Posted August 28, 2013 by

Goodbye College, Hello Real Life: Apartment Advice for the Recently Graduated

goldfish jumping out of the waterIf you are one of the two million recent graduates that Forbes predicts will enter the workforce this year, you’ve probably thought about getting your own place. Living at home or with roommates is economical, but at some point, you just want the freedom of doing your own thing. When this time comes, keep these tips about style and safety in mind—college is behind you. There’s a new level of responsibility involved in getting your own place.

Set up a Classy Bachelor/Bachelorette Pad

It’s time to throw those empty beer cans in the recycling bin and spiff up your home turf. You should feel comfortable inviting friends, family, significant others, even coworkers over to your apartment or house. That means a real couch in place of the futon and an actual table for eating (again, instead of a futon). Furniture can be expensive, so keep an eye out for blow-out sales, markdowns on Craigslist, great finds at Goodwill and donations from your relatives. If your items don’t come in a set, you might need to fix them up with a little paint or throw a covering on to cover any blemishes. A little creativity will go a long way in turning your house or apartment into a home.

Establish a Social Network

If you are trying to establish yourself in a place far from home, you might feel a bit lonely. College dorms and apartments with roommates have their problems, but they do offer the assurance of company just down the hall. With your own apartment or house, you have to be a bit more proactive. This means establishing your own social network (no, not the Facebook variety). Take time to introduce yourself to neighbors, join newcomers’ associations or take part in a local club or sports team. New friendships can turn the shabbiest of settings into a welcome home, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Security System

Given the state of the housing market, it’s a great time for 20-somethings of means to invest in property. If you are able to fork over enough for a down payment, you could wind up saving quite a bit through buying instead of renting. Once you have your very own home, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep it safe from intruders; in most cases, this means installing a security system.

Protecting your home does not have to be prohibitively expensive, and according to, you can arm and disarm some systems from almost anywhere using your smartphone or tablet. Other steps to ensure a secure home include installing a high-quality door with a deadbolt lock (and then actually using that lock when you leave the house), getting a dog to help keep suspicious characters at bay and using security lights and cameras.

By Peggy Jarvis

Peggy is a nurse and DIY expert who freelances on the weekends for health, wellness and home improvement sites.

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