Making the leap from living in a dorm to having an off-campus student apartment can almost feel as scary as moving to college all over again. It can be jarring settling into a new place every year and it can be a struggle to make it feel like home. Additionally, moving from a dorm room means you'll have a lot of items to buy since you probably own very little in the way of furniture or kitchenware. Having a list of necessities can make your job a lot easier and will keep you from getting overwhelmed with the moving process.
One huge aspect of being in charge of your own space is keeping it tidy. Not only is it important for hygienic reasons, but having a clean space is also good for the mind. If you're moving from a dorm room you probably don't have many cleaning supplies, which can lead to feeling like you need to buy a thousand different specialized products for the bathroom, floors, kitchen, etc. Before getting carried away, consider starting with a couple of multi-purpose cleaners that can tackle the majority of your Gainesville apartment. For example, one powerhouse cleaner can take care of your kitchen counters, sinks, and maybe even the bathtub and floor. If you're interested in natural products, you can even make your own homemade cleaning spray, which is gentle enough for any surface. You will still need some specific cleaners such as dishwashing detergent (if your Gainesville apartment has a dishwasher), but starting with the basics will be easier and keep you from wasting money on unnecessary products.
Arguably the best thing about moving into your own apartment is being able to sleep in a bed that is larger than a twin. Having your own personal space is one of the top reasons people move out of college dorms and into apartments. However, this transition requires buying furniture for your place, and that can get costly. I would suggest starting with the absolute necessities such as a bed, couch, and dresser, and then slowly acquiring other items such as nightstands, a coffee table, and a desk. There are tons of great thrift stores in Gainesville where you can find all sorts of affordable pieces, as well as online options such as Facebook yard sale groups for college students. If you want to save a few bucks and avoid the hassle of shopping around, there are also several communities near UF that come fully-furnished.
When you have your own kitchen to utilize, you can finally stop relying on dining halls and takeout to satisfy your hunger. Being able to cook healthy meals for yourself is an important skill to learn, and college is a great time to perfect it. Big box stores such as Walmart, Big Lots, and Target all offer affordable cookware sets that are simple enough to get you started without being overwhelming. Once you have your basic pots, pans, and spatulas, you'd be surprised at how many different meals you can create. There's nothing like a home cooked meal, even if you have to serve it on paper plates!
Starting out on your own (or with roommates) is sure to be a fun and exciting adventure! Having the freedom and space to do your own thing can be exhilarating, as long as you don't let yourself get bogged down in the details. A few simple additions to your Gainesville apartment will go a long way in making it surprisingly comfortable, and in no time it will feel just like home!