Off-Campus Apartment Survival Guide

By Allison Hache

Mom’s house and the dorms come with everything you need to survive — including having the bills paid. Here’s everything a college student needs to know before living on their own, and what they can do to make setting up a new apartment easy.

Get Organized

Your parents made sure the lights turned on when you flipped a switch, but living on your own means you have to do this for yourself, or you may arrive home one day to discover a television without any power. If your landlord does not include utilities in your rent, set up accounts for electric, water, and internet service. Designate a work space in your new apartment where you can sort mail, keep track of due dates on a calendar, and sit down to pay bills online or monitor your checking account if you opt for automatic payments.

Learn to Cook

Picking up take-out is easy, but cooking at home is more affordable and, in many cases, healthier. If you haven’t dared to step foot in the kitchen before, this is a great time to learn a few recipes. Ask a family member to show you how to make your favorite foods, sign up for a cooking class, or search for recipes online. Then stock your kitchen with basic supplies like pots, pans, cooking utensils, flatware, plates, bowls, knives, and a can opener. After that, all that’s left to do is start practicing.

Create a Space to Live In

From studying for exams to throwing parties or sleeping in on the weekends, plenty of activities take place in your apartment, so you want to make sure you have the right space for all of them. Think about the apartment’s floor plan and the number of rooms it has, then rent a student furniture package that helps define spaces within each room.

If you plan to have friends over often, arrange furniture so your friends can interact. Leave enough space between the sofa and coffee table so your guests can move around easily. If space is tight, consider how to use your furniture for multiple purposes. For example, a dining or kitchen table can double as a desk or workspace, and a coffee table also works as a makeshift study spot.

Make It Feel Like Home

At the end of the school year, you’re going to leave your off-campus apartment, but that doesn’t mean it should feel like temporary housing. Allow CORT to help you customize the space so it feels like home. Bring in a few house plants to help clean the air, increase humidity indoors, and add a touch of color to your space. Adorn the walls with artwork featuring your favorite colors, shapes, and designs that help you relax and boost your creativity energy. Keep your feet cozy with throw rugs strategically placed under furniture. Add throw pillows to sofas and chairs to soften the room and help you get comfortable on the furniture. It doesn’t take much to turn your new place into your new home.