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When you finally find an apartment, set it up in a way that is safe, comfortable, and efficient.

TACTIC: Be spare and frugal in furnishing your home.

Check "Rule your stuff," to reduce the amount of things that you have. But if you are starting out in a new apartment, plan to get a minimal amount of furniture and dishes. Go to a store that sells used clothing and furniture first. You can find bargains that you can cheaply jettison if your fortunes change and you have to move again.

You can get a futon that is a couch and folds to a bed. A desk can also be a table or a table a desk. A few chairs may be all you need rather than a full set.

TACTIC: Take security precautions in your home.

Make sure you have a working smoke detector, fire extinguisher, and locks. Purchase renter's insurance and consider getting a safe deposit box for storing important documents and valuables. If you live in an apartment complex and have a storage locker provided to you, avoid placing anything valuable in it.

TACTIC: Renting a post office box or a commercial mail and package service for yourself can aid in your security, stability, and convenience.

Using such a service, you would have a postal mailing address, which would be a P. O. Box, or the street address of the commercial mail service. For example, one such commercial mail service is Mail Boxes Etc.

A commercial mail service will be able to accept all your US postal mail and probably your packages such as FedEx or United Parcel Service. A US Post Office will accept your US mail, but not package from commercial services such as FedEx or UPS.

The benefits of a mail service are:

  • Personal Security: You need not give out the location of your home to anyone for lists or membership directories, yet still receive mail.
  • Mail Security: If the place where you mail is delivered is unlocked, out in the open, or if you live in a group situation, your mail may be misplaced or stolen. With mail service, your mail goes to you and only you, insuring its delivery, security, and your privacy.
  • Stability: You can use the mailing service address with the assurance that your address does not have to change every time you move.

A combined postal mail/package service is an extremely valuable service. Without someone home during the day to take in your packages, you are going to have a hard time getting deliveries by FedEx or UPS.

If you do not get a mail service, find out if your apartment building's office can take in packages for you, the landlord, or a trusted nearby neighbor. You can make a small sign for your door: "Package deliveries to [Office, Apt number]".

If you choose a mail service, pick the location of the post office or mail service carefully. You may want to visit it many times every week.

I recommend you consider getting a combined postal/package service if:

  • If you expect to move often within a metropolitan area
  • You live in caretaker's quarters or any arrangement where you are getting free housing in exchange for work
  • You live in group living arrangements
  • You have no safe place for your mail or package delivery
  • You are living in temporary quarters

These same conditions may also indicate that getting a voice mail box rather than a phone number tired to a particular telephone location is right for you.

TACTIC: Plan the layout for your apartment based on the function of spaces.

Don't be afraid that your home might not look like a model showplace, but create functional spaces that are efficient.

Designate an area as a workspace, where you can neatly set up the tools of your trade or hobbies. You could do this by using a small worktable, desk, or even a clipboard in a corner. Neatly arrange your stuff in sturdy storage containers under or near the worktable or desk.

Designate an area as a sleeping space. This might be a fold-down bed or futon at night.

Designate an area as a living space. This might be the sleeping space with the bed or futon folded up to be a couch.

You can make a simple eating space at a coffee table in front of a couch or on at built-in counter or bar.

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