Let me warn you now, this post is a little longer than the usual here on The Fashionably Broke. It's all about your first, real home and the items that make it a "real" home, to me. So feel free to read on about how I started out as an "adult" or pop on back to Friday's post and enter to win a bikini. Or, scroll to the bottom for some fun, throw back picutres. :)
I only graduated from college a few years ago, but it sort of feels like forever ago now. So much change happen once you graduate college and enter the "real world." For example, in college, you have a meal plan and it's magically paid for and all you have to do is not loose your card and you will never go hungry. Then you graduate, move off campus, and have to pay for your own food. But, problem: you're poor. It's the little things like that that make you realize how many things you took for granted and they can be a bit shocking when first starting out on your own.
When I graduated, I immediately moved to the beach. We lived in a dinky beach house [see below], equipped with enough beds for everyone to sleep in and a bottle opener and that's about it. So, even though college was over, I was still living like I was in college. It wasn't until I moved back from the beach, and my boyfriend and I moved into an apartment together [seen here], that I had a few pretty big revelations about this new phase in my life. The biggest one being that I had to start spending my own money on things, like toilet paper and Windex. "I really have to spend $4.95 on a bottle of Windex?" and "How long is this thing even going to last me and am I going to have to buy it again?" are some of examples of the thoughts going through my mind during our first "adult" trip to the grocery store.
I slowly but surely realized there were going to be some things that I had to do and buy to make our home feel like a real home. Lucky for me, I have an awesome support system and I live very close to most of my family members. Quickly, birthday and Christmas presents from them went from shoes and make-up to crock pots and bath towels. It's at first a little upsetting, I'll admit it, but now I appreciate having all of that stuff more than ever. My aunt especially has been a life saver. She is an interior designer and has amazing taste. Not only has she set me up with so many great home essentials, she even comes over from time to time to help me organize things and stage furniture for me. She has been such a huge help in making my house a home, so I wanted to share some of her advice with you guys. We chatted about what she and I think are the most essential items for your home when you're first starting out and here's what we came up with!
Buy some cookbooks because, as you will realize how expensive eating out can get, you will need them. And now that you're cooking you should get yourself a complete set of pots and pans so you don't have to rewash the same one over and over. There are great starter kits that come with everything you need. Then, buy a good wine opener, because borrowing the neighbors is simply no longer going to cut it. While you're at it, snag a nice set of glasses for entertaining purposes. Find a set that works for day and night and "nice" doesn't have to mean "expensive." Then, my aunt specifically recommends a set of white plates, because you won't get sick of them and the food will look pretty on them before and while you're eating.
I know eating on the couch or in bed is way more fun, but having a kitchen table is important. Even just a small, bistro table and a couple chairs will do.
Oxygen is an essential, so find a living plant or two for inside your home. Home Depot is a great place to find house plants, like a Fiddle Fig or Snake Plant, which are both pretty easy to maintain.
Paint can completely change the entire look and feel of your home (my aunt is known for doing this). It also gives a more "lived in" feel and is a great way to personalize a space that may be on the smaller side and doesn't have a lot of room for decor.
Good lighting is mandatory. Without light, you can't see, read, do your make-up, etc. It also helps to create mood, so we recommend investing in some good lighting for every room. A cute, inexpensive option is string lights.
Invest in a comforter that you will love for a long time and then use it as the starting point for decorating the rest of your room. If you're like me, you make it easy on yourself and go with all white. Either way, the whole room's decor can stem from your comforter as you get more money to spend. It's the perfect place to start.
Find a good chair that is comfortable, one you can curl your legs up in to. We think that you don't even really need a sofa at first, just a chair where you can sit with your feet up or down.
A few pictures from Natalie's Starting Out Phase:
We did it! George Mason Class of 2010
The beach house, which I do not count as our "first home" for obvious reasons :)
I'm not sure that this counts as "Starting Out," yet?
But bring on the lamps and cooking supplies, courtesy of my Auntie Chantie of course!
Like a good neighbor State Farm is there.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm.