We were newlyweds still in college courses when my husband and I bought our first home. And believe me, we had to grow up fast. Thinking about jumping into domestic bliss straight out of school? From Mammalian Physiology to a mortgage? Linear Algebra to landscaping? Here are five things you may not have considered:
1) You have to get documents organized. When you apply for a home loan, they will ask for a copy of everything. You will find last year’s W2 where we did – to the left of the bookcase, under the binders, adhered to the floor. It is time to invest in a file cabinet. Or, better yet, why not put all your equipment to use? Scan important documents, save them, back them up into the cloud, and never again spend an evening sneezing over piles of petrified paper.
2) You don’t own anything useful. You don’t have a screw driver, a saw, nails, flashlight, light bulbs, level, wood filler… you don’t have a lawn mower! Before taking the plunge, take time away from Slydris to make a list of everything your dad has in coffee cans in his work room. Your graphing calculator can’t solve every problem.
3) Tape-mounted décor is bad. Yes, we too were very attached to our Cassini/Huygens mission poster, our periodic table, and the glossy Starship Enterprise. But for the walls of our own, real home… The rule that worked for us: Don’t put it up unless it’s been framed. If the poster’s important enough to you, “Make it so.”
4) You will have to play host. If you buy it, they will come, and they no longer expect dingy, tight quarters and dumpster sofas. Make guests comfortable. Evolve your style with a natural selection of analogous furniture pieces and homogeneous drapes. You don’t have as much studying to do now, so at least keep the living room tidy for drop-in guests.
5) Your family is growing. We had to move to a larger home much sooner than we’d expected when our second child came complete with an extra bed, her own clothes, and double the toys. If you can afford to, please consider extra cubic feet in the form of a basement, den or spare bedroom.
When you are ready to take the next step in establishing your family and your home, please keep in mind that you will need to get a bit more organized, should plan to invest in supplies, grown-up décor, and furniture, and remember to plan for the long haul. You made it through Organic Chemistry; you can do this, too.