, otherwise you'll attract cockroaches. Make sure to go over your floor with a Hoover once a week or so and for the love of God change your fucking bedsheets and pillowcases as often as possible. Under and behind things is not as important, but shit will start stacking up back there before long so try to at least stick the Hoover back there once a month to keep new kinds of E. Coli from breeding.
When it comes to hosting parties in your new fancy pad, don't. You will either get too drunk and wake up to a completely destroyed apartment and be in debt for years for repairs and will have to spend weeks cleaning to even make it look decent, or you will be a complete bore running around making sure people put their beers on coasters and don't play with your prized vase and as such attract the scorn of basically every person in the area you live. It's a shitload of work, so just leave it to the professionals or at least people who are dumber than you to do it. Entertaining a small group of guests for a poker night, or LAN party is fine; but rollicking parties like the kind that get the SWAT teams called? Just save yourself the trouble and don't.
You can't get away from them, no matter what you do. Even if you have a townhouse, you're going to have to deal with your neighbours sooner or later. Only if you live in the middle of Bumfuck, USA will you get away from this problem. First and foremost, don't have gigantic parties, as stated above. Try and keep the outside of your residence clean, though if you have an apartment this is pretty much a non-issue, balconies aside. Don't steal their mail, and don't fuck with their property unless it is impacting yours. What this amounts to is basically "hands off." Leave them the fuck alone, and generally they'll leave you alone. In the event that you have a nosy neighbor, meaning one that likes to look through your mail, take note of what time you leave and come back, who you go out with, what visitors you have, etc, just ignore them. Unless you're doing something to get v&ed and b&ed, they can't bother you. If it is really starting to get on your nerves, don't go reaching for the bag of dogshit and a lighter. Talk to their landlord and file a complaint with them, or their rental company, hell, even the police if it can be considered harassment.
If you get a neighbour that complains about every little thing, though, don't hesitate to bring out the big guns. /b/ is not your personal army aside, find ways to make their life a living hell without getting caught. This is especially effective if you never strike in the same place twice; ergo, car, mail, landscaping, windows, flaming dogshit, etc.