I had always dreamed of having my own flat somewhere abroad (I knew from an early age that I wanted to travel and study overseas). Once I decided to pursue a career in France, living with a host family seemed like a good idea, and it definitely was. I was able to focus solely on my studies and I had the pleasure of meeting such amazing human beings on top of it all. In January 2019 I finally got my diploma. I did my Masters Degree in Intercultural Communications and Translation at ISIT. Getting my Masters meant an end of an era. Continuing living with my host family was simply not in the cards anymore. Therefore, I decided to talk to them and share with them my desire to start looking for a place to call my own.
At first, I was scared. My “little bubble”, meaning the comfortable life I had created alongside my host family was about to burst. I knew deep down that it was the right time to move on and start living like some many Parisians and foreign student do. I guess it is always the not-knowing factor what frightens us the most. Luckily, life has not disappointed me so far. My amazing host family helped me move in, and today I can proudly say that I live in a small 22m2 flat in the 17th district in Paris. I have a bathroom, a kitchen and a bedroom. I moved in back in September 2018 and I would like to share a piece of advice in order for you to make the most of your own space.
Les clés de mon appartement
1.Dispose of, recycle or repair!
You will spend an incredible amount of time in this space, you will sleep, study for your exams, wash, host a couple of friends (yes, I know it is a small space but, it is what it is.), prepare your meals, do laundry (if you are lucky enough to have a washing machine and enough room to let your clothes dry), among other thigs. As many Parisians already do, you will learn to adapt to an undersized living space. This is why it might be a good idea to spend a couple of hours sorting through everything you own (books, clothes, shoes, papers, empty bottles (hygiene products or other), make-up, spices…). This step can take place before or after you move into your new space.
Should you struggle with this process I highly recommend the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: the Japanese art of decluttering and organising” by Marie Kondo. You can also binge-watch her series on Netflix, it is called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”.
Once you are done sorting, it is time to put away all the important documents regarding the tenancy agreement, ID, insurance paperwork, etc. If possible, try to electronically back them up. I am one of those people who is always afraid of losing an important document. This particular step, organising, is about finding a suitable space for everything. I would recommend everyone to focus on practicality rather than aesthetics. This will take time, for some, months even. It all depends on habits and your everyday routine. At the end of it all, everything around you must be in alignment with your habits, personality and taste. In all honesty, even though my flat is small, I genuinely love it. Everything that surrounds me bring me joy. My favourite corners of my flat are: my desk, my bathroom and my tiny oven.
3.Set a time for cleaning, tidying up, and keep track of what is needed
- Make an effort to clean the windows once a month.
- Once a week, deep-clean your bathroom (toilet, shower, sink, floor) as well as your kitchen (do not forget the fridge) and bedroom. You can also hoover the entire place weekly.
- Every two weeks change the sheets and towels (as well as the tea towels in the kitchen).
- Regarding the dirty dishes you might want to clean them throughout the day after you have used them (I divide them into two loads).
- For groceries, I have found that it is quite helpful to write down everything that is used up or gone on post-it notes and then stick them onto a visible area (I place mine on my fridge, for example).
In any case, just know that you can always rely on what you can find on the internet, it certainly always teaches us something. For instance, I was able to find the best eco-friendly LED bulb thanks to my search online. I also learned that energy at night time is cheaper so now, I always do my laundry between 11 pm and 7am.
Anyway, if you are still alive after a year, congratulations are in order, you are now officially an adult (age is no longer enough to earn the title). Best of luck!