Tired In My Twenties

How to move out of your parents' house

August 12, 2022 Season 1 Episode 3
How to move out of your parents' house
Tired In My Twenties
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Tired In My Twenties
How to move out of your parents' house
Aug 12, 2022 Season 1 Episode 3

How do you finally move out of your parents’ house and make a place your home?

In this episode, we’ll hear from my best friend Isabel Gouse on how she got ready to move out, budgeted for a place with her partner, worked with a real estate broker, faced rejection, balanced her needs vs. wants, and finally, made an empty apartment her first home in her twenties through thrifty finds, DIY, and a lot of heart.

Full transcript and show notes at tiredtwentiespod.com

In this episode, we cover:

  • How to budget for your first apartment
  • What to expect from brokers or realtors 
  • When you have to balance needs vs. wants 
  • How to make a house a home in your 20s when you're broke and also your identity keeps shifting

Show notes:

More about Isabel Gouse:

I am a Masters student at Columbia Mailman, pursuing an MPH with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. When I am not busy studying or working as a research assistant, I love to try new food with my partner, spend time with friends, and care for my plant babies. I am also an avid rock climber. 

Instagram: isabel_gouse

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How do you finally move out of your parents’ house and make a place your home?

In this episode, we’ll hear from my best friend Isabel Gouse on how she got ready to move out, budgeted for a place with her partner, worked with a real estate broker, faced rejection, balanced her needs vs. wants, and finally, made an empty apartment her first home in her twenties through thrifty finds, DIY, and a lot of heart.

Full transcript and show notes at tiredtwentiespod.com

In this episode, we cover:

  • How to budget for your first apartment
  • What to expect from brokers or realtors 
  • When you have to balance needs vs. wants 
  • How to make a house a home in your 20s when you're broke and also your identity keeps shifting

Show notes:

More about Isabel Gouse:

I am a Masters student at Columbia Mailman, pursuing an MPH with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. When I am not busy studying or working as a research assistant, I love to try new food with my partner, spend time with friends, and care for my plant babies. I am also an avid rock climber. 

Instagram: isabel_gouse

Izzy: My initial emotion was, “Oh my God, I can't believe I’m moving into my first apartment.”

Melissa: Are you ready to move out?

You might be thinking, “Okay, thank you to my family for housing me but I can’t be having them knocking at my door at all times in my business.” Or if you’re me, not knocking, just entering. 

Leaving your family home is a big step. 

On the one hand, in your 20s this is a big move forward that can be really exciting. You’ll have your own space that you pay for and maintain. You can decorate and use it however you want. 

On the other hand, it’s one of those milestones of adulthood that everyone thinks about, but when you’re faced with actually doing it, there can be a lot of confusion and stress.

And the housing market is pretty intense. Yeah, I don’t know if you knew that. Young adults are staying home in much higher numbers, with about 47 percent still living with their parents. That’s according to an October 2021 analysis by USA Today.

There’s a big, wide world out there and maybe you’re thinking, “How the heck am I gonna do this?”

That’s what one of my best friends Isabel Gouse, or Izzy, thought when we graduated college, and she had to look for her first apartment. 

Izzy is going to tell you why she decided to move out, how she budgeted while finding a place, the challenges she went through to secure an apartment, since her and her partner were broke, how she had to make compromises until she signed that lease, and then finally, and most importantly, how she made her first apartment her first home, especially as her life has shifted and changed in her 20s. 

Let’s get into it.

[Intro music]

This is Tired In My Twenties, a podcast about figuring out adulthood one episode at a time. I’m your host, Melissa Lent.

Izzy: I graduated in a pandemic and like many people went home to my parents for the summer, trying to figure out what's next.

Melissa: That’s Izzy, and she needed to move. She hadn’t lived permanently in her parents’ home in five years, but after college she was back in upstate New York at their house. 

But, she’d been accepted to The New York City Urban Fellows program for the fall, where she’d be placed in a department of city government to work. So she had to start figuring out how to move out of her parents’ house. 

