Search results for 'roommates'

Five moving tips from someone who has moved … a lot

11 Aug

How freaking cute is this photo? © mbtrama on Flickr

On any given Saturday you’ll see countless U-Hauls zig-zagging across the DC Metro area. People moving in. People moving out. Women moving in with boyfriends. Woman moving out of their boyfriends’.

I recently decided to move (because Avalon Communities is a soulless and evil corporation, in my humble opinion). Moving is always stressful, but I’ve gotten good at it having moved 13 times in the span of 8 years (hence the 25 craigslist roommates). So I thought I’d share some tips that I’ve learned over the years.

1. Think ahead!
I visited some friends on the West Coast while they were going through a move (the move was scheduled after my tickets were already bought). The day of the move one of my friends had packed nothing … nothing! And it’s not like she was a minimalist, she had the master bedroom which included a freaking fish tank! She vastly underestimated the time it would take her to pack. So I beg of you, start packing early: You have more stuff than you think. And if you’ve hired movers, not being packed can cost you some serious time (aka cash).

In addition to packing, you want to book your movers or U-Haul wellll in advance, so you get exactly the movers you want or exactly the U-Haul size you need. This is especially true if you’re moving on the last weekend of the month (and remember, most moving companies don’t work on Sundays).

2. Packing should not be combined with discarding and/or sentimentalizing.
When you’re packing, you need to be focused on the task at hand. Ideally, you’ll have discarding unnecessary items before you started packing (see #1) but if not, now is not the time. Throw that crap in a box and deal with it later.

3. Keep several things in mind when choosing a mover.
First off, l recommend Yelp to help you decide on a moving company; you should also ask your friends or coworkers. I’m a fan of hiring a mover that charges an hourly rate. That way, I’m paying from the time they arrive to the time they’re finished. Some movers do their costing other ways, but I worry that I’m going to get screwed over that way. If you do get an hourly rate, make sure it doesn’t include travel time from their initial location.

You might also want to consider how they handle your stuff. My roommate’s mover wrapped EVERYTHING in big plastic wrap, including her mattress and couch. Mine just put my stuff directly into the truck, which worked for me because I don’t own anything super nice, but if you do, it’s something to think about.

I also recommend getting cold water bottles for your movers, they will love you for it. And don’t forget to tip!

4. Mix and match.
When I pack, I don’t worry so much about keeping desk stuff with desk stuff and kitchen stuff with kitchen stuff. Rather, I think more about weight and packing things securely. I wrap clothes around breakable stuff instead of bothering with newspaper. And for clothes that I don’t use for packing, I just drop them in a large Home Depot box, hangers and all, which makes it super easy to rearrange my new closet. (BTW, I must prefer purchasing nice, new boxes for a buck or two each from Home Depot instead of hoarding a hodge podge of boxes from work.)

5. It’s the little stuff that will lead to a nervous breakdown.
It’s always the last odds and ends that put you over the edge. You’ve moved the furniture, packed up the pots and pans, but yet the shampoo in the shower and the junk drawer in the kitchen are still there when you just can’t take it anymore. Prepare in advance by having a few bags set aside to pack this random assortment. You also might want to do the annoying cleaning chores ahead of time, like cleaning the fridge and the stove burners.

5 tips to roommate success

13 Jan

The silent toilet paper war. © Miaow Miaow on Creative Commons

So you’re squirreling away toilet paper in your bedroom because you’ve bought it for the last six months and your roommate never buys it and you will not budge no matter how many times you forget the roll in your room. Sound familiar?

I currently live with two great roommates who I met through craigslist, and while I consider myself extremely lucky to have a wonderful home life, I don’t think it’s by accident. I just counted how many craigslist roommates I’ve had over my lifetime … it’s 25. Granted, I’ve lived in two group houses which partially accounts for the large number, but it’s still a lot. And I’ve learned a thing or two over the years.

I’m the girl with the crazy roommate stories—the obsessive eater roommate who insisted that our answering machine message be in French, the narcissistic roommate who ruined my pots and left a permanent indentation of her butt on the couch, the ditzy roommate who worked at a topless bar and lost her pet chinchilla in the vents.

The following is my hard-earned advice.

