As I pack up my apartment and prepare to move for the fifth time in six years, I find that I have learned a great deal about what I don’t want in an apartment. I also have a short list now of things that I do want in a future residence.
First, there are a few non-negotiables:
- A clothes washer and dryer in the apartment – The condominium that I owned from 2004 to 2011 didn’t have a washer and dryer. It didn’t even have hookups to buy them. I could have converted the front hall closet into a washer and dryer nook, but it would have been cramped and I would have lost a valuable closet. Instead, I spent more than seven years doing my laundry down the hall, using many, many quarters. Never again.
- A dishwasher in the apartment – Most US apartments have a dishwasher, but my flat in Germany barely had a kitchen at all. For three years, I hand-washed all of my dishes. I’d rather not go back to that.
Most (but not all) modern US apartments have my non-negotiables, so I’m not too worried about finding them. What I really have to focus on while looking for my next apartment are these other niceties that come with having space:
- Deep sinks – There are several things I do regularly that are hindered by shallow sinks. For example, I have an 18 cup Pur water filter on my counter, and another one inside the refridgerator. In order to refill them, I have to use a pitcher as a medium step. In my previous apartment, the faucet had one of those extendable hose things at the end, and I could use that. It would be nice to just be able to put the entire tank inside the sink and fill it right from the tap. (Or maybe just have a fridge with a water dispenser in the door- that would work well also.)
- Lots of storage space – In the apartment before this one, there was a small walk-in closet off the bedroom and a mediocre amount of kitchen cabinet space. The space under the bathroom sink was tiny. That was it for storage space inside the apartment. It was a miniscule place, with tiny amounts of storage. The apartment I’m in now does well on that front- there’s tons of cabinet space in both the kitchen and the bathroom, with lots of drawers for stuffing things in. I even have one kitchen drawer that never really got used at all, except for a label maker and some kitchen gadget instruction manuals. This is the dream, folks- so much storage space that you can afford to mostly ignore an entire drawer for a year.
- A wide bathroom counter – My bathroom in Germany had no counter around the sink- the sink attached to the wall and if I wanted a cabinet underneath it, I had to put it in myself. There was a five or six inch deep ledge set into the wall over the sink that ran the length of the bathroom. That’s where I stored all the things that you would normally have out, like a toothbrush, shaving stuff, and so forth. There was also no medicine cabinet there, so my regular pills were on that ledge. Anything I didn’t need often was stuck into the tall cabinet that I purchased for the bathroom.
- A kick-ass shower – I never really take baths, but every apartment shower is also a tub. I hate having to step into a tub to take a shower. I would much rather have a dedicated shower. Maybe something like this:
- Lots of counter space in the kitchen – I have learned that if I don’t have a lot of counter space in the kitchen, I won’t try to cook very much. It’s important to have room to prepare things. In my condo, I had very limited counter space and most of my cooking was of the nuke-and-eat variety. In Germany, I had no counter space at all, and I rarely even went so far as to microwave stuff. I brought fantastic cookware back from Germany that had barely been used at all.
- A good layout – This is the sort of thing that you only figure out after a lot of moves, but the right layout is very important. A washer and dryer on the patio means going out into Florida humidity to get your freshly laundered but somehow already swampy clothing. A bathroom door too close to the toilet means never being able to step into the bathroom without some sort of interpretive dance. A patio that looks out onto a parking lot means you’ll never really get to open your window blinds in the evenings unless you want to entertain all of your neighbors.
Above all else, privacy and a quiet apartment are the things I hold most dear. I’ve lived in places where you hear the nearest road very clearly and I don’t ever want to endure that again- it’s a subtle, slow moving stress that builds up over time, until you’re ready to do truly nefarious things to loud people outwside.
What are your must-haves when seeking a new place to live?
Editor’s Note: I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers. I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?
7 thoughts on “The New Apartment Checklist”
Sounds like you need a house. 😉
No thank you! I’ve been a home-owner once, and I kind of hated it. Also, I don’t have a job past December 15th, and I don’t know yet where I’ll live in a few months.
I was just saying I don’t know many apartments with showers like that. lol
Our requirements were pretty simple. We wanted a decent amount of space, a kickass kitchen (since I cook nearly every meal from scratch), a fireplace (trust me, in the middle of a New England winter, when the power goes out, this is really important), hardwood floors for our pets because carpets retrain too much dander and hair, and a nice fenced-in yard for our dog. Our new house will have all of these things, plus some extras.
There are two features I’m really looking forward to experiencing:
1) A garage. Again, in the middle of winter, not having to shovel off the snow and chip away at the ice is a dream.
2) A laundry room in the master bedroom. Our current laundry room is in the basement, so we’re always having to schlep our clothes up and down two flights of stairs. Total pain. I have no idea why anyone would put the laundry room anywhere but near the bedrooms. After all, that’s where the clothes go!
Ooh I love this post – I might pinch the idea and link back if that’s OK!
Of course that’s ok! Your posts trigger post ideas for me all the time!
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