When deciding to move out, one of the first things you have to consider is your finances. And in this economy? You're probably need to live with someone to afford rent, which is too damn high. And for Izzy, the most obvious answer of who she was going to live with was her partner, who was about to start med school.

Izzy: It was never really a question because we had actually essentially lived together when we were at the dorms for over a year at that point.

And so honestly, we felt really comfortable moving into that next step, of moving in together. 

And it also made sense financially, since a lot of people I knew and a lot of people he knew were staying at home at the time and didn't want to get an apartment.

Melissa: Once Izzy and her partner decided to live together, planning kicked into high gear. The deadline? August, when her partner had to start med school. But they had a few months on their side. In a future episode, we’ll hear from another person in their 20s who had to move to a new state in a few weeks for a new job. Stay tuned for that. 

With the deadline in mind, Izzy and her partner had to figure out their budget. And it was tricky. Although Izzy’s fellowship program would be paid, because of the instability during the pandemic, she didn’t know when it would start exactly, or when she’d start receiving money.

Her partner had taken out a huge loan for med school, which would partly go towards paying for housing, but it wasn’t a traditional source of income. 

Izzy:  Once we started the process of actually budgeting, figuring out, okay, this is how much I can pay per month. This is how much you can pay per month. This is what our ideal rent is going to look like.

And then you start going through and picking out all these restrictions. I need to live in this neighborhood. It can't be over this price. We need access to different types of public transportation. That's where it gets a little bit trickier. 

So in New York City, a lot of apartments say your income needs to be 40 times your monthly rent, which means I would need to make like $80,000 a year, combined salary. And that's just outrageous. And we were nowhere near that.

And as a person making a fellowship salary and another person who's using loans to pay for medical school, we obviously didn't have a very high budget.

Melissa: So basically Izzy and her partner were broke, which is very common in your 20s, even when deciding to move out. 

The key is to set realistic expectations, as Izzy and her partner did. The Balance, a personal finance site, lays out some basic tips, which I’ll link in the show notes. 

Calculate your monthly income after taxes. 

Then estimate the following by researching average prices in any desired neighborhoods: rent; utilities like water, gas, and electric; and options for internet and cable. Then, add in some other monthly expenses associated with living like groceries, transportation, and laundry.

It may be that rent will be 30 to 50 percent of your income. You will have to be realistic on where you can live vs. how much you can comfortably afford without being in debt. For Izzy and her partner in New York City, they could realistically afford rent at $2,000 or less (and hopefully less, right?) a month.

There are also some upfront costs with moving: a security deposit, which for Izzy was $850, administration fees, and brokerage fees. Izzy even had to pay for rental applications. Also, if you don’t have any furniture, you’ll have to budget for that as well. We’ll get into how Izzy decorated her place on a budget later. 

Okay so you’re probably thinking by now, how do I afford all this? Yeah, there’s a reason so many young adults stay at home.

The personal finance site The Balance suggests that if you have enough income to pay rent, can cover bills, have debts under control, and have money for the upfront costs and deposits, you may be ready to move out. They also suggest having a small emergency fund, and making some concessions like getting a roommate and buying secondhand furniture. 

The Balance also says you may want to spend some time saving up for some of these upfront costs. Personally, I’ve seen people that, depending on their financial situation, they’ve had a good amount of savings or very little. Now, this isn’t official advice, but you have to feel comfortable about your ideal timeline for moving out vs. your finances; it’s different for everyone. For Izzy and her partner, they would have income coming in, and some savings to work with that would help them afford all of these things, so she said they felt ready to move forward.

Izzy: Once we went through that process and we pinpointed the area we wanted to live in, which was Astoria for us, and we pinpointed the budget, then we moved on to actually looking for apartments. 

Melissa: Izzy said that their favorite site ended up being Streeteasy to find places they were interested in.

On Streeteasy, real estate agencies will list properties to rent, and you’ll usually reach out to an agent or broker. Okay, stay with me here. A real estate broker is basically an intermediary between the landlord, who has the place, and the potential tenants, you; and in New York City, they usually charge a fee to the tenant to facilitate the rental. However, they work on commission and you won’t be charged until you actually finalize a rental agreement.  

