First 30 Days Blog

04 feb

A One Bedroom Apartment Isn’t So Bad After All

JennaSmithMy time in college was coming to a close. I was beginning my senior year and it was also the time when things started to get serious with my freelancing career that I had been developing during the off-hours in my dorm.

There was a problem though …

It was beginning to get difficult trying to balance study and work all from a tiny little dorm room. Papers were starting to stack up. I constantly had to mail things so boxes were plentiful. The printer, computer, and video equipment I used to make promo videos was simply taking up too much space.

I started looking around and found a nice apartment complex just down the road from my school, which was perfect since it didn’t take long to get to class and it meant I had enough space for my stuff.

It also helped me relax a bit because my school wasn’t too keen about running businesses out of the dorm room.

But … being on a college budget didn’t give me a whole lot of options, so I decided the best option would be to get a one bedroom, one bath.

At first, the place felt huge compared to the tiny, little dorm room but it makes sense when people say “the more you earn the more you spend”. Getting into the new apartment had me buzzing with energy because things felt like they were truly legit. My freelance income started to climb because I didn’t have nearly as many distractions from my roommates; I now had the funds for bigger and better furniture and household items. These items quickly began to add up, which meant I was quickly running out of space again.

Since I’m not the type that wants to throw out good items, I had to find a compromise to make my living situation work.

I’m out in San Diego, which means the weather is almost always nice. I also happen to have a nice balcony, which until that point was mostly used to store my bike and some of the weird odds-and-ends that I seem to acquire whenever I swing by my parents’.

One of the things I decided to do was to treat this balcony like an extended part of the apartment, so that it would always be open and used frequently. I picked up a few nice chairs that would go out there along with some neat lights I found on www.partylights.com, which gave it a real relaxed atmosphere during the night time.

That’s like one extra room – in my book.

I also started to get real about how I kept everything organized. Luckily, there’s an Ikea in San Diego. I had been there before when I picked up some of the furniture at the time I first moved in, but I hadn’t looked much at the storage and shelving units. It’s amazing what you can do with what they have without breaking the bank.

With a budget of about $300 I picked a few shelving units that would go in the room and ones that could double up as night stands.

It took a while to declutter since everything was all over the place, but eventually I got it under control. The shelves I hung onto the wall above the headboard let me keep all my business books in an easy-to-reach spot for when I was winding down for the night.

The toughest thing was finding the best spot for my desk when moving all this stuff. I’m constant working at my computer (between study, freelancing, and doing the blogging thing) and so I decided to go with a DIY option — I mounted a desk top to the wall with hinges so that I can fold it down when it’s not in use (I use a laptop so this worked well).

Doing so also made me further declutter because I didn’t want to constantly move things back and forth when I wanted to put the desk up. Switching to some online services certainly helped (like invoicing) which I’d recommend to anyone trying to get rid of all that hard copy in work and study.

Overall, I’d like a bigger place but when you start to organize and make use of the space you’ve got, you really start to see it’s not really necessary. You’ll end up getting more stuff. If you’re crafty (or if you’ve got someone that can help out) then a one-bedroom is often all you really need when you’re younger, so don’t fret if you’re feeling cluttered … get creative, instead.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on February 4th, 2014 in Finances, House and Home, Personal Stories | 0 comments

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