5. Three is the magic number. I think having at least two roommates is key. It creates a less intense dynamic and if one roommate sucks, you can vent about it to the other one. Also, say worse case scenario your roommate skips town and leaves you stuck with an extra rent payment. If there are two of you, that’d be a little less of a burden.

4. You’re not looking for your best friend. In fact, you don’t want your roommate to be your best friend. That’s a drama disaster waiting to happen. Do you think the person will be pretty quiet, clean, considerate and responsible? That’s really all that matters.

3. Create a chore chart. This might sound dorky and unnecessary, but it’s a great way to prevent future resentment and frustration. The chart doesn’t have to be super complex, but it should cover stuff like taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, mopping the kitchen floor and vacuuming. My roommates and I switch chores on a weekly basis.

2. Take time with your ad. Your craigslist ad should give a good amount of information and have some personality. I write three sections of an ad: the apartment building, the apartment and the roommates–about a paragraph each. By taking the time to put in details, you’ll be bombarded with fewer questions. Having an ad that has personality will have a greater chance of attracting the right match. For our ads, we write that The Bachelor is our guilty pleasure, and we’ll often get responses from people saying they too love The Bachelor. It’s a small thing, but it can really give you a sense of the person on the other end of the email.

1. Think ahead. If you don’t listen to any other piece of advice I’ve given you, listen to this one. Post your craigslist ad six to eight weeks in advance. You will not get nearly as much interest as you will if you post it two to four weeks in advance, but those who respond are generally much more responsible and put together.

Where We Rank

3 Jan

The new Capital Bikeshare program is changing the way we move around the city. © Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz on Creative Commons

When a Top 10 U.S. cities list is published—whether it’s about something good or bad—DC is almost always on it. So I thought I’d round up some recent lists the DC area has made:

Most bed bugs: DC #9
The good news is we’re not number one! (NYC claimed that honor.) The bad news is that we made the list at all. (Might make you think twice about buying that used bed on craigslist, no?)

Size of bike sharing program: DC #1
Woohoo! We won! Thanks to the recently launched Capital Bikeshare, DC has over 1,000 bikes and over 100 docking stations.

Where super rich people live: DC #1, Maryland #4, Virginia #7
This explains why I have two roommates yet half my income goes to rent.

Smartest: DC #1
Damn straight.

Least attractive residents: DC#6
Um, squeeze me? Whoever did this survey must just be jealous of our smarts.

Best tap water: Fairfax #8
If you don’t live in Fairfax you should probably get a Brita. For real.

Best restaurants: DC #8
I understand finishing behind New York and New Orleans, but Houston?

Happiest: DC area #8
And people don’t think DCers can let their hair down and have fun.

Most dog friendly: Northern Virginia #4
I guess this makes sense. I mean, you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting a dog park in Arlington.

Gayest: DC area #15
I’m really surprised we didn’t rank higher. Fun Fact: Springfield, Massachusetts is considered the “lesbian capital of the Easter Seaboard.” Who knew?

Most literate: DC #2
This is great news for a blogger like myself.

Fittest: DC #1
I bet a lot of other cities were surprised we won but they need to remember: We are overachievers.

Local Lingo: Bridge and tunnel people

13 Nov

While you might not hear this specific term used all that often, the sentiment is far more frequent. “Bridge and tunnel people” refers to those of us who don’t live in the city and have to take a bridge or tunnel to get there. I recently met a friend of a friend and when he asked where I live, I said Falls Church.

“I’m sorry,” he responded. How annoying is that??!!?? There are plenty of reasons people don’t—or can’t—live in the city. For me, money is a huge consideration. I live in an apartment with two roommates and still can barely afford that. Living in DC would be even more expensive plus my income taxes would cost more and I’d probably have to buy a parking spot for my car. I’d love at some point to live in the city, but for now Falls Church is a great place for me. And I’ve met more than one person who raved about living in DC and then, a few years later, moved happily to the suburbs. Both have their pros and cons; it just depends what you’re looking for at that time in your life.

It wasn’t too long ago, 15 years maybe, when living in DC was not considered a good thing. People looked at you like you were crazy if you called the district home. Now the livability has improved, which is fantastic, but so have the prices.

So I will proudly cross the state line to and from work every day, and those who have a problem with that can kiss my bridge and tunnel butt.