Izzy says that working directly with landlords is the best thing to do so you don’t have to pay a broker fee; you get rid of that intermediary altogether.  But that doesn't happen very frequently. And in New York City, broker fees are unregulated; and in this housing market, bidding wars have been known to happen, both in rent to a landlord and in fees to the broker to get you that apartment. It’s wild. 

But Izzy also says that, if you do need to work with a broker, find a company that has a lot of listings in the neighborhoods you are interested in and then reach out. Connect with someone, tell them your situation, your budget, where you want to live, the type of apartment you want, and see if you vibe. Their incentive to help you is that commission if you end up renting the place.  Check out the show notes for a helpful article on broker fees in New York City.

During this whole process, the downside was that because Izzy was living upstate, her partner had to Facetime her while he was touring apartments. She says it wasn’t the same as actually being there, but it was the best she could do to avoid having to spend 5 to 6 hours commuting via Amtrak, just to see one listing at a time.

Izzy: It was a lot of excitement in the beginning because there was time on our side. And when you start apartment hunting for the first time, you see a bunch of places on the market and all of them look incredible.

Melissa: But what Izzy realized is that looking for an apartment can actually be really hard and time-intensive. And what started out as shiny and exciting quickly became draining. Sometimes they would reach out to realtors and get ghosted. Or other times, they would finally get a tour, only to realize something was off about the place.

Izzy: So the first apartment we looked at a realtor had showed us, and it was really nice. Honestly, we liked it a lot, but it was on the first floor and we weren't so sure about living on the first floor because with access to the street comes access to more noise, potential break-ins. Not that Astoria is an unsafe area to live in by any means, but it was something we were considering.

So we actually decided not to apply to that place.

Melissa: But more draining than ghosting is getting a response, going on a tour, submitting an application, and getting rejected.

Izzy: Then next we looked at a really, really nice place. But unfortunately, after submitting our application, they went with someone else. 

It was the first time it happened and I know apartment hunting isn't easy. And so I kind of expected that, especially with both of our weird income situation, but it was still disappointing. And then next, we looked at another apartment. Again, it checked off most boxes, but not all of them. And yet again, we were rejected and that never feels really good.

It's really heartbreaking when you really like a place that has almost everything on your checklist.

And boy did I have a long checklist and I was really excited and it doesn't help when you have a realtor who says, “Oh, you know, you're the first people to get in here. I'm going to like hype you up so much. You'll definitely get it.” You submit an application, you send in all your financial information, and then you get a call saying it was given to someone else.

It was anger and frustration at the fact that we're not in our thirties with super stable incomes, meaning it's going to be really hard for us to meet the requirements.

Melissa: And all that time that she and her partner started with, was running out.

Izzy: We were getting about three weeks away from the deadline that my partner needed to move in before school started. Things were getting really close and we were really nervous we were just not going to find a place.

Melissa: And just when they thought they were down on their luck, a surprise option came their way.

Izzy: He got a call from his former landlord saying, “Hey, I have a family moving out on the third floor. It's a one bedroom apartment. Do you want to take a look?” And at first we were hesitant because we didn't love the apartment that he had before, which was a studio. But we were still curious to see what this one looked like. Maybe it was different, maybe it was better.

Melissa: Izzy and her partner had a Hail Mary option waiting for them. But that’s when Izzy hit another roadblock: finding a place that ticked most of the boxes on her checklist. 

Izzy: Honestly, his box was, it was an apartment that had a bathroom and a kitchen and it was close to the bus he needed to take. My boxes were wood floors, natural lighting, washer and dryer in the building. Preferably a balcony, access to the train that I needed to take, clean.

Nice big kitchen, newly renovated. Like I really wanted my dream home and I don't know why I thought it was possible considering my budget and considering that we were really looking for things on a pretty short timeline, but a girl can dream, right? 

Melissa: But when Izzy’s partner toured the apartment, with her on Facetime, she saw that there were mostly tile floors instead of wood; no in-house laundry; a small balcony; and a very small kitchen. At first, she says a feeling of disappointment rushed through her. She quickly had to decide: would they keep looking with only a few weeks left, or would she edit down her list?

