Living in a rented apartment has its pros and cons. On one side it’s great because we have the flexibility of a rolling contract and don’t need to stress too much about calling engineers to fix the washing machine (again). On the other side, it brings its share fair of doom and gloom – some of which I thought about the other day while doing the dishes.
You become a little obsessed with Location, Location, Location – oh Phil.
I’m not even kidding you when I say my favourite TV show is Location, Location, Location. There is nothing more I love doing than sitting down to watch the old re-runs and getting a little too excited for the new episodes. I seem to get some sort of kick from knowing who the couples are, what type of houses they get shown and the nail-biting moment when we find out whether or not their offer gets accepted.
I feel my love for Location has grown more than I’d care to admit – especially when I asked for a birthday card from Phil & Kirsty. I can’t help it – they are my property gurus.
You yearn for your own desk
As I’m writing this, I’m sharing my circular, glass table with a fruit bowl, stack of recipe and notebooks, a plate with a banana on, some clean washing that needs putting away, another laptop and a sock. It isn’t quite the #girlboss vibes that I’m going for – but hey, it sort of works if I only focus my eyes on my laptop screen.
I am however, 100% yearning for my own bureau or a simple desk which can fit neatly somewhere and be topped with a plant, candle, my notebooks and laptop. It’s the simple things, hey? Or maybe I’ve just succumbed to far too many Instagrams of the perfect work space.
As well as dreaming about a new desk, you also yearn for your own dining room table and bedside units
While on the topic of new furnishings, this glass dining room table is one of the things I wish I could change. I also wish we could have actual bedside units and not just a wicker bathroom unit from my student house and a small nest table which just about fits next to the bed. Third world problems – I know, but I just can’t wait to be able to keep a lamp, books and my phone on a bedside unit rather than the floor!
Despite trying to sell or donate items you no longer need, you realise space just doesn’t exist
Over the past year, we’ve had our fair share of clear-outs. The main problem seems to be, despite getting rid of things – more space is never actually made! Our cupboards are full to the brim and boxes are stored with clothes, random wires, shoes and post-it notes because we just run out of space. I have however managed to find some space in our cupboard for my wrapping box – it’s the stuff of wrapping paper & tissue dreams.
Despite this, our kitchen is one of the rooms where space-saving and making just hasn’t been mastered. The cupboards are full with glasses, jars of jam and tins of chopped tomatoes stacked on top of one another – don’t even get me started on our pots and pans cupboard! Mental note: invest in a pan drawer for any future kitchen.
You become nosey neighbours and feel like you know them and their annoying habits
Although it sounds pretty weird and a little stalker-ish, I feel like I actually know my neighbours and the weird things they do. Our kitchen looks directly out onto the flat opposite’s kitchen and in recent weeks we’ve had some new neighbours move in.
From what I can see, they are two young guys – possibly students – who like to eat cereal, Nutella, pasta and drink Ribena. How do I know this? Well, every time they are in their kitchen they always leave one cupboard open. When I first discovered this a few weeks ago, I thought oh maybe they’ve just popped to the loo – but they actually like to keep it open for hours. Am I the only one who finds it a little strange or am I just gazing into their apartment too much while I wash the dishes? I need a new hobby.
You’re regularly surprised by the oddness of your neighbours
A few years ago we had a problem with pigeons on the balcony – and their poop too. We share our balcony with our next door neighbour and she too was having the same problem as they made a nest in between the balcony’s divider.
It was only once we returned from Romania one summer, we noticed an even stranger thing lurking on our balcony. It was an owl. A plastic owl which stared directly at us. Safe to say, this was our neighbours attempt at scaring away the pigeons and what I can only imagine us too.
You read interior magazines for pleasure and have your own ‘home’ collection on Instagram
Forget about fashion magazines, I love a good interior one instead. Better still, I love it when new seasons come around and M&S launch the latest edition of their homeware magazine. I guarantee you’ll find me bookmarking each and every page as I drool over lampshades, velvet bedding, a pantry cupboard and that bureau. As for Instagram, I believe my saved collection of home furnishings and interior inspiration is quite simply my favourite mood-board. Ever.
Your landlord has become one of your top contacts
Our landlord has become one of my most-used contacts on my phone. Whether we’ve been dealing with a dodgy washing machine, leaking shower, and then another leaking shower in our second bathroom or our noisy neighbours – she may as well be on speed dial if that thing exists anymore? In actual fact since the beginning of this month, we’ve exchanged 32 text messages about various apartment issues – that’s probably more than I’ve spoken to my Nana!
