Has it been a year, already?

Yonge and Eglinton Toronto

A year ago I made the big move from my parents’ place in Scarborough to my own apartment near Yonge and Eglinton.

It’s been a great experience so far and filled with a lot of firsts. I’ve really had to focus a lot on budgeting my expenses, especially since I haven’t been working for a bit, AND there’s the small issue of a wedding to pay for next year, so all things considered, I think I’ve done pretty well.

Chores

I don’t have the luxury of suburban grocery store prices, so I’ve had to shop a bit smarter, which includes only buying things I want when they’re on sale, and maybe picking up extras of things I need when the price is right too.

Another food issue I’ve had to become accustomed to is how much I buy. At my parents place there was always enough food around for four people. The good thing about that is it would rarely go bad. What I’ve come to learn the hard way is that buying food – especially fruit/veggies – needs to be planned out. I can’t count how many times I’ve had food go bad on me because I’ve only used a one or two servings worth. A head of cauliflower and broccoli is a lot for one person, so when I go to the market to get my fruits/veggies, I buy pre-cut, which may be more expensive, but at least the food doesn’t go bad in the mean time.

I like to keep my apartment relatively clean, but it’s probably the least rewarding chore. I’m fortunate enough to not live facing a busy road, and with just me or the fiancee in the house most of the time, there isn’t much traffic inside either, but cleaning is never something I look forward to doing.

Laundry has been pretty simple, but I dread having to pay for it. I try to hang dry my clothes whenever I can, but the cost of even washing it adds up. I will say I’m lucky enough to have machines in my apartment and I don’t have to trek out to a laundromat.

Neighbourhoood

I can’t explain it, but I’ve been drawn to this neighbourhood for quite a while, so when I was looking to find a place this was the first area I wanted to look at. I like the fact that everything I need, whether it’s a grocery store, Tim Hortons, pub, drug store or LCBO, is within walking distance (about 10 minutes). In Scarborough, I needed a car or had to trek quite a bit longer, just to get to any kind of store to do something. The one thing I do miss about suburbia is the cleaner air. I know it’s not that far out of the city, but I notice the difference every time I head back.

Transit

The one thing I hate about living where I was (near the zoo), was the amount of time it took me to get downtown. At one point I had to take every type of TTC transportation to get to work (that’s bus, Scarborough RT, subway and streetcar) and it took me about an hour and a half. That same commute from this neighbourhood involves one or two types of transportation and the time is more like 30 minutes. For a person living in the heart of the city, even 30 minutes must be unfathomable, but for me it’s amazing. The only downside of spending less time on transit would be less time to read my books.

Independence

Of course not living at home anymore means I’m officially an adult. I make my own rules, cook for myself, stay up late (writing this blog post for example) if I want or have people over, which I couldn’t really do before. It’s been a great year for growing up and I can’t wait to keep it going with the next year and beyond.

Well that’s been my year getting used to living on my own, in a nutshell. What was your first experience like? Have I missed anything important (I’m sure I have)?

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Welcome to the new apartment

I’ve been meaning to write about my big move to my first apartment for quite some time now, but I guess three weeks in is as good as a few days.

For quite some time I’d been ready to move out on my own for a number of reasons. I finally decided to do it because I have a solid career, good (enough) savings, and I was ready to have that independence that can only come with moving out – oh and living in Scarborough and working downtown was taking its toll.

For months I’d been searching online for postings and contacting ones that stood out to me the most. Those got nowhere, so one day I went out with the girlfriend to physically look around for vacancies. We spent a few hours combing through midtown Toronto and saw a few places. Most (not surprisingly) were out of my price range, and offered too little in terms of space. Eventually I came upon my eventual apartment and though it was a basement (not my first choice) I really liked the space, location and price – it all worked.

After a bit of discussion I gave the landlord a call a few days later, and eventually that lead to a second, more detailed visit, then eventually me signing the lease and getting the keys. Within about two weeks, I was moving in.

Since this was my first apartment, I clearly had nothing to move, but of course I needed a lot of furniture, appliances, utensils.. the list goes on and on. For those two weeks my credit card got a workout unlike one it’s ever seen before. I’ve never spent so much time shopping than I did for this apartment and I am so happy it’s over.

While I don’t own the place, it’s a great feeling to have something of my own. Living so much closer means I have time to a) sleep, and b) live a little. I spent too much time on transit and it was draining. Now I spend time in the kitchen making food which I didn’t have to do much of before, but it’s much better being at home for so much longer.

Outside of moving out for school, what was it like getting your own place for the first time, and why did you decide to move out?

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