Izzy: It was sad because that place that I really liked that we first looked at had beautiful, beautiful wood floors, had a private terrace, had like a newly renovated kitchen and it had in-house laundry and drying. So it was really sad to give up a lot of those things.

 There's a time and there's a place to make your dream home. And as you're going through the apartment hunting process, you realize what are wants and what are needs. 

And a lot of things I had identified as needs quickly became wants, because I realized at the end of the day.

If it was quiet and if it was in a neighborhood we liked, and if it was close to everything we needed, then that's really all I needed.

Melissa: And the apartment that her partner’s landlady showed them did meet all their needs, if not all their wants. You may need to make a few concessions, but remember your first home will not necessarily be your last. See what is truly necessary for you to feel safe and relatively comfortable, and then make your move. 

And that was Izzy’s next step. The big move!

Izzy: I just had to fill out some formal paperwork about myself. He had to fill out his, and within a week and a half, we had actually signed our first lease which was really, really exciting.

You are now given the keys to your first home. And it's a really surreal feeling. And again, I'm sad that I couldn't have been here in person to do that with him and receive the keys and step into the apartment for the first time with him. But I was still really, really excited. 

We kind of had multiple move in days. So he and his family dropped off all of his clothes and the few things he was bringing. 

About a week after he had moved in around there, maybe two weeks after, my parents actually took a trip down with a U-Haul truck so we could move in most of the furniture. I was bringing: the couch and the chair and the bed and the rugs and the dresser.

And I think actually the only thing he contributed was a desk chair that he bought on Amazon. And honestly it's really because my parents had a lot of extra furniture on hand and we wanted to save money. And so it made a lot of sense for me to just furnish the place rather than trying to buy new things on our own.

And since my parents were coming down with a U-Haul truck and I was only going to have them for that one day, I also bought some things upstate like rugs and a lamp secondhand.

So when it came time to actually move him in, piled everything into the U-Haul truck drove down early one morning, unloaded everything. Mind you, this is a three story walk-up meaning we had to carry a heavy cart, a bed, a heavy bookcase, a chair, a dresser, pretty large heavy furniture items up three flights of stairs in New York City, July heat.

So about 80 degrees maybe and no air conditioning. I think we were all on the verge of a heat stroke. 

My kitchen was a hot mess before I arrived. My partner and I had to clean this place so much, like scrub it down. There were things I don't even want to mention on this podcast that we had to clean up. It was not pretty, but once that was done, I could actually start to see what I had to work with.

Melissa: After Izzy and her partner did those initial move-ins, she didn’t fully move down until the end of August. But once she finally settled into the space, it was time to personalize her first apartment. 

How do you make a house, a home? Especially when one, you are broke; two, you’d never really done it before; and three, your life is changing constantly when you’re in your 20s, so what you want in your home may change a lot as well?

Well first, Izzy wanted to make her apartment clean, comfortable, and try a few hacks to make the most out of her space. 

Luckily, Izzy is a DIY queen.

Izzy: I can still make a space my own.

I'm a type of person where if I start something, I need to finish it immediately. And because my job was starting mid-October, I actually had like six weeks to technically put my apartment together, but I did it all in a week. Because I can't stand being in a space that's not ready and I'm a planner.

And so I made schematics with my sister on her computer of how I wanted each room to be laid out. So by the time I got here, I already kind of knew what I wanted going into it, which made the decorating a lot easier. 

I watched a lot of YouTube videos to figure out what are apartment friendly hacks that I can do that won't make the landlord keep my deposit at the end of the year. One of which is putting up like stick-on countertops that look like marble or different types of granite, for instance. I chose the white marble.

And so I laid that down. It's really, really hard to do by yourself. If it's something you want to do, I highly recommend making one of your friends do it with you, but I somehow managed to put it on by myself.

Because it's already a small kitchen, I didn't want dark colors in there. So I chose the white and I think it looks really nice. I hung up a poster in there just to bring something to the room and then placed some of my countertop items.

