You’ve found the house, signed the contract, and you think you’re ready to make the move from halls to student housing. Think again. Assuming you’ve sorted the big things like paying your deposit and arranging how you’ll split the bills, here are 8 other things you need to think about.
1. The shopping list
You need cleaning supplies. Yes, I know that you already know this, but do you know who is buying what supplies? This is something you’ve likely figured out if you’re moving from halls with shared bathrooms, but the same applies for the kitchen too. No more weekly visits from the cleaner. Yes, you cleaned the kitchen between visits this year, or at least you should have done, but you’re going to need more cleaning products when it’s your turn to do the big clean. Save yourself some money and some space by planning ahead. If your flatmate has something that they are bringing from last year you don’t need to buy one too, at least for a while. As obvious as this tip might seem, it is important, unless you want your sides to end up like this:
2. Go back and add drain cleaner to the list
If you’re moving in, and sharing a shower with people with long hair, add drain cleaner to your list. Use it monthly and thank me later- especially when it gets to January and the friends that you’re not living with text you, moaning about the clumps of hair they’ve had to pull out of their drains.
3. Figure out who the light sleeper is
You may or may not have already allocated the rooms in your house but either way check that you’ve thought it through. If you know that you can be woken up by the slightest of noises then don’t take the room by the bathroom, unless you’re prepared to use the shower as your morning alarm clock. Equally, if you are a light sleeper that likes an early night, try to pick a room that’s not next to or above the living room.
4. Allocate cupboard space
This isn’t a massive concern, but it is something you will have to sort out at some point, and it makes sense to do it as quickly as possible so you know how much you can bring with you. Allocate the space together and start off on the right note with your flatmates; you don’t want to be the reason that the last person to move in finds they have no storage space at all and the one who has to awkwardly move their things over. This is especially important considering the one freezer draw per person that you were used to in halls is no longer guaranteed.
5. Think about security
I don’t want to scare you, but it is true that student houses are often targeted by burglars. Besides from general precautions like making sure to lock the door before you go out, one of the easiest ways you can make your new home feel more secure is by adding alarms to your front door and downstairs windows (after checking your landlord allows this). You might also be interested in stickers that declare your property is secure, which can act as a deterrent, or the UV pens you can use to write your address on your laptop, in case it is ever stolen and then retrieved by the police.
6. Bring a blanket
You are going to miss the warmth that hits you in the face the moment you walk into halls, the heat that would make you take your coat off before you even stepped into the lift. Student houses can be cold, especially in Sheffield, and especially if you’re trying to keep your heating bill down. Even if you have an all-inclusive, standard rate, bill package, the radiators can be temperamental. When I asked my friends if they had any recommendations for this blog the first reply, sent seconds after my own text, read ‘Get a portable heater’. I also have a friend who had to sleep in her dressing gown when her house’s boiler broke. So, choose your weapon of choice carefully, whether it is a blanket, hot water bottle, portable heater, or all of the above.
7. Check the furniture list
You probably remember seeing a list of the furniture and furnishings included in your rent when you signed your contract. Did you read it all? Just because you’re moving into a ‘fully furnished house’ there may still be things that you need to buy that aren’t included with the property, such as a kettle or microwave.
8. And now the fun part: how are you going to personalise your house?
This is it: your own house – albeit a rented one. Student houses, although not the biggest properties around, are often larger than student halls. Even if you aren’t upgrading on space, you are moving into one that is likely to feel more like your own because you have chosen it. This house is going to be your own for the next year and personalising it is a great way to make sure that your house becomes a home. You will need to check your landlord’s regulations about the things you can do but there will still be plenty of options. My personal recommendation for personalising your space: a trip to the charity shop.