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Dear Wendy

Moving + Living Alone for the first time

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  • #844659 Reply

    Hello DW Sphere!

    So I’ve lived with my bff for the last 7 years (Will + Grace situation) and now we’ve decided (Well HE decided) it is time for us to get our own places.
    I was a little worried at first, but now really looking forward to living alone, but the thing is.. I’ve never done it before! Aside from everyone just saying “you will love it” I wonder if you all have any tips/suggestions/things to prepare for in this journey! I am looking at an apartment this week, but I tend to be like “oohh pretty windows! Let’s live here!” But I really want to make a good selection. I live in the Chicago area, so apartment hunting is a veritable big game sport here. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

    #844660 Reply

    Living alone BUMP Also any product suggestions?

    #844663 Reply

    Vintage Mid century modern furniture off craigslist.

    #844667 Reply

    Also in Chicago! What neighborhood are you looking in? I’m in Lincoln Park and the apartment across the hall from me is currently vacant, and rent in my building is weirdly inexpensive for the area.The one-bedroom layouts are a great space for one person. (Sorry if this is totally creepy, ha.)

    I really like living alone, but it was a bit of an adjustment at first to come home to an empty place. If you’re used to having a lot of company when you’re at home, the silence might feel weird at first. When I’m at home, I’ll often be listening to podcasts or music, or sometimes even just the TV for background noise.

    Creating a routine I liked helped me feel like I had a new normal, too.

    I didn’t do this until I moved into my current building three years ago, but it can be nice to know your neighbors. My building isn’t huge, and I’ve made friends with a few of the neighbors who I’ll occasionally grab a drink with or whom I feel comfortable reaching out to if I need help with something that requires a second person.

    I have a lockbox outside my building with spare keys in case I lock myself out.

    Other than that, make your space your own. You don’t have to compromise anymore – YAY.

    #844669 Reply

    Also in Chicago here. I’d say depending on what neighborhood you decide to live in, manage your expectations with affordability.

    I lived on the bottom floor of a cute house for my first 9 years in Chicago, solo. I found the place on craigslist, but that was in 2008. The rent was never raised. A lot of my single friends/coworkers live(d) in east Lakeview in large studios. Lincoln square area is a place where one bedrooms are affordable. Or, if you get lucky like @Copa! I also always made it a point to reach out to friend’s and plan outings.

    I second Copa’s routine comment! For the most part, I lived alone from 2004 to 2017, until I got married. Even now, I’ve kept my Sunday routine and I love it. I like it even more during the winter month’s when my husband is part of a Sunday morning league and I’m solo for most of the day.

    #844670 Reply

    Also Chicago here! (And Lincoln Park too, @Copa!) In addition to those recs, I find walking around in neighborhoods that I see a ton of for rent signs.

    As far as living by yourself–I did it for awhile and I absolutely loved it! Find a nice coffee shop or bar by you that your comfortable frequenting. Routine’s are great–I loved being able to go out with friends and then come home to an empty house to myself after all that socializing–it felt like such a nice retreat.

    #844671 Reply

    West Town, where I live now, is also a GREAT place to live. You feel like your’re in the middle of everything because it’s either close to or easy to get to everything, but it’s like this quiet little neighborhood where nobody from the “outside” comes visit.

    #844673 Reply

    Another thing when it comes to finding the right apartment: It’s good to have an idea of what type of living environment you like. Big or small building? Are you okay with something older/vintage or do you want a gut rehab? Quiet neighborhood or something with a more city-like atmosphere? How close do you want/need to be to transit? To shopping? To nightlife?

    I’m someone who doesn’t really believe in maxing out my housing budget on a rental, so I didn’t focus my search on gut rehabs or new buildings. One thing that felt important to me was NOT having a galley kitchen — I hate them SO much. I live in an old walk-up courtyard building on a tree-lined street. My unit isn’t as updated as some of the other units in my building, but my rent is really reasonable, so I’m okay without, say, an in-unit W/D. (And I have a true kitchen!) It’s quiet and pleasant, and I like the neighborhood feeling and charming old homes. I don’t have a car, so it was also important for me to live near things. I’m right off Clark and a short walk from restaurants, shopping, grocery stores, transit, and the park/lake. My living situation is ideal for me, but it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea! All this to say, I think it helps to go into the hunt knowing what’s important to you.

    #844676 Reply

    Things I’ve learned over the years:
    1. Back of the building is so much quieter than street side
    2. Elevators are delightful. But you never want to live so high up that you can’t get (or leave) home if the power goes out
    3. I live in NYC and sometimes I think about moving to certain neighborhoods and then I realize I’d have to walk twice as far to get to a diner or a grocery store.
    4. Older building may have wonderful architecture but their innards can be old and inefficient.
    5. I can live without an oven. I don’t want to live without a microwave and a dishwasher.
    6. Ask to test the water pressure in the shower.
    7. The quickest way to make it feel like home is to get your pictures on the walls.

    Things I wish I’d known before I moved to my current place:
    1. Look at the windows and see how old they are. Could cost you a lot heating & cooling $$. Also, indicates how well maintained the building is or whether that money is going somewhere else – like maintaining old pipes and stuff.

    #844677 Reply

    I lived by myself in edgewater after my divorce. IT WAS AMAZING!! I lived in an older three story courtyard building and it was perfect for me despite some of the General noises and such that you can expect in an older place. Really was all about location and laundry in unit personally.

    I did as BGM instructs: MCM for the win. And check craigslist for ikea things before actually going to ikea

    #844679 Reply

    I say look through FB marketplace! I am converting my office into a formal dining room and I just bought 8(!) upholstered dining room chairs that are gold & ivory from a couple who’s moving to a new house and downsizing – all are practically brand new and one has tags on it – and I got them for $200 TOTAL. It was insane. I’m going to have a dining room table built for me by a local couple for about $750 so less than $1000 all told for an 8-chair formal dining room set. (For reference, my best friend paid $1200 at a furniture chain for the floor model on clearance that only has 6 chairs and isn’t nearly as elegant.) I’m pretty proud of myself and now I’ll check FB Marketplace first for all furniture.

    #844682 Reply

    @COPA – Sounds awesome! I am mostly looking in the Ravenswood/Lincoln Square area, but open to Lakeview! How LP are you? Clark and Belden? Not looking to move till 9/1 or 10/1. Epic Suggestions everyone! All you Chicago people Housewarming Party!!! 🙂

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