And I think it looks really cute now, much better than the stained countertops that were there before. Bathroom. Pretty basic. I hung up the shelves in there though, which gave me a little bit of extra space because the vanity was pretty small and your girl has a lot of different beauty products, and I didn't have anywhere to put them.

I'd never used a drill before in my life, except for occasionally quote unquote, helping my dad, because I actually failed at using the screwdriver. I hung a shelf by myself for the first time ever.

I sent a picture to my family immediately just to prove I was a capable human being. I hung up another picture wall hanger with a friend. I hung up two shelves in my bathroom. 

And then as far as decoration goes, I was able to make some of my own decorations, actually, two of my decorations, my sister made for me and one of them I made for myself. 

And once I was done with all of that, I could see where there were gaps, things that were missing that I needed to buy. 

There's  lots of ways for you to make your space look really cute and do it on a budget that's affordable for you.

I was really grateful that since maybe 85 percent of what I needed to furnish the place was being covered. I could spend a little bit more on that 15 percent, and this is going to look a lot different for a lot of different people.

When I was picking out furniture for my place, my mom kept telling me, Isabel, this is not going to look like a magazine. You're not going to have a West Elm or a Pottery Barn newly furnished studio. And that's okay because it's your first place. 

And at first I got really annoyed because I was like, why can't I have both mom, why can't I create the perfect space on a budget? And maybe you can, if you have a car and you're patient and you scan Facebook Marketplace every single day, all day. There are ways to create that quote unquote perfect space.

But after putting everything together, when I had moved, I realized that my space was perfect because it was special. And I was putting it together for the first time. And I was able to incorporate elements to make everything work. 

Does everything match? I would say definitely not, but in a way I kind of really like that everything doesn't match because I realized I don't want it to look like something out of a magazine. Magazines are staged. They're not homes at the end of the day, and this is my home. And so when you are preparing for your first apartment and you understandably want to make it look like the most perfect space, remember that it will be perfect regardless because it's your first home.

Melissa: Izzy is trying to be humble, but she was out here competing with the Property Brothers and Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. 

Using secondhand furniture from her parents and thrift stores, a few hacks like the stick-on countertops, and some small personal touches like the decorations her and her sister made like line drawings and painting old records, Izzy’s place started looking more and more like a home and more and more like her.

I know because I would visit often. 

Izzy: If I were to describe my apartment, I would describe it as boho chic. I don't know if that means anything to anyone. It's the term my sister and I came up with to describe  it.

Melissa: When you walk into Izzy’s apartment, her living room is on the right and the kitchen is directly in front of you. The kitchen is small, an alcove in the center of the apartment that only about three people can stand in comfortably without touching. She has lots of coffee cups, tins of tea from her travels, and a burnt red cast iron teapot on the stove. 

If you go further to the left, there’s a small bathroom that smells like osmanthus and fir with small baskets full of Izzy’s bath bombs and bottles of skincare products.  Past that is a huge bedroom the size of the living room with a big bed, dresser, and mirror, and a small shared terrace outside.

The living room is most like Izzy. You’re struck by how bright and warm it is. You breathe in the scent of lavender. In the mornings and afternoons, waves of sunlight filter in through the golden curtains. You can curl up  like a cat on her long couch and take a nap between her pastel pink and blue pillows. I know because I’ve slept there. She has a TV, and coffee and end tables adorned with an assortment of glittery handmade resin coasters, candles, and incense, a packed bookcase, puzzles, and a small terrace where you can stand and see–well, a dead end.

Izzy: In my living room especially I have a bright green chair.

I didn't know if I would like it. My parents gave it to me and I wasn't going to say no to a green chair, but I actually really love it. And then I have a normal beige couch with some accent pillows and pops of color. I always thought I was someone who like neutrals black, gray, white beige, but in decorating my place, I actually found, I really like incorporating color into the space.

So my curtains are a really pretty mustardy yellow. I have the lime green chai. To balance it out my rug is like a white and black geometric pattern. 

