Congratulations! You’re (probably) living in some sort of building! You have a roof over your head and (probably) walls surrounding you! That’s great because it’s pretty cold out these days. Let’s take a moment to be aware of our many blessings. But also let’s be aware of our grievances, including the dead animal in the wall that the landlord “doesn’t know how to handle,” and also while we’re on the subject of grievances, the boiler doesn’t work.
If you are living in a place with little to no furniture, several animal friends (dead and alive!), and a one hour commute, then this entry is for you. Here are some handy tips and strategies aimed at making a sticky apartment situation a little less sticky. (Tip one: all purpose cleaner.)
Q: I have no stuff, but I also have no money! Why are all the wicker hampers at Target 30 dollars???
A: Scavenge. “Scavenge,” in this case, means “take the free things that people leave in boxes in front of their brownstones.” Park Slope is an excellent place to do this. There are two rules for taking free things:
1) never take a mattress.
2) if there’s a person standing next to the box, they're probably just moving in.
Also, there is no good reason the hampers at Target should cost that much.
Q: I just feel so BAD when I come home. Why?
A: I’m so sorry to hear that. There are probably several factors contributing to your malaise, but here is one great solution: Hygiene!
Nothing makes an apartment resemble a small desert of sadness more than hair/dustball tumbleweeds blowing around whenever you open the door. As they used to say when being puritanical meant literally being a puritan, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” And on a related note, it is so depressing to slip in the shower because it is too scummy. Also, I find that eating breakfast helps me, just in general.
Q: There is nothing good about my apartment.
A: That is not so much a question as it is a statement, and I recommend that you start experimenting with perspective. The view of the airshaft out your bedroom window can now just be referred to as your room’s “exposed brick.”
Q: Why does all of my furniture looks so ill-fitting in my living room?
A: You didn’t measure before you went to Ikea*. That, or all of your furniture is from the curbs of Park Slope. Nice!
Q: I have mice! What do I do??
A: Okay. That’s okay. At least they’re not rats. Traps do work, although then you have to deal with them once the mouse has been caught. As an alternative, I suggest you anthropomorphize your rodent roommates. For example, ‘Oh, Angela has been in the kitchen again!’ is nicer to hear than ‘a rodent ate a hole through your loaf of bread.’ Angela sure was hungry!
That’s all I have for you. If you have a bad apartment that is really unbelievably bad, you’re just going to have to deal with it. Sometimes it’s good to accept that life is full of both good and bad things. And one of those bad things is your living space.
*Real picture of my dresser: