Flatting: On Things I Wish I’d Known

Flatting has to be experienced to be truly understood. And while that may sound pretentious it’s true that all the stories and anecdotes in the world won’t prepare you for the freedom and the disaster that is living in your own space for the first time.

That being said there are some universal tips: a mix of things that we miraculously managed and things I wish someone had told me beforehand. This post shares both with you in hope that any of you who are flatting for the first time next year can learn from (and therefore validate) our mistakes.

Things I Wish I’d Known

– This is pretty Auckland specific but I come from Wellington where there are no bugs and let me tell you now, ants exist. Ants. Ants. ANTS. You have to be militant with your food storage. Anything vaguely sweet goes in the fridge or in the best sealed container ever. Even if the packet is brand new or sealed!!!! In a container!!

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-The dishrack won’t be emptied until someone absolutely has to do it. Get one that holds lots of dishes to avoid smashing all your crockery.

-Doing all the adult/setting up a house stuff isn’t actually that traumatising. You might think finding the right power company is a big and daunting job but realistically the power company doesn’t care that you have a mental age of about 5 – they’re just happy you want power !!(Also best way to get a good power company is to ask around).
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-You have to budget money for weird things you didn’t think you’d use. We have legitimately bought so many packets of cumin this year. Also things like lightbulbs (check the type of bulb before you buy one), vacuum bags, batteries. It’s wild but be prepared.
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-In related news: Toilet Paper. We absolutely fiend through our toilet paper and it is the biggest mystery we have. We have tried and tried to figure who or why or how with limited success. Once we got home at 1am and I put a new roll out (everyone else was asleep) AND I WOKE UP AT 11am AND WE NEEDED A NEW ROLL AGAIN??? That’s one whole roll gone overnight. Considering everyone was sleeping for a majority of that time that’s one roll for one hour of going to the toilet ok! that’s not even possible – but it happened to us.
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-The house doesn’t clean itself so make a chore list. We didn’t do this for months and consequentially the house was a tip for ages. (Also it’s really important to talk out your chores list and make sure everyone knows what each job actually entails (eg. What one actually has to clean when they are told to ‘clean the bathroom.’) Not everyone has the same expectation of cleanliness so communication is v important if this is important to you).

-You will have to face unfortunate issues such as a frozen fridge or mould -When you have ice frozen to the back of the fridge use a rolling pin to bash it down for best results!!

-Instincts are right. If you think you can survive flatting with someone you probably can – people are more or less how you expect them to be. I think when you choose flatmates be really honest with yourself. How well do you really get on at that day to day level? If you mesh well and enjoy jamming together than odds are you’ll have a nice time in a flat.

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Things We Did That Were So Helpful

-Set up your power and internet so they’re ready and waiting when you move in. We did this and it was so good – especially having internet from day one, it just made getting everything up and running so much easier.
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-When looking for a flat check for: How the windows open, where the power points are (especially in bedrooms!!!), how bright bulbs are and shower pressure! These, at least for us, were really important. It would really suck to move into a flat and realise the shower pressure is so flat you can’t wash your hair and there is only one small plug in your room.

– This kind of leads me on to my next point of have a chat with your new flatmates-to-be and settling on ‘deal breaker’ list. Things on here can include distance from uni/work/city, price, how much sun there is etc. We made a deal breaker list and a ‘would like to have’ list which made looking at flats much easier because we all knew what we wanted, and what qualities would make us walk away.

-Neighbourhood dependent but we baked cupcakes and went and introduced ourselves to our neighbours after we had all moved in. Benefits: They know your name and what you look like; they keep an eye out for loose robbers; they occasionally bring you delicious treats; you can use their bathroom when yours is getting fixed. Negatives: To maintain a good relationship you have to let them know when you’re having a party; They ask you to marry their sons; they ask where your parents are as you “look like twelve-year-old sisters.”

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– Don’t share things that would cause fights. We share condiments, cheese and eggs because we all use these pretty equally. More personal items such as milk, bread and toast spreads are seperate. It’s a nice idea to share things but the reality is people are protective over the things they spend money on. If in doubt start off not sharing and then you can start splitting costs if you realise neither of you are using the product that much anyway.

-No matter how terrible, fresh flowers and a candle always makes a space a little more fresh.

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That’s an overwhelming amount so I will wind the list up there. Honestly the most important thing to take away is flatting is the best time and really easy to muddle through (genuinely that’s all anyone at this age is doing anyway). Let me know if any of them worked for you or if you have any top tips to share.

Have the best week!! xx

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