Melissa: The living room is also the dining room, where she has a small table that can be extended–but not by much.

Izzy:  So the max amount of people I can ever serve at one time is about four people. But it's fine because I don't have that many friends. Just kidding. 

Lots of green is in the room due to the plethora of plants that I have on my window sill and on my floor and on my table. And on pretty much every surface area available to me in the room.

Melissa: Lots and lots of green. According to Izzy, one of her defining moments in her 20s is becoming a plant mom. And that is reflected in every corner of her living room, with plants on the tables, the windowsill, on the floor, hanging from the ceiling. Cacti, an alocasia, a pathos plant, a ficus, a snake plant, a Chinese money plant, a huge monstera, and more. Sometimes I’d be in her apartment and almost knock one over. It was like being best friends with a botanist. But her plants were one of the main ways she’s made an empty apartment her home, and also one of the main ways she’s developed as an adult.

Izzy: Growing plants is actually been a point of extreme personal growth for me before this, I thought I didn't have a green thumb.

I thought I killed every living thing. I tried to grow plants in my dorm and it never worked out. And since I can't have pets here and I can't care for anything, plants was a really great way to showcase to myself that I can do it, one, and two, to watch something grow and cultivate something because you cared for it yourself is a huge point of like satisfaction and it's something I'm really proud of.  I look at them as my little children that I'm watching grow and thrive.

And so I think there's lots of different things in my apartment that remind me how much I've grown from the day I moved in to where I am now.

So when I'm sitting down on my couch, for instance, and I'm looking around my living room, I'm reminded of the story behind each of the things that I'm looking at. And that's what separates my apartment from my friend's apartment, which would also have a bookshelf or pictures on the wall or couches and throw blankets.

And I think they're standard items across every home. But it's the meaning behind those items and how you choose to decorate and bring everything together that shows who you are as a person. So when I walk into my apartment each day, I don't just see my green chair or my  beige couch. I see the piece of artwork that my friend gave me when she went to Vietnam.

I see the clay rainbow that I painted, or I see all of the plants, each of which has their own name and personality. And these are the things that make my apartment my home, the books I've read the places I've traveled to with my partner up on the wall, pictures of friends and family and the story behind each of the pieces that I own.

But when you're in a home and you're really excited, I don't think the decorating ever ends.  You go on a trip and you buy a piece of art and you want to hang it up on your wall, or you develop a plant obsession and you purchase 18 plants like I did. And so honestly, I've been decorating since the day I moved in.

And I think that's what's really fun about having an apartment, is you can constantly change and modify it to meet your desire for how you want to present your home to yourself and also to other people.

Melissa:  Just as you are developing in your 20s, your home will develop. And it can be an amazing reflection of this ever-evolving time in your life. Your interests, your friends, your travels, your personality, your memories. Your home can grow with you, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Izzy says it’s okay if you’re overwhelmed, and you can just decorate one room at a time. Or, set down the basics like a bed, dresser, and mirror, and then fill in your home little by little. 

After about six months, she did a mini bedroom redecoration with a new rug, bedspread and mirror.

 But for Izzy, she doesn’t just want a picture-perfect apartment. She wants to show herself that now that she’s an adult, she can handle the responsibility of taking care of a space on her own.

Izzy: So it's more than just an aesthetic. It showcases how far I've come from being someone who was dependent on my parents, as most of us are, to being someone who can completely depend on myself.

Does this mean I haven't called my parents asking how the heck do I hang up the shelf? No, they were still definitely there many instances to help guide me. But at the end of the day, it was me who had to figure it out. And me who had to problem solve and doing that means a lot to me. And similarly, when I look at some of my decorations, especially my plants, I can see how far I've come from the beginning of the year.

Melissa: And maybe that’s what adulthood is. Figuring out the next step, maybe with some help, and slowly learning to feel confident in doing things on your own, like Izzy setting up her first home.

Izzy: Honestly, I really think adulthood is just being a kid still, at least young adulthood, but then all of a sudden having responsibility at the same time, like it's weird.

If someone were to define adulthood, as you paying bills, you getting an apartment, you working a nine to five job.