You somehow become the Neighbourhood Watch of the area
Granted, where we live isn’t the most pleasant of places. We have a few youths (or I tend to use a slightly stronger word to describe them) hanging around the area and generally causing a lot of nuisance and noise. Over the past few weekends, we’ve enjoyed rap battle contests from the comfort of our living room as we hear them feeling the beat and making sweet rhymes to the rhythm – my goodness, I’m getting old. While they’re not rapping, however, they seem to love jumping over fences and causing problems for the area.
While they may not be the next Eminem, somehow I’ve taken it upon myself to be the Neighbourhood Watch of the area and send out safety reminders and posters to make sure people close the freakin’ door and are generally on their guard. Geeky, I know – but boy do I love a good poster.
You try and think of ways to make the space completely Instagrammable & #homegoals but deep down you know there’s little chance of that happening
No matter how hard I try, our bed and wardrobe just aren’t going to be photogenic enough for a ‘lazy Sunday in bed with a book and coffee’ Instagram or a ‘what’s in my wardrobe’ post. Maybe if I crop and zoom in on certain things it could work – but let’s be real here. I mean, you don’t even want to know how long it took me to think of places to take a photograph for this post.
You essentially become part of the block furniture
We often like to refer to our block of apartments as a transitional place – meaning people tend to stay for a year maximum. Here we are two and a half years later and I do question whether we now look like part of the furniture here.
We’ve seen some lovely neighbours come and go and some not-so-great neighbours arrive too. I think when we first moved in it had a family-feel to the place, but now it’s turning ever so slightly into a student hub – not exactly the sort of thing you want at 26!
You haven’t yet mastered that awkward eye-contact with the neighbours opposite
That awkward moment when I’m totally eyeing up what soups they have in their cupboard and then they walk in and stare straight at me. Yep, I’ve been there a few too many times in recent weeks. I can safely say I haven’t quite mastered that whole keeping-it-cool-oh-hey kind of eye contact yet. And there’s probably very little chance of me ever doing so.
Not to mention, the other day I quickly popped into the kitchen to prepare some snacks for our road-trip – mid-way through changing. Meaning, there I was wrapping a potato in some tinfoil wearing my jeans and a bra. I didn’t think much of it because I was on auto-pilot mode of ‘let’s get stuff done’. It was only when I turned to put the tin foil away, did I notice one of the lads in the flat opposite was staring directly at me. Safe to say – it wasn’t only him who looked horrified. I ended up doing some sort of weird swirling movement and ran out of the kitchen. Well, it makes for a different sight to my super fluffy dressing gown instead I guess.
You often think if those neighbours living at the front of the block ever wander why we did our food shop yesterday and yet we’re bringing home takeaway today and most probably tomorrow too
Sundays are the day we tend to do our weekly food shop. Mondays are the day we feel too lazy to cook and opt for a McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Everyday our neighbours must be wondering why.
It’s almost like a foodie-walk-of-shame when we arrive home with a takeaway and try to slip into the block without being noticed by our neighbours. Granted this is pretty difficult to do considering there are about 50 apartments facing the car park and there’s no way of hiding that 15 inch pizza!
You are torn between saving money for your own place & splashing out on nice things to make the apartment that bit more homely
This. It’s something I struggled with a lot last year. I would literally spend about £200 a month in M&S’ home department buying cushions, bedding, vases and napkin-rings as a way of trying to bring a bit of my home inspo into our rental.
Safe to say, that £200 should have gone into my Help to Buy ISA – something I seriously regret not doing a year ago. I have since learnt my lesson and while it is a little sad to not splash out on some new pieces of homeware, I know the money is in a better place.
And finally, you often wonder how long you’ll live in rental for
Some people love it. Others (like myself) feel it’s great for a certain amount of time, but do wish they had their own space and home which even good old Phil & Kirsty would be proud of.
But sometimes it isn’t always a case of just that – since moving into our block of apartments, the area has become a lot worse and it is very unsettling. I think in this day and age, it is really difficult for young people to get on the property-ladder – especially in such a fast-moving market like Manchester; making what seems affordable, actually unreachable and un-affordable.
I’ve read stories of people being priced out of areas within a matter of months and how properties can come onto the market one day and be sold the next – and it is such a scary thought. I guess we can only hope that the property market will slow down and for those dreaming of their own place to call home, it will become true.
Now please excuse me as I look through my 90 copies of House Beautiful, browse Rightmove, search for my gold cutlery in M&S, all the while remembering to not walk around the apartment in my bra, as I dream of my navy dining room and pale grey front door.