I mean, technically I check off all those boxes, right? So that should, for some reason, make me feel like an adult, but I feel just the same as I did before, but now I just have a bit more responsibility 

I still want to be allowed to be carefree. I still want to be allowed to be able to make mistakes. And I feel like that's really important in your young adult life to be carefree, to make mistakes. I think you can do both. I think you can be responsible and all of a sudden have a job and have your first place, but also leave room for being a kid still.

At least that's what I'm trying to do.

And I think that's really important for people our age to remember that because we're always asked, well, what are you doing next? Where do you see yourself in five years? Where are you going to school? What's your next job? And it's okay to think about those things. And I think we should, but it's also okay to just focus on being you in that moment.

Melissa: By the time you listen to this episode, Izzy will have moved somewhere new. She abandoned me in Queens to move to Brooklyn, and while I will never forgive her for that, I will say her new place is actually pretty nice.

It does check off some of her boxes. It has a huge kitchen where you won’t bump into someone if you take one false step. It has wood floors. It’s close to public transportation. 

And it has lots of sunlight for the now 22 plants that moved with her. 

It still doesn’t have in-house laundry or a big terrace, but hey, maybe next time.

Moving out is a big transition for anyone in their 20s. You have to think about your finances. You have to go on a search as if you’re hunting for some long-lost pirate treasure. You have to sort your wants vs. needs, and stay determined in the face of rejection. 

It can also be incredibly fulfilling. It’s one of those markers in our lives that truly symbolizes our “move” to adulthood. Haha, get it. And having a home gives us a place to explore and represent our constantly shifting identities. Who are we now, and how does our apartment reflect that?

I hope you give yourself permission to one, not feel like you have to find the perfect place to be your first home and two, take it slow when making that place into a home. It can be easy to feel disappointed, especially because of your budget or rejections, that you can’t get all of the things you want. 

But, as Izzy says, your first home will not be your last. And you can take your time making your home what you want. It can be a bit overwhelming because you may think you want your home to be a reflection of you, and you want everyone to have a good impression of it. But just as you are a work in progress, your home will be too. And if you are constantly changing, it’s okay if your home does as well. And you may be surprised and delighted by what you end up displaying, like Izzy’s plants showing her responsibility to take care of living things. 

I also hope you can take a cue from Izzy and, even with our newfound responsibility in our 20s like renting an apartment, not feel too weighed down by it. Even though I have a lot of adult responsibilities, I still feel like a kid a lot too. Let’s live like Izzy and think about every day one day at a time. 

[Outro music]


Tired In My Twenties is an independent podcast produced, edited and hosted by me, Melissa Lent! Get detailed show notes at tiredtwentiespod.com and subscribe to my newsletter at tiredtwenties.substack.com. 

Music and sound effects for this episode come from Artlist. Special thanks to Isabel Gouse.

Thank you for listening to Tired in My Twenties, and join us next time to keep figuring it out together. 

And now, if you’ve listened this far, here’s an outtake: 

Izzy: Okay, here are all of my plants. Alex and Frankie are my pathos plants. I have three snake plants named Jimmy, Minna, and Xan. I have several cacti:  Ellie, Wade Junior, and Wade. I also have a bunny ear cacti named George. Jules is a string of turtles, Remi is a Peperomia watermelon plant. I have two jade plants named Rue and Giovanni, one ZZ plant named Zuri.

One umbrella plant named Suki and an alocasia named Teddy. Felipe is my ficus and I have a Chinese money plant named Mel. Molly is my aloe plant. I have a zebra plant named Tony and a hoya kentiana named Lola. And although I shouldn't have favorites, my monstera named Clara is definitely my favorite.

Deciding to move out
Budgeting for an apartment
Working with real estate brokers
Facing rejection when apartment hunting
Balancing apartment wants vs. needs
Starting your first move
Apartment DIYs on a budget
Realistic expectations for your first home
Describing Izzy's first apartment
Becoming a plant mom in your 20s
Personal growth and identity through your home
What adulthood is to Izzy